Start by asking the children what an idol is.
Print http://www.kidssundayschool.com/Gradeschool/Activities/1activity04a.php one per child. Encourage them to think how they would spend their time. Having completed remind them that anything we put before God can become for us like an idol. God wants no other gods before Him, but if we put our time and effort into something other than God, if we make it a priority in our life, even watching television, it can become the same as worshiping an idol in God's eyes. Explain to the young people that there is nothing wrong with watching television, or playing sports, or whatever, just so long as God is still first.
Talk/Story/Study -READY, STEADY, FIRE
Before you begin give the children into the following roles – Elijah ; Prophets of Baal; people; Ahab. Give the children a brief description of what each character was like – Elijah the prophet was a man of God, trusting in God for what was about to happen, keen to get it right. The prophets of Baal believed in rituals, in dancing and shouting – in putting on a good show for the people. The people were easily led, supposedly supporting the prophets of Baal at the beginning but then possibly changing sides if it looks as though they were supporting the wrong side. Ahab was a worshipper of Baal – a hen pecked husband – possibly a vindictive man who did not like to be contradicted. He hated Elijah.
Read the story from the bible – from 1 Kings 18:16-40. Let the children have fun and act out the story as you read it – this means that it will tend to be fresh and spontaneous.
Congratulate the children at the end. Then ask the different children how they felt. Provide a “hot seat” (chair), and ask the child who played Elijah to explain how they felt as the story progressed. Were they confident all the way through? Were they frightened by the noise and shouting of the prophets of Baal? Did they feel intimidated because there was one of them and 450 of the prophets?
Help the children see that Elijah acted in faith – he believed God and did what he believed God was telling him to do. He was obedient and trusted God in spite of other people, in spite of the fact he was the only one, in spite of the fact that everyone else seemed to be against him.
Ask the children if they trust God in the same way that Elijah did. Are they willing to do what they think is right regardless? Are they willing to trust God for the outcome – sometimes we want to know what will happen before we begin work. The example of Elijah reminds us to trust and obey.
Craft – Make a candle holder.
Get some cheap candle holders or jam jars + glass paints. Encourage the young people to paint a scene from today’s story on the glass, or to write the memory verse on the jar.
Give each a candle and use alongside the music track when it comes to the reflection.
Hacky Sack memory verse. As well as scoring points as usual in the game, a word from the verse has to be said in order as you play. A mental & physical game of great agility!
Reflection - I'M LISTENING GOD
Equipment required: Paper, art materials, music – a good track would be ‘Holy Fire from Heaven' by Steve Mitchinson & Brian Doerkson, but you can use something else appropriate.
Remind the children that Elijah was a prophet. Tell them that that means he was someone who was tuned into God's voice and could hear Him clearly. Encourage them that God wants to speak to all of us – we just need to listen carefully.
Explain that sometimes we might hear a voice in our heads, or get a picture in our minds, or be reminded of something from the Bible, or just know something that we can't explain, or have a feeling or emotion. All of these can be ways of God speaking to us.
Get the children to lie down and get comfy. Play the music you have chosen and ask them to listen carefully and ask God to speak.
Afterwards, try to keep the atmosphere calm and quiet and give the group some time to write down or draw anything that they heard or saw. If they like, they can share what they create, but they don't have to.
Watch out for any children that say they didn't hear or see anything. Encourage them that sometimes God just wants us to enjoy being in His presence and that He doesn't need to say anything particular.
Ask the young people if there is anything they want to pray about. Also thank God for the opportunity to be able to hear His Word and learn from it, for the health of the young people and that others may see Jesus in our lives.
Notes: You are welcome to add/remove/ supplement any of the activities listed, please make sure that you cover the story and the memory verse
http://www.lifechurch.tv/watch/elijah/2 - a sermon on Elijah you might like to watch in your preparation or show part of to the young people.
http://www.calvarycurriculum.com/pdf/childrenscurriculum/OLD/CURR099.PDF - Activity Sheets with colouring, crossword, word search etc.