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 Hope, in weekly segments.


Week One:

Read: Floodwaters and Treetops (pages 2-4)

Discuss: Can you think of a time when you’ve felt really discouraged and other people encouraged you? What did they do? Did their words or actions help you? How do you help others have hope?

Pray: For people affected by disasters

Do: Learn about supplies needed by people affected by storms and start a collection in your church. (Here’s one good source of information: http://www.umc.org/how-we-serve/offer-support-after-storms-create-cleaning-buckets.)


Week Two:

Read: Too Much Moving? (pages 10-12)

Discuss: Can you think of a time when you didn’t like something (the way Tiffany didn’t like moving so often) but then you discovered there were good things about it? Is there a situation you’re unhappy about right now? Can you think of something good that might come from it? How can we remember to look for the good things in a situation you don’t like?

Pray: For kids who have to move when they don’t want to

Do: Read The List (page 7) and work together to make you own list of favorite things about Spring.


Week Three:

Read: Tree Frog Trail (pages 17-19)

Discuss: What do you notice in God’s creation that helps you to feel hopeful? What are some ways we can help care for creation?

Pray: For people who help injured animals

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


Week Four:

Read: The Doorjamb (pages 32-34)

Discuss: How did Gabe help Devin? What are some ways you help other kids (siblings, cousins, friends, classmates)? What are some other ways you can think of to help?

Pray: To be people who encourage and help others each day

Do: Adapt the Family Time activity (page 48) by having your group write and hide messages for church staff and volunteers.

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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