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 December issue, on the theme Behold! in weekly segments.
Read: Colorado Christmas (pages 2-4)
Discuss: What Christmas traditions does your family have? What tradition would you miss most if it didn’t happen? Why did Alan decide he didn’t want to go on the trip? Would you have made the same decision?
Pray: For families who have to be apart at Christmas
Do: Make the Fast and Fabulous Fudge on page 13 to share.
Read: Christmas Gifts (pages 10-12)
Discuss: If someone gave you some money and told you that you had to use it to help someone else, what would you do with it? What’s one way you (or your family) are planning to help someone this Christmas season?
Pray: For people in need in your community
Do: Invite group members to bring an item (for example, hats, scarves, gloves, mittens) to be donated to a local ministry that helps people in need. Make Christmas cards to include with your gifts.
Read: Juniper Lane (pages 17-19)
Discuss: Have you ever had an experience like Shannon’s where you thought you were going to get to do something you really wanted to do but it didn’t work out? How did you handle it? What did Shannon learn about what was more important than her plans?
Pray: To keep focusing on Jesus as we enjoy this season
Do: Take the quiz on pages 42-43 and talk about the answers.
Read: My Christmas Lesson (pages 34-36)
Discuss: What did Brandon teach his little brother? What did Brandon learn from his little brother? Have you ever learned something from someone who was much younger than you?
Pray: For the families of your church
Do: Read about Ghana on page 32-34 and talk about how the way they celebrate Christmas there is similar to and different than the way you celebrate.
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.