This week’s guest blogger is Hannah Harwood, Children’s Ministry Director at Sam Jones United Methodist Church located in Cartersville, Georgia. To connect with Hannah, you can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our Club 345 ministry targets our 3rd-5th graders. We had presented a God’s Princess Party in the Spring and several of our boys had asked when it was going to be their turn to have their own event. We decided to have a Nerf War and scheduled it for Veteran’s Day. They were so excited but had several questions. What will we do? What do I bring? How can we play Nerf War in CHURCH? It is not very often that boys get told they can run in church.
My first step was to reach out to other area churches through our networking group. Two other churches lent me their Nerf guns to use for the afternoon. My second step was to reach out to Dads to invite them to volunteer and to ask one of our church’s veterans to speak to the young boys at our event. There is a wealth of information on the Armor of God and Nerf War events on different blog entries and websites. I found two websites that had information I thought would be perfect for our event. The first one included a way to tie Scripture and Veteran’s Day into a fun game of Capture the Flag. I also used an activity from this site and this site.
At the welcome table I set up our release forms and two different colors of bandannas. We had a yellow team and a red team. Inside our snack room, I had tables with tablecloths of each team color, the guns I had borrowed, and safety glasses that I had ordered from Amazon for each child. The safety goggles were a huge MUST. Each team had flags made from pillowcases. When they arrived they were given a color and had a chance to sign their team’s flag. One of the boys actually asked if we could use the same flags each year so that we could see the teams every year (loved that idea!). Our Senior Pastor even had a Knight in Shining Armor that he let us borrow that we used as a photo prop for team pictures.
In the main room, we had two different sides. Each side had a base with canvas draped over two tables and a circle of chairs of that team’s base. In the middle each side had tables put on their sides with tablecloths in their individual colors. I had gotten black trick or treat buckets after Halloween that held Nerf bullets for each team. I had also ordered 400 Nerf bullets from Amazon.
2:45-3:10 Photo Booth, decorate team flags, and get guns and glasses
3:10-3:20 Go over rules and point system
3:20-3:50 Capture the Flag
3:50-4:15 Snacks and Speaker
4:15-4:45 Shield of Faith activity
4:45-5:00 Clean up and Points tally
As each child arrived, they were alternately given a color of team which helped the boys make new friends. We ended up playing Capture the Flag three times but the boys would have continued playing that all day. During our lesson time, we used a lesson from Children’s Ministry Deals on the Armor of God. Our Veteran not only led the lesson but also taught the boys how he used to get his patrol to listen up when he was about to tell them something very important. The boys were mesmerized. During our Shield of Faith activity, we had each boy write on sticky notes three things that worry them or keep them from God and put them inside their bullets. They had trouble putting the sticky notes into the bullets. Next year we are going to have them wrap the sticky notes around the bullets instead. They took turns holding a shield as a partner shot the shield and then as a group we said, “My trust is in God. No matter what happens, God is with me! I put my faith in THAT!”
Overall it was a great event. One of the churches in our networking group joined us. At one point, I was talking to an adult about how glad I was that the other church had joined us. They looked confused and replied that they did not realize there were two churches because the boys played so well together. I couldn’t tell who had more fun; the dads or the boys. When each boy left, they were given their team bandanna to remember the new friends they had made and the lesson they had heard from
“Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” Ephesians 6:11