Here’s a “Blast from the Past!” I recently had thousands of pictures scanned by ScanMyPhotos.com and am discovering some fun pictures from over twenty years of ministry as a children’s pastor (as well as lots of fun family pics).
Several of these kids I still know and some I am friends with now on Facebook, even though this was 1993 at the Village Church of Lincolshire, IL. (Pictured here are David and Hannah Shaw, Tina Myers, Athena (Rebecca) Stephens, Tyler and Kelsey Hagen, Matt, Sam and Gab Fuqua, Jennelle, Jenene and Jenna Stanonik, Gina Geavaras, Amy Lane, and others I only remember first names. I am getting old!)
Here is a fun game event I did in my Rookie Year as a full time children’s pastor that I called Sumu Kids:
First, the TEAM PHOTOS:
We did this at a “Sack Lunch Sunday.” Every first Sunday of the month, I let all the grade school kids stay at church for a themed afternoon of fun and games. Its purpose was simply to deepen my relationship with the kids as well as to give parents a nice Sunday afternoon off. (Parent Points!) There was always some spiritual teaching, yes, but that wasn’t the main emphasis. Building relationship was, as it made my teaching more effective during church. (Remembering all these names some 19 years later is proof that Relational Ministry works!)
Here are the kids getting their Sumu Fighter ready:
Abbot Laboratories was located near our church, and I asked volunteer at our church (Byron Wingerd – thanks!) for a few of these awesome zip up lab body suits and he gave me a bunch. (I still have some!) And then the kids stuffed them with toilet paper!
Then….. THE BATTLE!
Of course, the goal was to knock the other person (not over) but out of the circle! The Sumu Kids had to keep their hands either on their hips or just out in the air and could only use their belly to fight. It was hysterical! The kids loved it of course.
Oh, and did I mention they were BLINDFOLDED? Their teammates had to coach them on where to go by yelling instructions! But it was hard to tell which yelling kids were your team, so it took concentration.
The spiritual application?
1) You have to listen carefully to which voices in life you listen to.
2) There are enemies out there who seek to knock you over!
3) We need to work hard to not fall down!
SCRIPTURES I MIGHT HAVE USED: (I don’t actually know, but I know myself and how I think, so I would have used verses like this. NOT ALL of them, but I’m just showing you that after a FUN game the Bible has a LOT to say about standing firm and NOT FALLING DOWN!)
See how the evildoers lie fallen— thrown down, not able to rise!
The LORD upholds all who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down.
If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.
Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
The LORD said to Joshua, “Stand up! What are you doing down on your face.”
1 Corinthians 16:13
Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.
but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.
1 Corinthians 10:12
So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!
Stand firm, and you will win life.
Everyone will hate you because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.
1 Corinthians 15:58
Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends!
You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.
1 Peter 5:9
Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
Have FUN playing games – make it count by incorporating some spiritual teaching – but at the end of the day, we aren’t in ministry to have fun, and we aren’t even in ministry simply to teach. I’m not sure if many of these remember the lesson I taught that day. (Though a well taught lesson becomes part of who they are.) But the relationship impacts deeper than a lesson, and in two directions. I miss these kids very much. Some I’m still in touch with. Others, I cross paths with from time to time, others I know I won’t see again until the New Heaven and Earth – and what a Day that will be!
I think I’ll challenge them to a Sumu Match on the shore of the Crystal Sea!