- Several balloons that are easy to inflate
- A long string
- A straight drinking straw
- A sign with the word “GOD” on it
Before you begin, attach the “GOD” sign to a fixed point where everyone can see it. Tie one end of a long string to that point and tie the other end to another fixed point across the way. The string should be stretched in front of your group. Make sure you can untie the string again later.
After welcoming your group, invite several students to come up front. Give each one a balloon and ask them to blow it up (don’t tie it) and write their names on their balloons. (If you have little ones, they might need help to blow up the balloons and write their names.) Have the kids stand near the far end of the string opposite of the “GOD” sign.
Say: Each of you has a balloon. This balloon represents you. That sign over there is God. Your goal is to get your balloon to go to God. When you let go of the balloon, you need to stay on this end of the string but you can aim the balloon any way you wish in order to get it to God. Ready? Go!
Wait for balloons to fly.
Say: Oh, that didn’t go very well. Let’s try again.
After the second attempt say: All of you need to work a little harder. You are not getting close to God at all. Try it again.
Ask those who are watching: What’s the problem? Why can’t anyone get their balloon to God?
Invite the children up front to sit down. Say: Just like these balloons, we are separated from God and we cannot get close to him. Listen as I read from Isaiah 59:2: “but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.” (ESV)
Ask: What separates you and me from God?
“Iniquities” is another word for sin. What is sin? Sin is all of the bad things we do. What are some of the sins we do?
No matter how hard we try, no matter what we do, we can’t get to God on our own because our sins make it impossible.
Not only that, our sins must be punished. Romans 6:23 says, “The wages of sin is death.” (ESV)
We need help; serious help! Thankfully, God loves us so much that He has provided a way to save us from that eternal death and bring us back into a relationship with him. Romans 6:23 says again, “The wages of sin is death (pause for a couple seconds) but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (ESV) God has a free gift for you and me! Because of Jesus, we can have life forever with God!
The Bible tells us that there is only one way to God. In John 14:6 Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (ESV)
Hold up the straw. This straw represents Jesus. Through the Holy Spirit, God helps each of us to believe in Jesus and receive the gift of salvation that he wants to give to us.
Use the tape to attach the straw to an inflated balloon.
Point to the string. This string represents how Jesus brings us back to God. Jesus took our sins upon himself and took our punishment when he died on the cross. Then he rose again on Easter morning so that nothing can separate us from God anymore.
Have someone help you untie the string and put it through the straw, all the while keeping the balloon inflated. Thread the string through the straw so that when you let go of the balloon the release of air will push the balloon toward the God sign. Retie the string so that it is taut.
Because of what Jesus did, God forgives our sins and brings us back to him.
Let go of the balloon and watch it go to the God sign.
Let’s Pray: Heavenly Father, thank you for sending Jesus to die on the cross so that my sins can be forgiven. Thank you, Jesus, for taking my punishment and for bringing me back to God. Thank you, Holy Spirit for helping me to believe in Jesus and receive his free gift of eternal life. Triune God, please help me to live for you. Help me to trust you more, help me to love you more, and help me to follow your ways. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.