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 January/February issue, on the theme Being Yourself in weekly segments.
Read: A Unique Situation (pages 2-4)
Discuss: Why did Claire want to change so many things about herself? What did she learn from her sister? Do you think being popular is important? Why or why not?
Pray: For kids who feel like they don’t fit in
Do: Read kids’ ideas for making the world a better place in 2015 (pages 10-11) and talk about your own ideas for doing this.
Read: I Can Relate (pages 21-22)
Discuss: Do you ever feel like others don’t value the things you’re good at? How does that feel? What helps you feel good about your gifts and strengths?
Pray: For families going through hard times
Do: Read about the contest on page 24 and work on your entries.
Read: Juniper Lane (pages 17-19)
Discuss: Do you ever feel the way Cruz did at the beginning of this story? When do you feel that way? What qualities in yourself do you feel good about?
Pray: To appreciate the good qualities in ourselves and everyone else.
Do: Take the quiz on pages 42-43 and talk about the answers.
Read: Where in God’s World? (pages 28-29)
Discuss: Have you ever visited another country? What did you like about it? If you haven’t visited another country, what countries do you think you’d like to visit? Why do those interest you?
Pray: For peace among the nations of the world
Do: Make the Taco Soup on page 36 (or a simple snack) to share.
Read: The Curtain Rises (pages 31-33)
Discuss: Have you ever pretended to be interested in something you didn’t care about or to not be interested in something you really did care about? What made it hard to be honest about your interests?
Pray: A prayer of thanksgiving for the talents God has given each person
Do: Make Valentine cards for homebound church members. If possible, deliver them in person.
Read: Amazing Kids (page 34)
Discuss: What do you think about what the kids we read about did? What ideas do we have for making a difference? What would we need to do to make that happen?
Pray: For families without homes
Do: Select one of the ideas for making a difference you discussed and start working on the first steps together.
Read: A Different Drummer (pages 44-46)
Discuss: What do you think about Timon’s attitude about other people’s opinions of him? What makes it easy or hard to not care what people think?
Pray: For kids who have a hard time making friends
Do: Have group members write their first names with the letters going down, then for each letter write one quality they have (for example, Rico could be Respectful, Inventive, Cooperative, Organized).
Read: Faith Hero (page 41)
Discuss: What makes a person a faith hero? Who are some of the Faith Heroes of our church?
Pray: To have courage to do what God wants us to do, even when others don’t agree with us.
Do: The game on page 20
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.