One hour (just over) schools club idea: Joseph the dreamer. Listening to God for our hopes and dreams. This session works well for transition to new schools
overview of the session
This outline uses the story of Joseph to understand that God speaks to us in different ways to give us our hopes and dreams, if we will listen. These hopes will encourage us in hard times It works well as a Christian reflection activity for moving on to new schools or into a new class each year.
Rules are simply ‘things that upset the team’ – we go through this each week. We don’t have rules as such, but encourage the children to be considerate of each other. So we have ‘things that upset up’ – they come up with examples each week of what might upset us…only takes a moment or so. Kicking, biting, licking…doing the chicken dance at the wrong moment…twerking…
THERE IS NEVER A RIGHT MOMENT FOR TWERKING! (seriously…yesterdays suggestion)
3.30-3.40 Free play
3.40-3.45 Welcome and rules
3.45 – 3.50 Pirates game. The game with bow (front) stern, port and starboard, like on a ship. The children run to each point, last to arrive is out. The other actions are captains coming (salute); captain’s daughter (hand on hip, other behind the head with an ‘oooo’…you get the idea); scrub the decks (floor…scrubbing motion); rats (run around squealing) and climb the rigging. The last one, each time is out. However, the way I play it is to have those out stand in everyone’s way and help to decide who was out.
Make the point, if you wish, about listening carefully.
3.50 – 4.00 two questions to talk about. Imagine something that you were told about that you got really hopeful for… maybe a holiday to a special place, or a trip, or maybe moving into your new school year. What were you told that it would be like? What was it like when you got there, was it all you hoped it would be?
4.00 -4.05 make the point with everyone that if you listen carefully sometimes you are told things that are going to happen that makes you hopeful for the future. That’s really important if things are hard at the moment so that you have a hope to keep moving towards.
4.05-4.15 Tell the story of Joseph as interactively as you can, having the children take part of sheep, sheaves of corn, stars, Jacob, slave traders, Potiphar (and his wife…though I just say about she tried to get him to kiss her, which he knew was wrong), in prison, the wine taster….in fact all of it. Don’t take it too heavily as it is a long story. Instead, have fun with it, the children will get the idea.
What you need to make clear is that he listened carefully to God and that when things got hard (point out using the words ‘and it got tough’ with the response from the kids ‘but Joe didn’t give up’) Joseph had hope because of what God had said. Tough points: down the well, sold as a slave, unfairly imprisoned, forgotten for two years.
4.20 Play a game. (depending on how it’s going you can leave the game until after this talky bit). Listening…
With: a pillow, or blow up the hammer. You can use a rolled up newspaper but it can hurt! And a blindfold (scarf, for example) and something noisy like a bunch of keys.
Sit the children in a wide circle, around twenty feet across. One child sits in the middle and is blindfolded. They hold the pillow/hammer. In front of them, no more than two feet away, is placed the ‘keys’.
The leader walks quietly around the circle then taps one child in the circle on the shoulder and that child then attempts to cross the circle and capture the keys and get back to their place. The child in the middle with the blindfold has to listen carefully and to try to hit the other child who is trying to steal the keys. They are allowed a limited number of swings. Fewer for the older children.
4.30 Explain to the children that Joseph could keep going with hope because he had heard God’s promises to him. Perhaps have an example of your own life where hope for something that God promised you or a hope you have that you have read in the Bible keeps you going when things are hard. If you can, ground it in reality by telling them something hard that you have to face. Making it real for the children really helps them to connect and take what you say seriously. Be sensitive.
You can then go on to talk about how God can speak to us. Sometimes directly, sometimes in pictures (don’t worry if God doesn’t do this with you personally…I have to explain that whilst I can, it doesn’t make me super special). Sometimes what we read in the Bible can be so ‘just at the right moment’ it is like God speaking to us. Something someone in church might say, like the minister, is just at the right moment. Perhaps someone else in church says something. Or you see something which makes you think of Jesus. All of these things can give us a hope when things are hard that God is there for us, and that we need to keep going.
However, you explain, the important thing is being aware for when God might speak in all these different ways, and we need to learn to listen. You could refer to when Samuel was taught by Eli to say ‘speak Lord, your servant is listening’. Perhaps you could use that as a memory verse.
Talking of which, memory verses are a fantastic way to give the Holy Spirit more opportunity to speak with us. So do check out that above link to see how you could learn some verses.
4.35 Finish with a prayer