(Supplies: Candles with drip guards, a 3X5 card with “GOD” written on it.)
Place the candles in a circle on the floor in your church sanctuary; then have your kids sit in a circle surrounding the candles.
Hold the GOD card in your hand and say:
When you’re given this card, tell the group about a time you experienced God’s holiness. After you’ve shared, hand the card to someone who hasn’t yet shared. I’ll give you time to think, but if you haven’t spoken within a minute or so after receiving the card, I’ll ask if you’d like to pass.
Ask the group to stand up and follow you in single file. Tell them you’re going on a hunt for holy places in your church. Wander throughout your church (classrooms, bathrooms, closets, offices, and so on) and end the hunt at the door to your sanctuary. Ask kids to sit where they usually sit during the worship service. (They’ll probably spread out.)
- What were you thinking when we started out looking for holy places in our church? Youth leaders like you love our Jesus-centered resources!
- What was the most holy place?
- Is this a holier place than other places in the church? Why or why not?
- What makes this place different than other places in the church?
- Do those differences dictate that we should act differently in this place than in other places, such as home or school? Why or why not?
Ask kids to gather around the candles again. Have them each take a candle. Turn out the lights, and light your one candle. Read aloud Psalm 95:1-7. Pass the light to the person beside you, and have kids continue passing the light until all candles are lit. Then reread verses 6-7.
Say: Let’s be absolutely still. The psalmist tells us to bow down in worship and kneel before the Lord. Let’s do that. (Ask everyone to get on their knees.) The psalmist says we belong to God and God takes care of us. Think of your candle as God’s light reflecting on you. What would you like to say to God at this moment? I’ll start us off…
When kids finish praying, ask them to sit in silence for one minute. At the end of the silence ask them to blow out their candles but keep absolutely quiet. Ask them to follow you in silence back to your meeting area.
2. Hiding from God — (Supplies: You’ll need a large grocery sack for each person.)
Gather in a circle. Ask:
- What feelings did you have during our experience in the sanctuary just now?
- What made that a holy time for our group?
Give kids each a grocery sack and ask them to cover their head with it. Tell kids to stand up and mill around the room speaking to each other. Tell them they cannot remove their sacks. After a minute or so, ask kids to gather back in a circle with their sacks still in place.
- What did you notice about trying to talk to people with a sack on your head?
- How would our experience in the sanctuary have been different if we’d been wearing these sacks?
- In what ways does this experience remind you of obstacles that keep us from having holy times with God?
Read aloud Psalm 100. Say:
We’re told to worship the Lord with gladness, to give thanks, and to praise his name. When we do that we enter into a holy fellowship with God. That means there are lots of opportunities for holy experiences if we look for them. It’s not just a worship service thing.
Close with prayer, thanking God for those holy times the group has shared together.