Barnabas in Churches
Resourcing work among children and families
‘And when you welcome one of these children because of me, you welcome me.’
Matthew 18:5 (CEV)
Welcome to the Barnabas in Churches website. We are passionate about bringing the Bible to life for children and families and so, on this site you will find ideas for your Sunday and midweek groups, material for all-age worship, links to our books, resources for training and information about our programmes and ministries.
The Gingerbread Nativity - Exploring Advent with fun and food
Renita Boyle introduces her new book The Gingerbread Nativity. The Gingerbread Nativity uses the popular tradition of making and decorating gingerbread houses and biscuits to explore the themes of Advent and the story of the first Christmas. It includes instructions, diagrammatic illustrations, recipes and top tips for making, baking and decorating, as well as fake or no bake and allergy-free alternatives. It also includes Advent reflection and discussion starters for each session; 25 'taste-a-day' family activities; ideas for a gingerbread themed family service and 'choose and use' ideas for adapting the material for use in other settings.
Ideas for Advent
Advent, believe it or not, will be upon us soon, so check out the ideas on the website for helping your children get ready for Christmas.
And we have a new mini-series too that you could use in December. Traditionally, passages from the prophets help us to get ready for the season of Christmas but we don’t often look at their stories with our children's group or as part of an all-age celebration. The following three ideas explore the messages of three of the minor prophets in a way that is accessible for all-ages:
New ideas for all-age worship
We have two new ideas this month:
- Time to seek the Lord: An outline for an all-age celebration linking the gaining of an hour on the clock in October and the story of King Hezekiah's healing.
- Make it count: This four-in-one visual aid explores the heart of the Christian good news, the content of the Bible, and offers a pattern for prayer and a short psalm of praise to God. Ideal for use with small groups or as a focus for a talk in an all-age Bible Sunday service or Messy Church celebration.
Celebrate harvest is a simple outline for a harvest service that could be used in an all-age setting, school assembly or Messy Church celebration.
New 'anytime' ideas
Here are two new 'anytime ideas' to resource your future session planning:
- For the Lord and for Gideon - again and again throughout the Bible story and in Christian history, God chooses the least, the last and the most unlikely to do great things in his name. The story of Gideon teaches us that God is not impressed by size or status but can use any of us to serve him in this life. This is an outline for a Sunday or midweek group.
- Mark's story - Mark began as a secret follower of Jesus and ended up going on the first missionary journey with his cousin Barnabas, helping Peter to write the gospel that bears his name, and being commended by Paul as a useful companion in Rome. So how did this amazing story begin? This piece could be used as a storytelling outline at a special event or at a communion service with children present.
Help with Festival services
Drawing on existing material, we have picked out a few outlines that may be useful to you over the next couple of months:
- For St James's Day (25 July), see The story of James: a collection of stories, games, simple drama, craft ideas, music and a worship outline linked to the life of the apostle James. This could be used to create a two-hour special event during a holiday period or at the weekend, for children and families, or else just drawn upon as material for a session with children on Sunday or during the week.
- Remembering William Wilberforce, see A force for change: As a committed Christian, he worked tirelessly for the good of those who were treated unfairly - and not just slaves. The Church celebrates his special day at the end of July and the following idea contains some background information and suggestions for activities suitable for children's group. Perhaps you could build this into your programme towards the end of the summer term?
- The story of the transfiguration - see 'Glory on the mountain' in The Big Story.
- The story of Mary, see Mary's story: a reflective version on the life of Mary that tells the gospel clearly and uses a series of pictures to accompany the story.
Fill the Gap!
120 instant Bible games for Sunday schools and midweek groups
Summer Sundays taking on a more relaxed theme in your groups? Fill the Gap! provides 120 instant games that give children's groups a fun feel and burn off energy. The games can be used with little or no preparation. These Bible-based games could reinforce something you have just been discussing.
Celebrating Father's Day
Father's Day isn't the easiest of services to put together nowadays, as there are children with absent fathers or those whose experience of fatherhood has been negative. This celebration idea focuses on the qualities of the perfect father that come from God and which can be found in surprising people.idea