Grow kids’ faith this summer with this 7-week challenge.
Kids live on a battlefield — a world filled with temptation, attacks on their innocence, and fiery darts of doubt. As in any struggle, battles succeed based on the skills of elite covert operatives — people who are adequately equipped to emerge victorious.
This summer mobilize your elementary-age kids to tackle seven weeks of covert faith-impacting challenges that’ll help them grow as they think about and live out their faith. When kids engage in these faith-building, truth-finding missions, you’ll equip them to guard their hearts and rise up victorious in their faith.
Code Name: With God’s Power
Directive: Grow stronger with God’s help.
Armor: 2 Corinthians 12:7-10
Basic Training: Tell kids that we often try to hide things about ourselves that we don’t want others to know, such as our weaknesses. Read the Scripture. Give each child an undecorated party mask (available at party stores and orientaltrading.com). Have kids each write their name and two weaknesses they have on the interior of the mask where others can’t see. Kids may write “jealousy of my sister’s good grades” or “avoiding chores.” Collect the masks.
Covert Ops Challenge: Challenge kids to ask God for help with their weaknesses. Remind kids that God can change our weaknesses into our strengths. Challenge kids to do one thing this week that transforms their weaknesses into strengths, such as complimenting their siblings or completing their chores before being asked to do them. Have kids journal during the week in their “Operation: Faith Challenge” journals.
Mission Accomplished: When kids return, give each child two bandages. Kids can write each action they took on a bandage and stick it over the weakness they wrote inside the mask. Have kids decorate their masks and hang them on the wall to celebrate.
Code Name: Judgment Call
Directive: Honor God with your thoughts and actions.
Armor: 1 Corinthians 13:4-7; 13
Basic Training: Tell kids that at times we all do and say things we later regret. Form groups of four, and give each group a situation to act out — first in a negative way, then in a positive way.
Use these situations:
- A friend shoplifts when you’re at the mall together.
- You hear friends talk poorly about someone.
- Your friends make fun of you because you don’t use bad language.
- You’re at a friend’s house and the family watches a movie your parents won’t allow you to watch.
- Your friends vandalize a neighbor’s house while you’re walking home from school with them.
- Your parents tell you to do something, but you don’t want to.
Read the Scripture. After the two versions of each situation, ask kids how faith, hope, or love could’ve made a difference in that situation. Then ask which response — positive or negative — is easier to have in real life.
Covert Ops Challenge: In their “Operation: Faith Challenge” journals, have kids list 10 synonyms for each quality: faith, hope, and love. Then challenge kids to journal during the week about how they lived out these qualities in situations they faced.
Mission Accomplished: When kids return, have them use markers to create a banner for each quality: faith, hope, and love. On the banners, have kids write examples of how they demonstrated each quality this last week. Have kids draw a thick red line under those examples and then work with a partner to brainstorm and write new ideas to show these qualities to others over the summer and in the coming school year.
Code Name: Take Out the Trash
Directive: Get rid of garbage in your life.
Armor: Philippians 4:8
Basic Training: Ask kids if they’ve ever forgotten to take out the trash and only remembered when it started stinking. Rotten trash can change the dynamic of an entire room — and not in a good way.
Tell kids that the same thing happens when we let “trash” enter our minds and hearts; it starts to invade every part of our lives, leaving little room for anything else. If we instead fill our minds with the things God loves, we can keep our hearts and minds in line with Jesus and in turn, impact those around us for good.
Bring in a small bag of garbage from home. Pour the garbage into a flat box or pan and tell kids that they’re going to categorize the trash by what’s good trash and what’s bad. (You can provide gloves if you want, or just have kids look at it to create their categories.)
When finished, ask kids: What makes trash good or bad? What makes something good or bad to have in our lives? When does something good possibly become bad for us?
Read the Scripture. Ask: How can the filters in this verse determine what’s good or bad?
Covert Ops Challenge: In their “Operation: Faith Challenge” journals, have kids list their favorite music, video games, and TV shows. Then have them list all the words from Philippians 4:8 in their journals. Challenge kids to spend time this week determining if their favorite things fit each filter in this verse.
Have kids write Philippians 4:8 on a 3×5 card. Challenge kids to tape the card to their stereo, television, or video game console for the week. Challenge kids to use the card as a filter for what they’re allowing to enter their minds and hearts. Pray for God’s guidance in showing kids what brings them down rather than builds them up.
Mission Accomplished: When kids return, challenge them to select any shows, songs, or games they’ve decided they need to toss out with the trash. Have them write these items on separate sheets of paper. Then play a game of Trash Can Hoop Shoot where kids try to make a “basket” as they throw away the garbage.