Last week my students joined forces with the other sixth grade class in our building to lead Week of Prayer for our entire school. We started preparing weeks ago, painting backdrops, practicing music and memorizing scripts around the theme Tales of the Kingdom. My original plan was to share a little of what we’re doing each day, but since things have been so busy, I’ve barely had a chance to upload any pictures until now. So, here we go.
Step one was writing scripts that students could use to give their talks. I created these using old Sabbath school lessons. Each is designed for two speakers.
Tales of the Kingdom Scripts
Monday: Lost & Found (Luke 15:1-10)
A story about lost items reveals God’s feelings toward sinners.
Tuesday: Highways & Hedges (Luke 14:1, 12-24)
In this tale, the host of a party has to think fast when none of his guests show up.
Wednesday: Priceless (Matthew 13:45-46)
Jesus compares the kingdom of heaven to discovering a treasure.
Thursday: Forgiven (Luke 7:36-50)
Simon the Pharisee is challenged by a story of two debtors.
Friday: Heaven’s Landlord (Matthew 21:33-43)
The way God deals with His people is revealed in a story about a vineyard owner.
I tell the kids from the beginning that they all have talents they can use in serving God, and that I want them all to be involved. I then suggest activities and let students volunteer for which position they think they’d like best. These range from worship song leader to speaker, photographer, audio-visual technician, backdrop painter, stage-hand, musician, etc. Everyone has a part. We even had one student who just joined our class and doesn’t speak any English. Problem? No way! During one of the presentations he prayed for us in Spanish.
The wonderful thing about doing a program this way is that many students discover talents they didn’t know they had. One girl composed her own song and played it for special music. Another student learned for the first time how to operate a video camera. Watching them grow in confidence and spirituality during this process is just so rewarding.
Another thing I try to teach the students is that even as listeners they have an important part to play. I explain that they can help the program go well by giving the speakers their best attention and being ready to respond to questions, setting an example for the other students who attend. At any age there is a natural tendency to want to stick with your peers, but I explain to them how much help they can be by sitting among the younger children who come in for the programs.
Every day the sixth graders led out in four programs, each a half hour long. After all the work we put into practicing, it was amazing to watch them lead and shine without any teacher help. The only thing I did was pray with them before and after each program, and let them know they were doing a good job.
My students loved it. I think they felt very empowered. Parents came, community members came, and they all gave compliments, which I think made the students feel good, especially the ones who weren’t sure at the beginning whether or not they could do it.
There are so many skills that students learn when participating in a program like this: public speaking, teamwork, leadership, technology, art, etc. But I think one of the most important lessons they learn is that they can make a difference. They don’t have to wait until they are in high school or college. Even at this point they can make a difference in their classroom, in their school and in their community.
If there is a special program that you would like to put on, but are not quite sure how to develop it, please let me know. I would be more than happy to help you out. In the meantime, you can also download scripts and read about the Week of Prayer we did last year around the theme Son Harvest County Fair.