But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” (Luke 18:16-17)
As you look for ways to love your neighbors this summer, don’t forget that the children on your block are your neighbors too. They are just as important as the adults, and just as valuable in God’s eyes. They also still have their whole future ahead of them; by hearing the gospel now and learning to live according to God’s Word, they can accomplish a lot of good and avoid a lot of mistakes throughout their lives (Proverbs 22:6).
One way to serve your littlest neighbors during summer break is to host a “Backyard Bible Club.” It’s a weekday children’s ministry that you lead at your home for kids who live in your neighborhood. For five days, through simple activities, crafts, and snacks, kids can learn about God while having fun with friends.
So, how do you host a Backyard Bible Club? To make it easier for you, we’ve put together a leader’s guide with basic instructions. It doesn’t spell out everything you should do or say—you can decide how you want to structure your time together, whether there is anything you want to add to or change, and how the activities might be adjusted based on the ages of the kids in your neighborhood.
Along with that curriculum, here are some tips for how to lead a Backyard Bible Club:
- Partner with others. Don’t go it alone; you should have at least one other adult to help co-lead with you. Invite your community group or other neighbors to help you host. For example, one group of Watermark families have been leading Backyard Bible Clubs together for years. In addition to the adults, if you have kids who feel they are too old to do the activities as participants, they can serve as helpers instead.
- Plan the details. You’ll want to get the craft supplies and snack ingredients (listed in the guide) ahead of time, and it can be helpful to then try making everything yourself before teaching kids how to do it. You’ll also need to decide on a schedule: when you’ll meet, how long you’ll meet for each day, and where you’ll meet (it doesn’t necessarily have to be your backyard).
- Invite your neighbors. If you have kids of your own or kids in your community group, then you probably have a built-in audience you can start with. But don’t neglect to invite your neighbors as well. You might be surprised at who decides to come—and even if they don’t, it gives you a chance to talk with your neighbors and share what your Bible Club is all about.
- Build relationships. This is a great opportunity to build relationships with parents in your neighborhood. If you don’t really know your neighbors, then inviting them to an event gives you an excuse to talk with them and get to know them better. And when kids do attend, their parents might come along or even offer to help lead.
- Make it your own. Want to add an activity or choose a different memory verse? Go right ahead. The curriculum is there as a resource to make it easy for you, but you can always change it or come up with your own creative ideas.
- Give yourself grace. Don’t think that your Backyard Bible Club (or your leadership of it) has to be perfect. They’re kids; they can be both very easy to impress and nearly impossible to please. Just try to be fun and be faithful. Who knows; your efforts may have an impact years down the road that you never get to see.
Ready to get started? Download your Backyard Bible Club Leader’s Guide below.