Just hearing the names “Homer and Henry” brings a big smile and fond memories to the school children and teachers (old and young alike) of southeastern Kentucky. Homer and Henry are the puppets of Bill Holeman, a Christian missionary and ventriloquist from California, who has dedicated over fifty years of his life to spreading the good news of Jesus Christ in the mountains of eastern Kentucky. “Preacher Bill”, as Bill is known to all, visits schools and churches, using his beloved puppets to tell children about Jesus Christ. Children eagerly listen as Homer, Henry and Preacher Bill tell about how sin separates us from God and how God sent His Son to save us from our sins. Through laughter and the work of the Holy Spirit, thousands of children have heard the gospel message. Preacher Bill figured out early in his missionary work that children love puppets and it is no different today. Puppets engage kids!With puppets, teachers and students can act out Bible stories, moral dilemmas or Christian values. The possibilities are endless. Kids especially enjoy creating and naming a class puppet. I vividly remember my first grade class puppet, Mr. Blabbermouth.
Two of my favorite electronic puppet apps for use in children’s ministry are listed below although there are numerous puppet apps in the iTunes App Store and the Google Play Store. A traditional puppet ministry can be expensive yet electronic puppets with backdrops are free or relatively inexpensive.
Bible Buddies HD Director’s Pass
Download Bible story such as Daniel and the Lion’s Den, Noah and the Ark, Birth of Jesus, David and Goliath, Jonah and more. Additional characters and backdrops can be uploaded from photos and productions can be saved for later viewing. Children can star along with Bible characters! This app is available for the iPad or iPhone for $3.99.
Create your own lip-synched sock puppets. Upload your video to YouTube or Facebook. This app is available for free with limited capability or for full capability the cost is $3.99 for the iPad or iPhone.
Scripts and Making Your Own Puppets
Of course, you can make your own puppets. Check out the web sites below for patterns, directions and scripts. Consider incorporating technology into a traditional puppet show by allowing kids to video the production and post to YouTube, Vimeo or Facebook.
Danielle’s Place — http://www.daniellesplace.com/html/puppets.html
Creative Ministry Solutions — http://www.creativemin.com/category/puppetry