This series is written by Becky May based on the book Planet Protectors by Ruth Valerio and Paul Kerensa.
This session is the first in a series designed especially for all-age homegroups, those who meet intergenerationally with members from babes in arms to great grandparents included and the activities and discussion points are designed to include all members, as they feel able.
This series is based on the book ‘Planet Protectors’ by Paul Kerenza and Ruth Valerio. Rather than looking at the book chapters in sequence, this study series draws out themes raised in the book in a helpful sequence. You may find it helpful to provide a copy of the book for each family, and encourage the children to take a lead in prompting their family to explore more of the issues raised in the book. Before each session, take a look at the book chapter links above and select those which are of most interest or relevance for your group to explore during your time together.
This first session explores and celebrates the wonder of creation, setting the scene for the rest of the study series by thanking God for the beautiful world that He has made.
Bible Passages – Genesis 1, Psalm 8
Book chapter links: Introduction, chapter 5, 17, 23, 25, 31, 37, 42, 45
Where possible, begin the time together with a shared meal, or if this is not possible, some light refreshments. Use this time to build friendships and get to know one another better. If you can run this session outdoors, you may like to prepare a bring and share picnic to enjoy together.
If you are able, arrange to meet outdoors for this first session together, perhaps in a local natural beauty spot or simply in a back garden. You will need to ensure that the appropriate health and safety measures are in place. Take some time to enjoy the natural environment, whether you are able to make daisy chains, bark rubbings, go rock-pooling, climb trees, dip your toes in a stream or simply admire the view. You could provide some simple resources such as magnifying glasses to look more closely at the natural environment.
If this is not possible, take some time to ask everyone what they love about the natural world. You could ask people in advance to bring a photograph of something they love in the world around them or ask them to take a moment to look through their phones and find an image that celebrates creation that they want to share.
Begin by reminding the group of the story of Genesis 1, perhaps asking members of the group to retell it themselves or reading the story if it is unfamiliar to them. Encourage the members of the group to have access to their own Bibles and read together Psalm 8. Take time to pause as you read, giving space for people to wonder about some of the lines in this Psalm.
If you are carrying out this session outdoors, you may find that very young children are happy simply exploring and enjoying the nature around them. If you wish to, you could provide a story basket with a small globe, a selection of toy animals, cut fresh flowers etc, as well as some children’s Bibles.
Invite the group to discuss some of the following questions are as most appropriate to them. Be intentional about including all ages in this time of discussion, so far as you are able, rather than expecting the children to listen quietly while the adults talk. Don’t worry about trying to get through the questions, but rather allow the conversation to flow naturally.
Some groups enjoy a time of shared sung praise together, whilst for others this is not helpful. Treat this time as optional, depending upon the needs of your group. For younger children, this can be a great time for joining together with the adults in praise, perhaps using percussion instruments, scarves or ribbons as you sing.
If you are meeting outdoors, invite people to work together to use naturally found objects (such as pebbles, sticks, leaves etc.) to create a word of praise or a picture of creation that they want to thank God for. Alternatively, roll out a large sheet of paper and provide a selection of craft materials and work together to create a collage of the word, highlighting some of your favourite things in nature and using this to say thank you to God for his creation.
Challenge the group in the week ahead to go to different places where you will experience different aspects of God’s creativity, perhaps in a woodland and a park, or even a farm or zoo. Encourage the group to take a moment, while they are there to thank God for his creativity and creation. Prompt the group to begin to think about how we respond to the planet when we know that it is God’s great creation. If you have copies of the book to give out, you may want to prompt the children to take a lead in their families beginning to explore this together.