four sessions

 
 

Week 1

Objectives: To discover that this verse comes from the book of ‘Hebrews’, and that nobody knows who wrote ‘Hebrews’ but it is described as a masterpiece. 


GAME: 7 mins
Aims: To play a game where a volunteer tries to work out who drew which picture.
You will need: A5 size paper and an assortment of felt-tip pens.

Ask for a volunteer to be ‘it’. Explain to the children that everybody (including ‘it’) will need to draw a picture of themselves. Hand out the paper and the pens. Encourage ‘it’ to sit away from the group so they don't see whose picture belongs to whom. Once everyone has completed their picture collect them in and muddle them up. Ask everyone to sit in a circle and hand ‘it’ the pictures. ‘It’ then needs to guess who’s who and place each picture on the floor in front of the ‘correct’ child (they should place their own self-portrait where they had been sitting in the circle). At this stage the children should not tell ‘it’ if he/she has guessed correctly. When ‘it’ has placed one picture in front of each child, the children need to reveal if ‘it’ was right or wrong; if ‘it’ was right the child should pick up and hold their self-portrait, if ‘it’ was wrong they should leave the picture on the floor. ‘It’ can then have another go at guessing who’s who and re-allocate the pictures. Encourage ‘it’ to keep going until everyone is holding their own picture. If it is impossible for ‘it’ to guess correctly encourage the other children to help. This game is likely to be too easy for older children if they simply draw a self-portrait, so encourage them to draw themselves in disguise! If you have time play the game again, this time encouraging the children to draw a picture of where they live. Ask for a new volunteer to be ‘it’.

If you have a small group of children try and get hold of the board game ‘Guess Who?’ and play the game together a couple of times.

TALK ABOUT: 6 mins
You will need: A large sheet of paper or whiteboard, a Bible and marker pens.  

Before the session write the verse on a large sheet of paper or whiteboard. 

Read the verse aloud to the children and underline the word ‘Hebrews’. Point out that this month’s verse comes from the book of Hebrews in the Bible. Explain that the book of Hebrews is a letter.

Talk about how during the game ‘it’ tried to work out who had drawn which picture. Explain that for hundreds of years people have been trying to work out who wrote the book of Hebrews. Just as ‘it’ had a good look at the pictures in the game, people have had a really good look at the book of Hebrews. They have read it over and over again. Some people think it might have been written by the Apostle Paul but it doesn't quite sound the same as one of Paul's letters. Other people think that Barnabas, who travelled with Paul, may have written Hebrews, but people are not sure about that either. Some other people think it may have been written by a lady called Priscilla but not everybody agrees with that idea. Who wrote the book of Hebrews remains a mystery. 

There are however things that we do know about the book of Hebrews.

  • It is written so well and says so many wonderful things that people call it a masterpiece.
  • It is a book that helps us to keep trusting God. It reminds us that because Jesus died and came back to life we can be close friends with God. 

SONG: 2 mins
To the tune ‘What shall we do with the drunken sailor?’

    We should not stop gath-er-ring
    to-gether with-o-ther believers,
    We should not stop gath-er-ring
    to-gether with believers,

    Hebrews 10 verse 25
    Hebrews 10 verse 25,
    Hebrews 10 verse 25
    to-gether with believers.


This song works well if you start really slowly and get faster and faster. Older children might not be keen to sing but might enjoy rapping the words.


 

Week 2

Week 2 objectives: To think about why Christians gather together and what the word ‘fellowship’ means. 

GAME: 7 mins
Aims: To play a game with four simple commands.
You will need: A keyboard piano or a similar instrument with a drum setting.

If you don’t have a suitable instrument, make a beat by clapping your hands then clicking your fingers twice.

Explain to the children that they are going to play a game of human ‘Bop It’ (there are lots of additional ideas online for playing this game but try to use only four commands as this is an important part of the illustration). You may first need to explain that ‘Bop It’ is a game of following commands to a beat. As the beat gets faster the game gets harder. 

Inform the children that the four commands are ‘kick it’ –pretend to kick a ball, ‘twist it’ – twist the top half of your body while keeping your feet still, ‘pull it’ – pretend to pull a leaver above your head , ‘bop it’ – jump once.  Encourage the children to stand in a circle. Start the drum beat or make a beat by clapping your hands then clicking your fingers. Encourage the children to respond to the commands in time to the beat. Begin to call out the commands allowing time for the children to respond. Keep changing the order in which you give the commands to make it harder for the children to respond correctly. After a while speed up the beat or clap and click a little faster. If a child makes a mistake they should sit down; however, you may want to give them two or three chances if they are struggling. As the game progresses, make the beat faster and faster until there is only one player left. Declare the final player the winner.

TALK ABOUT: 6 mins
You will need: A large sheet of paper or whiteboard, a Bible, marker pens and ‘Four things’ textboxes (see Printables).  

Before the session write the verse on a large sheet of paper or whiteboard. Print and cut out the textboxes.

Read the verse aloud and underline the phrase ‘gathering together with other believers’. Quickly explain that ‘believers’ is another name for Christians. Draw four or five stick people next to the verse. Ask the children if they can think of times when Christians gather together. Respond positively to the children’s answers and talk about Christians gathering together on Sundays and other occasions. Talk with the children about why they think Christians gather together. Ask them to list some of the things Christians do when they meet. 

Explain that Christians get together to help one another live God's way. Draw an arrow above the stick people pointing upwards. Remind the children that Christians believe living God's way is the right way to live; they believe they were created to live God's way. Explain that the Bible teaches that living God's way is about two main things: loving God and loving others. Draw two hearts next to the arrow.

But how do Christians help each other live God's way? Sometimes Christians simply do things together. They show their love for God by worshipping together and their love for others be working in teams to care for people.

But Christians also help each other to live God's way through fellowship. Draw a big circle around the stick people. ‘Fellowship’ is the word the Bible uses to describe times when Christians teach, challenge, comfort, support and encourage one another. Christians believe that when they spend time together in this way the Holy Spirit works powerfully among them, helping each one of them learn and grow to live God's way. Go over the outline of the arrow pointing upwards to make it thicker and bolder. Many Christians believe that during times of fellowship they use the gifts and abilities God has given them to help others live God's way.

If appropriate talk about the people in your church spending time together in this way. If you have time talk about the different gifts and abilities described in the Bible. How do these help Christians learn and grow to live God's way?

Summarise by pointing to the simple pictures you have drawn and remind the children that Christians gather together to help one another live God's way. Christians help each other by (1) doing things together and (2) through fellowship. Remind the children that ‘fellowship’ is the word the Bible uses to describe times when Christians teach, challenge, comfort, support and encourage one another.

Quickly explain that fellowship has been an important part of Christians' lives for hundreds of years. Remind the children of the game they have just played. Point out that there were only four things the children did: kick, twist, pull and jump. Explain that the Bible teaches there were four things the first Christians did day after day: they prayed, listened to teaching about God, broke bread (you may want to briefly talk about the celebration of Communion using language familiar to the children in your setting) and fellowshipped. Stick textboxes next to the verse. Today people who study the Bible still think these are really, really important things that Christians should do. They believe that when a Christian does these four things the Holy Spirit is able to work powerfully in his or her life helping them learn and grow to live God's way.


CHALLENGE: 2 mins
Help the children remember the four things the first Christians did day after day. Say the four things: ‘pray’, ‘listen’, ‘break’, ‘fellowship’. As you say ‘pray’ put your hands together with a loud clap. As you say ‘listen’ cup your hands round your ears. As you say ‘break’ mime breaking a bread roll in front of you. As you say ‘fellowship’ everyone in the circle should link arms and rush to the centre - being careful not to bump heads. When you have done this a couple of times see if the children can remember the four things. Remind the children that this week we have learnt about fellowship - Christians fellowship when they gather together.


SONG: 2 mins
To the tune ‘What shall we do with the drunken sailor?’

    We should not stop gath-er-ring
    to-gether with-o-ther believers,
    We should not stop gath-er-ring
    to-gether with believers,

    Hebrews 10 verse 25
    Hebrews 10 verse 25,
    Hebrews 10 verse 25
    to-gether with believers.


This song works well if you start really slowly and get faster and faster. Older children might not be keen to sing but might enjoy rapping the words.

 

Week 3

Week 3 objectives: To discover that Christians can meet together in groups of different sizes and that a church is the group of Christians meeting together, it is not the building. 

GAME: 7 mins
Aims: To play a game where the children form groups of different sizes. 
You will need: A permanent marker, balloons, some music and the means to play it.

Before the session blow up the balloons and draw a simple face on each with a permanent marker pen. Place the balloons in the centre of your room. 

Explain to the children that while the music plays quietly they need to walk around the room on their own. After a while the music will start to get louder. As it gets louder ask the children to start walking around in groups. Tell them how many people they need in each group. For example if you call out ‘three’ the children need to start walking around in groups of three.

Once everybody has been walking around in a group for a while turn the music down and encourage the children to start walking around the room on their own again. 

Keep alternating between times of quiet and loud music but vary the number of people required in a group. For example call out ‘four’ then the next time ‘six’. If the children do not have enough people in their group they can take balloons from the centre to count as people. For example in a group of four there could be two children and two balloons. 


TALK ABOUT: 5 mins
You will need: A large sheet of paper or whiteboard, a Bible and marker pens.  

Before the session write the verse on a large sheet of paper or whiteboard. Read the verse aloud to the children and underline the phrase ‘gathering together’. 

Remind the children that last week we talked about Christians gathering together to help one another live God's way. Draw four or five stick people next to the verse. Draw an arrow above the stick people pointing upwards. We learnt that Christians can help each other by (1) doing things together and (2) through fellowship. Draw a big circle around the stick people. Explain that ‘fellowship’ is the word the Bible uses to describe times when Christians teach, challenge, comfort, support and encourage one another. Christians believe that when they spend time together in this way the Holy Spirit works powerfully among them, helping each one of them learn and grow to live God’s way.

Talk about the game the children have just played. Talk about the game starting with the children walking around on their own. Explain that the Bible teaches that it is important for Christians to spend time with God on their own, talking and listening to Him. But last week we learnt that it is also important for Christians to gather together in groups. Talk about how you can’t have a group of just one person, there needs to be more than one.

Talk about the children gathering together in different sized groups. Explain that the number of Christians that gather together in a group could be two, four, ten, twenty etc. 

Ask the children why it might be nice to sometimes get together in small groups and other times in big groups. Ask the children if they have ever been in a group where hundreds of Christians have gathered together. If a child has been in such a group ask them what it was like and what everybody was doing, or talk about an experience you have had. Briefly ask the children where Christians might meet together and discuss the answers the children give.


CHALLENGE: 3 mins
Divide the children into pairs and give each pair a piece of paper and a couple of pens/pencils. Explain that they have 20 seconds to draw a church building. Count down from 20 to zero. 

Ask the children to show their pictures and talk about what they have drawn. Ask the children why they think you asked them to draw a church building and not a church. Explain that the church is a group of Christians meeting together. Although many church buildings are very beautiful and useful, wherever a group of Christians meet together they are the church. The church is not the building.

If you have time explain talk about the local and Universal Church. Explain that Christians believe there is one big Church called the Universal Church. The big Church is made up of all Christians everywhere – it stretches around the world. It is in fact made up of all Christians that are alive now and have ever lived.

Explain that it is not possible for all Christians in the Universal Church to meet together in one place, instead lots of Christians meet together in smaller groups close to where they live. These groups of Christians are called local churches. All around the world there are thousands and thousands of local churches.

Christians often get together in their local churches on a Sunday because this is the day on which Christians have gathered together for hundreds of years. But Christians get together on other days too. 

SONG: 2 mins
To the tune ‘What shall we do with the drunken sailor?’

    We should not stop gath-er-ring
    to-gether with-o-ther believers,
    We should not stop gath-er-ring
    to-gether with believers,

    Hebrews 10 verse 25
    Hebrews 10 verse 25,
    Hebrews 10 verse 25
    to-gether with believers.


This song works well if you start really slowly and get faster and faster. Older children might not be keen to sing but might enjoy rapping the words.


 

Week 4

Week 4 objectives: To think about the writer's instructions: Christians should not stop gathering together.

GAME: 7 mins
Aims: To play a game or complete a challenge without stopping. 
You will need: See ‘A one minute challenge for older children’.

A game for younger children…
Explain to the children that you are going to play a game of traffic lights. They are a car and need to obey the traffic rules that you are going to shout out. Most of the time they need to walk around (or run if you have an energetic group) trying to avoid bumping into one another. Explain that there are going to be lots of rules but the most important rule is that they don’t stop until you shout ‘red traffic light’ at the end of the game. Explain that when you shout…

‘Rain’- the children keep moving but wave their arms like windscreen wipers until you shout ‘no more rain’. 
‘Roundabout’ - the children need to turn around once whilst still moving. 
‘Speed bumps’- the children jump forward rather than walk.
‘Low bridge’- the children crouch down but keep moving forwards.
‘Horn’ - the children touch the floor once and make a noise like a horn.

Encourage the children to start walking or running around then begin to call out the commands. After a while call out the commands in pairs so the children have to do more than one thing at once. Eventually call out ‘red traffic light’, to end the game.

A one minute challenge for older children…
You will need a stopwatch and appropriate sports equipment such as a tennis ball, a football and a skipping rope. Give the children a challenge that is suitable for their age and ability such as throwing and catching a tennis ball, dribbling a football between two markers, or skipping. Explain that their challenge is to keep doing the activity for one minute without stopping.  


TALK ABOUT: 6 mins
You will need: A large sheet of paper or whiteboard, a Bible and marker pens.  

Before the session write the verse on a large sheet of paper or whiteboard. Read the verse aloud and underline the phrase ‘gathering together’. Remind the children that a couple of weeks ago we talked about Christians gathering together to help one another live God's way. Draw four or five stick people next to the verse. Draw an arrow above the stick people pointing upwards. We learnt that Christians can help each other by (1) doing things together and (2) through fellowship. Draw a big circle around the stick people. Explain that ‘fellowship’ is the word the Bible uses to describe times when Christians teach, challenge, comfort, support and encourage one another. Christians believe that when they spend time together in this way the Holy Spirit works powerfully among them, helping each one of them learn and grow to live God’s way.

Remind the children that last week we learnt that the church is a group of Christians meeting together. The church is not the building.

Read the verse again and underline the phrase ‘Don’t stop’. If the children played the running around game talk about how it was important that they didn’t stop moving. Sometimes they had to do lots of different things and maybe it was hard to keep going but to play the game they needed to keep on moving and not give up. Ask the children if they found it easy or difficult to keep going. Did they get tired? 

If the children did the ‘one minute challenge’, talk about how they had to keep on doing something for a whole minute without giving up. Ask the children if they found it boring or exciting to keep on doing the same thing. Was there something better they could have been doing or was it a good thing to do? Ask the children to imagine what it must be like for athletes to keep on training and training without giving up.

Talk about how the person who wrote the book of Hebrews was saying that Christians should keep on getting together with other Christians and not give up. The writer knew that it would not be easy; in fact the writer knew of some people who had already stopped. The writer was saying keep going, even if it’s not easy it’s important that you keep getting together. 


SONG: 2 mins
To the tune ‘What shall we do with the drunken sailor?’

    We should not stop gath-er-ring
    to-gether with-o-ther believers,
    We should not stop gath-er-ring
    to-gether with believers,

    Hebrews 10 verse 25
    Hebrews 10 verse 25,
    Hebrews 10 verse 25
    to-gether with believers.

This song works well if you start really slowly and get faster and faster. Older children might not be keen to sing but might enjoy rapping the words.