All-Age Service Plan: Moses and the Burning Bush
God speaks and guides people today – just as he did in the past in the story found in Exodus 3:1-17.
Prayer / Worship Activity
Option 1 – Tell a Story 10 MINS
This is a testimony time. Invite two people (of different age, gender or background if possible) to share a personal story of how they have experienced God speaking to and guiding them. You can do this as an ‘open mic’ session, but it is best to prime one or two people who will be concise. For your own preparation, look at Week 6 of the Alpha Course manual: ‘How does God guide us?’
Option 2 – Alphabet Praise 5 MINS
On either PowerPoint slides or using A4 flash cards, show large bold letters of the alphabet, one at a time. Invite people to shout out suggested words of praise for and to God, which start with the appropriate letter. Allow for a mix of younger and older people’s responses.
A – You are alpha or you are awesome
B – God is beautiful / he’s the best
Exodus 3:1-17 10 MINS
This story requires a storyteller who can use expression and movement, and who can indicate when there are pictures to look at, understanding that at those points they should pause in their delivery to allow some time to reflect and wonder. Suggested images are easily found by searching on Google images. These should be pasted onto PowerPoint slides, which are inserted at appropriate pause points in the script. Remember to check for copyright when using images.
As this is a narrative passage the script below is almost identical to the original text, only some names have been omitted. You may wish to simplify the story slightly more but remember that in an all age service we also want to present the text to teenagers and adults as well. Children should grasp the key points from pictures and reader expression, which will be further enhanced by the reflective responses and small group discussion.
(Introduce Moses by showing a picture of him tending sheep, easily found on Google images). Our story is about Moses today.
One day, Moses was looking after his family’s sheep. He led the flock to the far side of the desert and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. (Show picture of Moses and the burning bush).
So Moses thought, ‘I will go over and see this strange sight – why does the bush not burn up?’
When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, ‘Moses! Moses!’
And Moses said, ‘Here I am.’
‘Do not come any closer,’ God said. ‘Take off your sandals, (show a picture of leather thong sandals) for the place where you are standing is holy ground.’ Then he said, ‘I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.’
At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God. (Show a picture of Moses covering his face, also available on Google images).
The Lord said, ‘I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey – the home of many other tribes too. (Show picture of Canaan represented by green, fertile land.)
And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites out of Egypt.’ (Show a picture of Moses and Pharoah, available from Google images.)
But Moses said to God, ‘Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?’ (Show the introductory picture of Moses again.)
And God said, ‘I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.’ (Show a picture of Mount Horeb.)
Moses said to God, ‘Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, “The God of your fathers has sent me to you,” and they ask me, “What is his name?” Then what shall I tell them?’
God said to Moses, ‘I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: “I am has sent me to you.”’ (Show a simple white PowerPoint slide with the words, ‘I am who I am’ written in large black letters.)
God also said to Moses, ‘Say to the Israelites, “The Lord, the God of your fathers – the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob – has sent me, Moses, to you.”
‘This is my name for ever, the name you shall call me from generation to generation. (…still showing the I AM WHO I AM slide)
‘Go, assemble the elders of Israel and say to them, “The Lord, the God of your fathers – the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – appeared to me and said: I have watched over you and have seen what has been done to you in Egypt. And I have promised to bring you up out of your misery in Egypt and into the Promised Land – a land flowing with milk and honey.” (Show the picture representing Canaan again.)
And God went on to lead Moses and his people, the Israelites, out of Egypt and on into the Promised Land. The end of the story came to pass. Now we are going to take a little bit of time in hearing what God wants to say to us and how he wants to help us through this story.
Reflective Response to Story
Option 1 - Prayer and Reflection Stations 15 MINS
Encourage the congregation to move between several prayer/ reflection stations. Let people know they can stay at only one, or they can move around. My practice is to have a team member at each station to help children and adults know what to do/ how they can use the props provided.
Station 1 – Hebrew names of God
Consult one of the many websites listing the Hebrew names for God, such as blueletterbible.org/study/ misc/name_god.cfm. Print these names out in large font, a few words about each and a scripture reference if possible. As people come to this prayer and response station, ask adults to read one of the names out to their children (people can do this on their own of course) and take a few minutes to meditate on the words or to pray out loud using these names as prayer starters e.g. ‘Thank you God that you are...’. I recommend laminating these so that younger children can hold one of the names. Holding onto something thing that represents God is often their way of identifying with him.
Station 2 – Holy ground (quiet corner) Remove your shoes and think for a moment about God’s holiness. You may want to encourage people to bow down in this corner, emphasizing that they can do whatever they are most comfortable with. You could decorate this corner with swathes of orange and red fabric and set a sign up that says ‘Holy Ground’. Children will most likely wholeheartedly engage with this (and want to bow down to think of God’s power and holiness) if the right atmosphere is set.
Station 3 – God cares deeply for me Have copies of the words from the Father’s Love Letter scattered here and invite people to read these quietly. Encourage parents to sit their children on their knees to hear (some of) the words spoken over them. On the wall near here print out Exodus 3:7-8, which show God’s concern and care.
Station 4 – God is with us and will help us Set out lots of strips of Plasticine. Invite people in this prayer station to think of how God helped Moses after this dramatic encounter with him. Tell people to use the Plasticine to express what they have need for and what they want God to help them with.
Option 2 10 MINS
Allow the congregation to sit in their seats; show the Father’s Love Letter clip to the congregation, introducing it by explaining that God communicates with us today in many different ways, principally through the Bible. The clip can be purchased from (for example) Christian Bits for £8.99 – see christianbits.co.uk/product. php?id=XX561
Group discussion questions 10 MINS
Split your group into smaller all age groups to discuss the story. Use these questions.
~~ Is it possible that God could do something unusual and strange to catch our attention like that in this day and age? Does anyone have any stories of God appearing to people in unusual ways?
~~ I wonder why the bush was on fire but did not burn up?
~~ I wonder why Moses took his shoes off and hid his face when God spoke to him?
~~ I wonder what this story means to people who are not part of our church family? How can I help explain what God is like because of what I hear, see and feel through this story?