I love telling the Bible stories in ways that the kids at church will see the story come to life. When I am preparing to teach the kids I think, “How will they remember this story? What is the best way for this story to stick?” The best way I know how to do that is by having them be “inside” the story. Bringing the story to life using props or better yet, creating your environment so they are actually inside the story.
This past Sunday I did the lesson on The Last Supper for our elementary kids who come to Kidz Church on Sunday mornings. Our Kidz Church is set up so that they do small groups first, then a large group worship time in our Fellowship Hall, then they go back to their small groups. I lead the large group worship time. For this lesson, I wanted them to really feel like they were at the Last Supper. I decided that I would turn our Fellowship Hall into the Upper Room. We would share a meal together that morning. Our meal would consist of bread (packaged rolls that I bought), grape juice, and cheese cubes (no, they didn’t have cheese at the Last Supper, but I thought it would be a good addition to our meal), Beforehand I sat up all the tables and chairs in long rows. I decorated the tables with white tablecloths and laid palm branches in the middle for decoration. I also set each table with plates, cups, and napkins.
I had a main table set up in the front of the room that I covered in a white tablecloth and palm branches, too. On it I had a really big basket draped in purple cloth with the rolls in it. I had 2 clear glass pitchers with grape juice and 4 chalices (used just as a prop and decoration). I also had the instrumental music from the Passion of the Christ playing in the background.
In Bible times when guests entered someone’s home they removed their sandals and had their feet washed by the servants. Before the kids could enter our Fellowship Hall, I made them take off their shoes. Then they took a place at one of our tables. They were all so excited because the room was set up different than normal and when they saw the plates and cups they knew they were getting some food to eat! Nothing excites kids more than food and candy!
I began by explaining to them why they took their shoes off. I also explained how Jesus wanted to show and teach us about humility by washing his disciples feet before they ate. Prior to this, I picked out 3 of our adult leaders whose feet I would wash. Those 3 adults came to the front as I washed their feet, all the while, explaining to the kids what I was doing and why. Some kids wanted their feet washed and some did not, but due to the large number of kids and time constraints, we just let them watch as I washed the adults feet.
After this I began telling the story of the Last Supper. How Jesus wanted his disciples to remember him with the bread and wine. How Jesus broke the bread (I actually broke bread) and how he poured the wine into the cup (I poured some grape juice into one of our chalices). I also told them how Jesus said that the one who dips his hand into the bowl with him would be the one to betray him (that being Judas). Then I told them that we were going to share a meal, just like Jesus did with his disciples. Our small group leaders helped pass out the bread, cheese and juice to the kids. Once all the kids were served, I had one of our kids (who happened to be my youngest daughter) lead us in saying a blessing. She chose for us to say the “God is Great” blessing. All the kids joined in with her to say this prayer. After that, they dug in to their simple meal. I think each child had at least 2 servings of everything! They LOVED it!
I really enjoyed this lesson with our kids. I think it really helped bring the story to life for them. They got to pretend like they were one of the disciples eating in the Upper Room for one more meal with Jesus. I pray that every time they hear this story, they will remember the time that we all shared a meal together.
Any time you can bring the story to life for the children at your church, I pray that you do that. I understand that not everyone can due to lack of space, budget money, or time constraints. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, but the simplest thing can be the one thing that the children in your ministry remember. Have fun with the stories, use your creativity, and help the Bible stories stick to your kids!