"Hill Billy days" is an exciting theme. A backdrop with an old western town and a clothes line with wool socks and long johns helped to create the atmosphere. The puppets were dressed in cowboy hats and plaid shirts. Children's toys are helpful. Stick horses and stuffed animals were used as props. Western music also enhances the area.
LESSON TWO - THE BODY OF CHRIST SERVING OTHERS
To teach the children that:
1. Stay put or yall be lassoed to yur chair
Billy Jo comes in talking to his shoe. His shoe talks back to him. It is complaining that it is just no good. Nobody likes feet after all. It is just a smelly old foot! Good for nothing. Billy Jo convinces the foot that it is very important because it is a part of his body. He needs it to walk and run and kick Ellie May. The foot can brag about all the neat stuff the other parts of the body can do like strong arms, delicate pretty fingers that play the piano, etc. Billy Jo can explain how every part is important, even the foot. The foot is there to serve the rest of the body and take it where it needs to go. He can then tell the foot about how the church people are like a body and each of them is important. They each have a job of serving the rest of the body. Then Billy Jo can notice the kids and welcome them and open in prayer.
Although themes are exciting it is important to pray that the message will be clear and apparent in the midst of the fun. It is after all the goal of Celebration Station to introduce the children to the message of the Bible while they are having fun. Fun alone is not enough. Take time to teach the children how to pray. Make it informal yet sincere.
Allow the older kids to come up and help lead the worship time.
Ellie May has a bucket of things like chalk board erasers and things that depict certain jobs. She is trying to decide what she wants to be when she grows up. She can ask the children what they want to be when they grow up. The sheriff will come in and tell them that Jesus said the greatest job of all was to be a servant. (Read mark 10:42-45) Even children can be servants. Ellie may wants to know what it means to be a servant. The sheriff explains it to her and then Ellie May isn't so sure she likes being a servant. I want an important job she says.
Speaking of jobs, the Sheriff needs some very important people to help him with a very important job. He should choose three big guys to be first, two medium guys to be second and one small tyke to be last. Then he should build a pyramid with them. How does it feel to be first now? How does it feel to be last? You see Ellie may, being first or important isn't always that great. Being a servant makes you feel good inside and it makes others feel good. Doing what God wants you to do is what is important.
Games - Wild West Theme
Select two players from the girls group and two players from the boys group. This is an obstacle course game. Each child is given a hobby or stick horse. They have to ride around the barrels set up in a course and when they arrive at the last barrel, there are two foam horse shoes to throw in a bucket. After the two horseshoes are thrown, the contestant rides back and passes their horse back to the next player.
Select two boy/two girls. One team member is given a bucket and the other is given a broom. Use foam snakes with words from the memory verse on them. One member sweeps the snakes into the bucket of their partner. They must sweep only the words from the memory verse into the bucket though. The team with the most memory verse snakes wins.
Western music plays. The memory verse is delivered by "Pony Express". It is written on brown paper and wrapped around a brick or a scrub brush. When it is tossed onto the stage, the leader unwraps it and begins to teach the verse. While they are teaching the verse they stand very close to the puppet stage and a bandit sneaks up behind them. The puppet wears a banana over his nose and a cowboy hat. He is known as the "Memory Verse Bandit". After the verse is taught the Bandit steals it. The leader calls the sheriff. They post a reward sign for the Bandit and the Sheriff promises to be back next week to watch for the Bandit. This provides the leader with an opportunity to teach the importance of remembering verses, the importance of hiding them in our hearts.
"Whoever wants to be first must be a slave of all." Mark 10:44
The Bandit is silent so the following is an example of how the leader goes about teaching the verse.
Leader: Ok kids! It looks like the "Pony Express" just came by. That is how they used to deliver mail before there were cars. It looks like mama sent us a package. Let's unwrap it. Oh it's a memory verse. Why don't we learn it? Let's read it together.
Have the children repeat the verse until they can do it without looking at the sheet.
Pa Jones is back and wearing a splint.
Leader: Hey ther' Pa, what happened to you?
Pa: Well ya see, I climbed up on a ladder to fix them shutters of ma's. I was busy hammerin and I plum fell off the ladder and I hurt my arm. The doc put this here splint on it to help it heal.
Leader: A splint? What's that?
Pa: Ya see these here boards? They support my arm and hold my bones in place so they can heal.
Leader: That's pretty cool. Mama tol me that we Christians are supposed to support one another. I wonder, does that mean that I need to hook myself together with someone else. Hey Billy Jo, come here. (She proceeds to try to splint herself together with Billy Joe)
Pa: Fer goodness sakes Ellie may! Err ya dumb or something? Ma meant that wes supposed to help one another just like this splint helps my arm. When someone's hurtin we should try to help them as much as we can.
Leader: Oh I get it pa. Boy am I glad fer that. I would hate to be connected to ole Billy Joe all the time.
Pa: Well, I'd a better be goin. I have another doctors appointment in just a little while. See ya later Ellie May.
Leader: By Pa! Thanks for teachin me about helpin others.
Billy Jo comes runnin in with some goodies. He asks who would like some. He tells the kids who want some to come up and line up in front of him. He then goes to the end of the line and starts to pass out treats from the end. He can tell the kids that the Bible says the first shall be last and the last shall be first. He should run out of treats before he gets back to the beginning of the line (have some hidden in your pocket to give them after you are done making your point). We are often so worried about ourselves that we don't care if other people get hurt or left out.
Ellie may can close with the story of the disciples who wanted to sit at the right hand of Jesus. Life isn't about getting but about serving. God tells us that the most important job we have as his body is to serve others. It is hard to put other people first but that is what God wants us to do. He wants us to be concerned about others more than we are concerned about ourselves. What does this mean? It means that when mom asks you to help you don't worry about whether you are the one who made the mess. You do it because God wants you to serve your mom. When there is only one piece of cake and two kids you say go ahead and take it. We will be rewarded in heaven for being servants of Christ on earth.
Copyright 1998, Sheryl Coats