This assembly idea about how to listen to God and hearing God’s voice, could equally be called, how to not be distracted. But I worked it out based on the listening bit as that was the given theme for the assembly
You will need:
two £1 coins (or some similar coin which is worth enough for the kids to react, but blend a little bit in with the floor, but from experience because of how you will frame this the kids won’t notice)
A couple of balloons and scarves…though anything unusual will be fine.
a willingness on your part to be silly for about 10 seconds.
The point you will be making:
If you aren’t actively listening to God then you may not hear him speak. Key verses: Job 33.44 (God always speaks though we may not always be listening) and the story of Moses and the burning bush
What you do:
Before anyone comes into the assembly hall or classroom, or into church or wherever, plan where your volunteer child is going to walk. They will be walking in a straight line towards you, so across the front of the hall/church is good. Then right next to this path place your coin. Don’t put it right at the edge so that it is hard to see…ideally you want it to be right next to the path they will walk, but not so that they will step on it. Also hide to oneside balloons and scarf – I hid them in a corner at the far end of where my volunteer would walk.
Everyone comes in
After the usual greeting, ask for an observant and clever person to be your volunteer. Have them stand on one side of the hall, but face away from you, tell them only to turn around when you say, and then walk towards you. nothing more complicated. So they would be standing, for example, on the far right hand side at the front of the hall.
Now, tell them, and keep telling them not to turn around, and they don’t need to worry. IF YOU DON’T DO THIS THERE IS HALF A CHANCE THEY WILL TURN! If you aren’t sure you can trust them, then get an adult in the know to keep them facing away from you. As you walk back across the front, stop, keep talking, take the other £1 coin from your pocket, show everyone clearly what it is but motion for everyone to be quiet, and then place it on the floor, away from the other coin, but again just off the path of where they will walk.
Then continue to the far side of the hall and pick up the balloons and scarf. the only reason for these is as a distraction. Say go, and the volunteer turns round and walks towards you AND AT THE SAME TIME JUMP UP AND DOWN IN A VERY SILLY WAY SINGING STUPIDLY AND WAVING THE BALLOONS AND SCARF!
When they get to you, stop, look serious, and ask them if they saw the £1 coin?
They won’t have done. Show them where the second coin was on the floor and ask them to go and pick it up. They will and bring it back to you. Explain it was sad, but had they seen it you would have let them keep it. As you would have the other coin! Ask them if they saw the other one? Point it out. get them to pick it up.
Get some feedback from the rest of the crowd as to why they think the volunteer didn’t see the coin. You will get mainly that you were being distracting, which is of course true, and you could make this the main point.
However, the better way is as follows:
Explain that the reason they didn’t see the coins is they weren’t looking for them. Its like that with listening to God – In the bible we are told that God is always speaking, but we don’t always listen. We need to be paying attention and looking for the opportunity for when God might be speaking to us.
Explain that God speaks to us in different ways. Now, because of who I am, I talk to God and he talks to me, and I hear him speak in my mind – I tell people this, this may not be your experience in which case don’t say it…I also explain to the kids that it is not normal, and it is because i have a gift in the bible called prophecy, which doesnt make me particularly special. I then explain that God is always speaking to all of us in different ways, but we have to be ready to listen. What ways? Well maybe loads of coincidences…or a sad thing we need to deal with…or a happy thing…(you can come up with more examples) but start with explaining that the best place God speaks to us is when we read the bible, and we read something in there which really points to something God wants to say to us.
But the choice is, are we listening?
It starts with praying, and asking God to speak to us. Now the truth is, God is always speaking to us! But by praying what we do is to set our minds on actually listening for God directing us and speaking to us in all these different ways.
Go on, if you want to, to tell the story of Moses and the Burning bush, and how God got Moses attention to listen to what he had to say to him.
Finish with a prayer…and even finish by using the words of Samuel: speak Lord, your servant is listening.
BONUS CREDITS! 😉 I also told the children to keep their eye out for 5ps and other money over the next few days and see what they could find. I am hoping that this will help them to take the assembly idea about listening out for God speaking beyond the assembly hall.