A few weeks ago, we hosted a backyard Bible club at our home. We invited children from the neighborhood to come to our backyard to play games, have snacks and learn about Jesus. I worked at a church just after college and later attended it with our family. This church encouraged families to take the message of Jesus out to our neighborhoods. They helped with curriculum, materials and man power. It was a great ministry opportunity. We have since moved from the church, but have continued this type of ministry in our current neighborhood.
Step One: Planning
1. Plan your curriculum. I think that we can no longer assume that people in America have a foundation of Biblical knowledge. If you intend to share the Bible and the story of Jesus, it would be wise to start at the beginning… Genesis. Give the kids a general idea of who God is and who we are to God… his most precious creation. Let them know that we have a problem called sin that separates us from God…but that God wants us with him so he sent Jesus to die on the cross in our place.
We have done several different themes in the past… one was focusing on the names of God… another, the one we did this year, was using the Four Spiritual Laws. Whatever you decide to teach, plan your lessons to be child friendly, energetic and interactive.
In this most recent backyard Bible club that we did, the kids had to do a hunt each morning to find the “curiosity container”… a box which contained the Spiritual Law for the day as well as some other visual aids for the talk. We are blessed to have a full Bible in felt set (Betty Lukens) to use for visual aids… but you can use other things as well.
2. Plan your schedule: Decide how many days you want your club to last (usually 3- 5 is a good amount). What time of day and how long do you want it to last (we did ours’ in the morning from 10 -12). Determine what activities you will do, about how long each will last and what order you want to do them in. Here’s an example from our most recent club:
10:00- 10:15- Greeting… kids played out front with Bubbles and sidewalk chalk while we waited for everyone to arrive
10:15- 10:30- Curiosity Container and Music
10:30- 11:00- Bible Story and Bible Verse Memorization
11:00- 11:15- Snack
11:15- 11:30- Crafts
11:30- 11:45- Games
11:45- 12:00- Closing and Review
3. Start calling, emailing and asking friends from the neighborhood or your church if they would be willing to come alongside you and help you with this ministry. Start developing a list of needs for the week (snacks, chairs, tables, sidewalk chalk, etc) and asking friends who might be able to donate or loan these items for the week.
4. Pray! Do prayer walks around your neighborhood. Pray for the children and their parents that they would be open to coming and hearing about Jesus. Pray for health and safety for all involved. Pray for your logistics. Pray for your team of volunteers. Pray for the weather Pray, Pray, Pray!
Tomorrow I will write more about specific curriculum ideas, games and crafts. I might also share some of the mistakes I’ve made in the past that I do not recommend. I hope this helps… I would encourage you to get out and get to know the families in your neighborhood. We don’t have to go to another country to be missionaries. It can start right here at home!