Today was the penultimate all age service that I will lead and the "moving up" awards for the under-12s as discussed here. My final Bible selection ended up being:-
Jesus Bible Storybook for the Beginners (age 3s)
My First Message for the P1s
NCV International Children's Bible for the P3s
Here Comes Heaven paperback for the P5s (they got the NCV Bible two years ago)
Youth Bible for the P7s
I want children to love God's word, to love reading God's word in exciting, changing forms and styles that suit their age and stage of reading. There is a wealth of resources out there and so I decided to post these recommendations for this current year in case it assists any readers.
Our church didn't recognise the "moving up" of children until I came into my post but I've made no apologies for spending quite a lot of money on these gifts as each week the older children in particular bring their bible and "parent history-maker" ringbinder along proudly and regularly use their prayer journals and bibles by themselves. I have seen real improvements in the 8s to 11s skill in knowing their way around their bibles and I don't claim any credit for this as all I have tried to do is facilitate and bless parents in their job as the primary spiritual educator of their child.
I wonder if you would believe me if I told you that prior to starting the gifts of Bibles I found that very few church family children owned their own bible. There was often a family bible but nothing specifically for each child to help their love for God grow and develop. It's true and it really surprised me.
I have a truly awesome (patient!) volunteer who scribes over 130 certificates from Beginners upwards beautifully and handwrites a message in all of the Bibles, according to registers and my main database. It is a massive undertaking relying on my good record keeping but I always find I have made a mistake and today was no exception....grrrr, I was so disappointed with myself!
Oh - THM - you can just guess whether I dared to play a clip........
Home for a sandwich and then out again for a short dedication service in the local park which had been closed for a few weeks due to a tragic murder. Our senior pastor had done a fabulous job in putting together a service involving three or four other churches from very different traditions and backgrounds. As we sang "How Great is our God" I couldn't help but look around and think of Psalm 133, the blessing of being together in unity, all coming out of very sad circumstances. We made an important verbal declaration in the park itself. This service culminated in representatives from many different churches driving a wooden stake into the park soil, upon which was written a verse about seeking peace in the city (I must check the reference and post it here)
At 4pm it was time for our family cell barbecue ...in our garden in the rain.....