Earlier this year, I was scrambling. We were hitting crunch time to do a lot of fundraising in a short amount of time to send the kids in our congregation to church camp. I had only become Children’s Pastor in November and I decided right away that camp needed a priority… but with a small church, how could we get all these kids there?
While for most churches, things like t shirts, calendars, wrapping paper, big dinners, and things of that nature are an obvious option, we did not have the luxury of a budget to go that route. I needed an idea that would be free or cheap to start up, with no overhead so that in the end all that was raised would go directly to the fund it was being raised for.
We were going to need something different than the usual. I had a few of the girls in our church over one day just to hang out and we got to talking.
What else could we do?
One of the girls mentioned a Jog A Thon that her school had just done. It had been successful and raised quite a bit of money for science camp. I replied, “Yeah, but I don’t think we could do much with that in this situation… Those are fun though. I always liked read a thons when I was a kid.” Then it was like the light bulb hit us both at the same time:
Um, I would list cons except, well, there aren’t any!
I know you’re saying it because before I decided for sure myself to approach the leadership of my church with this idea I wrestled it all out.
Then I realized… We’re not actually PAYING the KIDS. Yeah, they benefit by what the money is raised towards, but no one is actually handing them money. In fact, we are teaching them to build a habit of reading the Bible every day. We are helping them plant those seeds in their hearts. The elders and families of the congregation are encouraging the kids and youth to build a stronger relationship with the Lord!
Two months later, I FINALLY decided to go through with our Bible Read A Thon. I drew up forms and handed them out. Shani put information in our church bulletins that the kids would be looking for sponsors to pledge towards an amount per scripture/chapter/book and that the amount could be capped out. (For younger children, we did per Bible story from a Bible story book. (And that could be read to them by a parent or older sibling.)
Now for the tricky part… There had to be proof that they actually did the reading they said they did… There were options…
Spiritually speaking? Of course! Bibles were being read and hearts were growing! I believe it paid off more in what was read than what was raised. You can’t go wrong with Bible reading!
Financially? Considering how small of a group we had that participated, yes. Definitely. In fact, most of our money for camp was raised in a short amount of time from this fundraiser!
The timing. Because we were in a time crunch and had so many different projects going at one time, I was too distracted to realize I ran this fundraiser during finals. Believe me, my oldest son let me know plenty of times that my timing was terrible. The kids were still reading, but had it been done during a different time they could have read a lot more.
I also would have made better forms. At the time, I was trying out a different Office software than the usual good ol’ Microsoft. I didn’t realize all the formatting issues I would have when it came to print. Simpler would have been better as well. The forms I made were printed on card stock, and I am still very happy with that decision. Those forms went through a lot by the time the fundraiser was over.
Feel free to download this template for your own church’s Bible Read A Thon. You will still have to attach cover letters to both your pledge form and reading logs to explain them, but maybe this can cut out one step for you or give you some ideas to format your own… Speaking of which, if you have any ideas to add to this, please let me know!
About a month ago, a week or two after we began using Bible Study Guide For All Ages to review the Beginner Level Student Pages, Beginner Level Time Line, and the Children’s Song CD Set in our homeschool, I had sent my oldest daughter, Becca, and my middle son, Tommy, to church with my parents as I was not feeling well. When they arrived home, before I had a chance to say anything, Becca went right into telling me how her little brother embarrassed her in Children’s Church. My first thought was “Oh no, what did he do…”, so with fear I listened her tell me how he interrupted the teacher several times.
Now, let me be clear that I am not condoning his behavior, and I was still embarrassed. (Melissa, if you’re reading this, I’m so sorry!) However, his reason for interrupting was because he was excited that he knew all the details of the story of Joseph that the lesson was detailing. From the Coat of Many Colors all the way up to Joseph becoming Pharaoh. After having a talk with Tommy on how impolite it is to interrupt our teachers, I walked away surprised. “He knows every detail of the story! Every single bit! Wow!”
Intended for ages 3 – Kindergarten, Bible Study Guide For All Ages Beginner Level is a complete Bible Study that covers more than just a simple story with each lesson, but helps your child memorize Books of the Bible, each day of Creation, lineage of the Bible, and more. There is little prep work to be done for each lesson on your part, yet so much material is covered. The most I ever had to do to prepare for a lesson was to cue the songs on the CDs that were to be used that day or find a household object to bring to lesson time with me.
Each day we began by pulling out the student page we would be using. It literally walked me through each step right there, instead of having to jump from place to place to know what needed to be done. First we would go through our Time Line cards that we hung around the room. These are 8 1/2 x 11 card stock pages that go through people and events in the Bible in the order they took place. We went through each of these each day that we did a lesson, adding a new card each day. Next, we would sing a few songs and memory drills along with the Children’s Songs CD, go over some memorization and simple questions about things we had already learned, and then I would do a little lesson that was mostly read from the page where I applied the story we were about to learn to present day. Once all of this was done, we jumped right into that days lesson.
Here is where it got really cool. The lesson is set out as if it were a comic strip, making it easy for little ones to follow along.At this point, I would read the story from the page and at the end of each segment there would be a little instruction for the child to color or mark the photo in one way or another.
At the end of the story, we would flip the page over and do a quick question and answer about what was going on in the photo. One example was a picture of little boy holding a glass behind his back as he told his dad that he didn’t know where his lemonade was. The question was if the little boy was lying. (Good luck to you if your child is like mine and quickly colors the glass a light shade of brown to make it Iced Tea so that the boy is not lying about not knowing where the lemonade is… 😉 )
Overall, our family LOVES Bible Study Guide For All Ages and I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants a thorough, Biblical, and easy approach to teaching the Bible to their children.
The Beginner Level Student Pages are $5.95 per unit. (26 lessons, you’ll need one for each child.)
The Beginner Level Time Line is $24.95. (You only need to buy this once, and only need one total.)
The Children’s Songs CD Set is $19.95. (This will only need to be purchased once as well.)
Click to read more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew, including reviews for products at different age levels.
Thanks to the Schoolhouse Review Crew, our family has been blessed to be able to review 2 products from Christianity Cove recently.
Christianity Cove is a company that offers curricula that is marketed to be used for Sunday School and Children’s ministries for Bible lessons, snacks, and activities, but can also be used in homeschools as well. Offering a large variety of topics and lesson types, there is pretty much something for every class or household. One of the biggest goals of Christianity Cove is to offer lessons that are simple to pull together, use items that are around the house or obtained at an extremely low price, and pack a big punch to get the message across in a way that not only kids will remember, but find fun at the same time. The products we were given to review were 28 Outstanding Object Lessons and Fruits of the Spirit Activity Kit.
28 Outstanding Object Lessons was a huge hit not only with my children, but with myself as well. Using items that were literally right here in my home, I was able to teach my children a lesson about spirituality and God’s word.
I think my favorite was a lesson where I asked my children to lay on the cold hard floor and try to sleep. Now, I won’t lie. They hated it. But that was the point. I then gave them blankets and pillows to lay on and they found them selves warm and more comfortable. The moral of the lesson was that God protects us from a cold world.
The 28 lessons covered so many subjects. Considering that my children are 2, 3, and 5, (I’ll be honest and tell you that only the 5 year old paid true attention) there were some I knew they just wouldn’t get so I had to skip some. However, that was one thing I loved. I could pick and choose what lesson I wanted to do each day because they didn’t have to be done in order. There was little to no prep, the lesson is scripted (but can easily be adapted to your own words without having to stop and think of how to reword it), and it really caught the kids attention. What kid doesn’t get interested when you start pulling rags out of flashlight instead of batteries? How about asking them why your hair dryer isn’t drying your hair when it’s not plugged in? The lessons pulled Tommy in, kept him there, and later he still remembers the point of the story or action. Our family was not disappointed! Christianity Cove offers this curriculum kit for $28.00.
The Fruits of the Spirit Activity Kit was also very fun! It taught us the principles of Godly character brought forth in Galatians 5:19-26. This kit came with printables, lessons, activities, snack ideas, games, and more. My kids LOVED that they got to get really hands on and eat a snack of fruit at the same time. This set was also scripted with the words for the teacher in bold, making it even easier to find where you left off, and included study notes for the teacher as well. This is an awesome set for older children. I’m not saying we didn’t like it and have fun, but some of the subject matter (such as drinking and sexual immorality) were not things I wanted to have to explain to my Kindergartener, Preschooler, and Toddler. The skills needed for some of the worksheets and activities were also over their head. Like I said, it’s a great set, just not for young children, in my opinion at least. Christianity Cove offers this kit for $19.00.
Overall, I was very pleased with the quality of these lessons and activities. Being that I have been sick lately, I was able to sit on the couch and easily do most of them without much physical effort. I didn’t have to spend a lot of money, and what I did have to buy were simple items that can be used again and again. The kids were happy, learning, and retaining. That made me extremely happy. I would also like to say that I really wish I had known about Christianity Cove when I was teaching Children’s Church for a short time. As with any Bible lesson, you do have to take some time to pray and prepare before you teach it to the kids, but this really made it all so easy. I would definitely recommend it.
(I’m sorry for not having personally taken photos for this post… As I mentioned, I have been ill for the last month or so, which explains the “brain fog” to only realize NOW that I didn’t take a single photo. Please forgive me! This review really does deserve photos… Lots of them! But it does not mean we did not enjoy it! We loved it!)
Many other members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew have also been reviewing various products from Christianity Cove. Be sure to click here and go find out what lessons they tried out and what they thought of them.