Prepare: One of my favorite ways to tell this story is to act it out. So your preparation for the children’s sermon can be as simple as just making sure you know the story well enough to tell it, or as complex as having actors and costumes. Up to you!
For the worship station, set up a “voting booth” with a two large jars or containers and beads or small rocks for people to vote with.
OK – from here on you are on your own! But I will tell you what I would do. I would have a short list of the important characters in mind, and maybe even on a piece of paper in front of me. I would look for “volunteers,” and by that I mean that I would ask, but would ultimately end up choosing some people to play certain parts. Once I had my cast I would start to narrate the story and encourage the actors to act out what I am saying.
One really fun way to do this is to have the prodigal son stay with you, and pretend to walk away while the father and other son back away from you. Then you can keep the action of the story close by.
To get the two groups back together you can have them kind of meet in the middle.
My simple cast would be:
- Other Son
Expansions on that would be:
- The people the prodigal celebrates and eats with
- the farmer he works for
- the pigs that he eats with
- the people who live near his father
- his fathers’s other servants
- etc . . .
Loving and forgiving God, bring us back to you when we wander far from your love and care. Teach us to show your love, mercy and forgiveness in all parts of our lives, and lead us in ways that keep us close to you always! Amen.
Have people vote and see where you congregation ends up! Make sure that being forgiven for pride is part of your prayers AFTER the worship station, so that the idea of returning to God is part of your focus in worship this day.