Looking for a immersive experience that will help you to share the gospel with the preteens in your ministry? Check out the “Mudlympics”!
“Mudlympics” can be used as a special event, or as part of a special service.
Some preteens LOVE mud and can’t wait for an opportunity to just dive right in. Others don’t want to have anything to do with getting dirty (or at least they pretend that they don’t).
Our preteen ministry has had a “Mudlympics” twice, and both times it’s been a big hit with the preteens – even the ones who just want to cheer on their peers who are getting muddy and bite their lip as consider jumping in themselves.
“Mudlympics” is an outdoor event, and a little rain and a little cold could actually add to the event.
Keep reading below to see all the details for putting on your own “Mudlympics” or download the Mudlympics PDF
Or check out this podcast episode, where Sean and Chris discuss their most recent “Mudlympics”:
PRETEEN MINISTRY GOSPEL PRESENTATION SERVICE/EVENT: THE MUDLYMPICS
- Send home permission slips, and have copies on hand. We have provided sample text at the bottom of this page, and have included a permission slip that you can use in the downloadable Mudlympics PDF
- Promote the Mudlympics, and encourage students to wear clothes they can get dirty and to bring a towel.
- Obtain enough large black plastic trash bags for each student. These will be worn by students, so cut a slit for the head and arms.
- Decide how many activity stations you’ll have and prepare them according to the directions below. A copy of these directions can be printed out for each of your leaders. We’ve included printable versions in the Mudlympics PDF
- Gather towels for the students who don’t bring one.
- Consider clearing your ministry space of any furniture and laying down cheap plastic painting drop cloth. This will help preserve your space, and will also reinforce the MESSAGE. Another option is to do the entire event/service outside.
- Print out “The Mud Story” and place it in the front of the teaching space (perhaps in a binder or cover of some type). We’ve created a printable version of “The Mud Story” in the Mudlympics PDF
- Assign leaders to each station and have them arrive early so they can become familiar with their stations.
- Optional: Find pictures to go along with “The Mud Story” if you have a way projecting images on a screen.
- Optional: Have metallic sharpies and gel pens on hand for students to decorate their trash bags before the Mudlympics begin.
- Optional: Create trophies like the one pictured below. You can buy cheap trophies at a party supply store and melt brown crayon over the top of the trophy to create a dripping mud effect.
6:30p = Prepare for the Mudlympics.
During this time, students can check in, turn in their form, and get a trash bag. They could also decorate their bag. Some of the Mudlympic Stations could be open for preteens to try out the activities and “train” before the Mudlympics begin.
6:50p = Mudlympics
Gather all the students and split them into teams, based on how many Mud-Stations you have prepared. Give students any last minute rules, and then send them to their first station. Rotate every 5-10 minutes, depending on your schedule.
At each station, have the leaders score the groups that come through and collect these score cards at the end. Have somebody tally these so you can announce a winner at the end of the event.
Ideas for Mudlympic stations are listed at the bottom of this page.
7:25p = Clean up
Have students take off and throw away their trash bags, use a towel to clean off any wet mud and then send them to where the message will be presented.
7:30p = Message Opening/Upbeat Worship Song
7:35p = Announce upcoming events or services
7:40p = Give students a chance to share one thing that happened during the Mudlympics that they thought was memorable.
7:45p = Ask students to think about a time in their life when they got the dirtiest they’ve ever been. Tell them to share this in small groups.
7:55p = Call everybody back together, and sing a transitional worship song (medium-upbeat, like “Open the Eyes of My Heart” or “All to Him”)
8:00p = Tell the students that you are going to read a story to them. Then read “The Mud Story”.
8:05p = Lesson
Say: Think for a minute. What does this story have anything to do with church, or with being a Christian? (Pause for reponses)
Check out these verses, and think about the connection between the story you just heard and what Jesus has done for us:
Galatians 1:4 (NIrV) = “Jesus gave his life for our sins. He set us free from this evil world. That was what our God and Father wanted.”
Colossians 1:13 (NIrV) = “[God] has saved us from the kingdom of darkness. He has brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves.”
Does anybody see a connection between the story I just told you and these verses? (Take responses)
We are living in a world where there are so many opportunity for us to sin. It’s like in the story I read, except instead of being in a muddy world, we are in a sinful world. Sin is all around us. And we have all sinned – every single one of us. If you have ever lied, or thought a bad thought, or taken something that wasn’t yours, or worried, or disobeyed your parents – you’ve jumped right in to the mud – I mean, sin.
We find ourselves covered in sin. And at first, it seems like it’s going to be fun, but the Bible tells us in Romans 6:23 that the price of sin is death. That sin is killing us slowly.
Hebrews 11:25 tells us that sin IS fun…but the pleasure only lasts for a short time. After that, well it’s a bit like playing in mud. It goes from being fun to being uncomfortable and painful and all we want is to be free from it.
Is there anybody in here you played in the mud earlier tonight, but now you just want all of the mud off of you?
Sin is like that. You can be free from sin, or you can be sitting in sin, be drenched in sin, be covered by sin, be disgustingly coated with sin? How many of you would rather be free from sin?
Remember in the story, when a train came by to rescue you and the ticket was already paid for? Well, that’s what God has done for us.
God sent his son Jesus to live on this sinful Earth as a human being. It’s amazing – Jesus was fully human and also fully God. And he lived on Earth about 2,000 years ago.
But unlike anybody else, Jesus didn’t sin. He didn’t jump in and get muddy. He lived perfectly, and always obeyed his Father in Heaven.
When he was around 30 years old, he was arrested for saying that he was God. Back then, it was a really big deal to say that you were God. You could be killed for saying something like that.
And that’s what they did to Jesus. They arrested him, beat him, put a crown of thorns on his head, and nailed him to a cross to die. Then they put the Cross up for everybody to look at him and spit at him and make fun of him, which people did. They had no idea what he was doing on the Cross. They watched as he died not realizing that he was paying a price for OUR sins.
See, there’s a price to be paid for all the sin in your life. Part of the price of your sins is to have God’s anger – his wrath – poured out on you for everything you’ve done. That means that you and I would be going to Hell, separated from God forever and ever. It doesn’t matter if you do 100 good things and sin 1 time. The price for your sin is to be separated from God forever and ever.
But, when Jesus went to the Cross, he did something amazing. He took your sin with him, and took God’s wrath toward OUR sin upon HIMSELF. By doing this, Jesus paid the price for your sins. Not only that, but he was making a way for us to have a different future. When he died on the Cross, he gave us a gift. Romans 8:23 tells us the price for our sins is death but it also says this: “The free gift of God is eternal life.”
It was a gift of love that Jesus gave us by dying on the Cross for our sins. He was taking away our sins, paying for our sins, and giving us the free gift of Heaven.
Like most gifts, it has to be received. Let’s think about the story for a minute again:
There you are, covered in mud, and yet the conductor is inviting you aboard the train. He’s paid the price to buy a ticket for you, and there are showers on board that you can use to clean yourself up. But YOU have to take the ticket…you have to want to be on that train more than you want to be stuck in a world of mud.
The same is true in real life when it comes to us and Jesus. Do you want to just continue to be a slave to sin….or do you want to be on board with Jesus more than you want to be a slave to sin?
If you want to receive the free gift of God’s forgiveness for your sin, and you want to have a new life ahead of you – a life that’s headed toward greater things, then tonight is the night to get out of the muddy sin and get on the Jesus train. Who wants that tonight?
(Look for responses and pray with students to receive the free gift of salvation. Use Romans 10:9: “Say with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord.” Believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead. Then you will be saved.” To show students how that “ticket” is received.)
8:17p = Worship (perhaps a song like “Rescue” or “Amazing Love”)
8:20p = Dismiss students to small groups to discuss what God is showing them tonight, and to ask any questions that they still have. Also, encourage your small group leaders to ask the students to share if they received the free gift of salvation tonight.
8:30p = Gather and dismiss.
POSSIBLE MUDLYMPIC ROTATIONS
Here are 6 suggestions. Use as many as your group will need, and double up on activities if you have more than 6 groups.
Special Note: to make mud, get dark dirt from your local hardware store and just add water.
#1. Mud Pictionary
Supplies: A place to write scores for each team, Poster Boards, a bucket of mud, a timer, a list of words which can be easily drawn, and a way to hang the poster boards up.
The Game: Start a 5-minute timer. Have one student at a time come to the front of the group where the poster boards are. Tell them the first word on the list quietly so that only they hear. Have them draw the picture on the poster board for the rest of the group using their hands, dipped in mud. As soon as somebody guesses the correct answer, have another student come forward to “draw” the second picture. Continue until the timer reaches 0. Record their time on the score sheet before sending them to the next rotation.
#2. Find the Mud Worm
Supplies: A place to write scores for each team, a timer, a table, either one bowl of pudding for each group, or one bowl of pudding for each student, 10 gummy worms in each bowl.
The Game: Start a 3-minute timer. Have either every student OR one student from each group stand at the table with their hands behind their back. They are trying to use their mouth to extract as many gummy worms as they can and place them on the table. They must grab the worm with their mouth and clean all the pudding off of the worm before placing it on the table. They may not use their hands during the game at all. Continue until the timer reaches 0. Record the number of worms they extracted before sending them to the next rotation.
Supplies: A place to write scores for each team, a large rope, a soft (inflatable) baby pool filled with mud.
The Game: Have two teams stand on either side of the baby pool and on go, they are trying pull the other team into the pool of mud. Record the winning team on the score sheet before sending them to the next rotation.
#4. Boulder Excavation
Supplies: A place to write scores for each team, a bucket of mud – make it really watery mud, a timer, a cone placed some distance from the bucket, and a basketball filled with water (or a watermelon). To fill a ball with water, use a hand air pump. Suck water into the pump and pump it out into the ball.
The Game: Start a 3-minute timer. Have the students line up by the bucket. The first student take the basketball (or watermelon) out of the muddy water and holds it against their chest as they run around the cone and return. They then drop the ball gently into the bucket and the next person goes. Continue until the timer reaches 0. Record the number of laps that the members of each group completed on the score sheet before sending them to the next rotation.
#5. Pebble Toe Dig
Supplies: A place to write scores for each team, a timer, a baby pool full of mud, 50 marbles spread throughout the mud.
The Game: Have all the students take off their socks and shoes. Start a 5-minute timer. Have one student at a time come to pool and dig in the pool with their foot. They must find a marble, grab it with their foot, and place it on the side of the pool. Once they have extracted a marble, the next person on their team goes. Continue until the timer reaches 0. Record their score on the score sheet before sending them to the next rotation.
#6. Mud Course
Supplies: A place to write scores for each team, Supplies to create a mud obstacle course.
The Game: Have the students line up and explain the obstacle course. Here’s a suggested obstacle course, but do whatever will work for your space and the supplies you have: The student run through a pool of mud, then crawl on their bellies under a 2×4 that runs between two chairs, then run around two cones and return backward under the board and through the pool. Time the group and divide the total time by the number of students in the group. Record their average group time on the score sheet before sending them to the next rotation.
THE MUDDY STORY
Imagine yourself in a place where everything is mud. This is where you were born, and it’s all you know. And though you don’t really want to live life muddy, it’s all around you. So what do you do?
You dive right in. You become so emmersed in the mud of the world. You are, after all, a child of the mud. And you know what else?
It’s fun! Well….kind of. It seems fun, and it is, for a little bit. But now you’ve realized something: it’s also uncomfortable. The mud gets in your eyes, and nose, and mouth, and other places I won’t even mention. It’s not good! And you wish you had never gotten in the mud at all. And then…
You cry out: “I don’t want to be a child of the mud anymore. Rescue me, somebody! Save me.”
You fall asleep. You’re a child of the mud, and you fall asleep in the mud, covered in mud. Perhaps forever. But then it happens…
A train comes through your world, blowing its horn loud, as if to announce, “There is another place to go! You are muddy, but you belong to another world! COME!”
And so, you are sleeping as this train comes through your world, and so you are helpless to do anything. But the train blows its horn one more time, loud and clear!
It wakes you up, and at once, you want something more than the mud you are lying in. You see the train as it slows to a stop right in front of you, and you want, desperately want, to be on that train, going beyond your muddy world.
“All ABOOOARRD!” yells the conductor, and you look in his eyes. They look so kind. You look at his skin and his clothes. He looks so clean. “All ABOOOARRD!” the conductor says again…
And he looks right at you.
You swallow hard. “I want to come aboard,” you say to him, holding back a tear.
“Then come on,” he replies, holding out his hand. “This train is headed to the Ocean, where there’s a beach and an amusement park where you can play forever in the sunshine. There’s free cotton candy and anything else you could ever enjoy, forever and ever.
You can’t hold back the tears any more. “I want to come aboard,” you say again, “but I can’t. I don’t have a ticket to put in your hand.”
The conductor smiles a gentle smile.
“I already bout you one,” he says. And so you take his hand, and he lifts you out of the mud.
“I’m going to mess up the train,” you say, “just look at all this mud.”
“Don’t you worry about that,” the conductor says. “We have showers on board.”
THE PERMISSION SLIP TEXT
(No legal jargon here….just making sure the parents are onboard with what’s taking place.)
___________________________________ has permission to participate in the Mudlympics.
I understand that preteens who participate will most likely get dirty, as will their clothes and shoes. I will joyfully help my preteen to take responsibility for the mud and dirt that will come home with him or her after the event today.
LIKE THIS: Check out “Sticky Night”
You can also download a printable Mudlympics PDF