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SSTN # 34 - May 16, 2007

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1) Grand Prize - Awards Program
2) Austrian Mission
3) Pastor Appreciation?
4) Increasing Offering
5) Song: Jesus is the Rock?
6) High School Graduation

Ascension Sunday & Pentecost Activities

7) High School Graduation
8) High School Graduation
9) High School Graduation
10) Summer Sunday School
11) Ideas for Childrens Church
12) Master's Thesis Research?

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1) Grand Prize - Awards Program
In response to having a grand prize - or program awards -- I would like to
share what we have done for the past year in our after school Bible club
(The Great Adventure Club). Let me explain that 70% of the kids attending
(3-5th graders) do not attend church. Previous to this year, we used door
prizes at the end of each club meeting -- maybe 5 or 6 names were drawn
for the prizes. Surprisingly, even though the kids were disappointed when
they didn't win - the prises were encouraged to come back the next week.
We did take the prize winner's names out of the drawing the following
week - so to give those that hadn't won a better opportunity. We always
held the drawing just before dismissal - repeated misbehavior during the
club also removed their name -- but that seldom happened.
Personally, I did not like doing this type of award. I didn't care for the
word "lucky" being used by the kids - nor the anticipation of the drawing
(will it be me???). To me -- it was not giving them the best training and
it was not giving our best effort in the responsibility we have been
blessed to have -- presenting Jesus in a public school setting.

God grew us past repeating old program habits and we have been blessed in
our last 2 clubs by giving "trinkets" to the kids. Every child - every
club - receives the same prize that week. The coolest thing is that the
prize we choose for the week enables them to tell the lesson they learned
in club. We order prizes in bulk -- that go along with our theme for club.
From the prizes - a biblical object lesson is built - and presented before
they receive their prize. After they have left the club, the kids are
encouraged to show someone else the prize - to tell them the story from
lesson they learned from the Bible. And guess what! They did just that.
Parents, siblings, friends, teachers and other adults reported that the
kids really were able to share the lesson. In fact - the parents and
others began to ask the kids what prize they received and what was the
lesson. The kids learned accountability to share God's Truth --- and that
doing so could be a fun adventure.
Our director is very gifted in pulling scriptures and Bible Truths from
everyday objects. The group had no idea what the prize would be --- but
listened intently to the leader weave the Bible Truth into a story with up
to the minute relativity to the children. The kids soon figured out
that somewhere within the story was the hint of the object they would be
taking home with them. The prize was dramatically revealed -- to hear the
screams of delight from the kids. You would have thought the prize was
gigantic! No prize ever cost more than $1 and most of the time the trinket
was less than 50 cents each. But the impact of them hearing and sharing
God's Truth with others ................ PRICELESS!
We discovered that our director's creativity was contagious. Other adults
and children share object lessons with us as well! We look at ordinary
things differently and with a godly purpose now.
As I was reading letters on SSTN in response to prizes - God breathed ---
and HIS parable of feeding the 5,000 fish and bread came to my heart. I
never has seen the correlation that instantaneously filled my soul. In
that parable - there was a need - the need was to feed.  The way Jesus fed
them was amazing and unexpected. Jesus met the need and filled them with
the desire to tell others about HIM and Words HE shared with them that
day. ---- That is what our small object lesson trinkets do!!! These kids
have a need - they need to be fed - God's Word. We give it to them in an
unexpected way that fills their need and gives them the desire to tell
others what they have heard. ooooooo - just writing it out -- gave me
GGB's (Gospel Goose Bumps!) \o/
I hope this inspires others to think small -- and equip each child to
share the lessons you teach with family and friends. Ask yourself -- is
giving ONE large prize better or giving a small thing to everyone that
equips them to share Biblical Truths to a lost world?
Joyfully Serving HIM,

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2) Austrian Mission

The following is an excerpt from an article I received from Mark & Becy
Brian, two missionary freinds serving in Austria. Please pray for them!

>>Begin Excerpt>>

Austrians are above average happy people according to Newsweek statistics.
Just what constitutes happiness is the elusive thing. Family appears to be
important, but very few Austrian young people want kids.

Every Sunday morning on the way to church I drive by a disco where someone
is out sweeping up piles of trash and dozens of cars still stand parked
because their drivers had to take cabs to get home. I guess they were
happy. I mean the cabbies. You might say the young people were "out of
their minds". So they are not in church on Sunday. What can you expect
when Austrian youth are taught levitation in religion classes in order to
show that there is a spiritual world? Or when we have a wellknown hometown
witch who has a school for training people to be whichever kind of witches
they want to be - "good" or bad. People who have fields get a bundle of
willow sticks together, have them "blessed" and then stick the sticks in
the fields so the harvest will be good. All in all, it is a kind of
"stuporstition" culture. And yet, compared to the people of many other
countries, Austrians are above average happy people. Isn't that nice? L.
E. Maxwell, founder of Prairie Bible Institute, warned us to be wary of
nice things.

Why should Austrians have any real interest in God when things are going
good and they are "happy"? Why should we continue here when most Austrians
reject Christ? And any Austrian that gets close to that "fundamental,
evangelical sect" gets laughed at, openly, publicly. Why should any
Austrian go down that nasty road and be unhappy?

But Austrian Tim Wuester did. He got sick of the lies of religion and
philosophy, the noncommittal relationships and all the "happiness".
Christians who are committed to Christ shared the Gospel with Tim and he
now relies on HIM and is part of the Evangelical Church in Klagenfurt. Tim
got the joy of Jesus that never fades away. You can see it in Tim's face
and in his life. That is wonder full.

<<End Excerpt<<

You can read more about the Brian's "AustroVenture" ministry at:

Your webservant,
Sarah Keith <><

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3) Pastor Appreciation?

Like Stephanie said, " I thought the "official" pastor appreciation day
was in October?  Thats when we did ours." So is the April one a
non-official day or the October one? Or do we now have Pastor Appreciation
Day 2 times a year?
--from SSTN: According to Christianitytoday.com, it is celebrated in
September: http://www.christianitytoday.com/holidays/clergy/
So, whether in April, September or October, whenever it is, what matters
is that we honor our pastors at some point during the year. ;o)

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4) Increasing Offering

At my old church, around Christmas time every year we did a game, the kids
were all on one team and the adults were on the other team.  Our pastor
basically made a xcale with on bucket with say red paper on one side of a
piece of weeod. And on the other side he had a bucket with green paper. 
The object was to see which team brought the most money, and I believe it
had to be coin, each week.  And at the end of the game we usually sent the
money to a missionary.  Im sure you can use the money however you want to
though.   Just thought this would help.
Yours in Christ,
Kali Ploucher from New Jersey

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5) Song: Jesus is the Rock?

Has anyone ever heard the song, "Jesus is the Rock, and he rolls my blues
away.  Bop Shoo Bop, Shoo Bop Woo!..." 
I remember singing it in Sunday School in the 80's and I'd love to do a
lesson on 'Jesus is the Rock' for my students now.
I'd appreciate any info you could give me!
God's Blessings,
Jody in Michigan jlarmour@hotmail.com

--from SSTN: It's by Tony Corgi. It's also in "Group's Singable Songs".
Type the title into our bookstore search box to locate it at:

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6) High School Graduation
Our church has a Senior Roast each year for graduation.  Basically all the
graduates are honored at a special service.  Church and family members are
invited to "roast" their graduates.  They can say anything they want, from
funny and embarrassing moments to serious thoughts.  This year we are also
making a video slide show using photos from birth until present time to
the song "Find Your Wings" by Mark Harris.  We also have refreshments
after the Roast with the fellowship hall decorated  in the graduates'
school colors, etc.   Each graduate has a table that place memorabilia on
from their life.  Awards, trophys, pictures, etc.

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Ascension Sunday & Pentecost Activities

Celebrate Ascension Sunday and Pentecost with our
"Jesus Ascending Mini-Movie" and the "Pentecost Rusher".

Download them today from the "Make N' Take Download" section at:

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7) High School Graduation
Several years ago, our church decided to make twin-sized quilts for our
seniors.  We're fortunate to have a lady in our congregation who loves to
make the quilts and I embroider the name of our church on the corner
block.   Each senior picks out the two colors he or she wants used in the
quilt.  Usually, the blocks are alternating solid colors.  We give the
quilts to any baptized members of our church who are still living in the
area - whether or not they've been active in the church.    When the
graduates are far from home and cover themselves with the quilts, we hope
they're remembering that the Lord and their church family back home cares
about them.

Sharon Anderson
Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Adair, Iowa

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8) High School Graduation

We designate one Sunday in the middle-end of May to honor our graduates. 
We honor all graduates (high school and college) from our community.  (We
are from a VERY small community!)  We have them wear their cap & gown, and
during the service we present them with a gift,  usually a Chicken Soup
for the Christian Soul book, or a bible,  if they don't have one.  After
the church service we have coffee, punch and a cake in honor of all the
graduates too.  It makes them know that the entire congregation is proud
of their accomplishment!
Hope this helps!
God's Blessings,
Jody in MI

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9) High School Graduation

Our church collects pictures from the grads and their graduation picture
and makes a slide show set to music.  We have them submit at least 7
pictures per grad and they range from baby on up.  Nice tribute to the
graduates!  We also include the graduates in the service and some do
sermonettes and read the lessons.
Hope this helps!

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10) Summer Sunday School

This is not to criticize other's opinions about giving Sunday School
teachers a break in summer but just to comment.  I am 82 years old and
have been teaching kids over 50 years. Not only have I had joy in
preparing lessons and teaching, but look forward to each session to see
what the Lord will do in the lives of the children.  I thought maybe I was
getting too old to teach and retired from SS a couple years ago but just
had to keep teaching so now I work in children's church which is also an
all year program.
I understand, though, that many young teachers have their hands full
working and caring for their families and it would be more stressful for
them to teach year round.  God knows the heart so let us do what He has
called us to do. whether full or part time.  Whatever we do, let us do it
for His glory.
Helen Setser

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11) Ideas for Childrens Church

I have sent out Bulletins from childrens church. To help the conversation
between the children and Parents. One Month, The topic was, How many
Christian Radio Stations can you find? The Next time they came in we
started a list of all the Stations.
Our favorite Game is like Red light Green light. One Child is picked to be
"God." This child gets to sit on the other side of the room. While the
rest of us {Always play with them} Line up. All this is, "God" he asks
things of us Like to Believe, Trust in me, Follow my Commandments. The
rest of us if We agree we take a Step. But in return we need things
From "God" The things he Promises, like to Always Be there for us, to
always Hear us, to save us. Then "God" Gets to take a step.
 The point is so the kids Know that God is always willing to meet us
halfway. But to do that We have to be willing to meet Him Halfway. 

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12) Master's Thesis Research?

>After much research for my master's thesis, I discovered that family
>worship can be MORE important than Sunday school in faith development!

I would love to know more about this research & how big your church is. 
As a SS Superintendent, I'm having a hard time convincing our church
leadership that children CAN grow in faith outside of a traditional SS
program.  We struggle to find teachers each year, yet our church is
growing, and we are blessed with about 70 children in two services.  Now
our church might add a third service, which is wonderful for the church
body, but we don't have the resources to add a third Sunday School service
(we have SS during our worship services).  I'd like to find an alternate
program that can serve our families, yet not be so dependent on having
16-24 teachers, some of whom never get to worship with their own
families.  I'd love to empower our families to grow in faith together, as
If you can email me some of the details, I'd be so grateful! 

Julie in Ohiojszucs@gmail.com

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