Monday, December 8, 2014

"Teach others to do what you do."

Last summer, my aunt and uncle visited my parents on a day that I was teaching a Backyard Bible club in their yard.  After all the kids went home, my aunt said, "Becky, you really need to teach others to do what you do."

So this is the beginning step to do that.  

So what do I do?  Basically, I teach elementary age kids about Jesus Christ in a club type format. During the summer months, this is in the form of Backyard Bible Clubs.  During the school year, it is in the form of an After-School Bible Club.  Both clubs meet weekly.  A Backyard Bible Club meets outside (if we can) for 8-10 weeks during the summer months for 2 hours, while an After-School Bible Club meets inside during the school year for 1-1/2 hours.  Otherwise the two clubs are similar.  

Why clubs?  In reaching non-church kids, I have found a club to be much more successful than a typical Sunday School program.  Clubs can meet anywhere and at any time.  They tend to be smaller around 15 kids, therefore you only need 1-2 people to operate a club.  They meet weekly so you get to really know the kids in your club.  

So what elements make up a normal club meeting?  Because the Backyard Bible Clubs are longer in length, I am going to use them as the example.    

As soon as the first child arrives, they sign in, get a lollipop, and say their Bible verse to one of my helpers.  If they earned a Bible Buck, they put that and their pop in a lunch bag with their name on it.  (I will explain about Bible verse and Bible Bucks in a later blog.)  

Next, they begin a craft.  Each craft ties into the Bible lesson in some way.  (For example, we made first aid kits the week the lesson was about the Good Samaritan.)  When they finish their craft, they must put it in their marked lunch bag.   Then, if a child finished his craft before the others, I have games/activities that he can do until everyone is ready to move to the next activity.  When we are outside, these activities are hula hoops, jump ropes, bean bag games, etc.  When we are inside, these activities may include simple board games, Lego, small animals, etc.  I try to have the kids occupied at all times.  This cuts down on discipline problems.  Also having the kids start their craft as soon as they arrive gives me some individual time with each child.  

Once everyone has completed their craft, I blow a whistle, and everyone gathers in the Bible tent (a 10 x 10 pop-up canopy) or some other designated area.   We sing our theme song.  Then I welcome everyone to club, review the rules and pray.  This is followed by 2-3 more songs.  Then I teach the Bible verse followed by the Bible lesson.  

At this point we break for snack.  I have found water is the best for drinks.  Most kids enjoy cookies, crackers and/or cupcakes.  I try to keep it really simple.  Finger food is the best. 

After snacks, we play group games.  (I don't do group games for an After-School Bible Club.)  Each week is a different type of game (i.e. relays, ball, water, hoops, tag, team building, parachute, bean bags).

We conclude our time with a missionary story and a review game.  I close with reviewing our Bible verse and prayer.  

The kids are reminded to take home their bags (with their craft, Bible bucks, pop, etc. inside).  I also try to hand out a club newspaper each week that reviews the Bible lesson and Bible verse.

Below is a sample daily schedule:

9:30        Arrival - Listen to Bible Verses & Crafts
9:50        Opening - Theme Song, Welcome, Rules, Prayer
9:55        Worship - two-three songs
10:05       Memory Verse - Introduce, Present, Explain, Apply, Repeat, Sing
10:15       Bible Lesson
10:35       Snack
10:45       Group Games
11:05       Missionary Story
11:15       Review Game
11:25       Closing - Memory Verse Song, Announcements, Prayer
11:30       Dismissal - Hand out Club Newspaper, Open Store, take home bags

So that is an overview of a Backyard Bible club.  In the future blogs, I will explain each part in greater detail.