Our 3s and 4s class started a new unit on Sunday on the topic of salvation. These last three weeks will focus on some of the building block principles of Jesus’ redemptive work in our lives and how to live for Him. It’s never to early to start laying this foundation!
Goal: Today we will learn that Jesus can help us turn from our sin.
Key Scripture: “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16
Here’s What You’ll Need
- “Have a Great Day! The Story of Jesus and Zacchaeus” by Patricia Nederveld from the God Loves Me storybook series
- Pictures of children doing things that they shouldn’t
- Mouse puppet
- Marbles (CAUTION: Be very careful when using small objects like these around small children.)
Circle Time : Have everyone find a mat and sit in the circle on the foam tiles. Sing the welcome song, “I’m Glad I Came to Church.”
I’m glad I came to church; I’m glad I came to church!
With all the other boys and girls, I’m glad I came to church!
(Name) came to church; (Name) came to church
I’m so happy (Name’s) here, I’m glad (he/she) came to church!
(To the tune of “A Hunting We Will Go”)
Add stickers to attendance charts, then return to the foam tile area.
Lesson: Read “Have a Great Day! The Story of Jesus and Zacchaeus.” Explain that even though Zacchaeus had been mean to other people, Jesus helped him to turn away from his sin and start doing the right thing.
Game: Have the children stand up. Hold up various pictures of children doing things that they shouldn’t (i.e. stealing a toy, pushing another child, etc.). Explain what is happening in each picture, then ask the children if that is something that they should do. Together say “No!” and have the children turn around and face the opposite direction. Each time, say “Jesus helps us turn from sin.”
Puppet Show: Perform the following brief puppet skit (adapted from Group’s Preschool Hands On Bible Curriculum) using a mouse puppet. Ahead of time, prepare of plastic bag of pennies for the puppet to hold.
Me: Well, hello again, Squeaker! Hey, what do you have in your bag? It jingles when you shake it
Squeaker: (Shaking the bag) I have lots of money.
Me: Wow! How much money do you have?
Squeaker: Hmm, I’m not sure, but I know it’s a lot!
Me: Can we help you count it?
Squeaker: If you promise to be careful. I don’t want to lose any! (Have Squeaker pour the money out of the bag)
Me: Everyone, can you help me count the pennies? (Count pennies out loud together)
Squeaker: Wow! I have that much money? I must be rich!
Me: You are rich. Where did you get your money?
Squeaker: I’ve been finding it all over our house. There was some on top of my parents’ dresser, some in my mom’s purse, and my brother left some on the kitchen table.
Me: Uh-oh. Squeaker, that’s not your money. It belongs to the other people in your family. We’ve been learning about a man who took other people’s money. Kids, what can you tell Squeaker about Zacchaeus? (Allow the kids to verbally review the story)
Squeaker: Wow! I guess I was wrong to take this money. I wonder what I should do now.
Me: Hmm. What do you think, kids? What should Squeaker do with the money he took? (Allow for a few responses. Guide the kids to an understanding that Squeaker should return the money and ask for forgiveness)
Squeaker: I guess if I gave the money back, it would show that I’m sorry.
Me: That’s right, Squeaker. And if you ask for Jesus’ help, He can help you turn away from your sin.
Squeaker: I’m glad that Jesus can help me turn away from my sin. I’d better give back these pennies right now. Thanks for helping me and for telling me about Zacchaeus! Goodbye, everyone!
Have everyone say, “Goodbye,” to Squeaker.
Conclusion: For prayer time, give each child a marble covered with tin foil. Explain that we all have done wrong things in our lives, but when we ask Jesus to help us He removes our sins and helps us to do the right thing instead. Help each child remove the foil from the marble as a sign that their sins have been removed. Have everyone say, “Thank you Jesus for helping us turn from sin!” (CAUTION: Be very careful when using small objects like these around small children. With adequate supervision, this creative prayer station – originally created by a child – can be a powerful, hands-on example of Jesus’ forgiveness.)
Sing “I’m Glad I Came to Church” to close.