After inviting the children to come and sit together on the front pew, the director will lead the children through a series of activities each week (in no particular order): Character Builder, Memory Drill, & Singing.
Before the assembly begins, the leader will select a Character Builder word from his list (e.g., patience, respect, humility, obedience, etc.) to write on the chalkboard. During the Pew Packers class, the leader will ask one of the children to read the word out loud. Then, he will prompt the children to define the word (if they know it) and provide examples of what this word should mean to them. Sometimes the leader will need to refine the definitions suggested, but often the children do a wonderful job explaining what a word means and citing examples. Ultimately, the leader should do his best to emphasize that this character word is something they need to demonstrate daily in their lives (whether they are at home, at school, or even at the church building).
The majority of each Pew Packers class is devoted to Memory Drill exercises. Each week the leader will introduce at least one new fact for the children to memorize. Specifically, the leader will state something to this effect: "When I say 'FAITH,' you say 'HEBREWS 11.'" And then the leader will guide the children in practicing this response several times. Whenever he says, "FAITH," he expects the children to respond in unison, "HEBREWS 11." If he speaks quietly, he expects them to respond quietly. And, if he speaks loudly, he wants to really hear them raise their voices. The leader, by varying the pitch and volume at which he speaks, is more likely to keep the children engaged and actively learning. In addition to introducing new material, the old material is reviewed as much as possible. For example, the leader may say, "CREATION," and allow the children to respond, "GENESIS 1 & 2." And then he will immediately say, "SERMON ON THE MOUNT," and they will respond with, "MATTHEW 5, 6, & 7." He may then go back to the new fact for that week or toss out another memory fact that was previously introduced. The leader will sometimes ask specific children to respond to certain facts or simply allow the entire group to respond to everything together. The leader generally recites the books of the Bible with the children each week also.
The leader will also sing songs with the children throughout the Pew Packers class to break things up and help retain interest. Typically, the songs should be simple and easy to memorize (e.g., "Jesus Loves Me," "The B-I-B-L-E," "Seek Ye First," etc.). Finally, the class should be closed with a prayer.
It is highly recommended that you conduct the class at a time when the adults are already assembled. One huge fringe benefit of working with the children when all of the adults are present is that they learn a lot too! This benefit is minimized when Pew Packers classes are conducted at a special time when few adults are present or when people might be (noisily) entering or exiting the auditorium.
The above is merely one way in which a Pew Packers class could be conducted. For more information, including memory drill lists and interactive flashcards and quizzes, please visit our website: www.PewPackers.com.
Children, when challenged and encouraged by parents, can learn a great deal. At the age of 5, one young boy in Clinton could recite a memory fact from each chapter in the book of Acts. Certainly his comprehension is somewhat limited, but a good groundwork is being laid that can be built upon in the years to come. What kind of foundation are you helping to lay for your children or the other youth at church? May we endeavor to continually put the word of God into their hearts, that they might not forget and that they might avoid sin:
"How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word. With my whole heart I have sought You; oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You. Blessed are You, O LORD! Teach me Your statutes. With my lips I have declared all the judgments of Your mouth. I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies, as much as in all riches. I will meditate on Your precepts, and contemplate Your ways. I will delight myself in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word" (Psa. 119:6-16).