This is a modified version of the classic game of charades. The goal of the game is to help us all become better prepared to be adaptable in the field ministry. Each person takes turns playing the part of a householder with another person being the Witness knocking on their door. The householder will present a different situation that the Witness will try to adapt to using whatever “tools” they have brought with them. We tried to focus on learning to use new features in our Bibles (like the section An Introduction To God’s Word) , using jw.org, remembering key scriptures, and using specific tracts or publications. There is no score, no winning or losing, just each person becoming better equipped to give a witness. – 2 Timothy 3:17
The game starts with one person acting as a householder. That person selects a random slip of paper from a bowl that describes how they should act when the Witness knocks on their door. The second player acts at Witness out in the ministry. They should have their Bible, witnessing bag, smart device, or anything else they would normally take in the ministry. Using the direction from the slip of paper, the householder should present a challenge to the Witness. The Witness will then try to give a witness to the householder using the Bible and whatever else they may want to use (publication, tract, jw.org, video, etc.).
The slips of paper can include a variety of situations. Some might be speaking a different language, being deaf or blind, holding a belief such as the Trinity or evolution, having a question such as why God permits suffering or why we don’t accept blood transfusions, or maybe the person has lost a loved one in death or recently lost their job. Whatever they are, they should be varied and realistic as to represent the types of people we might meet in our ministry. We also included a “wildcard” where the householder can do whatever they want, and maybe have a little fun with it too. You can easily just cut up some strips of paper, write the various situations on them and put them in a bowl. I created some simple sheets with topics that can be printed and cut out for use that can be downloaded here.
A nice variation to the game is to do it as though the Witness is witnessing informally. With this version the Witness would only have one item such as a Bible or smart device with jw.org to use. The setting could be at school, public transportation, at the doctor’s office, etc. Also, if there are very young ones involved, they could be the assistant who rings the doorbell, gives the tract, reads the scripture or has some part as well. As added fun we like to use one of the bedroom doors so as to have a “real” door to knock on when playing.
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).
There are a lot of great videos on jw.org and we like to review them as part of our family worship. Recently we watched the video Does God Have a Name?. Afterwards we played a Jeopardy-like quiz game to help review the key points from the video. I got the idea from another brother who shared several websites that can help make such games. A simple Google search of something like “make your own jeopardy game” will show several web sites that can help creating such a game.
I created a game on my iPad using an app called “Buzz-monster“. The app is very well done, allowing for up to 3 people to play together on the same iPad. Each having their own button to “buzz” in. The app makes it very easy to create questions and multiple choice answers. It also enables you to easily add pictures, audio and video to the questions. Like Jeopardy, the questions are grouped in categories and assigned point values. Each player takes turns picking a category and point value. A question is displayed and the first person to press their button is shown a list of multiple choice answers to choose from. If they select the correct one they get the points associated with the question.
For the video Does God Have a Name? I created 5 categories: Using God’s name, Other languages, Many gods, Archeology, and Scriptures. Each category had five questions, like “In english God’s name is rendered Jehovah, and it is also sometimes rendered this“. Using this along with the video really encouraged our family to take notes and play close attention to all of the detail presented in the video. It also led to much discussion after each question, especially on the hards ones that were guessed incorrectly.
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
This game is a fun way to use the Bible Character Cards that can be downloaded from jw.org. The object of the game is to guess which bible character you are holding on your forehead. The game starts with all of the character cards being shuffled and then layed out face down on a table. Each person takes one card, without looking at it, and holds it on their forehead so everyone else can see it. Then taking turns, the other players will offer clues about the character until the person is able to guess their character. For example: If one player was holding up Noah, another player might give a clue such as, “This person once had to feed and clean up after a lot of animals.” The idea is to offer a challenging clue that is not too obvious, but still helps them figure out their character. The cards are great for younger players who may not know a lot about all of the characters as they can read the details about the person off of the card to get an idea of what clue to give.
We downloaded all of the Bible Character Cards from jw.org and then printed them using a computer printer and 8.5 x 11 photo paper. We found using photo paper or a heavy card stock type of paper makes the cards more durable and better to play games with.
We also played it using a commercially available game called Heads Up! Board Game that is basically the same game but includes headbands to hold the cards, a bunch of other cards for playing it without a Bible theme, and a timer. We used the headbands from this game to place the character cards on our foreheads during the game. This makes the game a little easier and fun, but isn’t necessary to play. Just holding the cards to your forehead works well too.
Another variation that we have played is where each person puts a Bible Character Card on their headband so that all players have one on their headband at the same time. We then would talk to each other as though we were in the Paradise and were meeting each Bible character. We would ask each other questions that we would want to ask that person if we met them. For example: If one player had Noah, another person might ask him, “What was the first meat you ever ate and did you enjoy it?”
There are lots of different ways you can play this game using the Bible Character Cards. Other options could be to play charades using the cards with a player selecting one and then acting out clues without talking. The Bible Character Cards provide a great way to learn more about the various people from the Bible.
Here is a great video that we used as part of our family worship evening that we spent talking about Jehovah’s creations. We discussed as a family the chapter “Who designed it first?” in the brochure Was Life Created? (you can find it on jw.org). As part of our discussion we watched a video called Underwater Astonishments. It is a video of a talk given by David Gallo, an oceanographer, at a TED conference about Technology, Entertainment and Design.
David Gallo shows jaw-dropping footage of amazing sea creatures, including a color-shifting cuttlefish, a perfectly camouflaged octopus, and a Times Square’s worth of neon light displays from fish who live in the blackest depths of the ocean. It really helps show the amazing design in Jehovah’s creations.
We like to spend a few minutes at the end of each evening playing this game. It helps us all memorize some key scriptures that we could use in the ministry. It is helpful for even those who have been in the truth for many years and memorized them long ago, but now want to memorize how they are translated in the 2013 revision of the New World Translation.
I used some business card sheets (like the Avery 8371) and printed them using a computer printer. Attached below is a PDF of the ones we made. Optionally you could just write them on some index cards or even just print them out on paper and cut each card out. Half of the cards have a scripture citation on them and the other half have the actual scripture. Shuffle the cards and then lay them all out facing down in a 5×4 pattern. Then each person takes a turn turning over two cards. If the citation matches the scripture then the person keeps the cards. If not, then they turn them back over. It challenges you to not only memorize where you have seen a card, but to also be able to know which scripture goes with which citation.
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.
Sometimes we like to play a Bible game as part or our Family Worship evening. Bible Pictionary is a great game where one person picks a bible word from a hat/bowl/etc and then draws it on a piece of paper while others try to guess the word. We found a great iPad app that makes the game even more fun to play. The app is called SketchParty TV.
You need to have an iPad and an AppleTV that is hooked up to your television. You connect the iPad to your TV wirelessly using the built in AirPlay feature. Once setup you then run the SketchParty TV app.
One player holds the iPad and a Bible word will display on the iPad. Using the iPad the player then draws a picture based on the word. The picture is displayed on the TV while the player is drawing (but not the Bible word) and the others try to guess it. The game has a timer so you have to try and guess a set number of words within the time limit. You can skip and go to another word if you get stuck. The game even allows you to play as teams.
SketchParty TV comes with a basic list of simple words, but allows you to add your own custom word list. We created a Bible word list and use this list for the game. You can download our Bible wordlist on your iPad (see link below) , open the wordlist.txt file and then copy/paste the word list into the SketchParty TV app. You go into the setup for the app and create a custom word list. Just paste the text into the word list and save it. Now select this as your word list and start the game.
We found a great scale model of the Tabernacle. It is a plastic model kit that is very detailed and takes some skill to assemble. It included a high priest, 3 priests, a jar of manna, Aaron’s budded staff, the ten commandments stone, 3 sheep, 8 stands, an ark of the covenant, 3 lambs, 2 cows, a bread table, the altar of incense, the lamp stand, 2 breads, the altar of burnt offering, and a tree. The Tabernacle is built using posts and several layers of fabric representing the actual coverings used.
We used some flexstone spray paint to paint the base so it looked like the ground. We bought others paints (gold, brown, silver, etc) so we could paint the other pieces as nothing comes painted. The project takes several hours to build so it probably makes sense to build the project over a weekend.
We pull it out every year or so (especially if it is being discussed at a meeting that week) and take the coverings off and look at how it is constructed and all of the various parts that make it up. The May 1, 2010 Watchtower on page 7 has a great picture showing the various parts of the Tabernacle and what each pictured. We read the scriptures sited and try to remember what each part is and what it pictured.
You can find it sold several places online including Amazon.com. The model we bought was made by Vision Video and is called The Tabernacle Making (Model) kit. It is a 1:90 scale model.