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Post your ideas, lessons, and resources for this wide-ranging topic on the subject of "The Church, going to church, the importance of participating in worship, paying attention, what is "church," etc.



We have two related "Worship topics" here in this forum. The other one is more about the "parts" of worship and is found here.

Please also check the 1 Cor 12 "Body of Christ" ~ lesson topic.

Last edited by Neil MacQueen
Original Post

Mr. Bean in Church

Two really funny video clips on YouTube from the English TV series, "Mr Bean."  Kids will probably recognize Mr. Bean from his comedy movies. 

Good discussion starters about paying attention, staying awake, pew etiquette, not being a distraction to others. See my discussion ideas below.

The first clip here is a portion of the longer clip that comes next.

Discussion Ideas:

  • You ever felt like that?
  • What did Mr. Bean do wrong?
  • What should Mr. Bean have done to do better?
  • The "blah blah blah" of the preacher heard in the background is interesting too. How much of our worship services sounds like that to you? (the young children)  What could they change to make it more "understandable"?
  • What could the man sitting next to Mr. Bean have done to help Mr. Bean in worship?

Lessons About Going to Worship, Going to Church

These links take you to the free lesson plans I wrote some time ago and posted at my Sunday Software website. See disclosure below.

(1) Software Lesson–  Students can play Sunday Software’s “Attack of the Sunday School Zombies” game. This game has many Bible verses chosen to address common complaints young people have about "church" and "going to worship."  This software program is FREE to the supporting members of Rotation.org. Learn more.

(2) Game & Demonstration Lesson Students will play a Bible verse matching game using the key verse Hebrews 10:24-25. Then they will learn and practice several techniques for going about worship differently.

(3) Zombie Video Lesson– Students will watch a video about “why go to church” and then make their own version of it for use in your church (which may include “zombies”).  The video is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oUJpJyth3J4 You can watch it online or download it.

(4) Science demonstrations Students will do several science experiments that illustrate the concepts of “help” (catalyst) and “hinder” (inhibit), and look at ways their behavior helps or hinders their participation at church and that of others.

More:   Worship and Songs  -- Two song suggestions, a “Mr. Bean” video about worship, and a skit suggestion.




Looking for Bible Verses that might help with people's attitudes and complaints about Church and Worship?

Attached are two pages from the Sunday School Zombies software game guide which show the Bible passages that "Super Kenz" uses to talk to the zombies about their attitudes. (In the software game they are narrated and additional comments, advice, and conversation is heard and seen.)

PDF 1   PDF 2




Below is an example of one of the Bible passage graphics from the PDFs linked above and used in the game. These verses can be used outside the game as items for discussion.

Inside the game, these Bible verse graphics are narrated and discussed back and forth between the zombie and "Super Kenz the Bible Kid."  Super Kenz elaborates on what she thinks the Bible verse is trying to say to young people, and then gives the zombie advice for having a better attitude.  In the example, a church lady named Ms Moreno is wandering the church halls upset about all the meetings and events she has to go to, and thinks she doesn't need the church to be a Christian.

sundayschoolzombies-example

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Last edited by Neil MacQueen

Reasons Why People Don't Go to Church (and some do)

A YouTube video produced by Central Films about the reasons people don't want to go to church, and why some people do.  

Great discussion starter.  You could come up with 5 reasons people don't come to your church, and 5 reasons they do, and videotape them!


What is the Church?

Another good discussing starting video from Central Films

("Be" the church, not "go" to church. What is the church? The church is you.)

Three favorite "demonstrations" about "What is the Church" and "We're Stronger Together"

These were originally children's sermons I did, but I've also used them in Confirmation and Sunday School classes. Elaborate on their meaning as you will.

Light as a feather

One person lays on the floor and you invite another to try and lift and move them across the room --using just one hand. They can't. Then you invite the whole group to surround the person on the floor, each placing one hand under the person's body, then lift on the count of three.

Tip:  "Spot" the person's head in case the lifters accidentally drop the person laying down.

After doing this demonstration, we recreate it, labeling the person on the floor with all sorts of things like, "learning, teaching, serving, mission, creating a worship space, counseling, worship, music, prayer, etc etc etc."   The single hands represent each of us. Adjust size of student and number of hands allowed to be used for the weight of the person laying down and strength of the kids doing the lifting.

Surfing the Body, aka, "Holy Rollers"

All the kids, save one, lay down on the floor next to each other like rollers on a conveyor belt. One small child gently lays across the first two kids and on "go" all the logs start to SLOWLY roll in the same direction. This "conveys" the small child across the "rollers" and deposits them at the other end of the logs.

Needs space. A great activity for 8+ kids. Fun to have a youth group help be "Holy Rollers."  The rolling only works with practice and timing!  Good as a family night activity too.

Stronger Together

Give kids popsicle sticks and invite them one-at-a-time to "show how strong they are" by snapping them. Invite them to grimace and grunt!   That's easy!   

Now distribute 10 to 12 new popsicle sticks to all the kids and invite the strongest person to come forward. Ask "Hulk" is he or she thinks they can break the sticks. They'll say yes, and that's when you pull the switcheroo.   Collect all the stick, put a rubber band around them to hold them together, and hand them to Hulk.  Hulk get mad. Hulk get angry!  Hulk won't be able to break the sticks.  We're stronger together when we face big problems and needs.

Wormy opens a treasure chest!

Hey cool! This post was featured in the "Hidden Treasures at Rotation" list.  I wonder what other jewels are waiting for you?



"Come to the Table" by Sidewalk Prophets is a great song with a music video and lyrics about those who are called by Christ to come to his table. Definitely discussion producing!


"We all start on the outside, on the outside looking in, this is where grace begins."
(full lyrics below)

You might think it's about the Communion Table (and it could be!) ...but it's about something else too, perhaps "church" is the Table we are called to come to, the feast, the fellowship. Or perhaps it is the Table of Reconciliation that God spreads before friends and enemies (Ps23).

Note in the video all the burdens people are carrying as they respond to the invitation. How do we invite others?  What burdens and barriers keep us from sitting together as the children of God?

https://youtu.be/DXXxLwxfo0U

I can easily imagine a group of students re-enacting the various "cameos" in this video...people coming with their pasts and issues, as the music or music video rolled. They would come to the Communion Table and take a seat—it could be a powerful thing to create and show in worship prior to Communion.

FYI:  Their song "You Love Me Anyway" feels like the song you sing AFTER "Come to the Table."

"I am the man who yelled out from the crowd who yelled out from the crowd for your blood to be spilled.   ....but you love me anyway."



Lyrics to Come to the Table

(The lyrics are available at many sites across the internet. Used here for the purposes of teaching and commentary. Almost every line begs a question!)

We all start on the outside
The outside looking in
This is where grace begins
We were hungry, we were thirsty  
With nothing left to give
Oh the shape that we were in
Just when all hope seemed lost
Love opened the door for us
He said come to the table
Come join the sinners who have been redeemed
Take your place beside the Savior now
Sit down and be set free
Come to the table
Come meet this motley crew of misfits
These liars and these thieves
There's no one unwelcome here, no
So that sin and shame that you brought with you
You can leave it at the door
And let mercy draw you near
Just come to the table
Come join the sinners, you have been redeemed
Take your place beside the Savior now
Sit down and be set free
Come to the table
Just come to the table
To the thief, to the doubter
To the hero and the coward
To the prisoner and the soldier
To the young, to the older
All who hunger, all who thirst
All the last, all the first
All the paupers and the princes
All who fail you've been forgiven
All who dream, all who suffer
All who loved and lost another
All the chained, all the free
All who follow, all who lead
Anyone who's been let down
All the lost you have been found
All who've been labeled right or wrong
Everyone who hears this song
Just
Come, come to the table
Oh eh, come join the sinners you have been redeemed
Take your place beside the Savior
Just sit down and be set free
Oh come on
Just sit down and be set free
Come to the table
Come on now
Come to the table
You're welcome here
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Dave Frey / Ben Glover / Ben Mcdonald
Come to the Table lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc, Capitol Christian Music Group
Last edited by Neil MacQueen

Video Lesson Plan About "Reasons for Going to Church"

I originally wrote this for my 6th and 7th grade Confirmation class. Hope you find it helpful.

(1) Open with the question: 

“What do you like and don’t like about going to church?” Listen to their answers, help refine what it is they don’t like, but don’t stop to ‘counter’ their objections.  Important: Write down their comments on the board. You’ll refer back to them in the videotaping session. (5 minutes)

(2) View the video, “Reasons Why People Don’t Go to Church.”   

The video is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oUJpJyth3J4  Also posted below. You can watch it online or download it for playback on any computer and projector.  (5 minutes)

(3) View it again with the "script" in hand.

After viewing it once, give students a copy of video's script which I've posted at the end of this post. With the script in hand, ask students to view the video again, this time filling in the responses which the people on the video give to the reasons why not to go to church.  (8 minutes)

*You can skip Steps 2 and 3 for young children, and simply go right to Step 4.*

(4) Review the Bible Verse:

Hebrews 10:24-25  “Let us be concerned for one another, to help one another to show love and to do good. Let us not give up the habit of meeting together, as some are doing. Instead, let us encourage one another all the more….”  (5 minutes)

Ask:  What does this Bible verse tell us is the REASONS we should be together?  (keywords: to show concern, help, love, do good, encourage).
Ask: Does it say anything about judging others? telling others what to do? (No.)

**Write down the keywords from this verse on cue cards which students will hold up during the end of the video.  If you’re short on time, do this in advance of the lesson.

(5)  Make your own video: “Reasons Why We Go to Church”  (20 minutes)

Working in small groups, one student will stand in front of another in front of the video camera. On “action” start recording and the first student states their “reason why not to go to church,” after which the second student pops out from behind and immediately offer a counter-point “reason why TO go to church!”   Do this for 4 or 5 different ‘reasons’.

To create their pairs of 4 or 5 different reasons/responses, consult the list the kids made at the beginning of the lesson. Mix them with some of the reasons you heard on the video to come up with four or five “CUE CARDS” on which the students are to write their “reason/response” for each pair to quote during the videotaping.

For fun, vary how the students stand in the frame and how the one pops up in front of the other.  Press the “pause” button on your camera while it’s recording so that a new pair can step onto the stage and be videotaped.

On the final shot of the video, have all your student pairs in the shot, and have the kids in front read the first half of the video, and then have their partners pop up and read the second half of the scripture to the camera. Keep it tight and fun.

Suggestion: Practice Once, then shoot your Video and Review it, talk it over and make adjustments, then repeat Videotaping again for the final product.

Share it with your congregation!

Here is the script they used in the video with the responses left blank for your students to fill-in as they watch the video a second time.

I can’t go to church until I get my life together

_______________

Church is filled with hypocrites

_______________

All they care about is your money

_______________

Is there some kind of dress code

_______________

Church makes me nervous

_______________

I’m not sure I believe everything you believe

_______________

Church is for wimpy girly men

_______________

If you knew me and what I’ve done, you wouldn’t want me

_______________

You can come to my church even if you are

_______________

It’s not about religion, it’s about a relationship.

Please, come to my church, where nobody is perfect, where beginners are welcome, where socks are optional, but grace is required, where forgiveness is given, where hope is alive, and where it’s okay to not be okay, -really.

Zombies Bible Science Lesson

Zombies Science Lesson about “going to church”


I originally wrote the following "science" lesson sketch as part of a set of lessons that included playing my "Attack of the Sunday School Zombies" software (which is now free to supporting members at Rotation.org). A "Church Zombie" is someone whose bad attitude or experiences have overtaken them and turned them away from church and from God.

Some of these were originally used as topic-starters with my Confirmation Class.

SUMMARY:

Students will help me do some science demonstrations that illlustrate the idea of “catalysts” and “inhibitors,” —things that they can do to help or do to hinder friends and family members feeling connected in church and wanting to go to worship.

You’ll do the experiments/demonstrations first, then move into the Bible study. 

Catalysts and Inhibitors

  • In science, a “catalyst” is a substance that causes something else to change.
  • An “inhibitor” is something that keeps a reaction from happening.

 The key idea: In church, there are some attitudes and people who are catalysts (they help you and promote change), and some people and attitudes that are inhibitors (they keep you from appreciating something, or learning/listening).

The following demonstrations are to be performed by the kids as directed by the teacher.  Prep and test all experiments in advance.

LESSON PLAN

(1) Do Catalyst Experiments

“Foam Fountain” aka “Elephant Toothpaste” –two different really fun experiments that are easy to do! Students will mix yeast with hydrogen peroxide to create a foam fountain. It’s very cool.
Here’s a link to a video of the two experiments and instructions.
http://www.sciencebob.com/expe...deos/video-foam1.php
If this link ever goes dead, google ‘yeast and peroxide foam fountain experiment.”

Explain that the yeast is the “catalyst,” something that causes another thing to change. Explain that yeast is the catalyst in many foods such as bread and beer.  Say that Jesus used the example of yeast in Matthew 13 to explain how God’s Kingdom appears to be small but can create something big.  When we open ourselves up to the presence of God in worship, prayer and service, God’s power is a catalyst to changing our lives and the lives of those around us.

The church is like the right ingredients we collect in the fountain. When we have the “right stuff” God’s power can do amazing foaming things through us!

(2) Inhibitor Experiment

“Homemade No-Heat Lava Lamp”  –Fill a 1 liter plastic bottle 1/4 full with warm water and 3/4 full with vegetable oil. Add a few drops of red food coloring. Drop in one or two alka seltzer tablets for a homemade “lava lamp” !  The bubbles will move the oil.  Then, add a few tablespoons of vinegar to speed up the reaction.  See it described here: http://www.sciencebob.com/experiments/lavalamp.php

Now repeat the  experiment in a wide-mouth mason jar, however, this time fill the jar half full of cold water, drop in several ice cubes, and then add the alka seltzer. The cold slows down the reaction, i.e. “inhibits” it. (The point: we sometimes inhibit others from paying attention in church.)

Explain that the ice is an inhibitor to the reaction. If you look at the ingredients for Alka-Seltzer, you will find that it contains citric acid and sodium bicarbonate (baking soda). When you drop the tablet in water, the acid and the baking soda react — this produces the fizz (release of carbon dioxide).   The cold slows down the dissolving, which slows down the reaction.  (The point: How do we slow down others appreciation for what’s going on in worship or Sunday School?)

(3) Do the Bible Study:

Have these written on the board, read them aloud, then discuss.

INHIBITOR VERSES:

I Corinthians 10:32
Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God.

Ask:  What sort of behavior could you show in church that might cause someone to “stumble” –not want to come back, not feel welcome, not feel our message is true?

Matthew 19:14
But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.”

Ask:  What are some “cold” behaviors we might show in church that would inhibit others (get in the way) from listening the a lesson?  a sermon?  a song?

CATALYST VERSE

Hebrews 10:24-25
Let us be concerned for one another, to help one another to show love and to do good. Let us not give up the habit of meeting together, as some are doing. Instead, let us encourage one another all the more.

Ask students to circle the “action” words in that verse (be concerned, help, show, meet, encourage).

Name something you could do in church that would help others

  • Get to Church
  • Pay Attention in Worship
  • Attend Sunday School more regularly
  • Obey God everyday

(4)  Close

Using a plastic 35mm film canister (from your local photography store), add a tablespoon of vinegar to the canister and add an alkaseltzer tablet. Quickly seal the canister and turn it upside down to create a rocket!  It will pop up in about 3 seconds so move quick.  BEFORE dropping in the tablet, with students gathered close, tell them that “The canister is the church, they are the vinegar, and God’s Spirit is the tablet.  When we put ourselves in the church and invite God’s Spirit to lead us, amazing things can happen.”  Drop in the tablet.

Option: After the one canister pops, give each child a canister and have them repeat the experiment one after the other for dramatic effect.

The following suggestions come from a set of lesson ideas I originally developed for a young Confirmation class I was leading. Feel free to adapt them!  -Neil

SUMMARY:

Students will play a Bible verse matching game using Hebrews 10:24-35 about the right attitude to have in worship, and then PRACTICE some techniques they can use in worship to get more out of worship

(1) Bible Verse Matching Game:

First, print the following verses from Hebrews on posterboard and then cut the words into separate phrases. The first time you cut them, leave them in large phrases. When the students complete reassembling the verse, cut the phrases into individual words. You can do this as a group, or in teams. Time how long it takes them to put the words in order.

Before playing with the verse pieces, open Bibles to Hebrews 10:24-25, read and comment.

Here is the verse you will be cutting into phrases, and then into individual words.

Hebrews 10:24-25
Let us be concerned for one another, to help one another to show love and to do good. Let us not give up the habit of meeting together, as some are doing. Instead, let us encourage one another all the more….

After assembling the verse, ask students “on the count of three, put your finger on the most important words in the verse.”  Ask them “why” they chose the word. You can do this a second time. Follow up on some of the things they share.

(2) Demonstrations:

Point of View:  Kids often don’t know what to do in worship, or don’t enjoy certain practices. The following demonstrations of "techniques to get more out of worship" will give them ways to engage elements of worship in a different way.  Introduce this activity to them with that understanding.

Assign each of the following “Demonstrations” to a student or students. Print each item on a piece of paper and have them work on it for a few minutes. Then have them lead the class in the demonstration of the technique.  Here are three demonstrations:

1. Prayer of Confession Pressure Practice

Demonstrate:  Have a student lead the others in a Prayer of Confession with the following instructions. (Use a prayer from last week’s worship bulletin.)  Instructions: At the very beginning of the Prayer of Confession with the congregation, press your hands together as hard as you can, then gently release them as the prayer moves to a conclusion.  Time it so that the pressure gradually reduces until your hands are completely relaxed at the very end of the prayer.  (The pressure mimics sin and the relief/forgiveness which we are meant to experience in prayer. It also serves as a kinesthetic ‘focus’ for the student’s mind during prayer.)

2. Seeing instead of listening to the Choir

This demonstration teaches your students to take their minds off the music they don’t like, and focus instead on the person sharing the music. As soon as the Choir starts to sing (which is probably some old-fashioned, not-so-kid-friendly-tune), instead of listening, look for one of the following choir members:

  • Most “into” singing.
  • Most happy face.
  • Most calm.
  • Scariest looking.
  • Most lost looking.

Then say to yourself, “I may not like the song, but I like THEM liking the song!”

Demonstration: Write each of the above ‘Most’ roles on slips of paper, shuffle them, and have the students take a slip. Then begin singing a song and watch who got what role!  Do this several times. It will be fun and help get the point across.

3. The Lord’s Prayer Challenge

I’ve used this technique for decades to freshen up my speaking of the Lord’s Prayer during worship. It also teaches students that by speaking familiar words differently, new meanings emerge.  (*Note: this idea was written up and used in the Writing Team's Lord's Prayer set).

Share and discuss this example with your students:
“THY Kingdom come,”
“Thy KINGDOM come,”
“Thy Kingdom COME!”
Ask what each version seems to be emphasizing.  For example, Emphasizing “THY” tells us to ask for God’s kingdom and no other kind.  Emphasizing “KINGDOM” suggests what we are praying God will send. Emphasizing “Come” adds a note of urgency. We need the Kingdom!

To demonstrate:  Stand in a circle and have each student speak a line of the Lord’s Prayer in succession emphasizing one word in their sentence differently than all the rest. When you get to the end of the prayer, start over with the first student again with this rule: you must pick a different word in your sentence to emphasize. Do this several times.  It is quite effective.

Have the Lord’s Prayer written out on the board for all to see when you do this.

Finish:

Make a list of “things you can do next time in worship to change-up your experience.”
Here are a few starter ideas:

  • Sit with the organist.
  • Take up the offering.
  • Sit with someone who is alone.
  • Pass the Peace to someone at the opposite end of the sanctuary.

 If possible, sign up kids to do these things NEXT SUNDAY (or today if you're using these on Sunday morning).

Closing Prayer Activity:

Hand each student one of the key words from the scripture verse. Ask them to lay the verse piece down as you read the verse aloud. When you complete a phrase, add a line of prayer, such as, after reading, “show love and to do good,” say, “Help us to love and do good this week, rather than just saying the words or thinking we are good.”

 

"Chuck Knows Church" ~a humorous video series on YouTube

Produced by the United Methodist Church. Also available for free DOWNLOAD at www.chuckknowschurch.com -- https://chuckknowschurch.com/archive?tid=All

A humorous collection of videos about the parts of worship and the sanctuary, practices and such featuring a comedian as the pastor. Some of the videos are NOT for kids (too boring) but others are.  Many would work well for younger youth and teens, and Confirmation Classes.

You could either use them with your kids,  or use Chuck's as an inspiration for making your own particular to your worship space and practice, or have your KIDS MAKE THEIR OWN  as part of a Video or Drama Workshop. 

Some feel like they could be children's sermons, so you could use them as inspirations to liven up your OWN children's sermons.

Playlist on YouTube of all the Chuck Knows Church videos https://www.youtube.com/playli...0qN1o6-Iqk5_vvd3zqER

Here are three of the many videos available.

This next one starts a little slow (though the jokes are funny) but picks up and does a good job of explaining "sermons."

Love this second one. Robes are pretentious, IMHO. Glad they are on the way out. But the video shows you the sense of humor in the collection.

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