A couple of weeks ago JAM (my extremely fun after-school club) restarted and it’s been an interesting journey already.
This term we’re looking at some of Jesus’ miracles and the first week was the story of Jesus turning water into wine. I’d got some good material which has great ideas but when it came to setting up I realised that I might not have time to prepare the craft suggestion which was based on the story.
On the bus on the way to the church another craft idea had dropped into my head and this was a simple colour-in patterns on an animal bookmark. Simple and yet effective, I discovered.
The kids turned up, they love coming and enjoy every thing but their favourite time is the craft time. Hardly any of these children have experience of church and it’s brilliant that they love coming so much. I finished the story and moved them on to the craft activity. I have never seen children so excited to decorate a bookmark – they absolutely loved it!
Afterwards I was reflecting on the activities. There was nothing wrong with the craft that was linked to ‘Water into wine’. It was merely a creation of plastic cups and cardboard. However, I suspect that it’s the kind of thing that would be binned fairly soon after the children got home. The bookmark, on the other hand, would be treasured and put into a book and reused. When the children look at their bookmarks, might they remember the fun they had at JAM and make a link to what they learnt about Jesus?
I’m not against ‘home-made’ crafts linked to the topics, they have their place. But the more I go along in Children’s Ministry the more I see the value in giving children quality craft to do. I’m so blessed that we have the funding to be able to provide interesting and varied activities. Children come along expecting fun crafts and they genuinely love whatever is provided for them to create. Sometimes it’s fun to create something simple but the kids do really seem to appreciate and look after craft that’s maybe cost us something to give them. But then that’s an investment in them, I guess.