One unique activity Gerard and I are involved in at church is the puppet team. We use scripts that are on tape and Jim runs the sound and does the lighting. Different scenes are painted on sheets for background and the stage is made of a wood frame with sections on hinges for easy storage with material stapled to it.
We use a double stage with a front and back row. Puppeteers in the front kneel on old sofa cushions for foam rubber to protect their knees and the puppeteers in the back row can stand. This enable elderly people to still be able to do it.
The youngest member of our team is 5th grade. We have several 6th graders and then it jumps to an 18 yr. old, then people in their 30s, 50s, and 70s. A very wide range makes this a unique group. Pam, the children's minister at Parma Heights Baptist Church is our director who has been doing it for years and years. She is a visual thinker, well organized and easy to work with. She is very patient and always has a picnic for the puppet team at her house in the fall and a party at her house in January.
Here are the basic rules of our puppet team: 1) Always wear gloves when working the puppet. 2) Never let kids see a "dead" puppet (one that is laying around). 3) Do not let anyone know what puppet you have so that if someone goofs up, no one knows who it is and so that the audience will watch the whole production and not focus on one certain puppet. 4) Everyone helps set up and tear down. 5) Attendance at practices is mandatory (unless sickness or death).
Last Sunday we performed a Christmas presentation for the children in grades 1-6 during the 11:00 service. At the end an invitation was given to trust Jesus as their personal Savior and be forgiven. About 10-12 children prayed for forgiveness and accepted Jesus as their personal Savior! God has used this particular ministry to speak to children's hearts. Even some parents hang around to watch and are usually impressed by what an elaborate production it is.