Summit Bible Club Overview

A Ministry of Pioneer Peak Baptist Church

Dear Fellow-laborers in the Gospel,
I hope this overview of our Summit Bible Club ministry will be helpful for you as you work on your own Wednesday night program for children.

Summit Club was born out of pure necessity and a desire not to waste the precious time given to me on Wednesday nights at our church. There was a time when our church had no class, much less a program, for children or teens on Wednesday nights. My own four children would just come to the Adult Prayer Meeting and Bible Study with us, and any other children that might come were not regular attenders. I knew my children needed a time and some goals to work toward. I had fond memories of AWANA and other Bible Clubs, and really any verses I know by memory mainly come from those years of hiding God’s Word in my heart. So with the pastor’s blessing I began a simple class-time on Wednesday nights. I had no budget and no helpers. It was just me and what resources I could find for free. It grew into Summit Bible Club simply by adding a little here and a little there to help the kids be motivated and enjoy the class. Now I have up to 25 children each week, and I’ve long passed the point of needing a little extra help and budget.

But we continue forward and I believe it has been a good endeavor.
Here is what our typical Summit Bible Club evening looks like:

1. Opening Song Time (5-10 mins)
a. In the summer, while it’s still light outside and good weather, we sometimes begin with game time. In the winter when it’s too dark or cold, we just start with songs.
b. We sing at least 4 children’s songs. Most are simple songs that we all learned as children. There really was no other extended time of children’s music on Sundays, so this was our chance!
c. We also work on special music as a group. Call it Kids’ Choir if you like. But I strive to find a really nice song that works for a Sunday morning special or for the Christmas Program or Easter Program. This is a time when I have the most church kids there with me at one time, so I take advantage of it!

2. Prayer Time (5-10 mins)
a. A little ministry philosophy here: Pastor has taught that children are really church members in training. It is wrong to make a class completely different from what normal church life is. Then there’s nothing at all that resembles what church life is for the rest of their lives as adults. And a huge part of that is focused prayer time.
b. I ask for prayer requests and they must follow some simple rules:
i. It’s not story time, so requests need to be that. What can we ask God to help with?
ii. If someone already mentioned a prayer requests, we can’t repeat it. (This is just a time saver.)
iii. Praise God in our prayers, too! What are you thankful for? How has God answered our prayers from last week? What part about God do you remember and can praise Him for? (Sometimes our whole prayer time is just this, without any prayer requests.)
iv. Pay attention and remember the requests, because you might be asked to pray aloud.
c. Then I ask for 2 volunteers to pray aloud. I am the last one to pray.

3. Walk Through The Bible (10-15 mins)
a. It took us several weeks to learn the Books of the Bible Song (https://vimeo.com/149679206) sung to the tune of “Ten Little Indians”. We begin with that now, so the youngest kids can learn it.
b. I have taught them basic statements about how the Bible is put together. There are many ways to do this, so you’ll have to come up with what works best for you.
c. I have a list of facts and questions I use in a separate document, but mostly it is based on my own Bible Study over my lifetime. I just thought about all of the basics of what is in the Bible, the accounts, the major themes, etc. And I simplified it for children to remember.

4. Sword Drills (5 mins)
a. This fun game has been great to teach the kids how to look up verses in their own Bibles by themselves.
b. At first the kids were nervous and complained that they couldn’t do it. But after practice with some super easy references, they got better at it. They know that Psalms is the middle of the Bible and that the Old Testament is bigger than the New Testament, and those sign-posts help them find other references. At this elementary age, I stick with pretty easy verses and throw in a curve ball for the older kids for a challenge from time to time.
c. Encourage the kids to bring their own Bibles every week.

5. Summit Verses Time (10-15 mins)
a. Next we take time to recite and work on their Summit Club verses from their books. The books can be made with a comb binder, or they are thin enough to just staple the middles into a booklet.
b. I encourage the older kids to come prepared to say their verses without help from mom or dad since they can read and do it themselves. The younger kids can use help with the how-to’s of memorizing verses. Hopefully parents have worked with their kids and they are prepared.
c. (At our house, at about 4:30 on Wednesdays, I have the kids turn off the TV and tablets. I work with the younger kids to memorize their verses by rote while I’m making dinner. The older kids go to their rooms to learn their verses and then they come practice on me. By the time dinner is ready, they know their verses.)
d. This is the time when extra help is needed. If kids are ready with their verses, they line up in the hallway to say their verses to the Nursery Worker, who signs their books. Then they show me their book and I write it down in my Record Book. Several kids usually do not come prepared to say verses, and it would be great to have someone ready to help them just for those few minutes of class time. (But then again, they are learning really well to be prepared ahead of time.)
e. If they finish a “trail”, then their Hiker dude gets to move up the mountain. We all clap for each other as someone gets to move their guy up. As they finish books, they get bigger prizes.

6. Lesson Time (10 mins.)
a. With the class time getting short, the lesson time has been a good time, and yet it has not been the main thrust of Summit Club. Hence, only 10 minutes allotted. Remember, my main goal has been to give them the bones of Bible Knowledge.
b. I’ve used the free lessons from this website: http://freesundayschoolcurriculum.weebly.com/oldtestament- lessons.html It is a good walk-through-the-Bible format, and it can be easily supplemented with visual aids and such. I skip their suggested memory verse because the kids are already learning verses with their Summit Club Books. And I don’t always use the crafts they suggest, but sometimes they’re nice to use. I’ve also used this website: https://sundayschoolsources.com/ottoc.htm and printed off their Bible Trading cards.

7. Game / Craft Time (10 mins)
a. Sometimes we run out of time for this, but I try to include it. It’s also motivation for the kids to stay with my lead through the evening. “Let’s follow the teacher so we have time to do games later!”
b. We do crafts that pertain to the lesson during the winter months when we can’t go outside. c. This is another area where a helper would be great. Just to be able to hand off the kids to the games or crafts coordinator would be awesome for me.
d. If we all seem to be run down and tired, I’ll sometimes just send the kids outside with their snacks to the playground.

8. Snacks
a. The moms get together and coordinate sending snacks for the Summit Club kids. It’s not a big deal, but it helps me tremendously not to have to think about that.
b. Sometimes we do snacks at the same time as craft time, but mostly we just grab our snacks at the very end of class.
c. On Easter week, I will make Resurrection Rolls. And sometimes there are fun theme ideas that I incorporate into the snack time.

9. Special Dress-Up Nights
a. I added this to help encourage kids to attend and not miss out. It’s minimal preparation for me and parents, and it’s lots of fun for the kids.
b. Once a month we do a fun theme like Crazy Hair night, or Neon night, or Twin Day. I plan to use those themes in the lesson time. So Super Hero Night will be a lesson on how God is our Almighty and Amazing, Incredible God. Neon Night will be an emphasis on how we can be a shining light in a dark world. Twin Day can be about imitating Christ, etc.

10. Gospel Presentations
a. Because many of the kids are young, about half of them have never accepted Christ as their Savior. Especially the preschoolers and kindergartners are still putting the pieces of the puzzle together in their minds.
b. Because of that I share the plan of salvation OFTEN. Whenever it comes up, whether it’s the song time, the game time, the verses they memorize or the lesson time…I add the Gospel in there.
c. I’ve had good talks with parents over the last few years. They tell me what their kids know from Summit Club and often they tell their parents, not me, about their understanding of the gospel. Praise the Lord!

11. Awards Night
a. At the end of the school year, we have an Awards Night on a Sunday night. Kids who have finished their books get a medal that I make for them. All kids get a goodie bag.
b. I try to have the kids recite some of their verses that they learned, and maybe sing one of the new songs I’ve taught them, a slide show of some pictures I’ve taken along the way is fun too.
c. This is a great way to recognize their hard work, and it is a testimony to the church, a report on their ministry.
d. This is also a good “advertising time” to those who have not been to Summit Club, that they are missing out on something good.

12. Summit Club Fair
a. A new thing this year, since we are not doing VBS at this time, is to have a day of games and prizes for the kids.
b. We have it at the end of summer, just before Summit Club starts as a kick-off day.
c. It’s a big deal, and I usually need help. The games are very simple and each one needs an adult to run the game, so preparation and communication ahead of time is needed.

This Summit Club Program has been a blessing, I believe, from the Lord. He has given me a heart for it even though it is hard work and sometimes exhausting. But I love to see the kids learning and able to navigate their Bibles and remember His Words to them. We’ve seen little ones come to know the Lord as their Savior, and we’ve seen  friendships among them grow and visitors invited as well. Praise God!

I hope this overview helps you understand the other materials I’ve included in this Start-Up Packet. Please contact me if you have any questions or need more ideas.

Rebekah Schrepfer

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I’ll announce the winner of the draw at the end of this Book Blast.

Take a quick glance at my books and you’ll notice a strong cross cultural theme.

  • Peanut Butter Friends in a Chop Suey World, my first published book, is a pre-teen book about Amy, an American girl who goes to live in Taiwan with her missionary parents.
  • Two Sides to Everything is a pre-teen book about Josh, an American city boy who goes to live with his relatives in rural New Zealand.
  • Broken Windows, a cozy mystery about Jordan, shows his adjustment to adult life in the US after growing up as a missionary’s kid in Taiwan. (See great deals below for more than 50% off on the box set.)
  • Déjà Who? continues Jordan’s story as he and his girlfriend work with international students in the US. (See great deals below.)
  • I Scream shines the spotlight on child prodigy Destiny, who has an American dad and a Chinese mom. Jordan communicates with her mom in Chinese. (See great deals below.)

Why do I make cross cultural issues such a strong theme in my writing?

Cross cultural ministry is who I am and what I know.

I grew up in the home of Ray Allen, a pastor of small churches in Colorado. I married a guy who was headed for Taiwan as a missionary. Art and I and our two daughters spent 16 years living and ministering in central Taiwan. The Lord then led us to New Zealand where Art has been the missionary pastor of a small church for 21 years.

New Zealand has a Western culture that is similar in many ways to culture in the US. After getting to know the New Zealand culture pretty well, God began to bring people from around the world to us. For years we had two South African families, one black and one white. At the same time many Asians came to our city and church. Filipinos came to work on dairy farms. Southern Institute of Technology drew many Indonesians. Koreans came for work and education.

Since we had lived in the US, Taiwan, and New Zealand for many years, we helped some of these Asians bridge the gap between an Asian and a Western culture. We’ve needed to affirm different ways of doing dishes in the church kitchen. We had to address muddy footprints on the seat of the ladies’ toilets. We’ve explained the differences in values between Asian cultures which prize education very highly and the New Zealand culture which values a do-it-yourself, sports and physical labor mentality. All cultural issues.

Building cross cultural relationships is an important part to reaching the world with the gospel and including different cultures in ministry.

On this earth we will never completely shed our prejudices and biases toward other cultures, but we must continue to work toward understanding if we are going to minister effectively. And ministry … isn’t that what the Christian life is all about? Serving Christ as we serve others should be our highest goal. So it seems to me that ministry ought to be a common theme in Christian fiction. You will find a ministry thread through every book I write.

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And the winner is … R. Y. She is an English teacher in the Middle East. She found my website while searching for ESL Bible lessons. I wrote these lessons long ago during our ministry in Taiwan. Now these lessons, written for people who use English as a second language, are used to share the gospel in many countries around the world.

She has chosen 3D Gospel.

 

 

When You’re Not Okay

 

“I’m okay, just a little tired. Don’t worry about me.”

Maybe people have been gently probing you and worry clouds their eyes when you say these words. You’re not okay and you know it. Still you say you’re okay because:

  • You don’t know how to say you’re not okay.
  • Everyone has problems.
  • You don’t want to be a negative person.
  • God never gives you more than you can handle.
  • You don’t want to bother someone else with your problems.
  • You’ve promised someone you won’t tell your secret.
  • You’re afraid of what your friend may think if they know how you really are.

If this is you, you’re in a very dangerous place, my friend.

We all need positive friends who will point out the good things in life, encourage us,  and share a cheery outlook. Our friends need encouragement, not non-stop complaining. But a brave façade can sometimes mask serious danger.

In recent years I watched friends walk away from their faith, come to a point of no-return in their marriage, isolate themselves from friends who could help them, fall into secret sin that no one would ever suspect them of, and burn out through sheer exhaustion. (I bet you have seen this too, because these heartaches are everywhere.) By the time I find out, it’s usually too late to help. And I wonder, “Would I or someone else have been able to help if we’d known about their struggle much earlier in the game?”

But our culture teaches us to be independent. This is especially true of people in fulltime ministry. Christian culture sometimes expects us to rely solely on God in our problems. We’re afraid to quit saying, “I’m fine,” and be honest enough to say, “I’m not okay. I’m not just struggling, I’m really in trouble.”

You may have five hundred friends on Facebook, a team you share sports with, a church family of people who can sometimes remember your name. But you still don’t have enough friends unless you have one or two you can look in the eye and say scary things like:

  • I think I’m losing my faith.
  • My marriage is in serious trouble.
  • I’m wondering if this is abuse.
  • I’m seriously depressed.
  • I fear I’m on the edge of physical exhaustion.
  • I’m hiding a secret sin.

Most often we get caught in a cycle of fear of asking hard questions and giving hard answers. If our friends are going to be able to help us, we need to be transparent enough that they will know we will welcome their input, not resent their intrusion.

People can’t always see our problems or understand the extent of them. That means we may have to initiate a conversation about our problems with a trusted friend and keep talking until they hear what we’re saying.

So much heartache in relationships could be avoided or healed if we could go to trusted friends for help and they could come to us with concerns. It’s easy to resent honest questions, but we need to welcome them from the heart of a trusted friend. Even if the questions hurt. Even if our friend doesn’t get it quite right. Because honest questions can be the warning lights for needs we don’t even know we have.

So next time a friend asks you, “Are you okay?” don’t answer too quickly. Maybe you need to be honest enough to ask for help. Trusted friends should be able to ask us questions like these without being resented:

  • On what basis do you say you are a true Christian?
  • I see some serious warning signs in your relationship. Can I talk to you about them?
  • Are you just a bit down, or are you in a spiritual, emotional, or physical place of danger?
  • Are you struggling spiritually? How can I help?
  • Are you getting enough rest?
  • How is your relationship with the Lord? What are you reading for devotions?
  • Are you spending enough quality time with your family?
  • Are you okay?