In this series, we will learn the life lesson of the importance of having a relationship with God and discover how God sees a prophet in each of us. During this worship series, children will be introduced to several prophets from the Old Testament. A prophet is defined as someone who hears messages from God and tells those messages to others. This series will incorporate different modes of communication used over time for people to share their messages. A game designed as a hybrid of Bingo and Tic-Tac-Toe will invite children to learn historical means of communication and help them communicate better with family members throughout the summer and this series.
“God Speaks to Me, 1, 2, 3” Game
This game board resembles a Bingo card, but it has only nine squares. Each square contains an image correlated to a method of communication or hearing a message. Throughout history, the methods of sending messages have changed. Each week, a different method of sending a message will be introduced to children, At the conclusion of the series, children will receive their own game card, which gives them the opportunity to play the game with their family. In addition, playing the game at home will reinforce the lessons learned from this summer series.
The game is played just like Bingo, except for needing only three in a row to cover. Each box represents a different form of communication or sending and receiving messages. During each week of the series, a new mode (and image) will be introduced, and each image will have a coinciding scripture passage listed. This will encourage children and their families to play the game while remembering the scripture texts and lessons from the prophets.
Throughout the series, the leader of the children’s messages will have a game card to introduce both the scripture and the communication image. (A creative way to introduce the communication methods to the children is to have actual versions of the communication methods if you can locate them. For example, try to find a real rotary telephone or tin cans and string. Good luck locating a telegraph!) At the conclusion of the series, provide each child with several copies of the game card (each with a random order of images). One card will need to be cut into pieces to use like Bingo balls and randomly pulled from a cup or bowl. In the final week of the series, the leader will demonstrate how to play the game by giving instructions and playing one time with the children.
Items needed to play the game the last week include game cards with the nine images placed randomly on the page; one card of nine images cut into squares to place in a bowl or cup to “call” the image (like Bingo balls), and small objects to cover each square when the image is called. You also need to have the opportunity to share scripture stories to reinforce each week’s lesson.
Fifth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C
Amos 7:12-15 New International Reader's Version
Then Amaziah said to Amos, “Get out of Israel, you prophet! Go back to the land of Judah. Earn your living there. Do your prophesying there. Don’t prophesy here at Bethel anymore. This is where the king worships. The main temple in the kingdom is located here.”
Amos answered Amaziah, “I was not a prophet. I wasn’t even the son of a prophet. I was a shepherd. I also took care of sycamore-fig trees. But the Lord took me away from taking care of the flock. He said to me, ‘Go. Prophesy to my people Israel.’
Today’s story is found in the Old Testament book of Amos. Amos was another prophet. Do you remember the definition of a prophet? (Allow children to respond.) That’s right, a prophet is someone who hears messages from God and tells others about those messages.
Amos was a prophet, but he had a job before sharing God’s messages. Do any of you know what his job was before he became a prophet of God? (Allow children to answer.) Those are all good guesses. Amos was a shepherd. In fact, when God spoke to Amos to tell him that God wanted to use him as a prophet, Amos was confident. He felt he could be very effective as a prophet and do a good job. Amos accepted the fact that God can use anyone, not just the important people. All people are important in God’s eyes. You are important to God. I am important to God. Amos understood this. He knew people might question him about God. He might meet people who were angry about someone telling them to make changes in the way they were living their lives and the choices they were making, but he felt confident in telling the world God’s message. What does the word confident mean? (Allow children to answer.) Being confident means that you have a feeling of trust and belief. You are certain about this feeling. Who gives you confidence in your life? Maybe your parents, your pastor, or your teacher. All of those are great answers, but no one gives you more confidence than God.
Today’s communication method is a video call. There are many ways to make a video call, such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or FaceTime. Have you ever been on a video call? This new way to share a message allows us to see and talk with many people at the same time. One awesome thing about Zoom is that we can talk with others from anywhere in the world. Sometimes, there are many people on a video call, and no one lives near anyone else. This gives us a great opportunity to spread a message to many places at one time. Amos probably wished he could have used a video call when he needed to spread God’s message outside of Israel. With God, you can spread God’s message of truth and love to the entire world. Spreading God’s message of truth and love was true for Amos, and it is true for you.
God used Amos to spread God’s message not just to the people in Israel. God challenged Amos to go outside of Israel to share the message with even more people. When we are part of a video call, on the screen, we might see people from all over the world. More important, we get a chance to talk to them without leaving our homes! Following and trusting in God sure has many surprises.
God of communication: There is no one more powerful than you. Thank you for the story of Amos and his confidence in you. This week, when we see someone on a video call, remind us to be like Amos as we realize that you won’t give up on us and our ability to spread your message all around the world. Amen.