During the outdoor program we have the opportunity
to spread our message of hope and salvation. The lessons are projected
over a sound system and can be heard by many in a community. For this
reason we have decided to stick to simple lessons with a strong
evangelistic message. More direct discipleship will occur in our indoor
program which runs from late October to early May. This series is
Adventure Days. Adventure will be the outward theme but the lesson will
encompass our true task, to share with the kids the salvation message,
to tell them the "Secret of Everlasting Life". In Adventure Days you
will travel with our protagonist to wild jungles, high mountains and hot
deserts. He will find many different beliefs about eternal life but in
the end he will find The Way, The Truth and The Life.
Lesson 1 - Jungle Adventure
In this first lesson the main character, a
brilliant professor will journey to the jungle to find the "Secret of
Eternal Life". This will require some props. On the Zoo Van we made the
PUPPET STAGE into the office of the professor and the rest of the
stage was set up like the jungle. A painted jungle scene was used. We
also had some stuffed jungle animals around. This can easily be done.
Green garbage bags make great vines.
In this search the professor finds an individual who believes that
the "Secret of Everlasting Life" is obtained through a legalistic
adherence to the "law". This law is not one established by God but is
rather one that is prescribed by man. This sounds far fetched but it is
common today. Many churches have rules that are not God's but are
established by tradition. These may be important in some people's faith
but they are not the essential ingredient. The most significant part is
Jesus, He is the answer. This IS our message. The "Secret of Everlasting
Life" is the saving grace found in a personal relationship with Jesus
- to teach that only Jesus saves
- to teach that Jesus loves each child and wants
to know them
The opening of this program was a puppet song. It
had a distinct jungle sound and was performed by a cast of jungle
puppets. It was called "King of the Jungle". It also emphasized that
Jesus is our King. This set the stage for both the jungle theme and the
content of the lesson. Since this is the first part of the program it
can be very effective in setting the tone for the rest of the program.
Creative idea from the Zoo Director:
Any song can be selected for puppeting. Use your imagination. In
the past a friend of mine, Tyson Brown had a vision for the choreography
and theme of a puppet song. It was the song "Seed to Sow" by Michael W.
Smith. He envisioned it as a jungle scene in which characters were
presented with the idea that they have a task in sharing the message of
God. This type of thing would make an excellent opening for the Zoo
program. The possibilities are endless. When you listen to music try to
apply it to different lessons and themes. It is like creating your own
video for the song based on your interpretation.
Each lesson has included a section on rules. In
most cases it has been a few comments and suggestions. If you are
looking for a more comprehensive set of rules refer to our section on
DISCIPLINE. It contains the method that we use to maintain control
in our locations. It could easily be adapted to suit your needs.
In the past year or so we have established a prayer
chain. Each child enrolled in our program is assigned to an adult prayer
sponsor. We are finding this to be an important part of our ministry
with the children. This can our occur within the church as well. One
thing that can make it sort of fun is if you incorporate this into a
craft. In the adventure theme the children could be given pictures of
animals to trace and cut out. The child would them write their name on
the card, decorate it and stick a magnet to the back. The cards could be
distributed randomly throughout the congregation. These people would
pray for their selected child.
Variety in style. Find out what kind of music your
kids listen to and adapt the songs you use to that style. This makes the
childish songs sound more grown up. It also holds their interest a lot
more than typical kids stuff. It is possible that your group will enjoy
children's music. Know your group and you will be able to make it fun
In this series the sections on games will contain
some ideas that we have developed over the course of the past few years
of programming. They are tips that we feel are important for safety.
Some might find them a little strict but we feel they are simply
cautious. It is better to be safe and avoid areas of potential problems.
We do not play games that involve food at "The Zoo". Eating games are
popular and a lot of fun for the players as well as the audience but we
will not include them. We feel that they are potentially hazardous for
two reasons; choking and food allergies. Choking can easily occur. Food
allergies are very common but are difficult to treat in the event of an
emergency. It is best to simply avoid taking the risk. Some children are
violently allergic to nuts. Others have allergies to milk, eggs,
chocolate and food additives. Why present yourself with unnecessary
worry? All the games are developed to suit the Jungle Adventure.
- Coconut Relay
(This game was also used in the jungle theme curriculum on the Fruit
of the Spirit) Select eight players four for each team. Divide them into
partners. Partners line up back to back. Place a coconut between their
backs. (Use a ball painted to look like a coconut since a real coconut
would hurt someone's feet if it landed on them.) The pair will run from
the start to the finish line without dropping the coconut. When they
arrive at the finish line they will do the jungle dance for ten seconds
and leap frog back to the starting line where they will tag the next
pair. The team to complete the relay first wins. (The jungle dance is
done using a hula hoop covered in vines)
- Jungle Bug Squash
(This game was also taken from our previous theme) Select two players
for each team. This is a balloon breaking game. The child will be given
a balloon with a bug drawn on it and they will take it to the starting
line. The child will run to a chair carrying the "bug". The child will
sit on the balloon and pop it. When it pops they will run back to their
team. The next child will repeat the procedure. Use eight balloons and
have each contestant go twice.
This memory verse involves interaction between a
puppet character, the audience and a leader. The puppet is called
Phoebe. She is part of our regular cast of puppets and she is a world
Leader: (speaking to the audience) How many of you had a great
summer vacation? Raise your hand. Name some of the places you went or
the fun things you did. (allow time for interaction with the kids) I
would like to introduce you all to someone who had a wonderful summer
vacation. Her name is Phoebe. Come on out Phoebe!
Phoebe: Hi (leader), I am so glad I could come to the Zoo
today. I heard it is a lot of fun.
Leader: We do have a lot of fun. Today, we are talking about
our summer vacation. Will you tell us about yours?
Phoebe: I went everywhere. I was in all kinds of exciting
places around the world and I learned new things. It was a great
adventure. I even went to the deep dark jungle. Would you like to see
some of my souvenirs?
Leader: We would love to.
Phoebe: They are all in this trunk but I think that they are a
little mixed up.
(Leader reaches behind the puppet stage and pulls out an old trunk
and lifts the lid)
Leader: There are some really neat things in here but they all
have words on them.
Phoebe: I learned a very important thing while I was in the
jungle so I wrote the words on my souvenirs so that I would be able to
remember it when I got back. Maybe you and the kids could sort them out
so that they make sense.
Leader: Well, we will try Phoebe.
(At this point the leader will select children from the crowd. Each
child will be given a souvenir with a word from the memory verse on it.
They will hold the item in a line so that everyone can see it. The
children will sort it out so it makes sense.) Now let's read it out loud
so that Phoebe can tell us if it is right. "We are not under the law but
under grace." Romans 6:14
Phoebe: (quite excited) That's it. I did not think that you
would be able to get it. That is right out of the Bible you know and it
tells us an important lesson.
Leader: What does it mean Phoebe?
Phoebe: How many of you guys have ever read the Bible or even
part of it? (Allow for response) If you have been to the Zoo before you
have heard part of it. Does it seem like it is a book full of rules?
(response) Sometimes I used to think that too But on my vacation I
learned this verse and it explained everything to me. This verse says
that we are not under the law. That means that all of those laws aren't
as important as they used to be. What is really important is grace. The
most important thing that we can learn from the Bible is about Jesus and
how He died for us. We don't throw out the rules we just put them in
second place behind the thing in first place and that is Jesus' love.
Leader: Wow Phoebe, you sure do know a lot. That was a really
important message that you brought back on your souvenirs. (speaking to
the kids) Let's see if we can say it without looking at the words.
No introduction required, the lead puppet comes up
and tells the story. The puppet is called
DR. KENTUCKY JAMES, he is a regular puppet dressed to fit his
occupation. He is a professor and an adventurer. He wears safari clothes
and has a moustache and glasses so that he looks academic. A second
puppet appears at the end. He is an elephant. Good evening everyone! I
am glad that you could make it. I am Dr. Kentucky James. I am a
professor, welcome to my office. Let me tell you what I have been up to
lately. I have been studying an ancient mystery. I have been all over
the world searching for the answer to this question... What is "The
Secret of Everlasting Life"? Some have tried to find the answer and have
failed. Let me tell you about my adventure..... This summer I spent a
great deal of time in the library. I was looking through books to see if
I could find the answer to the question. I looked in every encyclopaedia
and I couldn't find it anywhere. Finally I came across a book on the
jungle. Still nothing. No one seemed to know the answer.
One afternoon I was talking to another teacher. She suggested that I
go and talk to the ancient wise elephant leader in the southern jungle.
So I packed my stuff and boarded a plane headed for the jungle. The
plane landed on the edge of a thick jungle. The pilot told me that the
elephant herd made their home in the middle of the jungle. It would be a
dangerous journey but I really wanted to know the secret. I began to
walk. It was quite dark because of the thick trees and leaves that
blocked the sun. The ground was squishy under my boots. I had to move
spider webs made by giant tropical spiders. Snakes were dangling from
the tree tops. I heard strange noises probably monkeys and tigers, who
knows? I walked and walked, it seemed like forever.
Finally, I found the elephant tribe. It wasn't hard to tell which
elephant was the wise leader. He was the strongest, biggest and oldest
elephant. I approached him carefully. As I got close the elephant made a
loud noise. I jumped.
Elephant: Who are You?
Dr Kentucky James: Uhm, well I .... I am Dr Kentucky James and
I was wondering if I could ask you a question?
Elephant: Ok, since you have come so far, go ahead ask your
Dr Kentucky James: Mr Elephant sir, I heard that you are very
wise and that you have "The Secret of Everlasting Life".
Elephant: Ho,Ho, Ho (chuckles). Well as a matter of fact I do.
We elephants feel that you will have eternal life. You will live forever
and go to heaven. If you and only if you wear a nice bow on your trunk,
wear purple toe nail polish, braid your tail and always walk slowly.
Dr. Kentucky James: But Mr Elephant, people have to do all of
those things to have eternal life?
Elephant: Yes that's correct. If you don't you won't go to
At that point I left. I was pretty upset. That can't be right. How
can that be true? How can people wear a bow on their nose. This is nuts!
I decided that the elephant couldn't possibly be right and I went back
to the office to see if I could find the right answer.
At this point a leader will ask questions and help
to relate the content of the lesson to the lives of the children. The
following is a series of questions and statements that could help to
make sure that the kids have understood the message.
- What do you think about that story?
- It was kind of weird wasn't it?
- How do you think we can get to heaven?
- Will we go to heaven if we wear bows on our
- What if we paint our toenails purple , will
that help us get to heaven?
No there is only one way to have everlasting life. Do you know what
that is? It is Jesus. Jesus came and He died on the cross. He did that
to pay for all of the wrong things that we have done. If we ask Him to
be part of our lives and to forgive us for our sins, he will be with us
forever and we will see Him in heaven.
Quiet Seat prizes and closing prayer.
Copyright 1997, Bread of Life Ministries