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Bible passage: Daniel 3
Background: Peer pressure isn’t so pronounced among children under the age of 5 or 6, but the kids in our groups will sometimes do things because everyone else is doing them, even if they’re not the best things to do. Opening up this story will help them see that God can be trusted, and that he is the one they should follow.
Welcome the children by name and invite them to join you in your circle. Share out any refreshments you have and chat with the children about the events of their week. Ask if they have done anything different from what everyone else was doing. Share a story from your own life if appropriate.
You will need: pictures of people such as doctors, teachers and lollipop people (find them online or draw your own); paper; felt-tip pens
Explain that there are lots of people in our lives we can trust. They help and want the best for us. Show the group your pictures and ask them to identify the people in them. Chat about the last time you saw one of those people. What happened when you met them?
Then give out paper and pens and ask the children to draw a picture of someone they trust. (You might need to give them some help in thinking of someone if they haven’t got their heads around the idea of trust.) When everyone has finished, share the pictures of people they feel we can trust.
You will need: paper; sticky tape; musical instruments such as tambourines or shakers; a scroll of paper with Daniel 3:4-6 on it
Give each child a sheet of paper and show them how to roll the paper around to make a cone. Make sure you leave a small gap at the narrow end. Help them to secure their cone with a piece of sticky tape. Explain that these are trumpets. Practise saying “Ahhhh” through the narrow end to imitate a trumpet sound. Give the children the instruments you have brought but tell them to keep quiet until you give them the signal. Tell this story:
Once there were three friends called Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. They were friends of God, but they were taken far from home by a king called Nebuchadnezzar. All practise saying ‘Nebuchadnezzar’.
The king decided he would make a statue of himself. A huge golden statue! He ordered everyone to come and see it, then a servant read out the king’s orders. Give the scroll to another leader and ask them to read the instructions.
The music started to play. Encourage the children to play their trumpets and any other instruments. And everyone bowed down to worship the statue. Ask everyone to kneel on the floor. Everyone apart from three people. The three friends: Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Ask three children to stand up again.
Some of the officials told the king what had happened. They told him that Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego had not bowed down to worship the statue. The king was very angry. He called for the three friends and demanded that, when the music started, they should worship the statue. Encourage everyone to blow their trumpets and play their instruments again. Otherwise he’d throw them into a big fire
But the three friends refused. They said: “Your Majesty, we don’t need to defend ourselves. The God we worship can save us from your flaming furnace.”
The king was furious. His guards threw the three friends into the fire! But, do you know what? They didn’t burn at all. In fact, when the king looked into the fire he saw four people, not just three, walking around!
The king ordered the three friends to come out. They weren’t burnt – they didn’t even smell of smoke. The king realised that God had saved them. He ordered everyone to worship God, not the statue! Ask everyone to play their musical instruments to celebrate.
Chat about the Bible story using these questions. Try to involve all the children in the discussion:
- What’s your favourite part of this story?
- How did the friends stand up for God and trust him?
- Have you ever been scared or nervous? Who did you trust to help you?
- Have you ever asked God for help? How can we trust God?
You will need: art materials; large sheets of paper; cover-up and clean-up facilities
Beforehand, collect a range of art materials and set them out ready for the children to use. At this point in the session, show the children the art materials and encourage them to create a picture that represents what they thought about the story, who God is or anything they might be thinking about today.
As they work, chat about the story and encourage the children in their creativity. This is a space for the group to process what God has said to them. It doesn’t matter if they don’t produce a finished picture, or even if the picture seems to have nothing to do with the story. God will be speaking to the children and working in their lives, so the picture they create is almost incidental.
If any of the children want to show their pictures to the rest of the group, let them do so.
You will need: musical instruments from ‘Bible story’; praise music and the means to play it
Give out the musical instruments again, making sure everyone has their own paper trumpet. After putting on the praise music, encourage the children to play the musical instruments and blow their trumpets.
After a couple of minutes, turn down the music and quieten the children. Say: “Thank you, God, for keeping Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego safe when they stood up for you. Help us to stand up for you this week. Amen.”
Turn the music back up and enjoy praising God with instruments, voices and dancing again.
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