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This was a real storm and the disciples were really scared. We might not be fishermen, but we still face storms and we still need the miraculous power of Jesus to either walk through the storm with us or calm it for us. Today’s session is to build a foundation into the lives of the children so that when they do face trouble, they will know who has the ultimate power.
As the children arrive, sit everyone down in a circle. Share any refreshments that you have brought. Ask the children if they have done anything this week that they’d like to tell the group about. Share something that you have done this week too. Chat about who the strongest person is that you know. What makes them strong?
BLANKET BOAT GAME
You will need: blanket for each team
Divide the children into teams. Give each team a blanket and explain that they need to transport all their team members across a lake in their blanket boat. One team member should lie on the blanket and the others have to carry them in the blanket from one side of the room to the other - across the ‘lake’! Once there, the first child gets out of the blanket and another gets in. The rest of the team carry them across. The teams should keep going like this until everyone has been taken across the lake. The first one to do so is the winner.
(Risk assess this before the session and monitor the game so that the children play safely.)
You will need: paddling pool and water or blue material; toy boat
If you are feeling adventurous, use a large paddling pool full of water and sit all the children around it. You may need to cover the floor. Float a toy boat on top of the water. As the story unravels, the children can splash and create the effects of the wind and waves. Some of them could blow the boat along the water too! If you are feeling less inclined to get wet, use blue material instead! The children can shake the material around to create a similar effect. Tell this story, using your chosen props as you do so:
It was evening and Jesus had spent the day teaching his followers. He was tired. He needed a rest because everywhere he went, people just followed him! So, they decided to go out on their boat onto the enormous lake. Jesus sat down and very quickly, he nodded off!
Soon, his friends noticed that the waves were beginning to get bigger, and the wind was beginning to howl. The fierce storm picked up and came fast and furiously around the boat. The waves were swooshing so high that water was flooding the boat. The wind was tearing around their faces and their sail, knocking them off their feet. It was terrifying!
“Where is Jesus?” shouted one of the men. They searched all over the boat for him, and finally found him snoring at the back of the boat! How could he still be sleeping with this violent storm threatening them?! They prodded him and shook him to wake him up.
“Jesus!” they shouted. “Look at this storm! How can you be asleep? Don’t you care about us at all? Look! The water is pouring into the boat! We’re going to drown!”
Jesus rubbed his eyes, stretched his arms and legs and stood up carefully in the boat.
“Stop!” he commanded. “Be quiet! Be still!”
Suddenly the waves grew calm. The wind stopped howling. Everything was calm again. Jesus’ friends were scared. They’d never seen anything like this before.
“How can the wind and the waves obey Jesus? How could that be possible?” they murmured to each other. “Surely, he must be God’s son.”
If the children enjoyed it, they could take turns in telling the story.
Ask the group these questions, making sure everyone has the chance to contribute:
- How do you think the disciples felt when they found Jesus fast asleep in the storm?
- What does this story show us about Jesus?
- Is there anything in your life that is like a storm at the moment?
- What would you like Jesus to say to your storm?
You will need: various drums; saucepans and wooden spoons; cymbals; saucepan lids
Create a rhythm together, starting with one instrument and adding more as you go along. Ask the children to make up a simple chant to accompany their rhythm. Put it all together, starting quietly and building up to a loud crescendo and shout. Appoint someone to calm the noise by shouting out over everyone’s chanting and drumming.
As you play and chant, encourage the group to think about areas in their lives that are noisy, turbulent and stressful. How can Jesus calm that situation?
You will need: a large sheet of paper with pre-drawn waves, lightning and clouds (lining paper is ideal); felt-tip pens
Explain that the storm can be a symbol of the difficult things in our life. Give the children time to consider what ‘storms’ they may be facing.
Spread the lining paper across the room. Ask the children to take off their shoes and find an empty space on the paper. Once they have found a space, they can draw around their foot and write in the middle their particular ‘storm’ or the name of someone else who is facing a difficulty. Choose one or two children to pray for all these situations.
Pray for Jesus to give us courage as we face troubles and for peace within the storm.
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