I can do it – Feeding of 5000

Aim:

To show the children that we can all do something for God.  He takes what we offer and makes it something special for him.

Bible base:

John 6:1-14

You will need:

  • A piece of artwork, a football, a piece of maths work, a sweeping brush, a smiling face drawn on a paper plate, some dancing shoes (anything that shows achievements of the children, including cleaning up well or cheering someone up)
  • Some volunteers to mime
  • A few simple props – five rolls and two fish (cut from card) packed in a small basket/box etc

Preparation

Study the script and the Bible passage to familiarise yourself with the story.

Presentation

Introduction

  1. Talk to the children about the things they enjoy doing or things that they are particularly good at.
  2. Use your items to illustrate different skills, pointing out that some of us are particularly good at helping others, being kind or friendly, cleaning up, cheering people etc.  All these things are important.
  3. Ask for six volunteers to come out and help you tell the story by miming the parts: Peter, Thomas, Jesus, Philip, Andrew, boy.  The rest of the children are the crowd.

Story

FAST FOOD FOR FIVE THOUSAND

It had been a hot day.

Everyone was warm and sweaty and hungry.

The crowds had been with Jesus all day, listening to him.

They were sitting on grass, on stones, under trees, up trees and in some cases on thistles (ouch!) and they didn’t mind.

They felt as though they could listen to what Jesus was saying and never have enough.

When it was almost sunset, the disciples thought the people would go back home…but they didn’t.

‘Those children ought to be in bed,’ said Peter. (Peter wags his finger at the crowd as this is said.)

‘Those women should be cooking their husbands’ suppers,’ said Thomas. (Thomas also wags his finger at the crowd.)

A lady who was standing nearby knocked him on the head with her basket. ‘My husband is quite capable of cooking his own supper’, she said.

There was a distant rumbling sound.  Was it thunder?  Peter patted his tummy.

‘Sorry,’ he said, ‘I always rumble when I’m hungry.’ (Peter rubs his tummy.)

The other disciples laughed, but the thought of supper was making them all ravenous.

As Jesus paused in speaking Philip tugged at his sleeve. (Jesus and Philip to mime.)

‘It’s sunset,’ he said. ‘Isn’t it time you finished off, so the people can go?’

Jesus smiled. ‘We’re miles away from anywhere.  What do you expect the people to do?’

‘It’s time for our tea,’ said Philip.  ‘Peter’s tummy sounds like a volcano.  We need food and so do you and what about the people?

They might be able to find food in the villages and farms.  There might be a fast food place…’ his voice trailed off hesistantly.

‘Fast food for all this lot?’ said Jesus, waving his arms over the crowd.

‘Good idea.  Can you find some?’

Philip and the others gulped.

For the first time they looked at how huge the crowd was.

Rows of people, groups of children and women and men, stretched away as far as they could see.

‘What about it?’ said Jesus.

Philip went pale. ‘Have you any idea how much it would cost?’ he said, his voice wobbling.

‘A sandwich for everyone here would be hundreds of pounds, there must be over 5,000 people here!’

Andrew felt someone tugging at his sleeve.  There was a very small boy.  (Andrew and boy to mime.)

‘Not now son,’ said Andrew. ‘We’re having a crisis.’

He turned back to Jesus and Philip.

‘What’s that?’ said the little boy. ‘It’s a grown-up word for a big problem.’

‘Oh, sorry,’ said the boy. ‘I thought you might be hungry.’

Andrew bent down to him.  He had a clean face but otherwise he was very dirty.  He’d been sitting on the ground all day in the dusty heat.

‘What have you got?’ said Andrew.

‘Two big fish – well, medium – and five rolls.  I can’t eat them all myself and Mum said to share.’

Andrew took him by the grubby hand and led him to Jesus.

‘Hello,’ said Jesus. ‘Who are you?’

‘He’s a boy who wants to share,’ said Andrew.

‘Get everyone sitting down,’ said Jesus.

While the disciples organised everyone, Jesus looked into the little boy’s basket and saw the fish and the loaves.

‘Father God,’ prayed Jesus holding up the basket. ‘Thank you for this food and for all you give us. Amen.’

‘Amen,’ said the boy.

‘Would you like to help?’ said Jesus. The boy nodded.

‘I’ll need some more baskets,’ he called to the disciples.

They gathered some from the people, and Jesus started dividing out the bread and fish while the disciples and the boy took it to the different groups.  Every time they went back for more they were sure there would not be any left.  Every time there was more.  How could it be happening?

Eventually everyone was fed and they began to clear up.

‘How could there be any leftovers?’ thought Philip.

But there were leftovers – twelve basketfuls!

‘Wow,’ said the boy, ‘you’re amazing, Jesus!’

Application

  1. Make the point to the children that the boy did what he could – he offered his lunch to Jesus – and Jesus did something very special with it.
  2. In the same way today, if we offer to Jesus the things we can do, he will use them.

Prayer

Lord Jesus, thank you for all the things we can do….painting pictures, writing stories, dancing, making music, helping others.  Please help us to do all these things for you.  Amen.

 

Who is the greatest? – Washing disciples feet

Aim

To show pupils that in God’s eyes, the greatest of all is the servant of all.

Bible base

Mark 9:35 – the last will be first.

John 13:1-17 – Jesus washes the disciples’ feet.

You will need:

  • Some sheets of A4 paper for making paper aeroplanes.
  • A bowl of water and a towel for the feet washing exercise.

Content

Introduction

1. Ask the pupils: ‘Who is the greatest?’ Say that for some people the answer might be…(say the name of a popular, successful football team); or for someone else it might be…(say the name of a singer or group who has recently had a number one hit). Give one or two examples of your own favourite celebrities – possibly provoking some groans from the audience!

2. Comment that everyone will have a different answer, according to their interests and allegiances.

3. Continue by asking, ‘But who is the greatest here?’ Say that today, you are going to find out.

The great aeroplane contest

1. Ask for three or four volunteers to take part in a ‘Who is the greatest?’ contest.

2. Explain that you want the volunteers to make a paper aeroplane from the A4 paper provided. They will then launch their aeroplanes from a raised point in the room (eg standing on a chair, or on the stage). The winner (‘the greatest’) will be the person whose paper plane travels the furthest.

3. Act as commentator whilst the contestants make their planes, building up the excitement and drama of the contest. When they are ready, ask each competitor to launch their planes in turn. Ask the audience to allow each plan to land and then the pupil nearest should pick up the aeroplane and hold it aloft as a ‘marker’ showing the next contestant the distance he/she must try to beat.

4. When the contest is over, announce the winner and reward them with a ‘tremendous’ prize (hand them a sheet of A4 paper) – an aeroplane! Give everyone a round of applause. Keep your volunteers at the front. Ask the winner how it feels to be the greatest (great designer, great scientist, great inventor and great test pilot) – officially!

Application

1. Comment that it’s a good feeling to be ‘the greatest’, getting all the glory and lots of attention. Then say that the Bible has something to say on the subject. Read these words from the Gospel of Mark: ‘Whoever wants to be first must place himself last of all and be the servant of all’ (Mark 9:35, Good News Bible). Say that this seems a strange way to describe greatness.

2. Jesus’ way of looking at things is not the same as ours. On one occasion he demonstrated this to his disciples by getting down on his hands and knees and washing their feet! An amazing thing to do – as you can imagine – considering they were living in a hot country and had been wearing sandals.

Jesus said that he expected his disciples to do the same sort of things for one another, and that the most important people actually live as though they are the least important!

3. Bring out the bowl of water and the towel and ask the winner of the paper aeroplane contest how he/she feels – considering that they are ‘the greatest person’ here – about washing the feet of the losers.

If the winner agrees, let him/her do this! If they are obviously uncomfortable about doing it, take the heat out of the situation by saying that we don’t have to wash one another’s feet literally! Whatever you ‘winner’ decides to do, point out that there are lots of other ways we can act as servants to one another (give some examples).

4. Comment that when people are asked to list those who they consider to be great, today or in the past, those included are nearly always people who have served others in some way.

5. Challenge ‘the winner’, and everyone else, to think of how they could serve others today.

 

Power over nature – calming the storm

Bible base:

Luke 8:22-25

Teaching objectives:

To show that the Bible says Jesus had power to control nature.

You will need:

Ten A4 pieces of paper each with a letter of the word IMPOSSIBLE written on it.

Introductory activity:

Nature Quiz. Show the pupils each letter in turn and give them the corresponding clue. The letters make up the word ‘IMPOSSIBLE’. When a pupil gives you the right answer, call them to the front to hold up the appropriate letter.

  • P A black and white bird which cannot fly and lives at the South Pole (penguin)
  • I A large floating piece of frozen water near the North or South Pole (iceberg)
  • M It shines brightly at night (moon)
  • O Round juicy fruit with a thick brightly coloured skin (orange)
  • S Ball of fire in the sky that gives us light (sun)
  • L A big cat with a furry mane (lion)
  • S Creature that spins a web (spider)
  • I Small six-legged creature (insect)
  • E Another name for the world (earth)
  • B Feathered creature (bird)

What do the letters spell? Unscramble them to find out. (IMPOSSIBLE)

Take the letters from the pupils and display them at the front to be referred to later. Ask the pupils to take their seats again.

Each of these things is amazing – it would be impossible for us to make any of them ourselves. We can alter our world or damage it through pollution and misuse, but we can never really control it.

Tell the story of Jesus calming the storm from Luke 8:22-25, as outlined below. Encourage pupil participation when they hear the following prompts, asking them to stop when you give them the signal:

  • ‘asleep’ snore
  • ‘boat’ sway from side to side
  • ‘afraid’ scream
  • ‘wind’ blow
  • ‘storm’ divide assembly into four groups to make the following sounds:
  • ‘whoosh!’, ‘swish’, tapping floor with fingers, clapping

One day, after Jesus had been talking to large crowds of people, he suggested to the disciples that they take a boat out and cross over to the other side of the lake. Now, the disciples thought this was a great idea. The people had been around for ages and they were really quite tired and glad of an excuse to get away for a bit. So, they all got into the boat and set off across the lake. The further out from shore they got, the more the boat swayed, and before they knew it, Jesus had fallen sound asleep.

Soon the disciples too began to get a bit drowsy. But before they could fall asleep, they noticed a small cloud in the distance. Soon the small cloud became a huge black cloud and the wind began to blow. The wind got stronger and stronger, the waves grew higher and higher and the disciples grew more and more afraid. Suddenly, they were in the middle of a huge storm and they were all afraid for their lives!

All, that is, except Jesus. Throughout it all, as the wind blew and the boat lurched from side to side and the storm raged, Jesus was still asleep! What were they to do? Jesus was supposed to be their leader- he had done so many amazing things – and now they were all going to drown while he slept!

Quickly, they woke him up shouting, ‘Master, Master, we’re going to drown!’ You may wish to get the assembly to shout these words out.

When Jesus looked at the sea and saw the huge storm that had blown up, he told it to stop – and it did! Signal for them to stop abruptly.

‘Where is your faith?’ Jesus asked them. Jesus wanted his disciples to trust him. And when the disciples saw that the wind had died down, they were amazed and asked themselves who exactly this man could be, that even nature obeyed Him!

All the things we talked about at the beginning of the assembly are amazing parts of the natural world that it would be impossible for us to control. Yet the Bible teaches that Jesus had power even over nature!

Optional prayer time:

Lead the pupils in the following prayer, encouraging them to keep looking to the front and shouting out ‘impossible!’ when you point to it.

‘Lord Jesus, thank you that nothing is impossible for you. Thank you that you have power over nature, power over illness, power over everything! When we think that something is impossible, help us to come to you and ask you for help. With your help, nothing is impossible!’

As an alternative to praying, say the following statement about Christian belief, encouraging the pupils to shout out ‘IMPOSSIBLE’ with you:

Christians believe that nothing is IMPOSSIBLE for God. They believe that he has power over nature, power over illness, power over everything! Sometimes we come across things in life that we think are IMPOSSIBLE – Christians believe that God can help us, even with these IMPOSSIBLE things.