Though Pockets is primarily a resource for children’s personal use, the magazine can be used in groups as supplemental Sunday-school material or with weeknight groups or Pockets clubs. Here are suggestions for using the April issue, on the theme Hope, in weekly segments.
Read: H.O.P.E. Comes to Maple Street (pages 2-4)
Discuss: Do you agree with what Mandy told Libby about the difference between wishing and hoping? How do you show that you have hope in difficult situations?
Pray: People suffering because of natural disasters
Do: Gather supplies needed by victims of natural disasters. (Here’s one list: http://www.umcor.org/UMCOR/Relief-Supplies/Relief-Supply-Kits/Cleaning.)
Read: Practice (pages 10-12)
Discuss: Have you ever felt like you weren’t “good enough” for God? What helps you know and remember that God loves you, no matter what?
Pray: For kids in foster care
Do: Make the Breakfast Casserole (page 13) to share.
Read: Juniper Lane (pages 17-19)
Discuss: Did you understand how Aaron felt in the story? Have you ever had a really challenging situation like his to deal with? How did friends help? What else helped you?
Pray: For people who are dealing with hard changes
Do: Read about the contest on page 24 and work on your entries.
Read: Both Big and Small (pages 44-46)
Discuss: How do you help the people in your neighborhood? How do your neighbors help your family? How does our church serve the people in our neighborhood?
Pray: Older people who have a hard time staying in their homes
Do: Make homemade cards for homebound church members. If possible, arrange to deliver some of them in person.
Though Pockets is created for children’s personal use, there are many ways parents can use the magazine with your children at home.
- The last page of each issue features a family activity. Set aside time during the month for the family to do this together. Share a simple snack while you do the activity and conclude with a prayer thanking God for your time together.
- Read Pocketsful of Scripture together and talk about the brief scripture readings. This can be a good way to end the day together.
- Check out Do 1 Thing. This feature encourages children to do one “small” thing each week in a different category (i.e. for your family, for the world, etc.). Talk to your child about his or her “one thing” for the week. Consider having a family “one thing” for each week, as well.
- Read Kids with a Mission and Mission-of-the-Month and talk with your child about ways your child or the whole family can serve in similar ways or about what needs in the world your child feels passionate about helping to meet.
- Read a story together and discuss it.
- Read the God in My Life feature with your child and talk about the ways you’ve seen God at work in your own life and your family’s life. If your child likes to write, encourage him or her to write a God in My Life story. Regardless of whether the child wants to submit the story for publication, this can be an important faith-building exercise. (To submit a story, send it to Pockets, P.O. Box 340004, Nashville TN 37203-0004.)
- Read “Where in God’s World?” and together learn more about the featured country. You may want to plan a family night around that country, including trying your hand at preparing a traditional dish from the country.
- Read about the month’s Faith Hero and together learn more about that person. Have a family discussion about what makes a person a faith hero and some faith heroes that you know in your church or community. Talk about ways each of you can be faith heroes or incorporate a family practice of taking turns finishing this sentence: “This week I felt like a faith hero when I…”
- Use our special seasonal features, such as the Lenten intercessory prayer calendar, the Thanksgiving prayer calendar, the Advent calendar, and the Advent devotions. Make these part of your worship together as a family.
Churches have various ways of using Pockets in their children’s ministry. Many provide the magazine for children to take home to help the children in their spiritual formation throughout the week. Many use it in bags or packets provided for children to use during worship. Others use the magazine as supplemental Sunday-school curriculum or for Wednesday night programs or other activities. Some even have Pockets Clubs that organize their meetings around the contents of the magazine.
But there are also ways to use Pockets beyond your church to reach out to children and families in your community.
Here are some ideas:
- Place a few copies each month in the waiting room of your local hospital or health department or doctors’ or dentists’ offices. Attach a sticker to the front with information about your church.
- Offer to provide some copies to the after-school tutoring program at your church or another church in your area.
- Take copies to children who are in the hospital or at home sick.
- Donate copies to a food bank or shelter in your area.
- Take some along on outreach visits to families in your community as a way of letting adults know that your church values children.
- Order extra copies to give to children at community-wide events where your church is represented.
- Order extras for seasons when you know the church will have many visitors so that visiting children can take their own copies home.