Crafting a town from Bible times can help make a Bible story come alive. I found a website, mylittlehouse.org, that has free, downloadable templates for crafting a variety of buildings, people, animals, and accessories from Bible times. All that is needed is a printer to print out the templates, scissors to cut out the items, and glue to put them together. The pdf downloads provide easy to follow instructions. One thing to note is that this website is not run by Jehovah’s Witnesses and does contain some content related to the holidays, so you will want to be selective in what you may choose to download.
There is a great resource on JW.org for parents with younger children that you might have missed. It can be found on JW.org by going to Bible Teachings > Children > Family Worship Projects. While the content is not new, it does provide a new way to pull it all together for family worship. It provides a collection of great family worship projects that center on a common theme. Each is a collection of various activities on JW.org designed for children such as: Illustrated Bible Stories, Picture Activities, Study Activities, and Collect and Learn cards. The best part is that each project includes a Parent’s Guide with suggestions on how to use the activities during family worship.
For example, in the God Sends Moses to Egypt project it curates the illustrated bible story “God Sends Moses to Egypt” along with a coloring page of three of the ten plagues, a Who Said It? study activity where you match the picture up with who said the quote, and a bible character card for Aaron. The associated parent’s guide outlines the various bible verses that can be read with each activity along with additional suggestions on how to to use them. This does a great job of pulling all of the activities together for a family worship evening.
There is a family who maintains a website JWPrintables.com. They have all kinds of printable projects that are great options to make part of family worship. One awesome project is to build a model of the Bethel World Headquarters at Warwick. They have a free downloadable PDF file that you can print out on your printer. All it requires is cutting out the various pieces and glueing them together to create the model pictured. This would fit in well with a review of the 2017 Yearbook section about the branch relocation along with the many videos showing the progress of it’s construction:
I recently saw this picture from a family in Spain (Instagram @johnnyguitarrinchi) who built a model of the Ark of the Covenant. It looks like they used a box, some gold wrapping paper and made some cardboard cut-outs for the angels. Very creative!. This looks like a fun and easy project for a family. While it does not show the contents, I suspect they also made some things to represent the various items contained inside the ark. This could be nicely incorporated into a discussion of Chapter 25, A Tabernacle for Worship, in the book Lessons You Can Learn From the Bible.
We know that Goliath was big, really big. The Bible says he was 6 cubits and a span which is almost 9 1/2 feet tall. But how big is that really? To get a perspective we created a life-size poster of Goliath as part of our Family Worship Evening.
We first read the account of David and Goliath in 1 Samuel 17. We divided the bible reading into parts so that each person read their part like when you are doing a play. The parts are: the narrator, Goliath, Jesse, the men of Israel, David, Eliab, Saul and Abner. It is good to have someone who can impart a lot of character and personality into the part of Goliath as he really adds a lot to the story. After the reading, we discussed the story and the lessons we learned that we can apply in our lives and our ministry. Afterwards we decided to find out how big Goliath was compared to ourselves.
I created a PDF file of a scale size image of Goliath that is divided into standard 8.5×11 sheets of paper. I printed these out on to full size shipping labels (sticker paper) so that it would be easy to stick on a large sheet. I then labeled the back of each piece of paper with the location grid number based on the master layout. This is important so you can remember where it goes when you put it together. Each of the pieces of paper print with cut guidelines so you can cut each piece out. Each piece is also printed with a little bit of overlap so that when you place each piece it will slightly overlap the adjoining pieces. We got a large (really really really big) piece of paper (about 8’x12′) and rolled it out on to the floor (we needed a really big space to do it). We had a master layout sheet showing where each piece goes and then we began to stick one piece after another on the giant sheet of paper like a puzzle. Once it was all done, we then hung it upright on a wall with tape. We needed a really tall wall to do this (10′ – 11′). Once on the wall we each took turns standing next to it to see how big Goliath really was. Wow, this guy was huge! You can really appreciate how courageous David was and how strong his faith in Jehovah was to challenge such a giant!
Attached below are PDF files with the master layout and all of the individual sheets. I only have sheets that actually have something printed on it. Pieces that were blank/white I did not print, so you will notice that nothing prints for all of the white pieces in the master layout. We started with one of the center pieces and worked out from there. You don’t have to use sticker paper, but could easily just use glue sticks or even just print and cut the pieces and then lay them out on the floor like a puzzle without any glue.
A nice option for Family Worship is to read the Bible together as a family. Of course, at first your family might feel this is boring, but it doesn’t have to be. There are lots of ways to make the reading enjoyable, to bring the scriptures alive. The April, 2009 Awake! article Young People Ask – How Can I Make Bible Reading Enjoyable? has a many great ideas that can be used when reading the Bible for family worship. Here are some of the suggestions:
- Convert lists of names into family trees.
- Create diagrams. For instance, as you read about a faithful character, connect that person’s qualities and acts with the blessings he or she received.
- Draw pictures to illustrate the account.
- Draw a storyboard, a series of simple pictures to illustrate a sequence of events. Describe what’s happening in each scene.
- Build a scale model of structures, such as Noah’s ark.—For example, see Awake! of January 2007, page 22.
- Read aloud — Assign one person to read the narration. Others can take on character parts.
- Select an account, and turn it into a news story. Report the event from several perspectives by including “interviews” with the main characters and eyewitnesses.
- Take an account in which a character made an unwise decision and imagine a different ending! For example, consider Peter’s denial of Jesus. (Mark 14:66-72) How could Peter have better responded to the pressure?
- Watch or listen to recordings of Bible dramas. Dramatic Bible Readings and Bible Dramas can be found on JW.org.
- Write your own drama. Include lessons that can be learned from the account.—Perform this drama with a small group of your friends.
The article also provides several ideas on digging deeper into an account. This might be especially helpful for older children or even couples. Here are some of the ideas suggested:
- Consider the setting. Examine the timing, location, and circumstances surrounding a passage.
- Example: Read Ezekiel 14:14. About what age may Daniel have been when Jehovah mentioned him as a good example alongside Noah and Job?
- Clue: Ezekiel chapter 14 was recorded just five years after Daniel was exiled to Babylon—likely as a teenager.
- The hidden gem: Was Daniel too young for Jehovah to notice his faithfulness? What good decisions led to blessings for him? (Daniel 1:8-17) How can Daniel’s example help you to make good decisions?
- Analyze details. Sometimes just a word or two is significant.
- Example: Compare Matthew 28:7 with Mark 16:7. Why did Mark include the detail that Jesus would soon appear to the disciples “and Peter”?
- Clue: Mark was not an eyewitness of these events; evidently, he got his information from Peter.
- The hidden gem: Why must Peter have felt reassured to hear that Jesus wanted to see him again? (Mark 14:66-72) How did Jesus prove himself a real friend to Peter? How can you imitate Jesus and be a real friend to others?
- Do further research. Consult Bible literature for explanations.
- Example: Read Matthew 2:7-15. When did the astrologers visit Jesus?
- Clue: See The Watchtower of January 1, 2008, page 31
- The hidden gem: How, evidently, did Jehovah provide materially for Jesus’ family while they were in Egypt? How can trust in God help you to cope with stressful circumstances?—Matthew 6:33, 34.
Our children’s generation is a video generation. They enjoy watching amateur videos via YouTube, Instagram and other like sites much more than traditional TV that we grew up watching. They also enjoy making videos of t
heir own and are very good at using the variety of powerful yet simple video editing software available today. With this in mind we decided to do a video project for family worship.
The goal was to create a video about a Bible character. We didn’t want to be to rigid on how to do it but instead wanted to encourage our children to be creative and have fun. We outlined that the video should include background abo
ut the person and their family, details about the major event(s) in their life, and what we can learn and/or imitate from their example. We did this over two weeks. Week one we picked the person and began researching information about them. They worked on their videos throughout the week and during our next family worship evening we watched and discussed their final video projects.
The video could include pictures of the person, events, maps, etc. They could also include music along with other video and audio clips. Sources might include Bible Character Cards, Illustrated Bible Stories, audio from Dramatic Bible Readings and Dramas and videos on JW.org. We also encouraged them to use publications like My Book of Bible Stories, Imitate Their Faith and Jesus The Way. They also used various magazine articles, the Insight Volumes and other information found on JW.org.
The end result was great, as our children created video projects that exceed our expectations. They not only learned more about their Bible character but also learned more about how to do research using the variety of tools provided. They put in a lot of effort and really enjoyed the process. Our daughter created a video about Rahab using various pictures, video clips and a home made video she created using her dolls. Our son created a video trivia game about Noah doing all of the programming and research himself. We were surprised at how well it turned out and how much they got out of the exercise. Attached below for download are the Rahab video and the Noah trivia game (for both Mac and Windows) that our children created. Enjoy!
Here is a great way to combine learning about the modern history of Jehovah’s Witnesses with a hands-on craft. A brother in Pennsylvania is a very talented artist and has created a bunch of “theocratic” crafts
that are sold on Etsy.com. Two interesting ones are a model of a sound car and the original Watchtower building at 25 Columbia Heights, in Brooklyn New York. They are both downloadable PDF files that you can then print, cut out, and assemble. They also come with an assembly guide. One thing to note is that these models are very detailed and young ones will definitely require the help of someone older to cut them out and figure out how to assemble them. You can find the downloads of the models for sale on Etsy.com here. UPDATE: These are no longer being made available.
These can be used with family worship when discussing our modern history. One great source for articles is the “From Our Archives” series in recent Watchtowers. The August 2013 (Study Edition) has an article that discussed the use of a sound car. There is a great video about the sign on top of the Brooklyn Bethel building on jw.org called Sign of the Times as well as an article “The Watchtower Sign—A Longtime Brooklyn Landmark“. There are also lots of related information in the Proclaimers book ( Jehovah’s Witnesses – Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom).
What do you imagine your home will be like in the paradise? This activity is a simple and fun activity for all ages. All you need is a few sheets of paper and some crayons, markers, colored pencils, etc. We created a simple plain sheet of paper with four scriptures in the upper corner:
ISAIAH 65:21-23, PSALM 72:16, ISAIAH 11:6, JOHN 5:28,29.
Each scripture highlights a future blessing in the paradise. We read and discussed each as a family first. Then we each drew a picture illustrating our home in the paradise. Part of the project was to incorporate the various scriptures into our drawing. After we were done, we each took turns explaining our picture and how we illustrated the scriptures in it. You can download a copy of the simple worksheet we used here: My Home In The Paradise worksheet
One of the goals we have explored as a family is learning a foreign language so as to be able to expand our ministry. The website jw.org is a great way to learn about new languages, and the countries and people who use that language.
Each person picked a country with a different language and did research about that country and language. On our family worship evening, each then gave a presentation about what they had learned. The presentations included:
- Facts about where the country is located, the culture, unique food and animals, population, the number of publishers there,etc.
- One experience from that country. The yearbooks are a great source for this.
- A printed page from a publication in that country’s language. By using jw.org you can download and print a page in the desired language.
- Using jw.org, go to one of the articles on the site and change the language to that of the your country. Then play the the record audio on the webpage of it being read in that language.