This past Easter our church wanted to provide a family event that allowed families to talk about the gospel. We created an event prior to our churchwide Good Friday service. Families walked through at their own pace. They had 10-12 activity and prayer stations where they read scripture, did an activity, and talked about it. Parents were able to adapt for the age of their kids.
My friend, Kenny Conley, did something similar several years ago and you can find his details on his blog.
I wanted to share our stations too in case any other kidmin needed a gospel-centered Easter experience.
Summary of Event:
- Parents and children will walk through activity/prayer stations. These stations will walk families through the arrest, trial, and crucifixion of Christ with an emphasis on reflecting on our sins and His taking the punishment for our sins.
Station 1: The Fall
- Stand at the blue line. Your task is to jump from the blue line to the red line with one jump.
- What happened? Did you miss?
- Read Romans 3:23
- Ask: What is sin? (Knowing the right thing to do and not doing it)
- We all sin and fall short of the glory of God. We all mess up. This sin separates us from God. Sin is a problem for all of us. God sent His son Jesus to take the punishment for our sin.
- Read Romans 6:23.
- Tonight we are going to focus on that punishment Jesus took for us.
- If you are able, put the rock inside your shoe for the remainder of the journey. This rock represents our sin. Walking around with our sin is not how we were created to be. Sin separates us from God because He is holy. Sin doesn’t go away on its own, but like a pebble in your shoe will continue to hinder and bother you. And even worse, it will separate you from God. Tonight we are focusing on how Jesus died for these sins.
- Say: Judas was one of Jesus’s closest friends. The religious leaders were mad and jealous of Jesus and wanted to get rid of Him.
- Read Matthew 26:14-16
- Sin is when we do things our way instead of God’s way. How did Judas choose himself over God?
- Count out and stack up thirty of the silver coins. For each coin, name something that we do that is our way instead of God’s way.
- Talk: Share about a time you know you did things your way instead of God’s way. Did you know it right away? Did you feel bad right away or later?
Station 3: Jesus’ Arrest
- Matthew 26:47-56
- Use the legos to set up a scene like you just read about.
- As you build your scene talk about:
- What emotions do you think Jesus’ friends were feeling? How do you know?
- What did one of them do out of fear and/or anger? (Cut off someone’s ear)
- Do we ever sin out of fear or anger? What are some examples?
Station 4: Peter rejects Jesus
- Read John 18:25-27.
- One of Jesus’s closest friends pretended not to even know him. Jsus had predicted that Peter would deny Him three times before the rooster crowed.
- Look at the rooster in the cage (yes, we borrowed a live rooster). Take a family selfie with him.
- Sometimes we sin by treating people badly. God wants us to be kind and loving, but sometimes we are mean and hurtful. What are some ways that people can sin against other people?
Station 5: Trial
- Read John 18:28a, 33-38
- Pilate, the governor, was trying to figure out the truth about who Jesus was and what He did wrong. People were saying all kinds of untrue things about Jesus.
- Kids will dig through sand to find cross necklaces. Search for the TRUTH.
- The people who were accusing Jesus were lying about Him. One way we can sin is by choosing to say things that aren’t true. Can you share about a time that you know you lied or someone lied to you?
Station 6: Whipped
- John 19:1
- Take the leather strip and tie knots on it.
- This leather reminds us of the whip that hurt Jesus.
- For each knot, name a sin that involves physically hurting someone.
Station 7: Crown of thorns/King of the Jews
- Read John 19:2-3
- Carefully touch the crown of thorns. What would it be like to wear that on your head?
- The soldiers were making fun of Jesus by calling Him “king”. They didn’t realize that He was the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.
- We sin when we have other things as “king” in our lives instead of Jesus. Other things rule us. It might be video games or tv or sports or making money… Talk about things in your family that sometimes take that king spot.
- Write “King of _________” with your name and post by the “King of the Jews” sign.
Station 8: Nailed to the cross
- Read John 1:15-18
- Give each family member a piece of paper and a pen.
- Think about all of the examples of the sins that we have talked about. Think of a sin that you know you have committed. Write it down on the paper.
- Jesus was nailed to the cross for every one of the sins we wrote down on the paper. The soldiers put nails in his hands and His feet.
- With grown ups’ help, nail your paper to the cross using a hammer.
- Pray silently and thank Jesus for going to the cross for your sin. Ask Him to forgive you for the sin you wrote on your paper.
Station 9: Bitter wine mixed with gall –
- Read Matthew 27:34
- Jesus was offered this sour drink to try to ease the pain.
- Pick up a cotton ball and dip it into the vinegar. Touch it to your tongue. How would you describe it?
- The bitterness reminds us that sin is bitter and nasty. It sours our own hearts. Just like Jesus refused the drink, we must choose to turn away from our sin. We must repent.
- What is the difference between repenting and just saying “sorry”?
Station 10: Breathed His last
- Read Matthew 27:45-46, 50-51
- The curtain that hung in the temple separated people from God. Only the priests could go into the “Holy of Holies”. When Jesus died for us, the curtain tore in two. We would no longer be separated from God. By trusting in Jesus, we can go to heaven and be best friends with Him on earth.
- Choose a piece of cloth. As you work to tear it in half, talk with your family about what it means to not be separated from God. Why is that important?
Station 11: Tomb
- Read Matthew 27:57-60.
- Jesus’ body was placed in a tomb.
- You have carried the rock through every station. It may have felt uncomfortable. It may have felt bad. We are not made to live in sin. We are made to be close to God. Jesus died and was buried to bury our sin problem as well. When we understand that and ask Him to forgive us and to be the Lord of our lives, He makes it possible. He takes our sin away. He makes us right with God.
- Take the rock out of your shoe and place it into the tomb as well.
- This is not the end of the story! On Sunday we celebrate that Jesus rose from the grave. Three days after being put in the tomb, He was raised to life again. He beat death!
Station 12: Review the gospel.
- We all sin. (write child’s name on their palm in black marker)
- Jesus came and died for our sins (draw red dot on palm)
- When we believe in Him, repent of our sins, and ask Him to be the Lord of our lives, we are not separated from Him anymore. We can go to heaven when we die and we can have a relationship with Him on earth. (Read Romans 10:9)
- God holds us in the palm of His hand forever.
- Pray together.
Have sample sinner’s prayer for kids and parents who need it.