This session is the second in a series designed especially for all-age homegroups, those who meet intergenerationally with members from babes in arms to great grandparents included in the mix and is based on the fiction book, Tales of Tommy Twitchnose by Terry Waite, with links to the book of Romans. The activities and discussion points are designed to include all members, as they feel able.
This second session explores how the mice all learn what it means to share the food they have with the poor church mice, who have none, alongside this, we explore the teaching of Romans 12:13, and consider what it means for us to share what we have with others.
Key Bible text: Romans 12:13
Tales of Tommy Twitchnose reference: Chapter 2, (Excerpt from pages 35-38).
Where possible, begin the time together with a shared meal, or if this is not possible, some light refreshments. As you gather together informally, take the opportunity to model the teaching of this session, living out what it means to welcome people into your home and to share what you have. Talk about your experiences from the past week. Use this time to introduce an all-age atmosphere, by gathering all members together in a shared time of food and friendship.
Reintroduce the book, Tales of Tommy Twitchnose and the central character, recapping what you have looked at so far. If you have provided copies of the book for families to read at home in between sessions, you can involve families in recapping the story so far. Read from pg. 35. “By three o’clock in the morning,” to pg. 38. “let us all sing together our special mouse song.”
Ask the group if this story about the mice reminds them of any particular stories or verses in the Bible. Jesus taught about us sharing what we have with others many times and we often remember this teaching at our own harvest festivals. Talk briefly about some of the stories or verses that participants recall.
Remind the group that over the course of this series, we are going to be looking at some of Paul’s teaching in the book of Romans and explain that this was a letter Paul wrote to the church in Rome to encourage them to continue to follow Jesus’ teaching in their lives. Through this series, we may discover that Paul could have written this letter for Tommy Twitchnose to read and learn from, but then he could also have written it for us to read and learn from too! Thankfully, we are able to read this letter in the Bible and discover more about what it means for us to live as followers of Jesus today. Encourage the members of the group to have access to their own Bibles and read together Romans 12:13.
Provide a story basket with a selection of play foods, or containers and grain for very young children to play with. You could also provide some picture story book Bibles, and perhaps some toy mice, perhaps.
Invite the group to discuss some of the following questions as are most appropriate. 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. Allow the conversation to flow naturally, rather than rigidly following the questions below. Alternatively, you may prefer to set up the response activity and encourage participants to discuss these questions as you complete the activity.
Create a food collecting box together. Provide a box and some pictures of food items (printables or from magazines), pens, scissors and glue and together decorate the box. Together decide where you will position your box. You could keep it here for families to bring something with them to put in next week, or in a more public place, such as in a church or a local shop entrance. If you prefer, you could make a box for each family to take away with them and fill up over the course of the week. Plan together how and where you will distribute the food, perhaps through a local foodbank or as a bring and share box placed in the church.
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.
Gather the group together in a circle. Provide small pieces of paper and pens for each member of the group and ask them to think about what God has given to us that we can share with other and draw or write this privately on the paper. When they are ready, pass a basket around the circle and invite everyone to put their paper in as a sign of giving it over to God. Pray over the basket as you close, committing these things to God.
Take home idea Provide copies of the text of Romans 12:13 for members of the group to take away and put up on display somewhere they will see it and be reminded of the things you explored during this session. Challenge the members of the group to think about other things they have that they can share with others, perhaps some clothes or toys that they no longer need and to pass them onto others, and to come back to the next session ready to talk about their experiences.