This Challenge makes the point that God’s timing often seems slow to us but that we have to be careful not to rush ahead of God. Things work out best when we follow closely behind Him. The challenge is accomplish by staging a “race” between pouring a bottle of ketchup and pouring cups of water.
- Genesis 37-50
- Bottles of ketchup – 1 per group (The glass bottles are best, because the ketchup comes out much more slowly, and you can’t squeeze them. However, if you can’t find glass bottles, plastic will work.)
- Challenge Card (The file for printing is called, “JJ – God’s Timing – Challenge Card (CHALLENGE),” and it can be found on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at www.teachingthem.com. This can be printed in black and white on regular paper. There are two Challenge Cards per page.)
- Prizes – 1 per person – recommend candy or something sweet to eat (The prize is used to create urgency for completing the task. It should be something the participants are eager to get so that they will want to try to rush the task they are given. This is to show that we often have to be patient and wait for the good things God has planned for us.)
- Large, clear, plastic cups – 2 per person and one extra for the group leader (These are to pour the liquid into and from. Each participant will need one, and one group leader will need one for each group. The cups can have color, but the kids should be able to see through the plastic so that they can judge their progress against the leader’s cup.)
- Ziplock bags – gallon size – 1 per group
- Gallon jug of water – 1 per group
- Red food coloring – 1 per group (OPTIONAL – used to make the water similar to the ketchup in color but not change the consistency of the liquid. If you want, you can use this to illustrate that we are like God in some ways, but He is much better and worth waiting for – or so the ketchup commercials used to say.)
- Put enough plastic cups (2 for each person in each group plus one extra for the leader) in each of the Ziplock bag.
- Put a bottle of ketchup in each of the Ziplock bag.
- Put a bottle of red food coloring in each of the Ziplock bags. (OPTIONAL)
- Print out the Challenge Card document.
- Set aside the gallon jugs of water where each group can get them.
- Cut the Challenge Card document in half (each half is identical), and put one in each Ziplock bag (one per group).
- Practice the script.
Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):
- “We’re going to do a group Challenge today.”
- “It’s called, “God’s Timing” and it’s part of the Joseph’s Journey Series.”
- “First, I’ll need to divide you into groups.” (Divide the participants into the number of groups for which you have prepared kits.)
- “Each group will have a Ziplock bag with a Challenge Card, cups, and a bottle of ketchup (and possibly a bottle of red food coloring).”
- “When I tell you to go, open your Ziplock bags, and read the Challenge Card.” (Allow them to read the Challenge Card.)
- “Now, you will then have a race!”
- “Your group leader will pour ketchup out into one of the cups.”
- “The ketchup represents God’s timing – how fast or slow He chooses to move.”
- “The ketchup cup represents God’s will. When it is full, God’s will has been fully accomplished.”
- “The rest of you will each get two cups and fill one full with water.”
- “Then you will pour your water from that cup into your empty cup.”
- “When everyone’s empty cups are full, you will each get a prize.”
- “Sounds easy, right?”
- “But here’s the hard part!”
- “You can’t ever fill your cup faster than the cup that is being filled with ketchup.”
- “In life, we often want to go faster than God’s timing, but this is a very bad thing to do.”
- “We have to be patient and wait for the good things God has planned for us.”
- “In the Bible, Joseph knew when he was 17 years old that he would one day rule over his brothers, but he had to patiently wait for 13 years before God’s will was accomplished in his life.”
- “Back to our race – If one of your leaders notices that you have gotten ahead of the ketchup, you will have to pour the water back into your first cup and start all over.”
- “Does anyone have any questions before we race?” (Answer their questions.)
- (Then, allow them to fill up their cups and add red food coloring (optional). You can then begin the “race.” If anyone’s cup becomes fuller than the ketchup cup, have them empty it and start over again. If the ketchup just isn’t moving, try slightly tipping the bottle to let more air in to replace the ketchup that is coming out. (If you have a squeezable bottle, try to squeeze it without being noticed.) When you are finished, have them answer the Debrief Questions below (also on their Challenge Cards. The Rhyme Time is to help them remember that God is using even the times when we are waiting on Him. If we trust Him and obey Him during these times, God will use them to make us ready for His blessings.)
- How difficult was it to wait for “God’s timing” (the ketchup)?
- Have you ever had to wait for God to do something in your life? How did that feel?
- Why do you think it’s important to wait for God to work in His time?
- How can you be better about waiting for God in the future?
If we trust Him and obey,
God makes bad things go OUR way!
2 responses to “God’s Timing (CHALLENGE)”
I’m not sure how I got to this page, but I thank God I did. My husband and me are planting a church in Arlington, Texas. This material will be a blessing for our children’s ministry. God bless you!
Hi, Ana! I’m excited to hear about your church. My family and I used to live in Arlington, TX (on Juanita Dr off of Fielder Road). We loved that community and still have many friends there. In fact, even though we live in Thailand now, my oldest son and I still come back every year to participate in a summer camp for abused and neglected children from the Arlington area. It’s hosted through Fielder Road Baptist Church, where we used to attend.
I hope you can find some resources that are helpful to you on this website. I try to add new ones regularly, so keep coming back!
Blessings to your ministry!