Wednesday, 13 June 2012

...and I will make you fishers of men

Well if there is one thing children like it's a story rich in imagry and thank goodness that is what Jesus does best. How good is our God that he breaks things down into managable chunks for our understanding? So that we can come with our child like minds and learn great truths and then teach them to the children in our care without having to "dumb it down".

For this lesson we just read the story straight from the bible - it is suitable for all ages as the language is so simple.


Some things we pulled out of this story and chatted about:

When Jesus called his first disciples he didn't choose the most learned men, the men with the greatest careers, men who had made a name for themselves but he chose simple fishermen. What a great lesson to tell children - Jesus wants you to follow him just as you are. In a world where it's all about being the best, we can teach children that according to Jesus you do not have to become amazing in your own strength - come as you are.

Jesus used language that these fisher men would understand. "Follow me and I will make you fishers of men" Matthew 4:19. Jesus wants to talk to us and hear from us and we don't have to use fancy "grown-up" language! Just tell Him what you feel.

We reminded the children that Jesus wants us all to tell others about him and like fishermen get big loads of fish Jesus wants loads of people to come to know him.

Jesus asked the men to "Follow me..." what does it mean to follow Jesus? Interesting to hear the different children's responses

 For a craft:

Using paper plates (my favourite craft material-cheap and you can make anything! 50 plates for 2euro in the Euro Store) each child made a fish. Simply cut a triangle out of one side.

Glue/staple/tape it to the other side. Stick on a googley eye and decorate with crayons/markers/stickers or even paint.

The kids had a blast making these. Pretty great results eh?

For an attention grabber:

I made a magnet fishing game by simply cutting out fish shapes from different coloured card and putting a metal paper clip on each one. I scattered them on a big blue rug and had the children fish for them. For the rods we just used sticks and string with a magnet tied on the end (I borrowed the magnet from the kid's Geo-Mags!). The children took turns "fishing" and raced eachother to see who could get the most. You could also get the chidren to each go for a different colour fish to make it harder for older ones.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Garda Vetting

I kept putting off Garda Vetting our Children's Church leaders because I had no idea how to go about it and every time I googled it I couldn't make sense of the information....but it's so important and we have a summer camp coming up so for my own (and the parents) peace of mind I eventually got around to it and after many letters and phone calls I finally got it right!

I learned that smaller groups in Ireland cannot be vetted on an individual basis, you need to have about 500 people in your "group" (not too many churches in Ireland can say that...yet!). So in the case of smaller churches you have to go through a volunteer group for your area - see to find out what volunteer group your town belongs to.

I found them extremely helpful, they email you forms for each volunteer to fill out and you just post these back along with some confidentiality agreements. They then liaise with the Gardai and send you back a report on each individual, listing any criminal convictions they have. Then 3 designated people in your church will decide if these previous convictions will affect an individuals ability to work with kids, for example someone who had shoplifted 20years ago does not necessarily need to be excluded from children's work.  The process takes at least 3-4 months but can take longer.

This service costs between 5-10 euro per person but I found them willing to haggle a bit on price, we got them to vet 20 people for 100 euro instead of the 200 they originally asked for.

So there you go, a lot easier than I expected!