As the director of the children’s ministry at our church, I generally lead the Wednesday night program. This year, I have several other amazing volunteers filling in our large group spots and allowing me the privilege to get back into leading a small group of 6th graders. I love the chance to spend some time in small groups because serving as a small group leader allows me to:
1) Gain a better perspective of what it is like to be a small group volunteer
2) Connect with kids on a different level
3) Rediscover the simplest things to connect kids to Jesus and His Word.
Things, for example, like cheese balls.
Personally, not my favorite snack. You might as well eat styrofoam covered in popcorn cheese. I tend to use them for games, but this week they were a reward for the small groups that won last week’s game of “Reverse Egg Hunt.” (See Future Blog Post)
Our small group happened to be one of the winners and so as the kids practiced tossing cheese balls into their own and each others mouths while enjoying what they decided was one of the best prizes ever, an idea came to mind. Still having plenty left (because there are like a million cheese balls in a container), we decided to use them as an incentive for a Bible search time.
We are studying Psalm 23, and as part of our small group time, we were looking up verses that referenced God as a good shepherd.
We divided up into groups of two, pairing a stronger skilled student with a newer student, and set the following rule. First group to find the verse got 3 cheese balls, 2nd place got 2 cheese balls, and 3rd place got 1 cheese ball.
Win – Win – Win
I mean, kind of. They are after all, just cheese balls, right?
Obviously not. Because I completely underestimated how excited they would be to win cheese balls. From our least to our most experienced, every student was looking up verses. There did not appear to be any insecurity, fear, or timidity. Just a reckless abandon to find that verse and get some cheese balls!!
We laughed as they raced to find these precious nuggets of truth as well as some (well, to them, anyway) precious nuggets of cheesy goodness.
At the end of the night a team of boys beat out one of the girls groups by one verse, thus winning the remaining bag of cheese balls!! Joy unspeakable!!
Cheese balls? Who knew?
My co-leader, Heather, and I went away reminded again that God often uses the simplest things to draw us to Him and His Word.
So if you’ve been on the lookout for something to spark your kids interest in God’s Word, consider grabbing a buck fifty for some cheese balls and see if your kids love this idea as much as ours did!