Using Pockets

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 April issue, on the theme of Listening in weekly segments.

 

Week One:

Read: The Strongest Words (pp. 2-4)

Discuss: Is it easier to remember the good things or the bad things people say to or about you? Why? What does God say about us? (Leader: have some scripture references ready for this: Psalm 139:14 “fearfully and wonderfully made”; Isaiah 43:4 “precious in my sight”; John 15:15 “friend”; 1 John 3:1 “children of God.”)

Pray: For people who don’t feel important or valuable

Do: Write each group member’s name at the top of a sheet of paper or large index card. Pass the cards among the group and have every group member write one positive thing about the person whose card it is. Give each group member the card with their name on it to take home. Encourage them to hang onto the cards to be reminded of the good things others see in them.

 

Week Two:

Read: Close Enough (pp. 10-12)

Discuss: How was God answering Abby’s prayer to make new friends? Why do you think she didn’t recognize the answer? Can you think of a time when God was answering one of your prayers but you couldn’t see it?

Pray: For kids trying to fit in in new places

Do: Read about the contest on page 24 and work on your entries.

 

Week Three:

Read: Tree Frog Trail (pp. 17-19)

Discuss: Do you ever have a hard time listening to the people you’re with? What makes it hard? What could help you be a better listener?

Pray: To learn to listen better

Do: Choose one of the reader recipes from pages 24-25 to make together.

 

Week Four:

Read: Unplugged (pp. 32-34)

Discuss: In what ways does technology keep you from listening to the world around you? Are there any ways technology helps you listen better or listen to people you might not hear from otherwise?

Pray: To be good caretakers of God’s creation

Do: Read Six Steps to Better Listening on page 7 and talk about ways you will work to develop better listening skills.

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.
 

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