Mini Olympics for your kids’ club
Written by Youthworks Editor
It's Olympics time again!
The Olympics Games, whether summer or winter, are a major international event held every four years which involve hundreds of nations from around the globe. They are a celebration of perseverance, discipline, team work and skill. While we applaud the winners, we recognise all the participants—both able-bodied and disabled—and the hard work, struggles and endurance on their path to this point.
The new Mini Olympics program by CEP was created to tap into the fanfare and excitement surrounding the Olympics, but can be used at any time as a fun, sports-based program to introduce children to Jesus and what it means to be his follower. The Bible teaching underpining Mini Olympics teaches children that, as Christians, we need to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and to run the race of life with our eternal prize in mind.
The Mini Olympics program includes a Bible teaching outline for each session, visual aids and suggestions for music, craft and games. Leader-training articles on Memorising Scripture and Parent and family contact are also included, as well as ideas for extending the program for an extra session or two.
What does the Bible teaching cover?
"Such a large crowd of witnesses is all around us! So we must get rid of everything that slows us down, especially the sin that just won’t let go. And we must be determined to run the race that is ahead of us. We must keep our eyes on Jesus, who leads us and makes our faith complete. He endured the shame of being nailed to a cross, because he knew that later on he would be glad he did. Now he is seated at the right side of God’s throne! " (Hebrews 12:1–2 (CEV))
These verses form the basis of the teaching in our Mini Olympics program.
The concepts taught are:
1. We have heroes of the faith to inspire us
Such a large crowd of witnesses are the men and women of faith who have gone before us. They have finished their race and now wear their crowns of life. For the writer to the Hebrews, these witnesses are those listed in Hebrews 11. For those of us living in the twenty-first century, the list can be extended to include all the New Testament and post-New Testament men and women of faith.
They are witnesses, ‘not probably in the sense of spectators, watching their successors run the race, but rather in the sense that by their loyalty and endurance they have borne witness to the possibilities of the life of faith. It is not so much they who look at us as we who look to them— for encouragement. They have borne witness to the faithfulness of God ... There they are then, and with their record to encourage us, let us in our turn, cultivate endurance like theirs as we run “the race that is ahead of us”.’ (F.F. Bruce—The Epistle to the Hebrews)
2. We must get rid of everything sinful
Top athletes discipline themselves. They shed excess weight, tone flabby muscle, build up stamina. Their lifestyle reflects their goal. They exercise great self-discipline. The Christian athlete needs to do the same. There are many things that hinder believers in the race of life, things that may not be sinful in themselves but that slow the runners down or distract them from their goal. Examples of these could be relationships, all-absorbing hobbies, unhelpful environments. What is a hindrance to one runner will not be so to another. All runners need to decide for themselves what is a weight or impediment.
But sin, of course, hinders everyone. Presenting itself in all its attractive forms it trips runners up before they have taken more than a step or two. Especially, there is the temptation to give up the race altogether—a temptation that needs decisive rejection and unflinching resistance. Everything that will slow believers down or divert their attention must be put away, and the athlete must keep his eye fixed on the goal.
3. We must be determined to run the race
Patient endurance is to be the mark of God’s people. It is the lack of stamina that distinguishes would-be competitors from committed athletes. In the race of life there are no prizes for the runners who are not determined to end their course.
4. We must keep our eyes on the prize
This is the secret of perseverance. The strength to run the race is only found by fixing our gaze upon the great object of our faith, Jesus, the one who has run the perfect race of life, enduring the cross and scorning the shame because of the great joy set before him. He has done it all. He knows the prize is worth the struggle. He is our great inspiration.
5. Jesus is our coach—the one who leads us and makes our faith complete
Jesus’ perfect life of faith is the guarantee that he will enable us to complete what he has enabled us to begin. He is the initiator (leader) and consummator (completer) of our faith. He is the one through whom we receive faith initially, and he is the one who will bring our faith to its perfect conclusion— when we will know him as he knows us, perfectly, and we will love him as he loves us, perfectly.
With Hebrew 12:1–2 as your starting block in this program, you will be:
• encouraging the kids in your club to join the winning team and to persevere in the race of life.
• introducing them to some of that ‘large crowd of witnesses’ who have run the course marked out for them, finished the race and won the crown of life, and who testify to God’s faithfulness to his word and in all his dealings with people.
For more information and to order copies of Mini Olympics, visit the CEP online store.