Children Activity 1: Bubbles
By Kathy Fuller Guisewite
Kathy Guisewite is a licensed minister in the Church of the Brethren and is a trained Spiritual Director. Most recently, Kathy was approved as a Pastoral Care Specialist through the American Association of Pastoral Counselors. Kathy is also one who loves exploring life and spiritual matters through various artistic ventures.
To help children equate bringing joy through this activity with bring joy to others through giving to One Great Hour of Sharing.
Crayons and Markers
Scissors or cut paper
Other art supplies to make the cards nice, i.e. glitter, stickers, etc.
Encourage the children to color and decorate cards or pictures. They could add bubbles, bright colors, abstract designs and lines. They should write
Let’s be like bubbles… floating into the lives of others
bringing delight and joy.
On each picture, Use folded paper so you can make each of the pictures into individual cards. It would be great to have one individual card for each member present in worship.
During worship, someone should announce that the children would like to offer a time of joy after the service. Weather permitting, the children could gather outside to blow bubbles and pass out the cards to church members. As your church is comfortable, children could also share this activity in the fellowship hall or in the foyer.
Blow some bubbles in class. Witness the delight! Talk with the children in Sunday School about bubbles, and how they are a gift that bring delight to others. Ask the children to share why they think bubbles are so much fun. Perhaps you will get answers like: they are pretty, you have to enjoy them while they last because they can disappear quickly, they are fun to make and try to blow them as big as you can, they help us to look up and to keep looking for more.
Let the children know that One Great Hour of Sharing is about bringing joy to others and helping them in many other important ways. Let them know that today, they will have the chance to bring some joy to the people of this church.
Children can decide/take turns blowing the bubbles and sharing the cards they make. Encourage the children to watch the faces of church members as they see the bubbles. This will help them gain deeper understandings as to how sharing blesses and brings joy to others.
Children Activity 2: The Gifts of Sharing
by Pam Auble
Pam Auble is a graduate of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and earned a Masters of Christian Education from Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary. She has served as a Diaconal Minister in the United Methodist Church and as a Licensed Pastor in the Christian Church, Disciples of Christ.
Children may view themselves mainly as recipients of gifts, blessings, help and direction, especially in our churches. They see adults as the givers, the leaders in worship, in Sunday school, in choir, pretty much like the rest of their world. As their faith leaders we have a unique opportunity to redirect this view of themselves. They have immeasurable potential to share their natural tendencies towards love and acceptance. They can show God’s love to others. They can be the givers.
Help the children in your Sunday school classroom experience the joy of sharing themselves. Plan a situation in which they can offer themselves in service to the congregation, preparing them beforehand and following up with discussion that highlights the results. Here are a few ways your children can share:
Make arrangements with the ushers to allow your children to distribute worship bulletins. Before they start, ask the children to look into the faces of each person to whom they hand the bulletin. Ask them to share their smile and share a simple greeting too. They can simply say “hi” or “good morning”. Afterwards, talk with the children to see how the congregation reacted. Did the children make people feel happy? Did they smile? What did the children share? (their smiles, their greetings, their time, their love)
Another activity, in addition to or instead of the above idea:
During the Sunday school time invite the children to make a small card or picture they can give to another person somewhere in the building that same morning. Tell the children their card ought to be a reminder of God’s love, a happy card. When the cards are finished, prepare the children to deliver their gift. To whom, in the building, would they like to give their card? Ask them to watch the face of the gift recipient. Remind them to offer their card with a smile and a simple comment, such as “Hope this reminds you that God loves you”, or, “I hope this gives you a big reason to smile today”. After the cards have all been delivered, gather the children together and ask them if they made anyone happy by their gift. Ask them how sharing made them feel.
Regardless of how the children share themselves be sure they know that they are capable of sharing themselves. Be sure they realize how their actions can make others happy. And let them know that they are sharing God’s love when they are kind to others. Together your class can read II Corinthians 9: 7,8. Did they share cheerfully? What does it mean to have enough? To share abundantly? They may need to know that even if they didn’t have anything else to hand out, they can still share their smiles. Help them to see that even if they ran out of everything else, they still had their love to share.
If the class is inspired to continue sharing, plan another event for the following week. The children could bring in a gently used toy to share with a local service agency. They could collect canned food from their home and their neighbors to bring to church the following week and then be given to a food pantry. Children will be full of ideas of how to share and will live this verse from Paul, being cheerful givers!
By Bonnie Carenen
Rev. Bonnie K. Carenen works with Church World Service Indonesia as an advisor on disaster relief and development issues and is a lifelong member of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).
The work of One Great Hour of Sharing enables Christians to respond to situations of crisis and great need, locally and globally. However, often when people and organizations try to help people and communities in need, they make the problems worse or create new injustices. This is one legacy of missionary colonialism, for example. As Christians we are called to help God’s people who are suffering, but when we respond we must do so responsibly. How is sharing a model of faithful, responsible, response for God’s people? This activity raises youth sensitivity to political and economic disparities and reflects on individual choice and responsibility to live morally and ethically in a global context.
A globe or a map of the world such as the very colorful Peters Projection Map which will make a great addition to the wall of
a church youth room
Foil star stickers or small stickers
A sheet of paper for youth to take notes on, or blackboard/dry erase board for a volunteer to take notes
Dictionary or pre-print definitions of terms (below)
Part One. 15-20 minutes. Read II Corinthians 9:6-15, paying special attention to Paul’s description of sharing, providing, and giving. Next define and discuss the following terms. Definitions may be provided, looked up in a dictionary, or online with a smart phone.
Sharing or share
1. To divide and parcel out in shares; apportion.
2. To participate in, use, enjoy, or experience jointly or in turns.
3. To relate (a secret or experience, for example) to another or others.
4. To accord a share in (something) to another or others
Providing or provide
1. To furnish; supply
2. To make available; afford
3. To set down as a stipulation
4. Archaic To make ready ahead of time; prepare.
Patronizing or patronize
1. To act as a patron to; support or sponsor.
2. To go to as a customer, especially on a regular basis.
3. To treat in a condescending manner.
Exploitation or exploit
1. The act of employing to the greatest possible
2. Utilization of another person or group for selfish purposes
3. An advertising or a publicity program.
1. To take (the property of another) without right
2. To present or use (someone else's words or ideas) as one's own.
3. To get or take secretly or artfully
Discuss who has power and who is vulnerable in these exchange relationships. How might people accidentally or intentionally confuse “helping others” responsibly with some of these terms
Can you think of biblical, historical or personal examples of each of these categories? What happened? What kind of consequences were there?
How do you as an individual, your family or your church make decisions about what “helping others” should look like?
Part Two. 15-20 minutes.
Set up: Lay out the map or globe where everyone has access to it.
Have participants investigate the tags on all their clothes and products (include all technology, glasses, shoes, food in the room, backpacks and bags, etc.) and see where they all came from. Most everything should be labeled if you look hard enough, unless the tag has been removed. List and locate on the map where every item came from and mark it with a sticker or a dot. If you don’t have a map, list each country in its geographic region. Mark every instance a country appears, whether once or twenty times.
Discuss. 15-20 minutes.
What patterns emerge? Where do most clothes come from? Where do most fine goods come from? What did it take to get things from there to here? Who was involved in that process?
Think about the countries that appear on your list/globe.
- What do you know about them, culturally, economically, politically?
- Has that country been in the news for any reason?
- How difficult was it to find it on the map?
If youth have smart phones, consider learning more about a couple countries (maybe the country is notable because so many items come from there, or so few, or you’ve never heard of it before now). Do a quick internet search to see what you can find out about the country and its context.
What do you think is the relationship between the people who produced the item and the people who sold the item, and the people who purchase the item?
Of the categories listed above, which ones may come into play, in what ways?
Conclusion. 5 minutes.
Consider the difference between Paul’s description of sharing and providing versus the power relationships that affect the rest of what we have, give, take, and share with others. Why do you think One Great Hour of Sharing and Week of Compassion emphasize sharing and partnership as the best way to give and receive?
Invite a youth to close in prayer.
Youth Activity 2
By Kathy Fuller Guisewite
ActivityMost youth have ties to music in some form or another. Invite the youth to work (either individually, as teams, or as a large group) on listing as many songs or song lyrics that address the topic of joy or sharing joy. It could prove beneficial to address the fact that you are not asking for the word ‘joy’ to be present in the song, only the concept of “sharing joy.” Have some discussion around what that might look like.
to get them started could include:
James Taylor: “Shower the People You Love with Love”
“Happy Birthday to You!”
Magic Penny Song
Various camp songs
Current pop songs as appropriate
To further elaborate on this idea, the youth could then take the generated list of songs/lyrics and put them together in a sort of story or poem to be shared in worship or simply added to the bulletin.