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SSTN # 40 - May 17, 2006

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Jesus Ascending Craft

1) How do I Use The Archives?
2) Changing Children's Church?
3) Working Together Demonstration
4) Growing In God's Word

Pentecost Sunday Craft

5) Starting a Youth Group
6) Starting a Youth Group
7) Father's Day?
8) S.C.U.B.A.
9) Starting a Youth Group

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Jesus Ascending Craft

Great for Easter follow up and Ascension Sunday. You can find it listed in
the "Easy Make N' Take" downloads section at: 

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1) How do I Use the Archives?

Dear friends in Christ...please advise me on how to check into your

--from SSTN:
the archives are easy--to-use. You can:
a) search for specific words or topics from past issues of SSTN,
as well as information only found in the website, or
b) search for a specific past issue of the newsletter by its number and
date. You'll find links on the home page and a search box at:
as well as the actual archive page with instructions at:

From the very beginning of the newsletter, back in Jan. 2000, I realized
this would be a valuable resource. I can attest to the fact that many
thousands of people use it every week to find information for their

Your webservant,
Sarah Keith <><


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2) Changing Children's Church?

Help. I am currently the Director for Children's Ministry at our church. I
am in a situation where I feel we need to change the current structure for
our Jr Church. Our church does not adapt well to change.I have presented
an idea as far as the curriculum, and what my vision is for the children's
church program. They were all listening, but felt I would have to downsize
my ideas and plans until such time they see the growth. I want to make our
Children's Church exciting and a fun place to come to week after week. A
place they can call there own. Space is an issue as well. I may have to
share my space with another Sunday School class, this is not a problem but
storage is. We would have to take down and set up every week. I really
need some ideas and suggestions on where to go from here. I need your
prayers and suggestions concerning this issue as I am getting very
discouraged. I truly feel God is calling me to this, but there are so many
roadblocks. I have used this site many times and have found really great
ideas for my classes, keep up the great work Sarah

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3) Working Together Demonstration

Our church recently had a Ministries Fair.  It was wonderful to see all
the ministries that are taking place in our church.  Every thing was
represented from Children's Ministries to the Health and Fitness Ministry.
 During the service they did a demonstration that really drove home the
idea that each ministry is important. 
Supplies needed: a cynder block up on end and an 18 inch piece of sewing
thread for all the leaders and each of the children (or congregation in a
smaller church)
One of our deacons happens to be a big guy. He was challenged to pick up
the cynder block only using the thread given him. First our two pastors
gave him their two threads and of course the threads broke.  Next all the
elders and deacons gave him their pieces of thread to put together and
lift the block.  The threads broke.  Lastly, all the children (about 60)
brought their thread to him and he bunched them together.  With those 60
threads he was able  to lift the block.  Of course those threads
represented everyones participation in ministry and that we all have a
roll to play in the spreading of God amazing grace.
Ceres, CA

--from SSTN: awesome!

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4) Growing In God's Word

To All Committed Sunday School Teachers:

I have been reading all of the responses to Shawna's email, and I must say
that Margaret's response has been the most loving, compassionate, caring
response that I have read. Instead of responding with contempt and disdain
to Shawna's request for assistance, let's try to show the loving spirit
that Jesus would display in this situation.  Yes; being a Sunday School
teacher does require continued commitment.  I've taught our teenage Sunday
School class for 6 years, and some days are more difficult than others. 
However, I know that God will continue to sustain me if I keep my thoughts
and focus on Him. I know that when I was new in my role as a teacher, I
needed a lot of encouragement and understanding (not deriding and
ridicule). My fellow teachers provided me with this support, and many
times they provided me with lessons as I began to build my own file of
lesson plans.  Instead of judging and making our Sister in Christ feel
unworthy of God's love and unworthy of her new role, let's embrace her and
assist her as much as possible.  Thank you Margaret for your loving
response.  God will bless you.


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Pentecost Sunday Craft

A great activity to accompany lessons on the giving of the Holy Spirit and
formation of the early church. You can find it listed in the "Easy Make N'
Take" downloads section at:


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5) Starting a Youth Group

I am the volunteer Youth Group Coordinator for our Catholic Youth
Ministry.  This is something we tried last fall and will do again Fall
2006.  Last fall, I approached the men & women of our parish to sponsor a
teen in prayer.  The Prayer Angels (as we called them) prayed daily for
their teen.  Once a month(that would have been Aug., Sept., Oct. Nov. &
Dec), the Sponsor would mail them anonymously cards sharing their favorite
Bible verse, prayers, words of encouragement,etc.  Some of our Sponsors
were so into it that they sent more than once a month.   In Dec., I
invited our Angels to the Youth Christmas Party.  Where one of our other
volunteers played a "guessing Game" to introduce the teens to their
adult!!  It was overwhelming how much everyone enjoyed themselves.  We had
the "guessing game", dinner(where the teen sat with their adult), and
presentation of gifts.  It was so fun for the teens to receive mail and
they were so curious as to whom their sponsor was.

Earlier in Nov., we made gifts so that the teens didn't have to shop or
spend money.  That elimated trying to outdo one another or "forgetting" to
shop.  To take the pressure off the adults as to whether to buy a gift or
not ...I ask them not to give them to them @ the party...what they chose
to do own their own time was their business.  We didn't want to lose the
effect of the whole thing and that was PRAYER.  No competition or

We had people asking to be Angels this coming fall...I already have a
list.  I loved being the only one who knew the identities.  It was best
that way because our other volunteers have teens in the group.  My kids
are young adults.  We already have new craft and dinner ideas.

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6) Starting a Youth Group

How exciting to be starting a program for that age group!  I work with the
7th and 8th graders and my church and they are a great group of kids.  We
meet once a week, but I think once a month would be good start out.  We
play games (group games like volleyball, kickball, couch game, etc. as
well as board games.) and then share prayer requests and pray and they
have a short bible study.  They also love Movie nights.  We did a series
of lessons last year following the life of Moses and using Prince of Egypt
movie.  Each week we would watch whatever part of Moses life we were
discussing, then we would read the scripture and distinguish what the
Bible saves versus what he movie says.  The kids loved it!  Then after we
finished the series we took a night and just watched the whole movie.  If
you need more ideas, you can email me at ckahler99@yahoo.com.  I'd be
happy to help!
Courtney, NY

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7) Father's Day?

With Mother's Day just days away,  I'm starting to think about Father's
Day.  I teach 4 and 5 year olds and would like some ideas for Father's Day
gifts for them to make and take home to their dads.  Thanks in advance!!
Courtney, NY

--from SSTN: make sure you check the crafts page and the archives at:

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8) S.C.U.B.A.


I will assume that S.C.U.B.A. stands for Super Cool Underwater Bible
Adventure.  My daughter attended a DVBS that used the S.C.U.B.A. theme a
few years.  She was 4 years old.   One of the crafts that she really
liked and still has is a waterglobe made out of a small baby food jar.  
They filled the bottom of the jar with sand and then filled it to the
top with water and a few little plastic fish/sea things.  The jar lid
was glued on so it can't be opened.  The top of the jar lid was covered
with a circle of construction paper and the theme of the Day was printed
on the construction paper.  I think it said Trust in God.  Then they
decorated the outside of the jar with sea stickers.   So then she had a
fish/sea water globe that was made very inexpensively.    They also made
placemats, big pieces of paper that the child  finger painted on a water
scene that was later laminated to be used as a place mat.  Don't
remember the exact details.


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9) Starting a Youth Group


My name is Summer Holbrook and I am the Youth Minister at a small UMC
church in Dallas, Texas.  We have about 160 in worship each Sunday and our
youth group started with zero.  I have grown our program to 20 regular
youth and 35 youth for special events. I have been involved with youth
ministry for most of my life.  It is a wonderful ministry to be part of,
but one of the hardest ministries of the church.  My experience is that
youth, no matter how long it has been since the last program, want a place
to belong and church is just that place.  If you have a great Sunday
School program than you already have a solid base of youth to work with. 
As a motivation tool to get youth to come to church activities I use a
“Star Chart”:  

How does the star chart work and why should I care?  The UMYF Star Chart
is a way to win prizes and have fun sharing the good times we have at
UMYF.  Stars are earned for attending Sunday School, Worship, UMYF and
other special events.  Stars can also be earned by bringing a friend or
two or three to events.  You may only bring a friend two times and then
the friend becomes a member of the Star Chart and then they begin to
receive stars.  The student with the most stars at the end of a quarter
wins a prize for themselves and a friend (evangelism tool, usually they
will ask a non-member to the prize event)  Our prizes are things like a
trip to the drive-in movies, laser tag, a trip to the lake on a church
members boat, all chaperoned of course.  The bigger and more fabulous the
prize the better!

Our youth group meets every Sunday night from 5pm to 7pm.  We begin with
snack supper for 30 minutes, followed by recreation, announcements and
then an hour program.  The formula I use to plan activities is for a four
Sunday month: Mission, Fellowship, Worship, Fund Raising.  We do
everything from Old fashioned Ice Cream Socials, Movie Night, Laser Tag,
Catacomb Worship, Peter’s Walk, Soup Kitchen, Amigos Days, Dog Washes,
Pink Flamingo Fund Raisers, Etc.  If you can get them to come ever Sunday
you will have repetition on your side.  It’s so easy to forget to come to
a once a month event, but if it every Sunday, it’s hard to forget. 
Definitely open the doors to everyone - not just members of the church. 
This can be accomplished by the star chart.

On the subject of finances, my church gave me a $500 budget for the year. 
Not enough!  But I went out to the congregation and asked for special
gifts of money to be donated to our new ministry, we now have over $2000
for the remainder of the year.  People want to give, but you have to ask
them and tell the specifically what it is for.  The one-on-one approach is
usually the best way to accomplish this task.

Keeping records is very important.  I use a spreadsheet that includes
everything from name, parents name, address, phone number, email,
birthday, who brought them into the group, school, etc.  Every Wednesday I
send out a Constant Contact e-newsletter to the youth and parents to let
them know what is going on for the week and month.  Youth today prefer to
communicate via email.  But I also send postcard to the youth, for
birthdays, youth that visited the group, and youth I haven’t seen in
awhile.  Mail makes them feel special.  Phone calls in the beginning are
very important, you must have direct communication with each and every
youth at least once a week.  This is easy for one person to do with 5 to
10 youth, but then you should delegate to youth sponsors.

Also medical release forms should become part of your program from the
very beginning.

I am so sorry to go on, but these are all the very necessary things that
you will need to know if you want to lead a successful youth group. 
Please let me know if I can do anything else for you. 

Grace and Peace in the work to which you are called,


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