S.O.S. Kids' Bible Club - Army / Navy

Search God’s Word Obey his commands Serve the LORD

"Using a theme of the ARMY, we launched our S.O.S. Club as a last minute idea for our Wednesday night Summer Program in 2000. The announcements, posters, and flyers used Army stencil lettering. The meeting hours were referred to in military time (i.e. 19:00 for 7:00 PM etc.). Volunteers were “enlisted” to help teach, play the piano, prepare and provide snacks, and help monitor our young “recruits.”First and foremost was the “Mission” God commanded for this small “Army of the Lord.” Run a tight ship, have fun, and smooth sailing everyone!"
Joyfully Serving Him, Emmalea Butler - Trafalgar, IN 

S.O.S. Army Club

S.O.S. “soldiers” were taught to Search God’s Word

The “soldiers” were encouraged to learn memory verses each week that had been presented during the evening’s lessons. Selected men of our church provided 15-20 minute presentations of a different attribute of God each week. This was challenging to prepare for 4-12 year olds, but the men did a great job. The "soldiers" got to know the men of our church much better, and the men got to see this small "Army of the Lord" in a different light.

S.O.S. “soldiers” were given Specific Assignments

The children were given short assignments to obey God's commands “in the field”, such as doing tasks “without murmurings and disputings.” (Philippians 3:14) The parents were often given “briefings” in the form of a note. Each family was encouraged to help club members understand implementing the attributes of God on the “home-front”. We had positive comments from parents weekly. Some of the children told about things the family did together to complete assignments.

Age Appropriate Opportunities to "Serve the Lord"

The children volunteered for specific tasks within the club that taught them ways that they could serve the Lord. They signed up for “duty” to be song leaders, read the missionary letter, lead in prayer, be an usher for the offering and other handouts, and/or clean-up after the meeting.

Weekly Reports From Around the World

We were able to contact almost all of our missionaries by e-mail. They wrote back to our club about the their home, family life on the field, and their ministry. Several missionary children wrote, from their point of view, to our club. Each week, after the letters were read, the children were given their own copy to keep in a folder that was decorated with stencil lettering. This made a nice keepsake at the end of the summer.

S.O.S. Navy Club

This year’s 2001 club sailed into “port” the week after public school dismissed. Our “barracks” from last year became the Battleship, the “S.O.S. New Life”. Again our announcements used the military stencil lettering and the military time. The children (5-12) were encouraged to ENLIST friends that do not attend church regularly.

We have had more time to prepare this year. With the advance planning we were able to divide the club members into "crews" --- each crew assigned to their own "battleship". The oldest members of the crew (11 and 12 year olds) were given leadership roles. The older children were “commissioned” as the "Captain" for their respective battleship.

We started with 5 battleships in our fleet - each having 6 crewmembers. With much delight, another ship was added to fleet after our VBS program. Several new crewmembers from the neighborhood boarded!

Battleship Names Chosen: Torpedo, Carrier, Cruiser, P.T., Destroyer, Submarine

Captains Run A Tight Ship

The Captains arrive 15 minutes early in preparation for their crew. Captains wear white painter’s caps with their battleship name and crew color displayed as a logo. As the Captains greet their crew, they take attendance and hang the appropriate color neck tags on each crewmember. The laminated tags also have the Battleship name displayed. This helps to easily identify them as one crew for activities away from the seated area. Extra “miles” are warded to the crew that is in place and ready to start at the bell. (We tried an air horn - but it hurt all of our ears!)

Each battleship crew has an evenly distributed number of 5 - 10 years olds under the command of the Captain. We assigned the crews in this way to have the younger children looking to the older ones for guidance and direction. The captains are put in a position of respect -- and also accountability (this is working wonderfully so far). Often the captains are not allowed to answer the questions during the evenings voyage, but instead they are to tell the answers to the youngest of the crew. This gets everyone interacting, and the younger kids love having the attention from the "big" kids.

Battleship Fleet’s Battle Scripture

Our scripture for this year is Romans 1:16, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to every on that believeth..." 

Mission IS Possible!

We have charged our fleet to sail around the world (in the Sea of Life) with the Gospel of Christ. The battleship fleet accumulates “miles” by answering questions, solving puzzles, class participation, and memorizing scriptures. During the evening we sing songs, play a variety of games that incorporate their Scripture for the week. A story and/or visual application is given by an adult "Commander". There are questions asked by the Commander during the course of the lesson to keep the crews interacting and alert. The evening is ended with a review game and a snack.

We have a teaching team (Commanders) of 3 women and 2 young men. Each “Commander” is to prepare 2 lessons. They chose a presentation of an object lesson, or exposition of a scripture.

Mission Miles Earned and Awarded

Each time there is positive performance during the evening by a crewmember the crewmember is given a "mile stick" - worth 100 - 1,000 miles. The "sticks" are purchased, pre-colored Popsicle sticks. We added the point values by using a felt tip marker. "Miles" awarded for: Attendance, Bringing their Bible, Bringing a visitor, Memorizing and reciting the weekly Scripture, Being first to find a given scripture reference, Participation in answering specific questions during the lesson, Helping in solving Scripture “Puzzles”, and Participation in a variety of Games. 

Each battleship has a decorated Pringles can. During the evening’s voyage, the "mile sticks" are given to the crewmember that earned it. The crew member then places the earned miles into their battleship’s can. This reinforces the crewmember’s importance to their team. It’s great to see a younger child receive a high-5 from an older shipmate!

After the crews have docked and left the homeport, the adult Commanders chart the evening’s voyage. Each crew has a "battleship" cut out that moves along a wall according to their awarded miles. We also display a photo of each "crew" on the wall in the "homeport" area. The S.O.S. New Life also serves as the activity area for church meetings and social events. As others frequently use the area they can watch the competition of the S.O.S. Club.

Our goal is go around the world (25,000 miles) with the Word of God, this large charting area allows the crew to visualize their travel as their "miles" push their battleship forward in the competition.

S.O.S Game

We have a special "Torpedo" game the kids love! Spaced out on the floor, we place cardboard battleships (computer graphic on a folded "tent") with specific sins and a mile value on them. The crewmembers are given one Torpedo (bean bag) each. This privilege is awarded for saying their memory verse. They stand on a wooden "plank" and toss their torpedo at the specific sin they want to blow up -- such as lying, cheating, stealing, cursing, unbelief, etc. When they knock a Sin Ship over, their battleship gets the mile points added to their voyage for the night. The mile points range from 300 - 1,000 -- so this game can boost a battleship's mileage quite a bit.

Our Secret Missions

One extra bonus we have done with the combined crews this summer is to take a "missionary trip" to one of our fairly local missionary's work. Bearing Precious Seed has a printing operation not far from us. The crews traveled (by van this time) and viewed Bibles being printed in several languages. Each crewmember was also able to assist in assembling 2 New Testaments to be shipped over seas to a foreign country!

An offering that had been collected from previous club meetings was given to our missionary. The crew learned how many Bibles would be sent for the money they gave to God’s work at this mission.

The crew sang their S.O.S. theme song as well as Romans 1:16 set to music. The workers enjoyed their singing so much they asked them to sing again before we left. 

We ended that afternoon with a picnic in the local park. We have tentative plans for the crews to visit a nursing home. They will perform their scripture and theme songs for the residents and perhaps take them a small treat as well. The children really like the idea of having "missionary trips” they could talk about with their friends and relatives.

Special Briefings by the Pastor 

The Club loves it when, on Sunday, our Pastor reads a short prepared "briefing" that informs everyone (the whole congregation) of Wednesday night's voyage. He also announces the miles achieved by each battleship. The crews are unaware of their accumulated miles until the Pastor gives the congregation the weekly “briefing”.

Welcoming Home The Fleet

At the end of the summer program, each ship will be awarded a special "Welcome Home" party of their choice. All crews will choose their party according to their end status of miles at sea. The first choice goes to the most miles earned, etc. 

Party Ideas: Pizza Party= pizza and colas, Un-birthday Party= cake and ice cream, Goodnight Party= cookies and milk, Good Morning Party= donuts and milk, Junk Food Party= chips and Coke, Brown Cow Party = root-beer floats. As you can see, they will all be winners!

Our S.O.S. Theme Song*

Won't you join God's Mission for us?
Won't you join God's Mission for us?
God hears our cry
and answers YES!
HE saves our souls
HE saves our souls
When we cry out our S.O.S 
Won't you join God's Mission for us?
Won't you join God's Mission for us?
God strengthens us 
to do our best
To search God's Word
Obey His Commands
And Serve the Lord as strong we stand!

(Repeat *2nd verse)

(Then Yell) S - O - S!!!

I'm sure our program and ideas for S.O.S will change and grow throughout the coming years. If anyone should implement a similar program -- please share your ideas with me. 

Copyright 2000/2001 Emmalea Butler

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