Sparks Leaders, when was the last time you looked at the FlightPlan?
During the last two conference seasons I have interacted with many Sparks leaders and have come to the conclusion that these amazing leader resources remain unused or even hidden from almost everyone. To be fair, some clubs have ordered them but forget they are on the shelf or in a drawer in the club room, so the average leader is never introduced to them. It was true in our area, and in southern Wisconsin, and in northern Wisconsin, in southern Illinois and in Chicagoland—same thing everywhere.
It was a bit of a surprise to me, so I set out on a mission to figure out why they aren’t used. I also realized that I needed to get into a club situation where I would be able to use the FlightPlan (in my case, the HangGlider one) on a weekly basis. And I also decided to do something that would make it more useable. Hopefully you will be convinced to take a serious look at this leader resource and use it more.
So what’s in the FlightPlan? I’m glad you asked!
First, it has the very best training anywhere on how to run a handbook group, how to use the clubber handbooks, and everything you need to know about handbook time and didn’t know where to get the answers. This is better than the Getting Started Training…it is just the best we have to offer.
Next, it offers suggestions on how to deal with the sections that are hard for some kids to complete, like many options to consider for kids who have trouble inviting friends to come to club with them (Red Jewel 1:1). The FlightPlan also goes through every handbook section and gives the specifics on what to expect from the kids.
Each FlightPlan, HangGlider, WingRunner and SkyStormer has about a dozen memory games, and they are different in each book (that’s 36 memory games!). These are different ways to learn or review verses. The memory games are interspersed with other content in the book, inserted in places where they will be especially appropriate for the verse the kids are learning in that section. Each game will work with other verses also.
One of my favorites – suggested learning activities for each of the biographies. Since the biographies are really the heart of the Sparks handbooks (gaining wisdom from learning how God interacted with people and how they responded to Him) I want them to be interesting and fun for the kids, but sometimes I’m not feeling very creative. These suggestions are helpful!
Discussion questions related to the biographies and other handbook material. These really help in understanding what the children are comprehending.
Theme night suggestions are also included. I’ll be first to say that these suggestions are not ideal simply because they are scattered throughout the book and not convenient to look for when you are doing your annual calendar in the summer. Stay tuned for some help with that issue.
Early this club year I used some of the questions the FlightPlan suggested to help me get to know the kids in my small group. One week I asked them what they wanted to be when they grow up, and the answers were memorable. One wants to be a butterfly, while another wants to be a ballerina, one wants to be a scientist, another wants to be a missionary and some weren’t too sure what to say. I hope you can see that young children can be very different from each other, and this gave me some insight into their personalities and even some of the families.
This summer I took time to do some treasure hunts in the FlightPlan books, and that led me to create some charts that will help you find some of the hidden gems in the books, especially the memory games and theme nights. I gave these to everyone who attended my Sparks workshops, and would love to share them with you. Look for the links below, one for each of the three books.
Serving with you,