If your division will present the Thirteenth Sabbath program for the adults:
Let's Tell Them!
Leader: Jesus said, “And this gospel . . . will be preached in the whole world . . . , and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14, NIV). If Jesus won’t come until everyone has heard that God loves them, what can we do to tell others the good news?
Child 1: We can tell our friends about Jesus.
Child 2: And our classmates and teachers at school!
Child 3: We can have a special program at our church and invite everyone in town to come! When they come, we can tell them about Jesus and invite them to give their hearts to Him!
Leader: These are all good ideas. There are lots of people in our own town who don’t know that Jesus loves them. But how can we get them interested in coming to our meetings?
Child 4: If we could make it really, really interesting, maybe give them something special to see or do at the meeting, more people would come.
Leader: Great idea! And that’s just what the Bible 3-D program is—an exhibit—sort of like a historical museum—that invites people to walk through and see how God fits into their lives and the history of their country. The Trans-European Division tried it in Iceland, and many people came who barely knew who Jesus is. Schoolchildren took the tour and saw ancient Bibles that were printed in Iceland more than 400 years ago. They saw how people were rescued from a shipwreck, and they learned that Jesus wants to rescue us from the shipwrecked world we live in. And they wrote messages about what they saw and posted them on a wall. They loved it. Do you think something like that would work here?
Children: Yes! Yes!
Leader: Now, what about people who live in other countries? [Short pause.] Our Thirteenth Sabbath Offering today will help send this special program, called Bible 3-D, to other countries in Europe and tell people who might not go to church that Jesus loves them.
Child 2: We can make radio and television programs so they can hear Jesus loves them and want to give their lives to Jesus.
Child 1: We can send missionaries.
Leader: Those are both good ideas. But even better than sending missionaries from another country, we could train people who live in the country to be missionaries. That way they already speak the language and know the culture of the people, right? [Children agree by nodding or saying yes.]
And that’s exactly what the people in two countries in Europe are doing. In Macedonia and Greece [locate countries on a map] the church leaders are starting programs to train church members how to tell others about Jesus. These will be people who live throughout the countries, so that people everywhere in those countries have a chance to hear God’s message of love and salvation.
Now, _______ [name of child 2] suggested that we invite people to meetings in our church and tell them about Jesus there. How could we make the program more interesting to people who don’t go to church?
Child 2: We could do crafts!
Child 4: We could sing fun action songs! I love songs!
Child 3: We could have food. People love food.
Child 1: We could make it for children but invite parents to come, too.
Leader: Well, you’ve just described the most fun program I can imagine! And one Adventist church in England is already doing it. It’s called Messy Church! Children bring their parents to the church with them. Together they hear a Bible story on a special topic, and then the parents help their children do a craft related to the story. The craft helps the children remember what they learned in the story. (That’s the part that is messy.) Then everyone meets in the church for songs about Jesus. And finally (pause) they all gather for a healthful meal at which they can sit and talk to other parents or their own children. It’s so much fun that some children beg their parents or grandparents to please take them to Messy Church. They’d rather go to church than to a playground or a park.
Messy Church started with just a few children, mostly Adventist kids, and has grown to almost 250 children when they meet once a week on Sabbath afternoons. In fact, so many children from the community want to come that the Adventist children are asked to stay home so that children who don’t know as much about God’s love can come and learn.
Child 2: Can we have a Messy Church here in our church?
Child 3: Yes, may we? [All children join in with nods, yes, please, etc.]
Leader: We can work on that. But today let’s focus on the countries of the Trans-European Division [point to map]. Our Thirteenth Sabbath Offering today will help people from all over the division learn how to make church fun by running Messy Churches in their own countries. Then thousands of children can learn that church can be a fun place to get to know God.
As you give your Thirteenth Sabbath Offering today, let’s pray that it will help lots and lots of children and their parents learn more about God, whether it’s through Messy Church, the Bible 3-D, or one of the other projects our offering will help support.
[Prayer and offering]