When One Teaches, Two Learn

Figuring out children's ministry one day at a time

Jesus Gives New Life!

It seems appropriate to post this bulletin board idea on a day like today – rainy and a bit warmer than the chilly winter days.  Just as new life is springing forth outside, so can Jesus bring us new life!  This bulletin board couldn’t be easier, but it will put your children’s wing in a “spring” kind of mood!

Jesus Gives New Life

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Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? – The Last Supper

This Sunday was the fourth and final lesson in our “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner with Jesus?” series (If you haven’t been keeping up with the series you can explore the lessons on the wedding at Cana, Zacchaeus, and Mary and Martha).  This lesson focuses on the Last Supper, the final meal that Jesus shared with His disciples before his arrest.

Goal:  Today we will learn about our opportunity that Jesus gave us to remember him through the symbolism of the Last Supper.

Key Scripture:  “For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” – 1 Corinthians 11:23-26

Here’s What You’ll Need:

  • Family photo album
  • Masking tape
  • Rhythm instruments (preferably triangles)
  • Tray of miscellaneous items
  • 15 copies of “What a Meal!” activity page
  • 15 copies of “The Last Supper” coloring page
  • Crayons
  • Pencils

Introduction:  Gather the children around to show them pictures from a family photo album.  Show pictures of yourself at a variety of ages, including ages close to the children in your group.  Explain that the next meal we’ll be talking about in our “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?” series is one that helps us to remember Jesus.

Lesson:  Ahead of time, mark a triangle on the carpet with masking tape and have the kids sit on the lines.  Explain that our story has three main parts, just as a triangle has three sides.  Distribute rhythm instruments to the kids (preferably triangles) and instruct them to tap their instrument each time they hear the words “Jesus said.”  Practice briefly before beginning the story.

(Point to one side of the triangle)  Our story starts on this side of the triangle with an unusual request.  Jesus had just ridden into Jerusalem on a donkey.  You remember the story – with everyone waving palm branches and laying their coats down on the street.  The city was probably buzzing with the news that Jesus was in town, but on top of that the Passover celebration was coming up soon!  Everyone must have been excitedly going about the city getting everything they would need for the celebration.

Jesus and his disciples were going to celebrate the Passover too, but they didn’t have a place to celebrate.  Now, this is where the unusual request came in.  Then Jesus said to Peter and John, “Go prepare the Passover meal so we can eat it together.”  Peter and John were a little confused, so they asked, “Where do you want us to prepare it?”  Then, Jesus said, “As soon as you enter Jerusalem, a man carrying a pitcher of water will meet you.  Follow him.  At the house he enters, say to the owner, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room where I can eat the Passover meal with my disciples?’  He will take you upstairs to a large room that is already set up.  That is where you should prepare our meal.”

Can you imagine?  You would probably think this was kind of weird if you were Peter or John.  Follow some guy with a pitcher of water?  And the room will already be set up?  But, Peter and John had been with Jesus long enough that they knew to just follow His instructions and everything would work out just fine.

Now, this is where the second part of the story comes in (Point to another side of the triangle). Jesus and His disciples arrived at the house to share the Passover meal and everything was set.  There was just one thing that Jesus knew He needed to do before they ate.  You see, back in Jesus’ time, most people just wore sandals.  That might sound great to you and me, but back then the streets were gross.  The streets were made of dirt, but to make things worse there were animals on the road that left behind their messes and all sorts of other gross things out there.  You can imagine that everyone’s feet were probably pretty disgusting by the time they got inside.  So, usually a servant – the probably the lowliest servant – would come and wash the feet of the people at the house.

It was a pretty gross job.  So, you can imagine how surprised the disciples were when Jesus stood up, took a basin of water, and started to wash their feet!  The disciples were confused.  Why would Jesus do such a thing?  Even they wouldn’t want to wash other people’s feet!  Eww!  Finally, it was Peter’s turn to have his feet washed.  Peter told Jesus, “No!  You will never ever wash my feet.”  He couldn’t imagine making Jesus, the Son of God, wash his feet!  Then, Jesus said, “You don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will.”

You see, Jesus wanted His disciples to remember that it doesn’t matter how important you are – we are all supposed to serve each other.  If the Son of God can do something as icky as wash a friend’s feet, then we can serve each other too.

Now we’ve reached the third part of our story (Point to the third side of the triangle). Before the disciples ate their meal, Jesus had something important to say.  The Passover meal had always been a time to remember when God spared the Israelite’s lives back in Egypt when they smeared the blood of a lamb over their door posts.  Jesus’ disciples knew that.  But, Jesus also knew that soon the Passover meal would mean even more.  See, back in Egypt, it was the blood of a lamb that saved the Israelites, but soon, after Jesus died on the cross, it would be His blood that would save them from their sins.

Picking up the bread, Jesus said, “Whenever you eat a meal like this, I want you to remember me.  This bread can remind you of my body.”  Then, picking up the wine, Jesus said, “Whenever you eat a meal like this, I want you to remember me.  This wine can remind you of my blood.”  Jesus knew that He was going to die soon and wanted His disciples to remember how much He loved them.

We still remember Jesus in this way every few weeks at church.  Do you know how we remember Him? (Through communion)

Put the triangles and other rhythm instruments away.  Play the memory game “Can You Remember?”  Place several items of varying types and sizes on a tray.  Give the kids 30 seconds to memorize the layout of the tray, then, while everyone’s eyes are closed, remove one item.  When everyone opens their eyes again, have them try to determine what was taken away.  Repeat a few times, removing a different item each time.

Conclusion:  Have the following activities prepared in case extra time remains.

What a Meal! Activity Page:  Provide pencils and activity pages for the older children.  I used the one from Bible Puzzles for Kids Ages 8-10. Cincinnati: Standard Publishing Group, © 2006.

The Last Supper Coloring Page:  Provide pencils and coloring pages for the younger children.  Just do a simple Google search and you’ll be able to find one you like.

Can You Remember?  Memory Game:  Allow small groups of children to play the memory game.

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Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? – Mary and Martha – Luke 10: 38-42

It’s week three in our “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?” series, based on a set of lessons from Ministry-to-Children.com.  After learning about the wedding at Cana and Jesus’s meal with Zacchaeus, this week we moved on to the story of Mary and Martha.

Goal:  Today we will learn about the importance of making time for Jesus first and foremost in our lives.

Key Scripture:  “’Martha, Martha,’ the Lord answered, ‘you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.’” – Luke 10:41-42

Here’s What You’ll Need:

  • Mary & Martha coloring page
  • Crayons
  • Small glass jar
  • Marbles
  • Rice
  • Paper plates
  • Brads
  • Markers
  • Hole punches
  • Strips of construction paper (various colors; 1 inch wide; half should be 6 inches long, half 3 inches long)
  • Plastic food

Introduction:  Give each child a coloring page and crayons, then ask them to begin coloring.  While they are working, distract them with the questions or commands like these:

  • What color hair does the person next to you have?
  • What is today’s date?
  • What is your favorite color?
  • Walk around the table twice.
  • Stand up, then sit down and clap three times.

After a few minutes, discuss the following:

  • Who finished coloring their picture?
  • Why or why not?

Point out to the children that it is difficult to complete a task if we don’t give it our full attention.  Explain that today’s lesson will be about two ladies, one who was very distracted and the other who focused on Jesus.

Lesson:  Choose three kids to serve as actors – one to be Mary, another Martha, and the third Jesus.  Give the two who are acting as Mary and Martha scarves to cover their heads and some sort of robe to the one pretending to be Jesus.  As you tell the story, have these three kids act the story out.  After doing this once, there may be others who would like to try acting.  Retell the story, allowing for different actors, as time allows.

Play “Martha Says,” an adaptation of “Simon Says,” to give the kids a wiggle break and help them to remember some of these important points of the story. Have a leader call out instructions such as “Martha says jump up and down” or “Martha says do the chicken dance.”  However, when the leader calls out “Mary,” everyone must sit down and put their hand to their ear, as if they are listening.

Gather the children in a circle and engage them in the following object lesson.  Place a small glass jar in front of you for the children to see, along with some marbles and rice.  Place the marbles in the jar, then fill the remaining space with the rice.  Take everything out of the jar, then try to fill the jar again, but this time start with the rice, then try to add the marbles.  This time everything won’t fit as it did the last time!  Try filling the jar again, but this time starting with the marbles, then adding the rice. Everything should fit just fine again!  Explain that the marbles are like Jesus.  When we put Him first in our live, then add everything else (family, toys, school, TV, sports, etc.) everything will fit in a lot easier than if we try to do it the other way around!  Ask the children for ideas as to how they can put Jesus first in their life.

Conclusion:  Have the following activities prepared in case extra time remains.                                                    

Make Time for Jesus:  Provide paper plates, brads, markers, one-hole punches, and strips of construction in various colors (1 inch wide; half should be 6 inches long, half 3 inches long.  Help the children to write numbers on their paper plate to make it look like a clock, then write the words “Make Time for Jesus” in the middle.  Then, punch a hole in the end of two strips of construction paper (one of each size) and attach them to the paper plate using a brad.  Allow the children to decorate their clock further if they would like.

Let’s Make a Meal:  Provide plastic food and allow younger ones to create a make-believe meal, perhaps of foods that they would serve if Jesus visited their house, like he did Mary and Martha.  Take time to “sample” their creations!

Martha Says:  Allow the children to play “Martha Says” in small groups.

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Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? – Zacchaeus – Luke 19:1-8

Here at Fillmore Kids we’re in the second week of a four-week series called “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?” based on a set of lessons from Ministry-to-Children.com.  Each week we learn about a time where Jesus shared a meal with someone.  Last week we explored the story of Jesus and the Wedding at Cana and this week we covered the story of Zacchaeus.

Goal:  Today we will learn the importance of the values of acceptance, inclusion, and love that Jesus promotes in his interactions with Zacchaeus.

Key Scripture:  “When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, ‘Zacchaeus, come down immediately.  I must stay at your house today.’  So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.”  – Luke 19:5-6

Here’s What You Need

  • Treats
  • Shoebox
  • Big book on the story of Zacchaeus
  • Masking tape
  • Balloon
  • Butcher paper
  • Crayons
  • Markers
  • Plain paper

Introduction: Fill a shoebox with some treats and place the box in a location where it would be too high for the children to see into it.  Point out the box and tell the children that there is something really cool inside of it, then ask if they would like to see its contents.  Allow the children to stand and crane their necks, even jump to try to see what is inside, but do not allow them to touch the box. Discuss the following questions:

  • How does it make you feel when you cannot see something you really would like to see?
  • Can you think of a time when you haven’t been able to see something you really wanted to see?

Take the box and share the treats with the children.  Explain that today we will be learning about a person who had a hard time seeing something he really wanted to see: Jesus!

Lesson:  Read the story of Zacchaeus aloud from the big book.  Afterwards, discuss the following questions:

  • Why didn’t Zacchaeus didn’t have any friends?
  • How was Zacchaeus finally able to see Jesus?
  • How did Jesus include Zacchaeus and show him love?

Play the game “Zacchaeus, Come Down!”  Place several pieces of masking tape on the floor throughout the room, one for each child.  Have each child stand on a piece of masking tape and explain that they must keep their feet on the masking tape at all times.  Blow up a balloon and explain that it represents Zacchaeus.  Explain that the people of the town didn’t like Zacchaeus and didn’t want him to come down from the tree to spend time with Jesus.  Tell the children that they are going to pretend that they are the townspeople and must try to keep the balloon (Zacchaeus) off the ground without stepping off of their piece of tape.  If the group is large, add extra balloons into the mix.

Afterwards, talk about the importance of acceptance and inclusion, like what Jesus showed to Zacchaeus.  Explain that no matter what we have done in the past, Jesus loves us and is willing to forgive us, so we need to be willing to show that same grace others.

Conclusion:  Have the following activities prepared in case extra time remains.

What Would You Do?:  Tape a length of butcher paper to the wall and provide crayons and markers.  Have the children draw pictures on the butcher paper of what they would do with Jesus if he came to visit their house.  Below are just a few of the responses from the kids.  Can you tell I have a few sixth grade boys in our group? 😉

Zacchaeus Responses

He Knows Your Name:  Help the kids to make name plates featuring their name.  Outline the bubble letters for them, then allow them to color them in and decorate them as they choose.

Zacchaeus, Come Down!:  Allow the children to continue to play the “Zacchaeus, Come Down!” game with the balloons.

Last week I mentioned my new year’s resolution to have some sort of “show what you know” experience incorporated into each lesson. Last Sunday we added the first two plates to our “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” display and this Sunday we added another (I was a delinquent and didn’t remember to have the second group do theirs.  Whoops!)

Zacchaeus Plate

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Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? – The Wedding at Cana – John 2:1-11

This Sunday was the first week of a four-week series we are doing during children’s church called “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?” based on a set of lessons from Ministry-to-Children.com.  Each week we will explore a time where Jesus shared a meal with someone, starting off with Jesus first miracle at the wedding at Cana.

Goal:  Today we will learn about Jesus’ power and the abundance he brings to our lives through exploration of the story of Jesus turning water to wine.

Key Scripture:  “So, in Cana of Galilee, Jesus did his first miracle.  There he showed his glory, and his followers believed in him.” – John 2:11

Here’s What You’ll Need

  • Box of birthday supplies (i.e. party hats, gift bags, noise makers, balloons, etc.)
  • 2 clear pitchers
  • 2 packets powdered drink mix
  • Beanbag
  • CD player and music
  • Review challenges/questions printed on slips of paper
  • Play-Doh
  • Copies of the “Miracle at Cana” activity page
  • Colored pencils
  • Props (i.e. scarves, robe, pots, etc.)

Introduction:  Ahead of time, prepare a box with birthday supplies.  After showing the kids the items that you have in the box, ask them what else they think we might need to throw a birthday party.  Direct the conversation to the idea that the birthday cake is missing.  Explain that Jesus was once at a party, not a birthday party, but a wedding party, where something important was missing.

Lesson:  Tell the children the story of the miracle at Cana.  Be sure to explain that running out of wine at a party during Jesus’ time was like if you were to run out of birthday cake at a birthday before everyone got a piece!  When you reach the point in the story where Jesus turns the water to wine, place two pitchers in front of you, one filled with water and the other empty, but with some powdered drink mix on the bottom.  Pour the water into the pitcher with the powder mix and show the color change.

Discuss:

  • Did I just do a miracle or was it more of a magic trick?
  • When Jesus changed water to wine, was it a miracle or magic?
  • What’s the difference?

Finish telling the story, then explain that not only did Jesus provide for a physical need, but the Bible says that “he showed his glory and his followers believed in him.”

Play a review game version of Hot Potato.  Pass a beanbag around the circle as you play music.  When the music stops, the child holding the beanbag will have to complete a review challenge drawn from a bucket.  Possible review challenges/questions are listed below:

  • Say, “Jesus had God’s power to do miracles,” while standing on one foot.
  • Say, “Jesus had God’s power to do miracles,” while jumping in place.
  • What did Jesus turn water into in this week’s Bible story?
  • Where did Jesus perform the miracle that we heard about today?
  • Name the person who told Jesus that there was no more wine.
  • How did the disciples feel when they saw Jesus’ first miracle?
  • What did Jesus tell the servants to fill their jars with?
  • From what New Testament book does this week’s Bible story come?
  • Find the book of John in the Bible.

Have the kids come up with words or phrases that remind them of the lesson.  Write those words on a paper plate and add to the “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?” display in the hallway.

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner Assessment - Week 1

 

I wrote down what the kids told me almost word-for-word.  It is important for them to feel validated, so unless a response was disrespectful or flat-out wrong, write it down.

Paper Plate Assessment - Wedding at Cana

Doing an assessment like this can also help you to clarify any misunderstandings the kids may have.

Conclusion:  Have the following activities prepared in case extra time remains.

Creating Clay Jars:  Provide the children with Play-Doh to create models of clay jars, like the ones that held the water and wine during the story.

Miracle at Cana Activity Page:  Provide the children with colored pencils to complete the Miracle at Cana activity page. I used the one on page fifteen of this document.

Retell the Story:  Provide the children with a few props, such as scarves, a robe, and pots, to reenact the story together.

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There is Power in the Name of Jesus! – Acts 4:1-22

If you’ve been keeping track, we are currently in week eight of our study of the book of Acts, even though we’re only on chapter four!  Our senior pastor asked us during staff meeting if we are tired of the book of Acts, but to be honest, none of us really are.  We have been growing in a deeper sense of worship and God’s presence is tangible on Sunday mornings.  The entire body is learning quite a bit – adults and children alike.  I hope that you have enjoyed the series too.  This week we explored the first portion of chapter four, the aftermath of the healing of the lame man.

Goal:  Today we will learn that there is power in the name of Jesus.

Key Scripture: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”  – Acts 1:8, NIV

Materials

  • Name tags
  • Marker
  • Baby names book or a device to look up meanings of names
  • Several Bibles
  • Blindfolds
  • Bowls of rice
  • Paperclips
  • Chalkboard
  • Device to play YouTube video
  • Styrofoam plates
  • Washable paint (various colors)
  • Baby wipes

Introduction:  Prepare name tags with each child’s name printed on one.  Underneath, write the meaning of each child’s name (i.e. Abby – Father rejoices).  Give each child his or her name tag to wear.  If there are any new children, have extra name tags available and a book of names to look up the meaning of their names.  Remind the children that last week we talked about Peter and John healing the lame man in the name of Jesus.  Explain that just like our names have meaning, so does Jesus’ name, but His is even greater!

Lesson:  (Note:  I relied heavily on this lesson plan from Ministry-to-Children, but adapted it for my purposes.)  Have the children sit in a circle and have several Bibles available.  Remind the children of the chorus of the song “Walking and Leaping.”  The lame man was excited that he had been healed and so were the other people around him!  Peter began to tell the crowd that the lame man was healed because God had given him the power to do it.  Explain that at that time some people didn’t believe in Jesus.  Just a few months earlier, they had nailed Jesus to a cross.  These people were not happy that Peter and John were telling others about Jesus.

Open your Bible to Acts 4.  Read verse 1 to 3 aloud.  Ask the children, “Why did the priests arrest Peter?” (They arrested Peter and John because they were teaching the people about Jesus and the power in His name.)

Have a volunteer read Acts 4:4 aloud.  Ask the children to repeat about how many people believed in Jesus.  Explain that Peter and John probably didn’t mind being arrested because people were still hearing about Jesus!  They knew that they had done the right thing.

Read Acts 4:5-7 aloud. Point out that the Jewish leaders wanted to know “by what power or what name did you do this?”  Jesus’ name is powerful!

Have a volunteer read Acts 4:8-10 and another read Acts 8:11-12.   Ask the children how Peter says we can be saved. (Jesus is the only One who can save people.  No one else in the world is able to save us.)

Read Acts 4:13 aloud.  Explain to the children that Peter and John hadn’t ever gone to school or had any sort of special training.  They were just ordinary people that Jesus chose to use to do His work.  As review from last week, ask the children, “If Peter and John were just ordinary people, where did they get the power to heal the lame man?” (They healed the lame man through the name of Jesus.)

Have a volunteer read Acts 4:14-18 aloud.  Ask the children the following questions:

  • What did the priests tell Peter and John not to do? (They told Peter and John not to teach others about Jesus.)
  • Do you think God wanted Peter and John to stop teaching about Jesus? (No, God wanted them to keep telling others about Jesus)
  • Who should Peter and John listen to?  The priests or God? (God)

Have a volunteer read Acts 4:19-20 aloud. Ask the children who Peter and John said they would listen to – the priests or God.  (They said they would listen to God and keep telling others about Jesus.)  Relate this discussion to the J.A.M. Time theme of respect.  Talk about how to show respect for those in authority, just like David did with King Saul, but still obey God.

Have the children form groups of three or four.  Give each group a blindfold and a bowl of uncooked rice.  Explain that in each bowl there are several paper clips hidden. Tell the children that one person in the group will be blindfolded and have 30 seconds to find as many paper clips as possible.  Give each child in the group a turn.  After the groups have finished, discuss the following questions:

  • How many paperclips did you find when you were blindfolded?
  • Was it easy or hard to find the paper clips?  What made it easy?  What made it hard?

Explain to the children that just as they had to search for something they couldn’t see, we trust in God, who we cannot see.  But, just because we cannot see him, doesn’t mean He isn’t there!  He is always there and willing to listen when we pray and ask for things in Jesus’ name.

Move over to the chalkboard with the key verse printed on it.  Sing “You Will Receive Power” to this tune.  Use the following motions:

You will (Point right index finger out, point left index finger out)

Receive power (Hold arms up in a flexing position)

When the Holy Spirit comes on you (Wiggle fingers in front of face to look like rain)

You will be my witnesses (Point right index finger out and sweep arm from right to left side)

In Jerusalem (Hold hands in the shape of a roof – like a house)

In all Judea and Samaria (Hold out right hand, hold out left hand)

And to all the ends of the earth (Hold arms out wide)

Acts 1:8! (Pump fists in the air on each beat)

Conclusion:  Ahead of time, prepare a piece of butcher paper with the following written on it:  There is power in the name of Jesus.  Write the word “Jesus” in very large bubble letters.  Have this out on the table.  Have the children gather around it and explain that in a few minutes they will dip their hand in paint and have the opportunity to put their hand print inside the bubble letters.  This will be a reminder that the lame man held his hand our asking for money, but Jesus gave him something so much better: healing in the powerful name of Jesus!

I was very systematic with this, as I didn’t want any of the children to get paint on their Sunday clothes.  I brought the paint around to one child at a time.  Immediately after child had dipped his or her hand in the paint and left a hand print on the paper, I sent the child over to the trash can where I had set out a box of wipes.  The child wiped his or her hand off, then returned to the table so as not to bump into the next child who would need to wipe his or her hands off.  I also made sure that everyone’s sleeves were rolled up to further avoid messes.  It may seem like a little much to some, but none of the kids ended up with paint on their clothes an my khaki skirt was paint-free as well.

Check out the final product!  I love it.

Did you enjoy reading about this lesson?  Take a look at the rest of our lesson plans on the book of Acts!

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