Sometimes (especially in a churchy/children's worky context) I make things which aren't really writing, even if they involve some writing. Anyway, that's what's on this page.
All-age service outline
For Palm Sunday
This is a Palm Sunday service I was supposed to do with someone else, but they were ill so I ended up planning and leading the whole thing myself! It uses quite an Anglican model but could be adapted for many styles of worship. I also turned the same planning into a sermon for our more traditional 9:30 service which can be found on my 'sermons' page.
Songs are suggested which fit the theme of each 'movement' of the service, but these could be swapped out for things you're more familiar with.
'Five Sentences' Sunday School storytelling technique
At our church's after-school club we needed a way of quickly communicating stories so that other activities could be based upon them. I hit upon the use of '5 Sentences' - a beginning, an end and three points to join them up. These proved highly effective. If you want to create your own, they take a bit of practice but can be very useful when you don't want to spend too long on storytelling and get on to other things.
Here are some examples of 5 Sentences which I wrote for a series on 'mountain top experiences'.
The Binding of Isaac
1. God wanted to test Abraham so told him to kill his only son Isaac to prove how much he loved him.
2. Abraham took his son Isaac and climbed up a mountain with everything they needed for the gift.
3. Isaac saw they had nothing to give to God but Abraham said God would provide something.
4. When they got to the top of the mountain, Abraham got ready to kill Isaac.
5. At the last second, God told Abraham to stop – he had already seen how much Abraham loved him.
The Ten Commandments
1. Moses climbed Mount Sinai to meet with God.
2. God and Moses talked for a long time about how God wanted people to live.
3. God said that people should love Him more than anything, and also love and be kind to one another.
4. Moses wrote down everything that God had told him.
5. The most famous instructions God gave Moses are called ‘The Ten Commandments’.
Elijah and the Prophets of Baal
1. Elijah was a prophet who loved God, but there were many people who loved a different god called Baal.
2. Elijah challenged the prophets of Baal to a contest – which God would give them fire from heaven?
3. No matter what the prophets of Baal did there was no fire from heaven.
4. Elijah made fun of the prophets of Baal – he even thought their god might be on the toilet!
5. When it was Elijah’s turn he poured water on the fireplace and then, after just one short prayer, fire came down.
1. Abraham went up a mountain to show God's love, Moses to show how to live, and Elijah to show His power.
2. Jesus went up a mountain to show His love, to show how to live and to show God’s power all at once.
3. Jesus was made to go up a mountain where he was nailed to a cross and died.
4. He did this because he loved everyone, and to help people to live good lives.
5. Three days later, God showed his amazing power when Jesus came back from the dead.
for Holiday Clubs
Every year I make a 'hub' for our church's holiday club. The images below show the main screen, which is projected above the stage, and almost every object on the screen is a clickable element which plays a jingle and shows a logo for a different part of the programme. Game timers, attention-getting klaxons, song music and lyrics, etc. are all accessible from within this same file which streamlines the technical side of running the club and creates a fun audio/visual language which can help children understand whereabouts in the session we are - usually by the second or third day they're dancing along to all the music!
The hubs are created in PowerPoint and really stretches that application's abilities - there are other programs which would be easier and better to use but I don't know how to use them. I have also created similar, but much more stripped down, hubs for after school clubs and Sunday schools.
Click on the Mega Makers thumbnail for a video with more information.
Mega Makers - 2014
The theme of this year's club was about making machines so I based the hub on a machine with menu items for each activity. The machine could even rotate to 'project' songs in one orientation, or run a quiz in another.
Arctic Explorers - 2015
This year I relied less on a menu and more on each thing in the Arctic base (Arctic Explorers was the theme of the club) linking to a specific part of the programme.
Landlubbers - 2016
This holiday club had a pirate theme so the hub became the deck of a ship. Again, each of the things on board linked to an activity or drama with a theme song, but this year I also had fun with the parrot who I animated to dance and sing along!
For After School Clubs
I love a quiz and over the course of almost a decade of Church children's work I've developed around half a dozen quiz formats, a few of which are outlined below. Some of these involve running around, some are for teams or individuals. If you wish to use any of these, feel free but please do drop me an email to let me know how you got on (or to ask for any clarifications).
Bible Or Bogus
This is a simple true/false quiz which is good for running around.
Questions are read out (or, ideally, projected - I tend to make interactive PowerPoint versions of the quiz with animations for each of the answers) in the form 'The first words in the Bible are...'. Two ends of the sentence are given, i.e. 'In the beginning' or 'Once upon a time', and these are each assigned to one end of the room.
The children must run to the end of the room assigned to the answer they believe is 'Bible' and avoid the end of the room assigned to the answer they believe is 'Bogus'.
This is a good way for kids to recap key story points at the same time as letting them burn off some energy.
Conquer The King
This is a great way of humiliating a vicar which, I dunno, might be a priority for you?
It's essentially an adaptation of the ITV quiz The Chase so that it
a) can be played with groups, and
b) slightly advantages the children.
You'll need a bunch of trivia questions and some dry-erase boards with markers.
An adult is selected to be 'The King' i.e. the expert on all things - give them a crown to wear to really rub it in. For each question, both 'The King' and the children (who are working as a team and can confer) write down the answer on their boards. The answers are then revealed and points assigned. The first to five points wins (this usually gives about a ten minute game).
The game is surprisingly balanced as the adult is working by themselves whereas the kids are pooling their knowledge and one of them will usually pull the answer from somewhere. If needs be you can always throw in a recent pop-culture question to give them a boost!
NB: To humiliate your vicar, make them the king, give them a really Bible literate Sunday school group to take on, and watch as all those weird Bible facts abandon them in their hour of need!
If I Were U
This is a game for individuals or small groups where you use trivia questions to solve a simple substitution code.
You will need 12 multiple choice questions written on bits of paper stuck around the room. Each correct answer tells you that a letter must be substituted for another, i.e. in the code an 'i' stands for 'u' and vice-versa. You will need 12 questions as each substitution goes both ways, and i and u are given to you at the beginning.
Make sure that if they put the wrong answers in this will conflict with something later, i.e. if they get question 1 right, but question 2 wrong, they will find that they have two substitutions for the letter 'a'. This tips them off that they've done something wrong!
The children work their way around the questions and fill out a letter grid. When they have a complete alphabet they can then solve a code where a key word or phrase - usually your 'take home message' for the session - is revealed.
So long as they get the correct answer to the code, you can assume they got all (or most) of the questions right.