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One Pancake, Many Ingredients

Our church’s young Saturday evening service has a small group of children who attend. The advantage to this size of group (8-12) is that we get to do some great hands-on stuff that wouldn’t work with a larger crowd. One of our recent favorites was a teaching on the church as the body of Christ, using 1 Corinthians 12:12-31 as our Scriptural basis.

I brought in an electric frying pan and all the ingredients necessary for making pancakes and set them at the front of the class on a large table. Dressed in a chef’s hat and frilly apron, I proceeded to ask the kids what they thought the key ingredients to a good pancake recipe might be. After some guessing, I put the recipe up on the whiteboard (overhead would do fine) and we went through the recipe. I handed out an ingredient to each child (some paired up and shared the milk, some took the butter and syrup). We talked about what might happen if we left out the flour (pancake soup), or the eggs (tough and rubbery), or the milk (dry as sawdust), or the baking powder (flat as, well, a really flat pancake). Then, I had each child bring their ingreident up as I called it out in the order the recipe required, and they helped me mix in their contribution. Meanwhile, the frying pan had been heating up (caution: keep kids away from this area — we had one super-curious participant who ended up with a nearly burned elbow), and was ready to cook our pancakes. While they were frying, I had some of the kids who love to serve hand out paper plates, plastic cutlery and napkins, while others spread out a picnic blanket on the floor. Then, as they were ready, the kids lined up to receive their pancake and smother it with butter, syrup, jam, or whatever other fixings they desired. As they ate their pancakes, we talked about the Scripture and how important each person in the church is — no matter their age, their giftings, or their abilities. Each child shared what they felt their gifting might be — things they love to do that could be a help at church, at home or in the world. We also talked about the fact that no gift (or ingredient) is more important than another. For example, even though there were two whole cups of flour in our pancake recipe and only 1-1/2 Tbsp. of baking powder, the baking powder is just as important to the outcome of the recipe as the flour. Then, we ate more pancakes. We came out encouraged, full, and challenged to contribute whatever ingredients we might have to the body of Christ. This lesson can be a great intro to a unit on serving — or a kick-off to an outreach project your kids might be starting.

*Notes: This activity works even better if you have a few adult/teen helpers and a few extra frying pans. We did the same activity with a larger group of kids and definitely needed the extra pans and help to keep up with the kids’ appetites.

As well, make sure you get a heads-up on any potential food allergies among your kids. Talk to the parents ahead of time to ensure that no children will feel left out due to allergies — especially considering this is a lesson on unity!

Pancake Recipe

2 cups milk
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
4 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 Tbsp. sugar
1-1/2 tsp. salt
1-1/2 Tbsp. baking powder
2 cups flour (white or whole wheat)

Beat milk and eggs until frothy. Add vanilla, oil, sugar and salt. Mix. Then add baking powder and flour. Mix just until smooth. Pour six-inch pancake rounds into greased hot frying pan (medium to medium-high heat) and fry until small bubbles appear; flip and fry on other side. Then, smother with butter, syrup, jam, peanut butter — whatever pleases your palate.

by Carla Hesketh

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