Helping kids get more out of worship

This weekend the children will join us in worship. Help them prepare for this time, not by packing up a few books or an iPhone to keep them happy/distract them, but by spending a few minutes talking about the Bible passage they’ll hear. Reading those verses would be a good way to go about this task. But make it more fun by using this idea at the family dinner table. (Or wherever your family is gathered together.) It’s a knock-off of the card game “Spoons.”

Kids playing a game of spoons

Gather enough spoons for everyone. (Unlike the real game of Spoons, everyone should have a chance to grab a spoon.) To avoid arguments, make sure everyone is equidistant from the pile!

Get out a Bible. (If you’ve got readers, one for everyone to follow along is an even better idea!) Set the stage by saying that this weekend is family worship and you’d like to read the Bible passage that will heard. But you won’t just be reading the story; you’d like to involve everyone. Point out the spoons and tell everyone to grab a spoon when they know the answer to a question. (Note: To print out these questions, click here.)

The first question is:

  • In what Testament in the Bible do we find stories about Jesus?

(I’ll bet someone blurt out the answer without grabbing a spoon!) Allow the first spoon-grabber with the correct answer (the New Testament) the privilege of finding the gospel of Mark in the Bible. Or make it another question as to how to quickly find the New Testament. (Kids in 3rd grade and up should know the answer.)

Announce the next spoon-grab:

  • Whenever you hear the number “twelve” in the story.

Start reading Mark 5:21-43. “Twelve” is mentioned in verse 25. Ask the first spoon grabber to tell you where this story takes place.
Answer: Verse 21, on a beach. (Ask someone else if the first one to grab doesn’t know the answer.)

Continue in this pattern — announcing the next spoon grabbing opportunity — before picking up where you left off reading. Here are a few more chances at the mad dash. (You may wish to reduce the number of questions asked for younger children)…

  • What the woman who had suffered for 12 years, did to receive healing from Jesus.
    Answer: verse 27, touched Jesus’ robe.
    Additional question to ask the “winner” (or just to ask everyone): What does this tell you about this woman? (Accept all reasonable answers. One possibility: she had great faith.)
  • What Jesus does in response to the woman’s healing.
    Answer: verse 30, asked “who touched my robe?”
    Additional question: Given the crowded situation (read verses 31-32), making it hard to figure out who had touched him, why do you suppose Jesus wanted to know? (Accept all reasonable answers. A couple of possibilities: Jesus cares about people; Jesus wanted to teach others about having faith.)
  • What the messengers said.
    Answer: verse 35, the news that the daughter of Jairus was dead.
    Additional question: Jesus had been on his way to heal this girl (may need to re-read verses 22-24), do you suppose the interruption with the woman who was bleeding, caused Jesus to miss the opportunity to save this girl? (Accept all replies.) How do you suppose that made Jairus feel?
  • What Jesus told Jairus when he heard the news.
    Answer: verse 36, “Don’t be afraid. Have faith.”
    Additional question: When have you been afraid?
  • What happened at Jairus’ house.
    Answer: verse 42, Jesus raised the girl from the dead!
    Additional question: Jesus had heard the news that the girl had died. Why do you suppose he went to Jairus’ house anyway? (Accept all responses.)
    What lessons can this story teach us? (A possibility: We can trust God no matter what happens).
    I wonder what lesson Pastor Doug will focus on this weekend?

Report back on how this went with your family. Do share!

Photo credits:
Click here for info on banner photo (not visible in readers or email).
A rousing game of spoons by woodleywonderworks, who licensed this photo on Flickr under a Creative Commons License.