GameLife 123 / Children’s Focused Church Planting
[GameLife 123 is Bible Discovery for Children using the “Three Thirds Method” Look Back, Up, & Forward]
WARM UP LOOK BACK
CARE ~ Greet by Name. Name Game Freeze Tag. Ask “What was the “highlight” of your week?”
CHECK UP & CELEBRATE ~ “Did You Practice? HOW did you OBEY? WHO did you SHARE with?”
THE LORD’S PRAYER ~ Pray the Lord’s Prayer with the students. (Gospel Here or Later)
VISION ~ “Let us encourage and help one another become known as Champions for Eternity!”
LISTEN to Jesus, OBEY His commands and SHARE the truth with others.
1 Game Experience
1 Game Experience LOOK UP
EXPERIENTIAL-GAME ~ Play the experiential-game for this lesson.
2 Bible Discoveries
DISCOVER GOD’S STORY ~ Share: Creation to Christ Hand Motions (Gospel Here or Earlier)
DISCOVER TODAY’S BIBLE TRUTH AND PASSAGE: Read or summarize the
passage and then ask: What Choice did someone make? What was the Result of that Choice?
READ THE PASSAGE AGAIN (Ask students to retell the passage in their own words or act it out READ THE PASSAGE AGAIN (Ask students to retell the passage in their own words or act it out as a drama with the students). Then ask: What does it teach about God? & About People?
3 Life Opportunities
3 Life Oppurtunities LOOK FORWARD
[Opportunity to Engage the Spirit & Heart]
WORSHIP ~ Sing a song or two together. (Gospel Here or Earlier)
[Opportunity to Engage the Mind]
GAME Question ~ How is the game we just played like the Bible truth?
BIBLE Question ~ Memorize the Bible verse about today’s Bible truth.
LIFE Question ~ HOW will you practice the Bible truth in your life?
WHO will you share it with?
[Opportunity to Engage the Will / Practice & Action]
COMMIT IN PRAYER ~ Pray a prayer of commitment, having the children pray after you [Pause to allow children to listen for God’s voice] Celebrate Faith in Christ!
PRACTICE ~ Have the students practice what they are going to do.
Training CFCP Leaders
Children’s Focused Church Planting
GameLife 123 is Three Thirds Bible Discovery
This icons means that the kids are all together playing the game. If the group is too large, you can separate into multiple groups to play the game.
This icon means that the kids will gather around the leader in a half circle.
This icon means that the kids will divide up into small groups. The boys should be together in groups and the girls should be together in groups. There should be 4-6 kids per group, or whatever number of leaders you have, you can divide the kids up between them.
The first and second parts of the lesson are interchangeable. For example, if you want to play the game first, you can. Or, if you want to play it after the care, worship, prayer and vision you can. Another option is to tell the Bible story first, and then play the game.
CARE: During the care portion, you can ask questions like: “What are your highs and lows from this past week?” or “What is one thing you are thankful for and one thing you are stressed about this week?
This should be a time of celebration and joy that everyone should look forward. Encourage those who share and have the rest of the children praise God for things God is doing, not praising the individual. If you have very large numbers of children, have children turn to the child next to them after hearing the question and tell them the answer. Challenge all children to be ready to share next week.
If you are short on time, a simple version is to ask:
- How did you obey?
- Who did you share with?
For those with more time, you can follow the below format:
- Model Accountability: Coaches briefly tell your “obey” and “share” stories
- Ask: Did anyone share the Creation to Christ Hand Motions with anyone?
- Ask: Can anyone remember and retell the Bible story we heard last week?
- Ask: Raise your hand if you obeyed or put into practice the truth learned and share how.
THE LORD’S PRAYER: Simply pray the Lord’s prayer below. As the kids learn it, they can pray it too. Remember to us a simple version, like the one below, so the kids will understand it.
Matthew 6:9-13 (New Living Translation)
9 Our Father in heaven,
may your name be kept holy.
10 May your Kingdom come soon.
May your will be done on earth,
as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today the food we need,
12 and forgive us our sins,
as we have forgiven those who sin against us.
13 And don’t let us yield to temptation,
but rescue us from the evil one.
For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
NOTE: Please do not just say the words of the Lord’s Prayer. Each week take one principle and teach the children about the principle of prayer. Example praying for “daily bread” is not just praying about food, it is yes praying for our food, but also our daily needs, the needs the child may have. Teach children God does not always answer, “yes” to our prayers. Even a good parent says “no” to a request for candy before a meal. God always answers prayer, the answer may be “yes,” the answer maybe “no,” or the answer may be “wait.” Teach children God knows what is best for our lives (sad, but it is important to also teach children that sin is in the world and bad things happen that God never designed to be in our world, like people dying from illness).
Principles to explain in the Lord’s Prayer Matthew 6:9-13
- Thank God that we are in His family – Matthew 6:9
- Honor God’s name in attitude and action – Matthew 6:10
- Pray for God’s will – Matthew 6:10
- Ask God for your daily needs – Matthew 6:11
- Ask forgiveness and forgive others – 6:12
- Seek God’s guidance away from evil – 6:13
- Praise God for the eternal kingdom that has all power and all authority – 6:13
GOD’S STORY: Creation to Christ Hand Motions
Have the kids stand up and invite a new kid each week to help share the hand motions as you say the phrases below. To help you remember the flow, just ask yourself, “What happened next?” For example, after a “Perfect World” (“What happened next?”) [Oh that’s right] “Sin Broke God’s Perfect World”, (“What happened next?”) “The Penalty for Sin is Death” and so on. You will be surprised at how quickly you and the kids remember the hand motions and phrases.
- In the beginning God created a perfect world
- Sin broke God’s perfect world
- The penalty for sin is death (Look up) But…God loves us and sent Jesus!
- Jesus is God’s son and he paid sin’s penalty
- Jesus was the only perfect man
- Jesus died
- Jesus was buried
- Jesus rose from death to life
- Because Jesus died for your sins
- Jesus now offers you the gift of eternal life
- Would you like this gift?
- With faith, ask Jesus to forgive your sins, with faith, ask Jesus to be your Savior Invite kids to respond in prayer: “God, thank you for loving me. / I have sinned against you. / I ask forgiveness for my sins. / I know I cannot remove my sins. / Thank you for sending Jesus. / I believe Jesus died on a cross to pay for my sins. / I believe that You raised Jesus from the dead. / Jesus be my Savior. / Jesus forgive me and save me from my sins. / I confess Jesus as my Lord. / Jesus be my life. / Thank you for your gift of eternal life. / I pray this in Jesus name. Amen.“
- Go tell everyone this good news!!!
CREATION TO CHRIST HAND MOTIONS
DISCOVER TODAY’S BIBLE TRUTH AND PASSAGE: Read or summarize the Bible passage once with the kids. Then read it again and/or tell it in your own words or work with the kids on acting it out as a drama. You can even have the kids draw a picture of the story. If time permits, you can ask engaging, participative questions after each reading. You can use the basic questions that adults use in a 3/3 house church format (What do you like? What is challenging? What does it teach about God? What does it teach about people?) Or you can make your own questions. You could also ask, “What choices were made in this story? What were the results of those choices?”, etc.…
LOOK FORWARD: As you start the look forward section and ask the Bible, game and life questions, make sure you tie them in with the vision. Say something like, “Hey kids, remember our vision is to listen to Jesus, obey his commands and share them with others? Well, now its time to talk about how to do that. Then ask the first question, “How is the game we just played like the Bible truth?” After discussing it, go into the next questions about how they will practice the Bible truth in their life and who they will share it with. End with praying together about your commitment and try to practice it if possible.
Creation to Christ Hand Motions
Training Children to Share the Gospel with their Family
Stay in Control
When Playing Games with Children
Divide and Control
Important: Separate ages into four groups: 4 and under [move to side with helper], 5-8 years [younger group], 9-12 years [older group], 13 and up [leader’s helpers]. If you have 100 children, divide and control. It is very easily if you have helpers divide in 4 groups of 25 and easily control the children. If you do not have 4 adults, quickly recruit additional “coaches” by recruiting young adults or the most mature and oldest of the children you have on hand. We call our helpers “coaches.” Divide into groups quickly, rather than counting all children. Quickly move to the first cluster of about 25 and say, “You are with Coach Jose” and quickly repeat. When you divide into small groups during the last third, have “boys only” groups and “girls only groups”, as you don’t want to mix girls and boys.
Coaches should avoid all gathering together in the same spot. Coaches must spread out and stay close to all Players and maintain control of the Players. Coaches that clump together are like chocolate chips in a cookie that are not spread out evenly.
Guideline: Discipline not Punishment
Punishment is given for past behavior, creating an “us vs. them” mindset. Discipline focuses on future obedience, creating a “we are in this together” mindset. After clearly explaining the rules, share that if they disobey, you will have no other choice but to discipline them to help them mature.
Important: A leader can be both an authority figure and a friend at the same time. If a leader is not passing out “Strikes” [see 3-Strike Rule below] the leader is not fulfilling his/her role as a leader, obviously not harsh, but leaders need to retain good positive control with large groups of children. Explain all the rules below the very first time with the children as soon as all the children gather. Repeat the rules quickly every week and as needed.
1, 2, Silence
This is a way to quickly get control and silence a group that is noisy. Call out “One” very loud and exaggerate the length of “OOOnnnnnne!” with arms outstretched and one finger up. Then, the leader puts up two of his/her fingers. Players then call back “Two.” Finally, the leader takes both hands across shoulders and moves them out like an umpire calling “safe.” Players are instructed to be totally quiet at the silence sign. Any player talking [or in fun calling out “3”] should be given a “Strike” [see 3-Strike Rule below]. Have children sit down or take one knee if you need more control.
If a player disobeys or is disruptive, take these steps in order:
- Warning 1: This is just a verbal warning to the player.
- Warning 2: If a player continues to disobey or disrupt, he/she is given warning 2.
- At warning 2, the player is moved away from the other players for 2 minutes.
- Warning 3: If a player still disobeys or disrupt, he/she will receive warning 3. At warning 3 the player is asked to sit out until they can behave, with the understanding of the importance of listening and respecting their leaders
“Integrity in Everything You Say” Principle
If a leader does not honor the integrity of the rule set, the leader will hurt the integrity of the Bible teaching. Example: If you say you will give out warnings for misbehavior, you must give them out.
Fun Ideas to Engage Children
Use their Whole body – Active children discipling uses methods of discipling that mean children are running around, moving and actively involved with their minds, bodies and using their 5 senses.
Relationships – Build relationships together as children and leaders. The most important thing is to build a positive relationship with them. Be a friendly leader whom they can trust and admire. Pray for them regularly.
Principles for engaging with children actively
Active discipling can be done inside or outside. Jesus used many different places and objects to help people learn. Active discipling is designed to be fun, engaging and also challenging. When you are working with children keep these things in mind.
- Keep whatever you say short and to the point.
- Bring the group close together to speak, especially when you are outside. Be aware of other distractions and try to minimize them.
- Change the type of activity every 5-10 minutes to keep them interested.
- Ask questions to make them think. Active learning is about being active in our minds as well as our bodies.
- Use games to create powerful experiences to learn from. The best learning comes when children discover things for themselves.
- Remember children are not all the same. They learn in different ways. There are many models to describe the styles of learning. This is the simplest. Some children learn better by hearing. Some learn better by seeing. Some learn better by doing things. If your time together has each of these elements then more children will be able to pay attention and learn about God’s word.
Ideas to engage children with the Bible outside or on a sports field
Often the best active children discipling is done with little or no resources. Many of the ideas here are done with just the leader and the children playing and involved together:
- Experiential Game – Play a game and then debrief it. See examples in the session, ‘Learning through Games’.
- Tell the Bible story then get them to retell it in pairs – The best way for someone to remember something is to teach someone else. So after you have told the group a Bible story, split them into pairs. Each person must retell the Bible story and then swap roles.
- Interview characters from the Bible story – After you have told a Bible story ask for children to volunteer to be characters from the story and bring them to the front (e.g. David and Goliath). Other children can then ask them questions about their part in the story and the decisions they made and the emotions they felt.
- Use objects to tell a story or explain an idea – Use simple objects to help tell the story. (e.g. ball, cricket bat, coins, photo, stick or fruit) You could also tell a story by moving from place to place that would link to the story (e.g. under a tree, beside a stream, beside a building)
- Act out the Bible story – Tell the story by asking children to take character roles. You may give them an object that will help define their role. (e.g. a robe, a sword) As the leader tells the story the children are asked to act out the story as a kind of drama.
- Ask good open-ended questions to challenge children’s thinking:
- What surprised you about the story?
- What do you think the main character learned from this experience in the story?
- How can you apply this idea to your life?