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BIBLE PASSAGE: Acts 1:1-11
BACKGROUND: God holds history, the present and the future in his hands. This session is designed to help the children understand his sovereignty a little more. Take some time for yourself before the session to reflect on God’s hand in your life, the journey he has taken you on, and your hopes and prayers for the future.
Welcome the children as they arrive and share out any refreshments you have provided. Chat together about what has happened since you last met. Share in the triumphs and difficulties of the children’s lives and share something appropriate from your own life. Take turns to tell the group something funny from the last week and something you are looking forward to in the future. Ask questions and allow the children to ask questions about each other’s hopes.
You will need: a random selection of objects Spread some of your objects out in front of the group and ask them to try to remember what is there and where the objects are positioned. Choose a volunteer to go out of the room. As they go, make sure everyone waves goodbye to them. Remove or change the position of one of the objects, then invite the volunteer back in. Can they see what is missing or has been moved?
Repeat the game with a slightly different selection of objects for each new volunteer.
Alternatively, you could do this with the children rather than objects. When the
volunteer leaves the room, one child moves to a place, takes up a new position or hides!
You will need: paper and pens; Bibles; props such as wigs, beards, glasses, suit jackets or microphones; a video camera (a smartphone or tablet would be fine)
Divide the children into three groups and ask each group to create a news report. Every group will need the following roles: a newsreader, an interviewer, eye witnesses, interviewees, a cameraperson and a director. The roles can be interchangeable if group numbers are minimal, or you could do this exercise all together if you have a small group.
Give each group a news scene:
- Jesus died on the cross and came back to life
- Jesus went up to heaven
- The angels said that Jesus is coming back.
The children can then decide on their roles and research each news story using the Bibles provided and the passage for today. They will need to think about the characters who need to be interviewed, for example a disciple, a bystander or Mary. They must then put their scripts together, including a list of questions to ask each witness.
Provide the groups with a corner of the room or quiet space where they can film their reports. Encourage and support them when needed. When all three groups have completed the filming, sit together and watch the news stories in order.
Continue chatting about the story, using these questions and others to stimulate discussion:
- How do you think the disciples felt when they saw that Jesus was alive again?
- What would you have done if you had seen Jesus going up into the sky in a cloud?
- What do you think the angels meant when they said that Jesus would be coming back?
- What difference do you think it will make to the world when he does?
- How does believing that he will return change the way we live our lives now?
You will need: a Kinder Surprise plastic egg capsule per child; white stickers; paper; scissors
Before the session, write or print out these questions and cut the paper up into small strips, each containing one question:
- What is your life like now?
- What do you enjoy doing?
- What do you want to say to Jesus?
- What do you want to thank him for that has already happened?
- What do you want to ask him for?
- What are you hoping for in the future?
- Do you want Jesus to come back? Why?
Give each child a sticker and a capsule. Encourage them to decorate the sticker with their names and anything else they want to draw. Give out the slips of paper with the questions on and ask them to write their answers on the reverse, then pop them inside their capsules.
Keep the capsules somewhere safe for a year, then return them to the children (you may need to set a reminder!) and see what has happened during the course of that year.
You will need: a play parachute (or a large cotton sheet or similar piece of lightweight material); a gentle worship song and the means to play it
Stand around the parachute with everyone holding the edge and lift it up in a mushroom shape. Everyone should bring the edge of the chute down over their heads and behind their backs, then all sit down on the edges to make a kind of tent with everyone inside. Ask the children to remember their answers to the capsule questions.
Stand up again, holding the parachute and mushrooming it in the air. Shout out the questions below it, one at a time. The children should shout-pray their answers while running underneath the parachute and swapping places with someone on the other side.
What do you want to say to Jesus? What do you want to thank him for? What do you want to ask him for?
Sit down again, all holding a piece of the parachute. Play a gentle worship song. While the music is playing, ask the children to close their eyes and think again about
the difference it makes to us when we know that Jesus is going to return. Invite them to say their thoughts out loud to encourage each other. As the song draws to an end (or attentions spans dwindle), pray and thank God for his hand over history, the present and the future.
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