We have recently discovered another great resource from Scripture Union UK in their All-Age Lectionary Services books – one each for Years A, B, and C in the common lectionary series – and we would urge you to look at these if you are able to.
Now, using the Year B book we did our usual thing of combining two different services to come up with one that more embodied the Come & See worship style, and came up with “The needs of sheep”, starting with a reading from John 10.
Never underestimate the fun to be had getting the congregation to interact with a Bible Reading. With one person reading, and another using pictures on paint sticks as prompts, we had everyone call out “Baaa” (sheep), “Yeah” (shepherd), “Squeak” (gate), or “Boo” (wolf) during the story. It can be quite hilarious – especially when your assistant gets muddled up with the pictures!
One day, Jesus said, “If a man sneaks over the fence to get into a sheep (baaa) pen, he probably is a thief. If he calls the sheep (baaa), they won’t come because he’s a stranger. His voice frightens them and they run away. But the real shepherd (yeah) enters through the gate (squeak). And when he calls his sheep (baaa), he uses their names, and they know his voice.
“I am the good shepherd (yeah). I know each of My sheep (baaa) by name, and My sheep (baaa) know Me. And I am the gate (squeak). Those who come through Me will be saved. They will have everything they need.
“Sometimes a man is hired to watch over the sheep (baaa),” continued Jesus. “But this man does not own these sheep (baaa) and he does not really care about them. He just works to get paid. If a wolf (boo) comes in the middle of the night, the man runs away! And the wolf (boo) attacks the sheep (baaa) and scatters the flock. The man doesn’t even care–because they’re not his sheep (baaa).
“But I am the good shepherd (yeah),” said. Jesus. “And I lay down My life for My sheep (baaa).
The Psalms are wonderful examples of God’s people crying out to Him through all the events in their lives – crying out in joy or anguish, praise or complaint, in times of trouble or times of plenty. But they can sometimes be a bit inaccessible to children. Paul Dallgas-Frey has great versions of not only the Psalms, but also Bible stories and prayers for Kids, and we used his version of Psalm 23 in this service.
Instead of a sermon this time, we sat down and talked about the needs of sheep, and how, like sheep and their shepherd, we have similar needs from Jesus, our shepherd. Then, during our prayer time, we gave out pieces of paper with pictures of sheep on them and invited the congregation to write (or draw for the younger ones) on them what they wanted to bring to God in prayer. The “sheep” were then placed in a “sheep pen” and we offered our prayers and concerns to God. We finished with the wonderful Stuart Townend version of “The Lord’s My Shepherd” which you can see for yourself on YouTube: