We talk about a fresh start in assemblies with children and young people at the start of the Autumn or Spring term, but we can talk about it at any time. This assembly can be used in the traditional places, or at easter (links in with talking about the action of the cross), or even transition for year 6 (new start at a new school.)
It would be easy to end up with a ‘moral’ at the end of the story – thus ‘we can all have a new start and be eager to learn in our next year’, but that would be to undermine scripture. Rather, try to emphasise that as well as making a new start in the term, we can know that we always have a new start with Jesus when we come to him. This puts the emphasis in the right place.
- A baby doll
- An eraser/rubber
- A jug filled with water and a bowl to pour water into
- A hairdryer
- A cross (optional, at Easter)
You may also like to have a memory stick if you have the facilities (Power point and data projector) with the following images (search google!)
- Rubbing out mistakes
- A dirty faced child
- The trees being blown by the wind. If you can get a video of this, all the better (see tips category on how to download clips to your computer from Youtube to use without an internet connection.)
- A picture of Nicodemus
Invite three volunteers out (best choosing older children for this).
Show the eraser, pour the water, and blow air across the children with the hairdryer, and ask them what each of the items has in common. Get feedback first from the children at the front, then give a moment or two for the children in the assembly to discuss what they think the link is. It is unlikely that you will get the right answer, but encourage them all the same. Point out that they all have to do with making new starts. As you explain, show the images on the data projector. You use a rubber when you make a mistake so that you can make a fresh start. You use water to wash the dirt away and make a clean fresh start each morning. But what about the wind?
Explain that the wind is in the following story about someone who Jesus said could make a fresh start…. listen out for it. Jesus used it as an example to explain what he meant by a fresh start.
Tell the story of Nicodemus.
Point out that the question Nicodemus was the one Jesus answered: how can I get to heaven? Jesus answer – you need a fresh clean start. How that happens, and how the God’s spirit makes it happen is a mystery, but it happens all the same. Just as we have now idea where the wind comes from, or where it goes, but we know that it is there: we can hear it and feel it.
Say something like, ‘at this time of year we think of new starts and new beginnings. Each day we can start by remembering that the last day and night have gone, today is the start of new things if we want them to be. We can try new things, even change the way we are. It’s a new beginning. And the bible tells us that whenever we want to, no matter what we have done that we feel we shouldn’t have done, Jesus will always forgive us. And when he does, we make a brand new start as if we were brand new babies’