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 December issue, on the theme of The Gift of God’s Love, in weekly segments.
Read: Tony’s Christmas Secret (pages 2-4)
Discuss: Have you ever done something nice for someone and kept it a secret? How did that feel? How is it different than the person knowing you did something nice for them?
Pray: For people living with chronic illnesses
Do: Think of some secret good deeds members of your group could do in the coming week, and ask each person to commit to doing at least one of them.
Read: Room at the Quinns’ (pages 10-12)
Discuss: Why do you think it was hard for Riley to be nice to Nora? What could she do differently?
Pray: For people having to move at Christmastime
Do: Try the shadow puppet nativity play on page 29.
Read: A Jesus You Can Touch (pages 34-36)
Discuss: What are the most important things you do during the Christmas season to honor Jesus? Are there other things you would like to do?
Pray: For new Christians
Do: Make Christmas cards for the homebound members of your church and deliver them in person, if possible.
Read: Not on the List (pages 44-46)
Discuss: What do you think about Isabel’s list? The things that were part of her Christmas celebration weren’t wrong, but were they important? How do we focus on what’s really important at Christmas? How do you think Isabel will celebrate in the future?
Pray: For all the churches in your community
Do: Take the quiz on pages 42-43 and talk about your answers.
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.