As you already know, our programs here at Olivet are closed until September due to Covid.
When we are allowed to meet again, here is what we like to do:
THROUGHOUT THE YEAR ON SUNDAY MORNINGS:
Grade School kids (Kindergarten to Grade 5)
We gather all together (K-GR5) as a large group of kids and have fun learning about Jesus and THE BIG GOD STORY through fun activities and games, singing worship songs, and interactive storytelling. Then we usually break off into 2 smaller groups (K-GR2 and GR3-5) and do more fun activities.
At special times and events throughout the year the kids join the rest of the congregation in the sanctuary for a portion or the whole service (such as Palm Sunday, Baptisms, Choir, Grade 5 Bible presentation/Grad Sunday, intentional Intergenerational Services).
Preschool and Nursery (birth to age 5)
In the preschool & nursery room there is plenty of free time for supervised play, and then a short time for story, singing, craft, snack, and then some more play! In the nursery the Worship Service is televised live so that parents with a child that needs them can stay and still catch what is going on in the sanctuary.
OTHER SPECIAL EVENTS THROUGHOUT THE YEAR
- July & August kid bi-weekly Drop-ins (CANCELLED for 2020)
- August 10-14 One-week Vacation Bible Camp (CANCELLED for 2020)
- September Street Party - 2nd Sunday in September, 11am-1pm (CANCELLED for 2020)
- Fall Carnival (October 31 5:30-7:30pm)
- Advent Fair (Nov 29, starting with lunch immediately after the service, and then crafts).
RESOURCES FOR FAMILIES / PARENTS / CAREGIVERS
We at Olivet want to support and equip you parents as the primary faith nurturers of your children. Parents have the greatest influence on their children's faith formation more than any other person or institution in a child's life.
And it is actually Mom who has the number one influence (https://www.barna.com/research/moms-christians-households/). I tell you this not to put any unnecessary pressure on you, but to encourage you on the importance of your God ordained roles. Fortunately, not only did God make it this way, but He will equip you if you ask Him for help.
If I were to summarized what I personally think are the 3 main ways you can have a healthy influence in your child’s spiritual formation, they are these:
1. Nurture and maintain a healthy relationship with your child by learning and applying effective parenting. There are many good books and advice available, and as an example see the PDF in the Downloads below for a list of THE PARENTS 10 COMPETENCIES that predict good overall parenting outcomes. If you have a healthy loving relationship with your child, they will more likely respect, believe and heed what you teach them about God and His love for them.
2. Your child learns about God by observing the way that you the parent interact with the world and spend your time from day-to-day. I remember asking God what I needed to do to make my kids love Him, and the answer I received was that I “needed to fall in love with Him” first. Yes, it is also a good idea to make scheduled times of formal Bible reading, with time for discussion, questions, or “teaching”, but the greatest influence will be what your child observes from your behaviour. For more details, read the LIVING FOR JESUS PDF in the Downloads below.
3. Build a decent home library of resources for both informal times of cuddling and reading to your kids when they are small, or to stimulate family conversations at mealtime or other regular times in your week, and to have available for kids to access on their own.
The library would of course grow and change as your kids age. Here is a list of recommended resources:
TODDLER / PRESCHOOL AGE RESOURCES
Children of all ages love to sing and move, especially these younger ones. See the Olivet Kids N&P song resources PDF below for some fun ideas to try at home.
KINDERGARTEN - GRADE 5 HOME LIBRARY RESOURCES
At Olivet Kids we chose to use the International Children’s Bible on Sunday mornings. We hand it out during most of our lessons for the kids to follow along in or find specific Scriptures, and the monthly Remember Verse is from this version. It has the advantage of shorter sentences and more familiar words, however, some of the “best” words are missing from it (ie. "Redeemed"). https://www.amazon.com/International-Childrens-Bible-Big-Cover/dp/0718039726/ref=sr_1_2?crid=MCV23CJWL989&dchild=1&keywords=international+childrens+bible&qid=1591742450&s=books&sprefix=INTERNATIONAL+CHILDRENS%2Cstripbooks-intl-ship%2C220&sr=1-2
Illustrated Bibles - there are a large variety of Bibles with key Bible stories, and the pictures help keep the kids engaged and remember details. One of my favourites is the Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name, by Sally Lloyd-Jones. I like how she links each story to the coming of Jesus, rather than focusing on Bible “heroes”. https://www.amazon.com/s?k=jesus+storybook+bible&i=stripbooks-intl-ship&crid=2KKR5LT295W5O&sprefix=JESUS+STOR%2Cstripbooks-intl-ship%2C220&ref=nb_sb_ss_i_1_10
CHRISTMAS & ADVENT - The Advent Storybook: 25 Bible Stories showing Why Jesus Came, by Laura Richie https://www.amazon.com/s?k=the+advent+storybook&i=stripbooks-intl-ship&ref=nb_sb_noss_2 One idea is to read a story per day throughout the period of Advent.
LENT, PALM SUNDAY & EASTER - The Easter Storybook: 40 Bible Stories Showing Who Jesus Is, by Laura Richie https://www.amazon.com/Easter-Storybook-Bible-Stories-Showing/dp/0830778608 One idea is to read a story per day throughout the period of Lent.
NOTES FROM JESUS - What You New Best Friend Wants You to Know, by Mikal Keefer. https://www.group.com/product/9781470750299-notes-from-jesus.do A lovely little devotional book that reminds us that Jesus wants to have a relationship with us and a lifelong friendship that deepens with each conversation - and that conversation can be just about anything! Great conversation starters on each page, to be read as an adult, a family, or for kids alone.
One of the greatest things you can instill in your child’s heart is to worship the Lord with song. Not only do the lyrics provide your child with the Truth of who our loving and mighty God is, and His positive declarations of love for them, but also declaring these faith-filled truths out loud is a powerful form of Spiritual Warfare against the attacks of the enemy Satan (yep - I’ll talk about this further in another posting). ·
The majority of our worship music is from various Group VBS’s (Vacation Bible School) programs that we have held each summer. You can download and purchase any of their music from their website to load onto your computer or mobile device, or go onto YouTube so your kids can watch, dance, and sing along in worship. I recommend you authentically join them and enjoy and model worshipping God together. Although most are written as children’s songs (although at least 2 each year are ‘adult’ Christian songs or hymns), the words are in accordance with scripture and are true ·
Here are the names of the VBS’s we have held over the last 7 years to aid you in your searches and purchases:
o 2019 Athens
o 2018 Shipwrecked
o 2017 Maker Fun Factory
o 2016 Cave Quest
o 2015 Everest
o 2014 Weird Animals
o 2013 Kingdom Rock
And of course, we are all concerned that our children are "Saved" and have a solid understanding of what it means to make Jesus their "Lord", "Saviour", and "Redeemer". The "Have You Asked Jesus to be Your Forever Friend" PDF below is a simple and great starting point to walk through with your child. In fact, the 4 main ideas laid out are applicable to people of all ages! Make sure you and your child understand this prayer, and pray through it. And even better, if they can memorize it and explain it to others!
A great lifelong habit to get into is to memorize Scripture. In order to live a successful victorious life of following Jesus we need to have the Word of God firmly planted in our hearts to guide us through life. Below is the "Why Memorize Bible Verses?" PDF that you can print off that gives 5 good reasons (and 5 supporting Scriptures). [International Children's Bible version].
At Olivet Kids the children are challenged to memorize approximately one Scripture per month, which ties into that month's lessons. Below is a PDF of the "Olivet Kids 12 Memory Verses 2019-2020" that we have been working on this year. Of course, your family can come up with your own verses that are important to you, or are your favourites, or emphasize a spiritual lesson in your home. Fill your heart and mind with Scripture and be blessed!
If you have any questions or want to speak to me, Jane Armstrong -
Olivet's Children's Ministry Coordinator, contact me at [email protected]