All Age Summer Series - Epic Explorers

This summer our all age series is looking at Mark’s gospel. Over six weeks we will be looking at six different moments from the life of Jesus. The idea is that the congregation are a team of explorers, visiting an island. Each week we will travel to a different point on the island and see something new about the life of Jesus.

We will first consider who Jesus is (His identity) as we hear how He called His disciples, performed miracles, showed His authority and revealed Himself to be the Son of God (Mark 1). Then will think about why Jesus came (his mission) and the offer of forgiveness (Mark 2). Then we will come to the central events of his death, and His resurrection (Mark 15 and 16), the final session, looking at Mark 8, thinking about what it means to follow Jesus (his call).

CHILDREN'S map with COLLECTIBLE stickers

At the start of the series children will be given a copy of the map of the island. Each week, as we visit a different place, the children will be able to get a new ‘map label’ to go onto their treasure map. These ‘map labels’ can then be then stuck onto the different sections of the map, correlating to the title of the session. Over the weeks they will be able to build up their collection. Will any one have a full set by the end of the series?

The maps and ‘map labels’ have been produced by the office and the ‘map label’ for your week will be available for you on your chosen Sunday.

Memory Verse of the Series

The series also have a memory verse for the summer. It is printed on the back of the map that will be given to the children.

Towards the beginning of the series it would be good to find different ways to learn the memory verse of the series. Towards the end of the series it would be good to find different ways of seeing if we have grasped the verse.

Mark 10:45 (NIV)

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Ideas include:

  • Building up the verse in stages. Showing one picture or phrase at a time, on a slide or flip-chart, and explaining each phrase.

  • Having everyone who can march on the spot. Acting like an army general give them commands and ask them to repeat what you say after you.

  • Add in actions:

    • For even (hold up four fingers)

    • The Son of Man (crown shape on top of head)

    • Did not come (wave arms so they criss-cross)

    • To be served (tapping own shoulders and looking smug)

    • But to serve (hold out arms in front, palms facing upwards)

    • And to give his life (arms out to the side, like a cross)

    • As a ransom for many (arms out counting money in one hand)

    • Mark 10 verse 45 (hands cupped, in a book shape)

  • Hide cut up pieces of the verse for children to find.

  • Using ping pong bats, have two youth compete to recite the verse whilst standing back to back and without dropping the ball balanced on the bats. Have them recite one word at a time, or in time ping pong balls hitting the bats.

The ideas are endless…

Songs of the Series

Who’s the king of the Jungle? - Colin Buchanan

Jesus is the King - Paul Sheely (Emu Music)

These songs are part of our church music directory and should be known by the congregation.

Service Outline

We aim for all age services to be highly interactive and 45 mins in length (which is a lot less time than we tend to think).

We aim for our services to have a single clear aim which we explore through the service. We want to spend a good amount of time reflecting on how that single aim works out in our lives - we want our services to be very applied to the realities of real life. If I am leading a service and can not describe my 'single aim' in a few simple words, there is a good chance those coming to the service will not know what the aim is and for the service to seem a little muddled. Having spent time in God's word, before planning the service, I always start by writing out a very simple 'aim sentence'. Everything else in the service is designed to help communicate and apply that aim.

These are not children's services. We are seeking to engage all ages. Within this context it is very possibly to have moments of reflection, to engage adults with deeper themes and have times of poieniency.

Once the aim for the service is clear it is important to help people think about how they might respond. We want people to go away with a clear answer to the question, "What difference does what I have seen this morning make to my life this week?"

Variety is great and so don't feel restricted in thinking of creative and engaging ways build your service. The outline below gives you an idea of an 'average' service, but we hope to see great variety in how our services are led - so feel free to go for it! 


As part of planning you will want to think about how to include a time of prayer in the service. You could ask a family to lead our prayers or lead us in more interactive time prayer. The suggestions below might give you some ideas.

  • Brainstorm ways that Jesus showed his amazing love and power in today’s session. Write down their suggestions on a flip-chart. Afterwards, lead a payers of thanksgiving for everything that has been said.

  • Ask for the congregation to call out short simple prayers thanking God for sending his Son, Jesus. Encouraging the younger children to join in at the end if they want to by saying Amen.

  • Give out sheets of paper. Ask them to think of something they want to say sorry to God for. Ask them to imagine there’s a picture of what they’ve done on their paper. Then ask them to rip their paper in half (as a picture of being forgiven if we trust in Jesus). Pray, thanking God for providing a way for us to be forgiven.

  • Using playdough ask people to mold it into an aspect of that weeks story. For example on the week about the resurrection, mold it into a rock/stone (like the stone that covered the entrance to Jesus tomb where he was buried). As they are molding the dough ask for words describing Jesus coming alive. Ask people to squash the stones. Say a prayer thanking Jesus for coming to offer us forgiveness and everlasting life.

  • Ask for people to hold out their hands. These prayer can be developed and elaborated on.

    • Point upwards and pray thank you for sending Jesus your Son as our promised king.

    • Put a finger from one hand on to the palm of the other and pray thank you that Jesus died to pay for our sins.

    • Place a hand on your heart and pray thank you that your love is so great.

    • Using two fingers ‘walk’ on the palm of the other and pray help us to understand what it means to follow you.

    • Thump their fist into the palm of their other hand and pray please help us to follow you even when it’s tough.

EXTRA Resources

Map Background for Powerpoint Slides (Powerpoint slides blank template)

Memory verse image (Memory verse slide to be used weekly)

Epic Island- Map Poster, Memory Verse and Stickers (Epic Island -poster, memory verse and stickers slides template)

Map image (Map image for slides)

Who am I? Quiz Slides (This is for the introductory game suggested for Week 1 -28th July)

What is it? Picture Quiz Slides (This is for the introductory game suggested for Week 3 - 11th Aug)

Swap or not? game slides (This is for the introductory game suggested for Week 4 -18th Aug)

Week One - 28th July - Introduction- Meeting with Jesus

Mark 1:1, 1:14-15 - The King has Come

Truro:  Marc Baker - AH: Marc Baker


• Introduction to Mark’s gospel and the Epic Explorers series.

• To recognise that Jesus is the King who is announcing ‘good news’ about the coming of his kingdom.


To lead people to consider what it looks like to respond to the King who calls us to repent and believe the good news.

Suggestion of introductory activity -“Who am I?” quiz

Aim: To help begin to see that the more clues we have, the easier it is to identify someone.

-Jessie (Toy Story). I am a cowgirl. I wear my head in a plait with a yellow bow. I am excitable, brave and athletic. Buzz Lightyear is one of my friends.

-Mr.Incredible. My other name is Bob Parr. I wear red. I am married with three children. I am very strong. I am a superhero.

-Scoobie Doo. I help to solve mysteries. I am a Great Dane. I have four good friends. I howl when I’m scared.

This weeks map item: Map & Boat

Week Two - 4th August - Breathtaking Bay- Meeting with Jesus

Mark 1:16-34 - Jesus shows his Authority

Old Kea HC: Marc Baker - Truro:  Paul Salaman - AH: Paul Salaman



• Know that Jesus has authority over everything.

• Understand that Jesus is God’s Son.


To lead people to consider who Jesus is (His identity) as they hear how he called His disciples, performed miracles, showed His authority and revealed Himself to be the Son of God.

Suggestion of introductory activity- Red light, green light

Aim: To introduce the idea that we listen to and obey people who are in charge.

1. Line the children up, side by side, at one end of your space facing you.

2. When you shout: “green light!” the children walk or run (depends on space) towards you.

3. When you shout: “red light!” the children have to stop where they are. If they don’t, they go back to the beginning.

4. Continue shouting “red light” or “green light” until the children reach you. The first one who does is the winner.

5. Explain that they listened really well and showed who was in charge by obeying what you said. We’re going to see today how Jesus’ words in action showed he was in charge and told people to “go” or “follow”.

This weeks map item: Crown.

Week Three - 11th August -Discovery Dens - The Power to Rescue

Mark 2:1-17 - The Paralysed Man

Truro: Stephen Baird - AH: Jonny Alford



• Know that we don’t treat God as we should, and that Jesus offers to forgive our sin.

• Understand that only Jesus has power to rescue us.


To lead people to learn why Jesus came (His mission) as they explore the problem of sin and the offering of forgiveness.

Suggestion of introductory activity-What is it? Picture quiz

Aim: to understand that Jesus can see everything and knows that our biggest need is forgiveness.

You will need these picture slides or make your ow slides with cropped pictures of objects.

  1. Show the children the (cropped) pictures.

  2. Have a guess what the objects are

  3. Reveal!

  4. Explain the link between today’s story of a man who appears to have a problem with his leg, but that’s only part of the picture. Jesus knew the whole picture, he knew what the man’s biggest problem was and what he really needed was forgiveness.

This weeks map item: Speech bubble.

Week Four - 18th August - Mysterious Mountains - Forgiven Friends with God

Mark 15:25-39 - The Cross

Truro: BEACH TRIP - AH: Jo Stone


• Know that Jesus’ death was foretold. To see Jesus loving sacrifice for us, taking our place to rescue us.

• Understand that, through Jesus’ death, there’s now a way for us to be forgiven friends with God.


To enjoy the friendship we now have with God through Jesus death on the cross.

Suggestion of introductory activity-Swap or not?

Aim: to see that when Jesus died, he made a great swap for us -he took our punishment and offers us his perfection.

You will need these swap slides.

  1. Show the first picture.

  2. Ask people to decide if they want to stick or swap it for something else -hopefully better.

  3. Some of the swaps will be better items some will be worse! Repeat.

  4. Explain the link between

This weeks map item: Cross.

Week Five - 25th August -Crown Cave - Knowing Life

Mark 16:1-8 - The Resurrection

Truro: Will Harwood - AH: Will Harwood



• Know that Jesus really did die and rise again.

• Understand that, because Jesus has beaten death, we can know life in him.


Having heard the truth about the reality of Christ’ death in our place, enable people to trust in His resurrection.

Suggestion of introductory activity-Eyewitness

Aim: to introduce the idea of an eyewitness giving details abut what they have seen.

You will need a tray with ten objects on it (e.g. ball, fork, pencil, apple etc.) and a tea towel to cover.

  1. Ask the children to look carefully at each item for a short period of time.

  2. Cover up the tray.

  3. See how many items they can remember.

  4. Explain the link to the eyewitnesses in the Bible to what Jesus did.

This weeks map item: Magnifying glass.

Week Six - 1st September - Rocky Road - Putting Jesus First

Mark 8:34-35 - Take Up Your Cross

Old Kea HC: Marc Baker - Truro: Steve Murray - AH: Steve Murray



• Understand that following Jesus means putting him first, even when it’s tough.


To understand what is means to follow Jesus (his call) and how we take up our cross.

Suggestion of introductory activity-obstacle course

Aim: to learn what it means to follow and that it’s not always easy.

You will need a blindfold and some objects to use as obstacles (e.g. cones, boxes, chairs).

  1. Design a simple course.

  2. Select one volunteer.

  3. Using simple directions help the volunteer to complete the course.

  4. Explain the link between following directions and following Jesus. That it won’t always be easy, but that Jesus will never leave us and will help us.

This weeks map item: Present.

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