Churches around the world are very different. People read the Bible in different languages, sing different praise songs, and play different instruments. Some believers meet in homes or outside. Some gather in small family groups where all ages learn together. No matter where or how believers worship, they have something in common – they know, love, and follow Jesus.
Teaching Time: 20 minutes
Materials: Bibles, paper and pencils/pens, flashlights/candles
Invite your family to experience what “church” might be like in a country where gathering for worship is against the law. First, believers must prepare. You might not have Bibles because it is illegal to print them in your language. Have each person copy a favorite verse on a small scrap of paper, hide it in his shoe, and bring it to the worship gathering. Gather candles or flashlights. Think of a secret code word that each person will need to say before entering the worship area. Choose one person to be on the lookout for police. Station him at the door to the worship area. One at a time, walk quickly to the worship area. Tell the lookout the secret code word before entering. Once inside, close the door and curtains/blinds to keep your worship service secret. Light candles or turn on flashlights. Sing a favorite worship song in hushed voices. Have each person retrieve his verse and read it to the family. Pray together. When the lookout gives the all clear, gather your belongings and quickly leave the worship area.
- Think about what you just experienced. How was this church service different from those you usually attend? What parts were the same?
- Is church more about where and how we worship or who we worship?
Thank God for the freedom to worship openly. Pray for believers around the world who are persecuted because of their faith in Jesus.
While Tisha was out with her girlfriends for the weekend, I did “secret church” with the boys. We wrote out some scripture on scrap paper beforehand, and Titus hid it in his shoe. He picked the Daniel in the Lion’s Den story randomly (one of his favorites), and it was great to use that passage because it’s about Daniel praying in the privacy of his own home while spies and government officials arrest Daniel for praying to His God. We hid in the baby’s room, used a flashlight, and got the handwritten verse out and read it together. It totally applied to the situation, and the boys took turns playing “lookout”. Of course, by the end our time, they were telling me dozen’s of spies and Kings were walking around looking for us. I then told them about the mother in Sudan who has recently been arrested for being a Christian. It was great to be some reality to the pretend time. So the boys prayed for this mother who is scheduled to die for her faith after she delivers her baby. The boys had a great time and learned a lot. We talked about our missionary friends who live in places that really do have to meet in secret. Thanks Weave team!!!