Open the Bible at Mark 1.1-8
John the Baptist is telling people to say sorry and change their ways to get ready for Jesus’ coming.
Feel what it’s like
Display some sand in a tray, a rough piece of fabric and a bowl of water. Begin to read the story. When you come to the part about the desert, encourage the children to take turns to feel the sand. Ask them what it would be like to live in a desert. When you read about John’s clothes, ask them to feel the rough texture of the fabric, and think about what it would be like to wear those clothes. Finally, when John baptizes people, invite the children to touch the water and think about what it would have been like to be baptized by John.
- Why do you think that so many people responded to John and came to see him?
- Has anyone ever told you to change? What did you do?
- How can we tell/show people who Jesus is?
In the beginning…
Write a funny opening line to think about how Mark started his Gospel
You will need: a selection of popular children’s books; pens and paper.
- Read out some famous opening lines from some children’s books. Talk about the importance of an opening line.
- Ask the children to imagine that they are writing their life story so far, and to write something funny as the opening line. They can use the paper to make a ‘book’ and continue to write and/or decorate as they wish.
- Invite the children to read their opening lines to each other.
Play a game to help the children think about moving to Jesus
You will need: space for the children to walk in.
- Ask the children to walk across the room in a way that expresses specific emotions. For example: happy, tired, nervous, laughing, sad, in love, angry.
- For the final walk, ask them to walk across the room as if they are moving toward Jesus.
- Explain that we don’t need to be in any particular mood to hear the good news and move to Jesus, and that John was inviting everyone to come to Jesus.
Message in a bottle
Write messages to think about how important a good message is
You will need: clean, empty plastic bottles; paper, pens, stickers and decorations.
- Give each child a bottle and some paper. Talk about how a good message makes you feel. It could come in a letter, email or text message. Ask the children when they last received a message like this.
- Invite the children to think of someone they would like to encourage and write them a ‘good news’ message. This could be an encouraging note or a positive statement about the person.
- Ask everyone to place their message in a bottle, and then to decorate their bottles using stickers and other decorations.
- During the week, the children can give their bottle to the person they want to encourage.
Good news sign
Make a sign to think about the good news that Jesus brings
You will need: sheet of A4 card per child, a selection of colour marker pens.
- Mark is getting us ready for the good news that Jesus will bring. Ask the children what good news Jesus has brought to them. This might be a good opportunity for a leader to share how Jesus has changed their own life.
- Give each child a piece of card and ask them to design a sign that tells people in a few words the good news of having Jesus in their life. It might be that Jesus makes them feel safe or loved, or that they have been forgiven. Encourage the children to make their personal sign really colourful and bright.
- Finish by talking about how our lives should be like signs that tell people to get ready to let Jesus into their hearts.
Share the good news
Ask God to help us introduce people to the good news
You will need: paper and pens.
- Ask the children to draw a picture of someone they really like, but who hasn’t heard the good news about Jesus.
- Display the finished pictures on a wall, and pray that these people will know the good news of Jesus in their lives.
- Pray together that you will all share and show the good news of Jesus to the people you meet this week.
John the Baptist spoke up
and made a straight path
so that people were ready
to welcome you.
May we speak up
and make straight paths
for people to meet you.