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Second Serve – Second Chance

An assembly from the Culham St Gabriel archive

Suitable for Whole School (Sec)


To consider the theme of second chances by using the Wimbledon Championships.

Preparation and materials

  • Before the assembly, familiarize yourself with background information about this year’s Wimbledon Championships (available at: and note that they run from 27 June to 10 July this year.

  • You will need a collection of tennis-related equipment, such as tennis rackets, balls and strawberries.

  • You will also need a net or divider, two people to act as tennis players and someone to act as an umpire.

  • You may wish to arrange for a student to read the story of Zacchaeus found in Luke 19.1-10. 

  • Optional: you may wish to use a banner with the words 'Second Serve - Second Chance' displayed and have some quiet, reflective music playing during the assembly, in which case you will also need the means to play the music.


  1. Ask the students to look at the items – the tennis rackets, balls and strawberries - and guess the theme of the assembly.

  2. Ask if any students play tennis regularly and if anyone knows the names of any famous players.

  3. Invite the two ‘players’ to stand in position on either side of the net or divider, and ask the umpire to take their place. When everyone is in position, the umpire should announce the name of one player and say loudly, ‘First serve.’ When this player has acted out a tennis serve, the umpire should shout, ‘Fault!’

  4. Ask the students what would happen next in a tennis match. Explain that the serving player would get a second chance. At this point, the umpire should shout, ‘Second serve’ and the player should act out the serving motion once again. The umpire should then shout, 'Fifteen-love’ to establish that the point has been won!

  5. Point out that the server in a tennis match always has a second chance. Explain that there are many stories in the Bible that Christians believe teach us that God always wants us to have a ‘second chance’.

  6. Either ask a student to read the Bible passage in Luke 19.1-10 or tell the story of Zacchaeus.

  7. Point out that, in the story, Zacchaeus was given a second chance by Jesus. He took that opportunity and from that day on, his life changed for the better.

Time for reflection

Ask the students to sit quietly for a moment and think about the story. Remind them that, just like Zacchaeus, the server in tennis always gets a second chance. However, not all tennis players make the most of that chance - some put the second serve into the net.
In the quietness, ask the students to remember a time when they have been given a second chance. Did they make the most of it or did they waste the opportunity? Ask the students to make a silent promise to themselves that they will always make the most of every second chance that comes their way. Suggest that, if they get an opportunity to watch the Wimbledon Championships, they should try to remember the message of the second serve - and the story of Zacchaeus who made the most of his second chance.

Follow-up ideas

RE: Look at the story of Peter the disciple found in Luke 22.54-62. Peter denied Jesus, but was given a second chance. Peter took this chance and the Christian Church was born.
PE: Encourage students to think about second chances as they play tennis.
Make posters to advertise the Wimbledon Championships.

Publication date: June 2016   (Vol.18 No.6)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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