What do we do after handing out a slew of new Bibles to 3rd-5th graders? We schedule a late night (6:30-9:30pm) on the following Friday for 3rd-5th graders to learn to use this new gift. Using the hugely popular tv show American Ninja Warrior as our theme, we set up bible and physical challenges that go together. Brainstorming for this event with another kidmin champion made for an awesome night. The plan was to have it outside, but a rainstorm called for plan B – our gym.
Students were instructed to wear red, white, and blue, bring a towel (to lay on during the silence time), bring a bible (that’s why we’re here, but have some student bibles handy just in case someone forgets), bring a water bottle (the kids got thirsty quick), and use free Event Bright registration for signups (this made for quick notification emails of the change in venue and intake location).
Arrival activity: let students write names on headbands with a sharpie or a name tag for those who wore their own headbands, and lots of jump ropes.
Introduce the gathering attention chant with a leader saying, “The B-I-B-L-E” and the students respond “that’s the book for me.”
Using a Rainbow Bookmark – As followers of Jesus, we are people of THE BOOK…the Bible. 2 sections, 66 books. Testament – covenant – promise. Asking the question: What is the Bible? We pre-made 1/4 inch ribbon bookmarks knotted at the top to be placed in different places in their bibles as a large group:
- black=Table of Contents;
- red=Genesis, the first book in the Old Testament;
- orange=Joshua, the first history book in the Old Testament;
- yellow=Psalms, the 2nd poetry book in our Bible;
- green=Isaiah, the first prophet book in our Bible;
- blue=Matthew, the first Gospel book in our Bible;
- purple=to mark Romans, the first letter book in our Bible.
Quintuple Steps – Discussion and overview of the Bible. How did the Bible come to be? Play the telephone game (oral tradition). The story of the Bible is about God and how God acted in people’s lives then and now. Run the Quintuple side steps without touching the ground.
Agility Ladder – Creation – Genesis 1…We serve a God of order & systems. We made a creation trail mix to save for later for snack and used an agility ladder to run through the 7 days of creation in order. Joke: Where does the Bible talk about baseball? Genesis 1:1 “In the big-inning.” Then back to the bible study tables.
Flip the Tire – The Torah is the first 5 books of the Bible. Was originally written on scrolls (rolled up paper). Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. Flip the tire 5 times and say the books that make up the Torah.
Over Under PVC Hurdles – God gave His people the 10 Commandments to live well with one another. Look up in Exodus 20 & Deuteronomy 5. Run under the pvc hurdles for the ‘do’ commandments and over the pvc hurdles for the ‘don’t’ commandments. Then speak loudly reading the commandments from a 10 commandment poster taped to the wall.
King of the Mountain – Look up the 4 gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John. Step from stump to stump without falling off.
Hula Hoops – Look up Matthew 10:2-4 and discover the 12 disciples. 4 stations of hula hoops. Jump through each hoop 3 times each saying the disciples/apostle’s names.
Bean Bag Toss – Look up Matthew 22:36-40 to discover The Greatest Commandment. Toss a bean bag into a Rubbermaid bin saying, “YOU shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,with all your soul, and with all your might. YOU shall love the Lord with all your mind and your neighbor as yourself, UMPH!”
Pass the Torch – Gotta have some water, right? Look up 2 Timothy 3:16-17 and discover the relationship between Paul and Timothy. Pass or carry a halved pool noodle with a cup taped to the end filled with water to another bucket. (We were not able to do this being inside, but the plan was there.)
Walking the Plank – Look up Luke 11:1-4 The Lord’s Prayer. We’ll discuss the many aspects of prayer using a gift from Mark Burrows, the Children’s Ministry Lead at FUMC of Ft Worth, WITH (Wow, God….I’m sorry, God….Thank you, God…Help me/another, God), then a 10 minute period of silence. Walking raised lengths of wood for balance beams.
Silence – At some point on the course have a rest time for a period of silence (10-15 minutes, depending on time) to eat the trail mix and a cold Powerade on their towels spread throughout the space.
Drag A Tire – Look up the Parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37 and discuss who is my neighbor. Drag a tire with a rim by rope across a long space.
Perform Sword Drills for a whole host of things. (We did not have time for this, but we were ready just in case we did.)
Closed out the evening with awards of “Take 5” candy bars on 1/4 inch ribbons as we discuss taking 5 minutes each day to read the bible and pray.
My kidmin brainstorming partner’s husband came to pick up at night’s end. They have scheduled their American Ninja Warrior: Bible Edition late night at her local church in two weeks. With the help of parents and some gracious 5th grade boys, we had everything except the largest quad step packed in the van and ready to go within 20 minutes. Most everything will be returned for next year’s event, because this turned out even better than I imagined. When parents arrived for pickup, they were able to watch their students ‘run the course.’
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Hebrews 12:1