The Bible Time Machine: Object Lesson Idea

old time machineNormally when I share ideas on here, it’s for things I have already done which worked.  Today is a little bit different.  Today, I want to share an idea I’ve been kicking around in my head for about a year which I haven’t gotten around to putting into practice yet.

That idea is called the Bible Time Machine, and I think it would be a great way to bring the Bible to life for kids.  With a little bit of craftiness, some cheap costumes and a Flip Camera, you can bring the Bible to live for the kids in your ministry.

Here’s what I have in mind.  Leave a comment to add your ideas.

1. You need to build a time machine which can fold two to three people.  I don’t have any pre-conceived notions here, but I’ve always envisioned starting with an empty refrigerator box, painting it, adding lights and bells and whistles and such to give it the feel of a “time machine.” (NOTE: you will want something which is fairly portable as you will find out in later steps).

2. The next step is to plan your lesson.  To do this you need to pick the Bible story that you are using then lay the foundations of the story for the kids.  Read it straight out of the Bible or simply tell the story to the kids.  For example, if you were telling the story of Daniel and the Lion’s Den you would likely want to tell the whole story including Daniel getting out of the Den.

3. Tell the kids (or remind them if this is a recurring theme) about your time machine and explain that you going to go back in time and see if you can get a word with Daniel (or the King or whoever else you want to use from the story).  Explain to the kids that your time machine is equipped with a special video feed that will allow them to view your journeys through time.

4.  Climb in the time machine and cut to the video which you will have prepared earlier in the week.  In the video, you could incorporate all kinds of options.  Let’s go back to the story of Daniel in the Lion’s den.  You could talk to Daniel in the Lion’s den.  You could talk to Daniel shortly after he gets out of the Lion’s den.  You could talk to him before and after. You can do whatever works best with your lesson.  My only word of caution would be that if you are inserting yourself into the Bible story, you should be careful not to alter the story itself by your presence.  At the end of the video, ask the interviewee (in this case Daniel) if he would be willing to come back and talk to your class.  Also, make sure you wear the same clothes in the video that you will be wearing on Sunday for the sake of authenticity.

5. Cue more bells, whistles and sound effects as reappear in the time machine this time with Daniel or another biblical character (make sure they are in the same costume as the video).  Give your kids a chance to interact with the Biblical character.  If you can find someone outside of the children’s ministry that the children are not familiar with to play the characters the whole skit will have that much more of an authentic feel.

Like I said earlier, I haven’t tried this yet, but I feel like God has laid it on my heart so I would share it with you.  If you give it a shot, let us know how it goes for you.  In the interest of full disclosure, I believe I may have picked up parts of this idea elsewhere, but it has been so long ago that I don’t remember where.  If it was you, thanks for the great idea!


Comments

  1. megan wright says

    Hi

    GREAT idea, I love it! I am a drama teacher and children’s pastor and this is what would be referred to as “Teacher in Role” in drama terms. The children could ask Daniel various questions about what happened, and he could even travel back again to ask other characters things the children had asked. You could take children back with you who as a reporter/camera man then return to put their own ideas/presentation on screen. I like Mary’s idea of relating it to today and how the God principles learnt could be applied. The ideas are endless – go for it!

  2. says

    For our monthly mission times with the children last year, we used a time machine. One goal was for kids to see that God uses children in his kingdom in all places and times. Another goal was for children to learn that God’s purposes do not change. We alternated between stories of children in the Bible and children in our world today. Our time machine wasn’t fancy-just a golf umbrella with lots of decorations hot-glued on it. We also found some techno music to play when the time machine was turned on. The actors in the skits traveled back to the present day at the end to debrief with the kids.

  3. says

    This sounds like a lot of fun! As I was reading I thought of VBS this year. One of the concepts I would like to clearly bring across to the kids is to look for ways to apply the Bible and what they are learning to every day situations. What if the characters in the skits went back in time experienced a Bible story, then came back and applied what they learned to every day situations? (sort of like the immagination station in ‘Adventures In Oddessy’) Thanks for the idea! I can’t wait to give it a try!

  4. says

    Wayne,

    This could be fun for the kids. A word of caution. Because children tend to be literalists and are concrete thinkers I would make sure they know this is something that was created. Let them know these are actors who are alive today – this isn’t really “Daniel” talking to them.

    From speaking at so many conferences over the years I’ve heard horror stories from adults of things they thought when they were children.

    Proverbs 22:6 tells us to train up a child according to who God created him to be. At this moment in their life almost all if not all children have been created to be concrete thinkers. (This may be a stretch of Proverbs 22:6 but I do believe it fits. I believe we need to recognize who God created them to be at each stage of life. Because we don’t may be another reason why we are losing so many of our church raised children.)

    Children have great imaginations so use that – it doesn’t have to be “real” for them to use their imaginations.

    Hope this helps.

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