This parable emphasizes the small, humble beginnings of the Kingdom. (Not what many people expected)
Basic Children’s sermon idea: Hold up a small seed and then show the sort of large bush that it can grow into. Explain that this is how the Kingdom of God and /or the Church of God grows. It starts with small beginnings.
Props needed: A small seed and a large bush in a pot.
Children’s sermon / object lesson: Good morning children! Can you see what I have in my hand? It’s very hard to see. Look closely and you will see a very small seed. It doesn’t look very important. It doesn’t look very powerful. It looks like it would never get any bigger.
However, if left a seed like this in the ground, and watered it, and left it grow, it would slowly grow into a large bush like this one over here. That is amazing that such a large bush could come from such a small seed.
Jesus said that this is how his Kingdom would grow. Some people expected that it would start with an amazing show of power. But Jesus said it would start very small way – like this little seed. Jesus started telling people about God and his wonderful love. Later his followers told others of how Jesus loved us so much that he was willing to die for us. It did not seem like a powerful beginning. However, just like a little seed in the ground his kingdom grew bigger and bigger. At first there were just a few believers in Jesus. Now, many years later his kingdom family stretches all around the world. There are followers of Jesus in every country of the world.
Kid’s prayer: Dear God, thank you for the good news message of Jesus and his love. Thank you that even though this good news message started with just a few people that it now has grown to be a huge church family all around the world. In Jesus name – Amen!
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Here are some quick ideas that you could use: (Or you can always just check out the stories on this website!)
1. Take the kids on an outdoor thanksgiving walk. Do a walking trip and ask the children to notice things they are thankful for. As they mention things, ask them why they are thankful for those items: You are thankful for trees. Why? What good things come from trees? (Wood to build houses; Shade on a hot day; privacy etc. After discussing each item, you (or the children) could lead in a prayer of thanksgiving to God.
2. Read out a parable or other bible story and have the children act out the story as you read out a paraphrased version. (Parables such as the Prodigal Son and the Good Samaritan can work well for spontaneous dramas.) Extra: Record your drama on your cell phone and show it to them.
3. Tell you story of coming to faith in Jesus and have the children tell their story. (Be sensitive to the fact that children may not all have a polished, rehearsed testimony. When you are finished, lead in prayer, giving thanks for the many ways that people come to follow Jesus.
4. Have one of the young people share a problem or trial and facilitate a group discussion on how to help that person. What help does Jesus provide? What help can class members provide? This exercise can help develop your group’s compassion quotient.
5. Facilitate a discussion on the practical needs of your church and community. Is there a project you could all be involved in? How can you help people in need? Bake cookies and ask church members to donate to your good cause.
6. Prepare a song (an action song) or a skit that you could present to the congregation the following Sunday. (Or to an elderly shut in person)
7. Put together a quick bible trivia game and ask the kids to fill in the blanks or give the answers.
8. Play a Bible Pictionary Game. Make up a list of cards with bible names, events, or people. Divide into two groups and have a person in the group pick a card and draw a picture in front of their group without using words. If the team guesses what the picture is about, the team gets a point.
9. Use building blocks to build the Temple, Jerusalem or other bible scene.
10. Have the children work together to do a puzzle. Use this as an opportunity to speak about working together as a team.
11. Ask a member of the congregation to come and speak to the kids. If you have a young person who is a role model, all the better. Or interview them: How did you come to believe in Jesus? Do you find it hard being a Christian at school? How to you keep strong as a Christian? What are some of your favorite bible verses? Hearing a word from an older young person can be powerful.
“Let us set aside the weight of sin and run the race set before us”
Children’s sermon idea: Have someone come in dressed up like a jogger / runner. However, they are also carrying a heavy back pack, a suitcase, a bag around the neck, etc. Have a fun interview with the runner and help them realize that they need to “set aside” the things that are weighing them down. Explain to the young people that carrying around sins (explain this a bit) will weigh us down in the Christian race. (We want to live our lives God’s way but when we do sin, and do wrong things, we can repent, ask forgiveness and “set aside” our sins so we can run in freedom.)
Objects / People needed: Someone willing to dress up like a jogger. A backpack, suitcase and impractical items to carry around. (Have some fun with this: some old rotten thing, something representing past sins, etc) Option: label the various items with signs: unforgiveness, selfishness, greed, etc.
Full Children’s lesson: Good morning children! Look who is coming up front here. It’s Mr. Johnston. What does it look like he is doing? That’s right, by looking at his running shoes and shorts it sure seems like he is going on a race. Let’s ask him. Mr. Johnston, what are you doing today? (Have some fun with this). But why are you carrying these heavy loads? Isn’t it hard carrying those heavy things and trying to run at the same time? Why don’t you just put them down and let them go? (You could prime your runner with various responses such as, “That’s just part of who I am” or “I’m used to carrying these around everywhere” etc.) Ask the children if this makes sense. What do they think he should do if he wants to do well in the race? Your volunteer runner could put down the weights and then exclaim how much better it feels.
Debrief with the children: Wow, I’m sure glad Mr. Johnstone got rid of all that weight. Otherwise I think he would get tired and frustrated. I don’t even think he would be able to finish the race.
The Bible says in Hebrews 12 verse 1 that if we are going do well in our Christian lives (win the race) we need to get rid of all those bad things that weigh us down. Whenever we sin (do what we know God doesn’t want us to do) then it’s like we are carrying a heavy weight that slows us down. So let’s try to do what God wants us to do so that we are not carrying around a heavy weight of sin. Of course, the good news is that when we ask forgiveness for the things we’ve done wrong, God forgives us takes away that heavy weight.
Children’s Prayer: Dear God, help us to put off all those sinful things in life that just weigh us down and slow us down. Thank you that through Jesus we can be forgiven and we can walk (and run) right beside you every day of our lives. In Jesus’ name – Amen!
Copyright 2016 Sundaychildrensfocus - Andrew Hewlett Feel free to use this on Sunday. If you post it on the web please give credit to Sunday Childrens Focus and consider linking to this web site. Thank you! - A.H.