Lesson 9 Day 5

19

【Day 5】Children’s Character Garden / Neighborhood Children’s Meeting

In previous lessons we have stressed that the parents need to help their children build relationships in all areas of their lives.

First, children need to see that they are masterpieces of God, and they are in the process of being perfected by God.

Second, children need to build relationships with their families. The initial part to building these relationships is daily parenting time. During this time, parent and child can read the Bible together; parents can read or tell Bible stories and they can sing hymns together. Parents can talk with the child about what is happening at school. If there is any problem that bothers the child whether in a relationship with another friend or problems with their studies, the parenting time would be a time to listen and help children. Therefore, parenting time should happen at a set time each day. 

The second part is a weekly family time where the whole family comes together. In family time, parents and children openly fellowship and pray for the matters happening and intercede for family members. 

Thirdly, parents need to help their children find spiritual companions in the church, and help them learn how to build healthy peer relationships.

Fourthly, in this lesson we focus on church life. For children, church life means Children’s Meeting. To have children’s meetings, it must have a solid plan, which requires lots of preparation. The meetings will help raise up children for the Lord, in which they grow up to function as members of the church. The focus of our children’s work should be “building up a proper character,” “imparting Bible knowledge” and “infusing the awareness of God’s purpose for man”. In meetings there is a need for age appropriate children’s hymns, children’s stories, teaching children to pray and lead them to experience the Lord in their lives.

In choosing teachers, we need to have teachers that have a strong burden for the children. If there is no strong burden, the work will not be effective. It is important that each teacher has a burden to minister to the children. Start with one or two who are burdened and build up from there. Once there is a group of burdened teachers, twe must set a time to fellowship and pray in addition to solid preparation for all the practical items of the children’s meeting.

After you have a solid group of teachers, you need to have the following preparation.

(1) schedule the time and place of the meeting known. Make and print a weekly schedule that shows the place, date and time of the children’s meeting. Have a schedule that shows the grade levels involved, who will be the teachers and what lesson will be given for each date. In addition, have the place and time listed in the church announcements weekly.

(2) Prepare basic rules so that the children know what behavior is appropriate. This also helps build a relatively peaceful and harmonious meeting environment. Have these posted in the meeting area to refer to.

  • Stress the importance of punctuality. This will train their character and uplift the atmosphere in the meeting.
  • When you enter the meeting area, depending on your custom, have the children either put their shoes away and hang up their coats or make sure their shoes are clean and won’t bring dirt into the room and hang up their coats.
  • During group activities talk to only one person at a time. During the singing do not talk among yourselves.
  • When you sing a hymn, open our mouth and sing the hymn out loud.
  • When Bible stories or lessons are given by the teachers, listen to the teachers, don’t talk to each other and give positive answers when asked a question.
  • When you need to use the restroom, raise up your hand and ask your teacher to take you. Wash your hands before snack time, walk quietly and do not disturb the adults’ meeting if you are walking by it.
  • Use polite words like “Please”, “Thank you”, and “May ….”. 
  • When playing with toys and doing activities, choose the activity you like. If you want to join someone else’s activity, you need to ask and get their permission.
  • Only play with one activity at a time. When you are done playing with that item, put things away in the proper place before starting to play with another toy or start another activity.

(3) Once the teachers have established the basic rules, they need to make the rules clear to the children. These rules should be carefully and practically reinforced. If they are not thoroughly reinforced, then they should not be used as rules. Consistency is crucial in training children to follow the rules.

(4) Prior to meeting time, serving ones must prepare the songs you will sing, the Bible story and activities. In addition to that, have the snack ready to serve before your children’s meeting starts.

(5) If possible, a home visit by the teachers to the children’s home could be very beneficial. You get to know the child in the setting of their home environment, and they begin to see you as someone who cares for them and their family.

Below is a schedule for children’s meetings that has worked very well for many localities.

10:00-10:15am Greeting and waiting for all to arrive

10:15-10:30am Singing of hymns/songs

10:30-10:45am Lesson time. Try to send home a memory verse that reinforces the lesson and is age appropriate

10:45-11:00am Wash your hands and have a snack

11:00-11:30am Art activities such as drawing, pasting, wood and paper crafts, better related to the topic

11:30-12:00pm Outdoor activities or indoor board games, legos

Notes to the saints serving as teachers:

1. Before each class, prepare the content , time flow of the class and send it to your group.

2. Be punctual!

3. Brothers and sisters who are paired up should pray and fellowship together.

4. When meetings are going on, you should focus on the children and should not be distracted or influenced by other things. Cell phones should be off or on mute. Children’s cell phones should be in a place where they can be kept safely until the end of the meeting.

5. The content of the songs and stories should be appropriate for the age of the children you are serving with. Never choose hymns that are too hard for them to understand. The same applies to verses and stories. There must be ones they can understand; the lyrics and words must be easy for children to comprehend.  

6. Hymn session: Have the children read the lyrics, explain the lyrics to them. All the children can experience the lyrics and become familiar with the hymn, then clap and sing at the same time. Finally, add some actions. The actions that go along with the singing should be in line with the children’s age. The actions for small children should be as simple as possible.

7. Children need rules in addition to love. Words, especially of discipline, should be spoken with a positive tone.

8. Go over and remind the children about the rules again and again when needed, during story time, singing or doing activities. 

9. After the meeting teachers should review their time flow, fellowship and make note of things that need to be improved or changed. Teachers should find other times to be with the children. You might be able to invite a group of them over to your home after the meeting on Lord’s Day occasionally or take them out for lunch together with other teachers. In this way you have a chance to build up a warm relationship with them.

With this kind of caring and ministering to the children, our serving will be beneficial for the children and helpful for the parents. May the Lord bless us and our children!