When Autumn Leaves Are Falling

September 4th, 2012

"About that time ... a complaint arose. Greek-speaking disciples accused the Aramaic-speaking disciples because their widows were being overlooked in the daily food service. The Twelve called a meeting of all the disciples and said, ... 'Brothers and sisters, carefully choose seven well-respected men from among you. They must be well-respected and endowed by the Spirit with exceptional wisdom. We will put them in charge of this concern'" (Acts 6: 1-3).

Scripture: Acts 6:1-7

Theme: Acts of Love and Service

Supplies: You'll need garden gloves, lawn-size garbage bags, and simple refreshments.

Overview: Plan to gather on a fall Saturday after most of the autumn leaves have fallen. Prior to your meeting, think about some of the elderly people in your church who might need help raking the leaves in their yards. Drive around and scout out the homes of some church members who could use a random act of love and help with their raking.

First, gather in the morning to thank God for the changing of the seasons and the season of harvest. Then visit several houses, helping to rake and bag fallen leaves and sweep sidewalks. At the end of the day, meet back at the church, your house, or another volunteer's house who has a yard with a lot of leaves. End the day in a playful way with youth enjoying time together by jumping and playing in the piles of leaves.

Opening Words: Say something like, "When the leaves fall from the trees during autumn, it's a sign that the earth is making its move toward winter. But before the cold weather arrives, we can celebrate the harvest and all the bounty that God's good earth provides. Part of the beauty of the season is the changing color of the leaves watching them drift from the trees to the grouund. But, if you help with the leaf-raking at your house, you know that there is a lot of work involved in cleanup. So today we're going to spend time outside enjoying the beauty of a fall day while visiting some elderly friends and raking their leaves and sweeping their sidewalks. As we work with our hands to help others in service, let's be in an attitude of prayer for the persons and families we are serving."

Sing Praise: Sing praise songs familiar to your group that emphasize reaching out to others in a spirit of love or that praise God for the beauty of creation. (Continue to sing later as you work together.)

Scripture Reading: Ask a volunteer to read aloud Acts:6:1-7, then say something like: "The apostles were so wrapped up in preaching about Christ that they weren't meeting the day-to-day needs of the people in the church, particularly the widows. Knowing that they couldn't overlook these needs, they appointed seven people to be in charge of service. This tradition of service is still an important part of the church's work. Today we're going to serve members of our congregation who have needs that aren't being met."

Activity: Autumn Leaves Are Falling
Before you begin, gather in a circle and pray that you would sense God's presence among you and your youth and the families you help as you do your work throughout the day.

Closing: After your last act of raking, head to the church yard or someone's yard who has lots of leaves and enjoy some fellowship time. Encourage the group to rake the leaves, then jump and play in them. Also serve some simple refreshments (maybe hot chocolate and cookies) and celebrate a day of good work.

When your time together begins to wind down, gather for a closing prayer and thank God for the beauty of the fall day, the strength to do good work, and God's presence with you always.

This article is an excerpt from: Worship Feast Outdoors: 25 Experiences of God's Great Earth by Jenny Youngman.

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