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 of Priorities, in weekly segments.
Read: Practice Makes Perfect (pages 2-4)
Discuss: If Lindsay was the best player on the team, was it important for her to be at practice? Why or why not? Besides your family and your church, what groups are you part of? How do you show your commitment when you’re part of a group?
Pray: For people having to make big decisions about their priorities
Do: Read The List on page 7 and talk about any resolutions you’ve made or want to make for this year. What will you need to help you succeed?
Read: Photo Opps (pages 10-12)
Discuss: Are there things you used to enjoy doing that you don’t anymore? Why did the way you feel about those activities change? Do you ever miss those things?
Pray: For parents and kids dealing with change
Do: Make Indoor S’mores (page 13) and share them.
Read: A Big Change (pages 14-15)
Discuss: Have you ever had to move or change to a different school where you didn’t know anyone? How did you feel about it? What helped you?
Pray: Families who have to move
Do: Take the quiz on pages 42-43 and talk about your answers.
Read: Tree Frog Trail (pages 17-19)
Discuss: Nate’s dad says that helping neighbors is a top priority for their family. What are some of your family’s priorities? How do you know those things are important to your family? When something’s important to you, how do you show it?
Pray: For understanding among neighbors
Do: Read about the contest on page 24 and work on your entries.
Read: Where in God’s World? (pages 28-29)
Discuss: What countries would you like to travel to? Why do those interest you?
Pray: For the people of Honduras
Do: The game on page 33
Read: Sooner…or Later
Discuss: Do you ever have trouble managing your time? When is that a problem for you? What kind of problems does it cause? What helps?
Pray: For kids having problems in school
Do: The activity on page 48
Read: Valentine Special (pages 44-46)
Discuss: Would you like to get a card like the ones Mason made for his classmates? Do you think you could find at least one nice thing to say about each person in your class? How does it make you feel when someone notices something good about you?
Pray: For kids who have a hard time making friends
Do: Pass out slips of paper. Have each person in your group write one nice thing about each person in the group. Give each group member the nice things that others wrote about them.
Read: Amazing Kids (page36)
Discuss: What acts of kindness have you done for others? What acts of kindness have others done for you?
Pray: For God’s help in doing kind things for others
Do: Make cards for homebound members of your church. Deliver as many as possible 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.