FACE 18 - BMS World Mission
A world mission resource for all-age church events
Issue 18: Forgiveness
An activity to help
your congregation see
that forgiveness is a
powerful tool in a world
full of problems
You will need: large sheets of white
paper, coloured marker pens
The main theme explored in this issue
is forgiveness. It is suitable to use in an
all-age event with the aim of exploring
how incredible God’s forgiveness is, how it
can set us free and then help us to forgive
others. Pages 1, 2 and 3 contain information
to include when all ages are together
in a service. Page 4 contains additional
information for adults, children and young
people to explore the issues further. It
includes references to downloadable
Bible verses explored
• Philippians 3: 14 • Matthew 18: 21-35
• Psalm 51: 2, NLT • Colossians 3: 12-15
• Mark 11: 25
Ideas for songs
Before the service starts write out the
word ‘forgiveness’ in red, bold letters on
six different large sheets of paper. Then
write on six other large sheets of paper
the following situations:
man borrowed some money and now
cannot afford to pay it back.
• A woman gossiped about something
she was told by a friend in confidence.
• A group of school children vandalised
your church because they were bored.
• An old lady was mugged by a teenager
who was high on drugs.
• A war rages on and many innocent
people have been killed due to a
• An innocent man was murdered by
people who did not agree with his
Do not tell your congregation what the
theme of the service is and ask for
six volunteers (of various ages). One
at a time, give them each one of the
situations to hold-up and read out what it
says. Ask people for a one-word solution
to each of the problems. After various
suggestions have been made explain to
your congregation that there is one very
powerful tool, that Jesus demonstrated,
that would help and heal many of the
people involved in these situations.
What is it? Whether they guess it or
not give each of the people holding
the situations one of the sheets with
‘forgiveness’ written on it.
Next ask your congregation to look
at the situations again and say why
forgiveness would help for all the people
involved? Lastly, ask your congregation
to put their hands up and tell you if they
can think of any stories in the Bible
How to use FACE
• The cross has said it all
Matt Redman and Martin Smith © 1995 Kingsway’s
Begging you for mercy!
• I get so excited, Lord (I’m forgiven)
Mick Ray © 1978 Kingsway’s Thankyou Music
• O, the joy of your forgiveness
Dave Bilbrough © 1988 Kingsway’s Thankyou Music
• You laid aside your majesty
Noel Richards © 1985 Kingsway’s Thankyou Music
A drama based on the
Unmerciful Servant from
Matthew 18: 21-35
You will need: downloaded drama from
• Your mercy flows
Wes Sutton © Wes Sutton
Pre-prepare this drama with either your youth
group or people enthusiastic about acting in
your church. Perform during the service.
You can’t undo anything
you’ve already done, but
you can face up to it. You
can tell the truth. You can
seek forgiveness. And then
let God do the rest. Anon
Forgiveness = freedom
An activity to help your
congregation see how
forgiveness can help
set them free
You will need: a long white/light
coloured bed sheet cut up into four
strips approximately 20cm wide and
1.5m long, black permanent marker
pen, large scissors, four plain, white
t-shirts with one of the following
written on each: school, work,
Ask for two volunteers (one needs to be
able to write clearly). Ask the children
for something that may happen at
school that may upset them/hurt them/
make them angry eg someone spreading
a lie. Pick one of the ideas and ask
the first volunteer to write it on one of
the strips of sheet in capital letters ie
SOMEONE TOLD A LIE ABOUT ME.
things said in an
argument), and then
something that may
happen at church
(eg upset by another
and get volunteers
one and two to
write these on the
Now, ask volunteer
two to tie one end of
each of these strips
of sheet to volunteer
one’s wrists and
Then ask for four
more volunteers to come up and put
one of the white t-shirts on each of
them. Get volunteer two to tie the other
ends of the sheets to the ankles and
wrists of the volunteers in t-shirts.
Next ask the adults for something that
may happen at work that may upset
them/hurt them/make them angry. Ask
volunteer two to write on another strip
of sheet as before.
Explain to your congregation that not
forgiving people keeps us tied to them
and God asks us to: “Bear with each
other and forgive whatever grievances
you may have against one another.
Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”
(Colossians 3: 13)
Next ask everyone for something that
can happen in your families (eg horrible
Ask the children of the congregation if
they think volunteer one will be able to
go anywhere easily tied to these other
people? Tell them that God wants us to
“press on towards the goal to win the
prize for which God has called me…”
(Philipians 3: 14) – difficult if you’re
Get a final volunteer to come up, give
them the scissors and ask them to cut
the sheet strips to free volunteer one.
Explain that this is what happens when
Jesus gives us the strength to forgive
people, we are set free and other
people are also set free.
From grime to shine
visual talk to show how, by following
he forgives us and takes away the
dirt of sin in our lives
You will need: three or four different coloured fabric paints
in tubes or pots, a paintbrush, a plastic pot, two identical
white t-shirts (Fairtrade if possible)
Beforehand prepare a story from your childhood about when
you got dirty whilst on an adventure or doing sport and then
got into trouble with your parents or teacher as a result.
Begin telling the story and, at the same time, add the
different paints to the bowl, taking time to mix them together
with the brush. This should be done deliberately in front of
As you end the story, ask for a volunteer from the
congregation to come to the front and put the t-shirt on.
Explain that we all do wrong things in life that we need to
say sorry to God for and be forgiven. For each thing you list
(gossiping, being unkind, telling lies, etc), brush a stroke of
paint on the t-shirt, until it is quite covered. (Be careful not to
get the paint on the person’s clothes underneath.)
He who is devoid of the power to
forgive, is devoid of the power to
love. Martin Luther King Jr
Now tell the story of Jesus coming to earth to die on the
cross and explain that in this action he took the dirt of our
lives and put them on himself so that we can be forgiven by
God. As you speak, carefully take the paint-covered t-shirt
and put it on yourself, and then ask the volunteer to put the
other white t-shirt on, which symbolises the new start we
have with Jesus.
Throughout this, it’s best not to refer to the paint or t-shirts –
let the congregation make the connection between the words
Finish this by asking someone to come up and read Psalm 51:
2 from a New Living Translation Bible.
An activity to show how forgiveness is
needed and practised in other countries
You will need: downloaded story of ‘Pushpa’
Before the service, download the story of Pushpa, a young lady
from Nepal, by BMS worker Cynthia Chadwell and ask someone
to read it out during the service or ask a group to create a
silent drama as the story is read out.
Then ask your congregation:
• Do you think it was easy for Pushpa to forgive her stepfather?
• What would have happened if Pushpa did not choose to
forgive her stepfather even though he had hurt her?
• Do you think it is easier or more difficult to forgive people if
you live in Nepal? (You may want to hold up a map and show
your congregation where Nepal is.)
Take it to the cross
Poem about forgiveness
to show how we can take our
and unforgiveness of others to the
I’ve done a lot of things in life
that I know have made God sad.
Some of them were little things,
and some were all out bad.
Some of them people know about
and others I have not told,
Some have made my anger hot
and some my heart grow cold.
cross of Jesus
You will need: roll of paper, red paint, a big glass vase/
vessel, communion wafers, pencils, communion wine/
But God says that I’m forgiven
and I shout this out today.
Forgiven for things big and small
and I won’t be forced to pay,
For the things I did many years ago
or that recently hurt another,
Things I’ve done to those I don’t know
or things that hurt my brother.
God will not make me grovel,
or remind me time after time,
But asks that I say I’m truly sorry
and admit the sin is mine.
As far as the East is from the West,
is how far my sins have been thrown,
Freed by forgiveness to now forgive,
amazing love I have been shown!
© S Buchan
When a deep
injury is done
to us, we never
to set a prisoner
free and discover
that the prisoner
was you. Corrie
Download a short sermon
outline by BMS Team Leader
from IMC, Mat Wilson,
based on Colossians 3: 12-15
Before the service
ask a group of
who enjoy art to
help you make a
giant cross and put
it at the front of
your church. They
should also paint
out the scripture
from Mark 11: 25
in red and stick it
above the cross.
Give everyone in your congregation a communion wafer
and a pencil. Ask them to write in pencil on one side
something that they want God to forgive them for – one
word or letter is fine. Next, ask them to write the name or
initials of someone who they want to/know they should
forgive. Then ask everyone to come to the front and throw
their wafer into the glass vessel and as they are doing this
pour the communion wine over all the wafers so that they
are completely covered (make sure you have enough wine/
Ribena to do this).
Ask people to bow their heads in prayer, taking the time
to truly forgive someone who has hurt/upset them. After
a few minutes now ask people to silently ask for God’s
forgiveness for something that they have done wrong.
While they are doing this, stir the wafers into the wine/
Ribena to help them break-up/dissolve.
Say a simple prayer over the congregation and ask them
to look up and see that the wafers have been washed by
the blood of Jesus! The pencil marks have now faded or
the wafers have been completely dissolved! Ask the whole
congregation to say the scripture above the cross and end
by saying “Amen”.
Explore further in groups
All ages in small groups
There are many people in your church and local
community who need to be taught that they are
forgiven from their past and must also forgive others.
Why not set up a ‘forgiveness fortnight’ where
your church (and other local churches) organise
talks; musicians; workshops; marches; an area in
your church where people can drop in and receive
counselling or prayer etc, all in the name of setting
people free through forgiveness. Teach people why
we need to forgive for our physical, emotional and
spiritual health (different experts on these subjects
could talk). Advertise this outside your and other
churches, on local radio, in local shops/post offices.
Let’s teach people once more about the power of
forgiving others and God’s goodness and love in
forgiving us. Offerings could be taken at these events
and donated to the work of BMS World Mission.
An activity to see how forgiveness would help
situations in our world today
You will need: Bible, pens, paper, newspapers
Bring in lots of different newspapers and put your group into pairs.
Give them each a newspaper and ask them to go through and find
all the stories where forgiveness would help the situation. Ask them
to answer the following questions and then report back to the
1) How would forgiveness help this situation/story?
2) Who needs to forgive and who needs to be forgiven?
3) Do you think forgiveness in this situation will be easy?
4) Can this situation/story be likened to any Bible story where the
person was forgiven?
Spend a few minutes reflecting in prayer, out loud or in silence,
what if there was more forgiveness in the world?
How many times?
An activity to teach children
how many times Jesus tells us to
You will need: Bible, paper, scissors, empty tubes
of Smarties with lids, coloured pens, strong glue,
Read your children the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant
from the Contemporary English Version of the Bible
(Matthew 18:21-35). Ask them at the end if they can
remember how many times Jesus told Peter to forgive.
The answer is 77 times or other translations of the Bible
say 70 times seven – so basically Jesus is saying you
must forgive people a lot! I don’t think he expects you
to count 77 times and then stop forgiving people.
Get each child to cover a Smarties tube with paper
and glue it on. Get them to write: “Forgive as the Lord
forgave you.” (Colossians 3: 13) on the paper and then
decorate the tube.
Next, ask them to fill half of the tube with sand (the
sand can be dyed with food colouring beforehand if
you wish) and put the lid on. Ask your group to take
the tubes home and whenever someone has been
unkind to them or hurt them and they don’t feel like
forgiving them, they should go and shake the tube
and remember how many grains of sand are in the
tube and that this is how many times God wants us
to forgive people as he is always ready and willing to
BMS World Mission
PO Box 49, Didcot,
Oxfordshire OX11 8XA
An activity to see how unforgiveness can build
up in your life and needs to be released
You will need: laptop with access to the internet (only needed if
showing film clip – activity can work without it), balloons
Play this film clip to your group about an African tribe’s ritual that
illustrates the power of forgiveness:
Ask your group if they agree that forgiveness can be very difficult but
also help us. Ask why they think Jesus thought our need to be forgiven
by God for our sins was worth dying painfully on the cross for.
Next, give each member of your
group a balloon. Ask them to
think of all the people and things
that have hurt and upset them.
Hurts from family members,
friends, situations, even God –
these can be big or small things.
Then ask them to blow into the
balloon as they think of all these
things and hold the end of their
balloon with their fingers tightly
once it is blown up. Explain to
your group that unforgiveness builds up like the air in the balloon,
but this pressure has to burst at some point if we don’t let it go
and forgive people.
Ask your group to take some time and ask God to forgive them for
their sins but to then take time in asking God to help them forgive
others for the hurts in their lives. As they pray, when they are ready,
ask them to let the air out of the balloon as a sign of releasing their
Tel: 01235 517700
Email: [email protected]
Contributors: Sally Buchan, Cynthia Chadwell,
Andrew Dubock, Mat Wilson
Editor: Sally Buchan
Baptist Missionary Society: registered as a charity in England & Wales (number 233782) and in Scotland (number SC037767)