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 some suggestions for using the March issue, on the theme of Forgiveness, in weekly segments.
Read: Keegan’s Return (pages 2-4)
Discuss: What did you think about the way Colton and Alex treated Keegan in the beginning of the story? Was it fair? Why was it hard for them to trust him?
Pray: Those who are trying to make a positive change in their behavior
Do: Read The List (p. 7) and talk about what makes forgiveness possible.
Read: Too Many Times to Count (pages 10-12)
Discuss: Do you think Amelia will be able to forgive herself? What could help her? How will Bryce be able to forgive Amelia?
Pray: For people who have a hard time forgiving themselves and others
Do: Read about the new contest on page 24 and work on your entries.
Read: Tree Frog Trail (pages 17-19)
Discuss: Do you have any “tricks” (like Lucy with the balloon) that help you move from anger to forgiveness? What works for you? What doesn’t work?
Pray: Ask each person to pray silently for someone they need to forgive or someone they need to ask for forgiveness.
Do: Provide large index cards or half-sheets of paper and some art supplies (such as markers and stickers). Let everyone write a short prayer they can say when they need to forgive. Invite group members to carry their prayer with them in a pocket or backpack and say it whenever they need to.
Read: Hard to Forgive (pages 32-34)
Discuss: Sometimes forgiveness is pretty easy. Sometimes it’s really hard. What makes it hard or easy? It easier or harder to forgive someone who’s really close to you? What makes it hard? What makes it easy?
Pray: For families in difficult situations
Do: Make the popcorn snack mix (page 16) to share. Consider making extra and letting each group member take a small bag to give as a gift to someone else.
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.
- Look at our Check It Out page together. Visit the suggested website to learn more about a different charity each month. Consider journaling together or discuss the journal prompt together. Add the Dates To Remember and prayer suggestions to your family calendar.
- Read a story together and discuss it.
- 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.