You’ve learned to twist balloons, do a few magic tricks, how to do some modern dance moves, and how to run large group games with any number of kids.
But have you learned how to juggle? Don’t be afraid of this skill. It’s really not as hard as it sounds. And you can do some very simple Gospel/Bible illustrations with the most basic juggling skills (such as the 3-ball cascade). There are even some illustrations you can do with juggling that requires NO juggling skills (in that, the point of the illustration is that you CAN’T juggle). But I still want you to learn how to juggle anyway.
First, watch my 4-minute video on how to juggle 3 balls. I developed this method based on my experience teaching people how to juggle in person. After that, I’ll give you some simple Gospel illustrations you can use with your newly learned skill.
How to Juggle Video:
Gospel Illustration Ideas:
1. “Why God Gave Us the Bible” – Start the routine by telling the kids that you’re going to juggle for them, even though you’ve never learned how to juggle. Then pull out a book that says, “How to Juggle” on the cover (you can just make a fake cover for any book). Tell them that you picked up the book, but it was too big, had too many words and not enough pictures. Then discard the book, saying, “Who needs big boring books anyway?” Then attempt to juggle and be goofy about dropping the objects everywhere, even hitting yourself with the objects. Do this as many times as the kids enjoy watching you miserably fail. The kids will inevitably shout out their suggestion that you should read the book. You finally take them up on it, read the book, and successfully juggle for a few catches.
Then you explain how God gave us the Bible. We might think the Bible is a big boring book with lots of words and no pictures. But it is actually an exciting book with lots of cool stories, teachings, and of course, the story of salvation through Jesus Christ. It is a necessary guidebook for life. Without it, our lives will fall apart, like a juggler dropping objects everywhere. But if we follow God’s guidebook, He will keep our lives in the perfect order (like juggling) that He has planned for us.
2. “Don’t Eat the Apple!” – You’ll need one apple, two other juggling objects (like beanbags) and two volunteers willing to eat something in your trick. Ask two kids to come up and help you, a boy and a girl. They’re going to play the parts of Adam and Eve. They stand on either side of you while you juggle 3 things (one of which is an apple). Take as long as you like to tell the story of the Garden of Eden and what it was like and how God made Adam and Eve. Then explain the one rule they were supposed to follow, which was not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Otherwise, they were completely free. Juggle the 3 objects, then pause the juggle and hold out the apple for “Eve” to take a bite. She may or may not, but try to get her to take a bite (you should get a volunteer ahead of time that is 4th grade or older and who said they are willing to eat something). Once she takes a bite, juggle the apple over to Adam, and have him take a bite. Then tell Adam and Eve to lay down to represent how they fell away from God at the moment that they ate the forbidden fruit. Then explain that the Bible says that all have sinned and have fallen short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23). This can then lead into a simple presentation of the Gospel, now that you have established original sin. Watch the last part of this video I made to see how I do the Adam and Eve routine.
3. “Our Trinitarian God” – The Bible says that God is One. He is also Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He is not 3 gods, but instead One God in three persons. Therefore, you can explain the persons of the Trinity, one at a time, as you bring out three objects to juggle (make sure they’re 3 identical objects). As you juggle, explain how this is one juggling pattern (like there is One God), but there are distinct roles of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Finally, please check out the Christian Jugglers’ Association. It is a free community dedicated to building up Christian jugglers in their faith and spreading the Gospel through juggling. They have lots of great resources on their site, including more routine ideas for Bible-themed illustrations using juggling (all skill levels). If you want to purchase juggling equipment, I have some on my website. But for a wider selection, I recommend JugglingStore.com