Covenant as Wooden Block Tower

Preparation: acquire a wooden block tower building game (similar to Jenga ©). If possible, consider getting a jumbo version of game because its size lends itself to more visibility for the congregation and more space for more kids to participate.
Other supplies:

  • signs or name tags that state “covenant” to hand out to participating children
  • table to elevate the block tower for more visibility
  • a cardboard box as foundation (it should be a little shaky because there is a point in the story when you shake it to not make the tower topple, but to indicate it needs help in standing strong)
A child carefully tries to remove a wooden block from a Jenga tower.

"Covenants are the promises we make to each other about how we will be for each other and with each other.

Covenants are helpful all the time. They are especially helpful when we are experiencing challenges—such as times of conflict or times when a congregation is either growing or shrinking. Covenants are also helpful when we are choosing to deepen a meaningful commitment, like when we choose to adopt the 8th Principle.

Covenanting or re-visiting covenant can be a good thing to do in this time as the pandemic stretches on or is transitioning into endemic status and we are figuring out what congregational life looks like in these new times.

In all those times, covenants are like loving, active scaffolding: a protective presence that can help us when things get a little shaky. And they work best if everyone takes part in being that protective presence."

[Invite children forward to participate.]

"Who here would like to embody covenant?" (Hand out name tags or signs they can wear around their neck so folks in the congregation can see: e.g., "Covenant," or "I'm a covenant keeper," or "Doing my part to keep our covenant strong.")

"Your job is to help make sure the tower stays standing, and to do it together, through cooperation, helping each other to play a role, while I try to see if I can topple the tower. Any questions?

Okay, now I am going to act like the pandemic, shaking the foundation under the tower to see what happens.

Now I'm going to try to some things. Let’s see if our covenant helps keep us together and strong…"

  • take two blocks off the top and have them crash into each other in a way that makes the tower wobble
  • remove something that seems like it is the very heart of the tower and that we think we can’t live without
  • add something that doesn’t seem to fit at first—ask, "Can we find a way to help connect this new addition?"
  • have a “plant” in the congregation—someone relatively new, holding a wooden block and offers to add it—who offers new ideas or energies
  • remove some parts and make something new out of them together

After the success of the covenant in keeping the tower in place, invite the children to take turns playing the game in the more typical style—sliding a block out and adding it to the top. Thank them for their contributions in making the congregation stronger with their involvement.

Consider getting a regular size version of the game so you can write a message on each block. Ask the children to hand out a block to everyone in the room or place them in baskets so that people take them on their way out at the end of the service or during the offertory.