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Greenhouse Ministries Resources

Hey there friends!

I get the fun job of creating curriculum, handouts, flyers, documents, and resources for the kids, parents, families, and volunteers in Greenhouse Ministries at Poplar Creek Church. Some are so specific they may have no place beyond our church basement. But some I do believe could be used and implemented elsewhere, at schools, churches, camps, or at home. Let me know if you find any of these useful!

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The Question Cube (or the Qube! [nobody calls it the Qube but me {and it makes me very sad}])

We cover many stories and topics on Sunday mornings with the kids– but for the most part we move from Genesis to the Gospels each year, bringing in different themes and lessons when appropriate. I believe structure is very important and helpful, but sometimes there are things that kids just want to know! And it’s hard to answer those questions on the go when you’re moving in a certain direction. Hence the Question Cube.

IMG_20150520_120914071Each week I invite kids to write any questions they have about God, the Bible, following Jesus, church, or anything else they think I could answer– which means no physics questions please. (Sorry Mr Neufeld, physics just never stayed with me.) If they want a personal answer, they can write their name at the bottom of their card. But if they want to keep it private, and don’t want to put their name on it, I tell them I will try to address the question at some point on Sunday mornings. It’s hard to do so, but I try to make it work.

IMG_20150520_121009372IMG_20150520_120947453Through the week, I read the questions, do a little research and write out an answer. I used to write an answer out on a notecard, just to keep my answers brief. But then I had no record of what I was writing, so I started writing answers on my computer. I miss the personal touch, but it’s nice to see what I’ve written before. I hold on to the question cards then print out and seal my answer in an envelope, ready to be handed out on Sunday. The kids really enjoy writing questions and getting a personal response– and I enjoy it too!

The Greenhouse Joy BoxIMG_20150520_121044655

When I first came to Poplar Creek, I really enjoyed the teaching, the music, the community, the building and more. But there was one thing that stood out to me that made me think, “…Is this place a cult?”  The Joy Box. (WHOOO!)

IMG_20150520_121102807You see, at Poplar Creek Church, we don’t pass plates or bags or boxes to collect money, simply because that can be a little guilt inducing for some people. I don’t believe there’s anything particularly terrible about the practice, but I like the more positive approach that Poplar takes. We have a box at the box, affectionately called “the Joy Box.” (WHOO!) Anytime the name is stated from the stage or just in conversation, people will respond with a cry of joy: “WHOOOOOO!” It’s quirky, but it’s fun. It’s like any family tradition– a little strange to outsiders, but a special thing that unites your family.

IMG_20150520_121143523Obviously, kids can give to the Joy Box (WHOO!) upstairs, but at one of the services, they spend most of their time downstairs and don’t get to hear about it. So I put together a Greenhouse Joy Box (WHOOO!) for the kids to use downstairs. I found an acrylic house-shaped money container online and compiled some greenhouse/tree images, then layered them on the inside so when you look at it from any outside angle it looks like there’s a greenhouse inside. (Also so nobody can see the money inside and be tempted to mess with it.)

IMG_20150520_121117519Now the kids love to cheer when we say Greenhouse Joy Box (WHOOOOOOOO!) and they bring in their pennies and quarters and dollars and I remind them that the money we collect is used by the church to help others and help them know God. I believe giving is a wonderful practice and kids can be some of the greatest givers– we can learn a lot from the joy and excitement of a five year old with two dimes.

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Greenhouse Library

IMG_20150520_121423773I love children’s Bibles. I almost chose to orient my graduate project around them and the ways they all communicate God’s word in different ways. I love to see the different styles of art, various storytelling approaches, and even the set of stories they choose. Some end with Jesus’ resurrection, some with Paul’s journeys, some with Revelation, and some end in random places. Still, I believe people of all ages can benefit from reading a children’s Bible, because it lets them approach the story in a new way, with imagination and wonder. 

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We read different children’s Bibles on Sunday mornings– sometimes with all the kids, often the Jesus Storybook Bible (which we purchased a set of to use downstairs and in our Activity Bags), and every week with the Preschool children. As I shopped Half Price Books, Goodwill and other thrift stores, I would find children’s Bibles on sale for 60 cents, a dollar, two dollars or three. So I’d purchase them and eventually we developed a large collection at Poplar Creek. 

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So instead of hoarding them all in my office, I put them out on a bookcase in the little sitting area we have downstairs so kids could read them on Sunday mornings or other days they are at church.

IMG_20150520_121411770And finally a couple months ago, I added a sign up sheet for kids to borrow the Bibles, resource books, and storybooks from the Greenhouse Library. 

It’s been nice to have a set of children’s Bibles, picture Bibles, storybook Bibles, concordances, dictionaries, encyclopedias, atlases, Q&A books, Christian storybooks, inspirational books and more for volunteers, families and children to utilize. (Plus it’s been pretty fun to find books and build the library– and enjoy them when I’m taking a break during the work day!)

So here are a few resources that I’ve developed for us to use with Greenhouse Ministries at Poplar Creek Church. Hopefully you enjoyed reading about them– and maybe you were inspired to do something similar in your context! God Bless!

Posted under: Creation, Fun

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