GROWING TOGETHER: FOR OLDER CHILDREN - Jesus teaches
Session 2 of 4
To teach the children that following Jesus requires us to make brave choices and live differently to others.
Following Jesus requires a lifestyle that is radically different to those around us. Loving and praying for our enemies, treating others with respect and honour and showing mercy are choices that make us stand out in a crowd. Allow the children to bring their questions to this session and let them explore a different way to live, ensuring that they also understand we can only live this way through the power of the Holy Spirit. God doesn’t expect us to be perfect!
STARTING OUT – 5 mins
As the children arrive, sit everyone down in a circle. Share any refreshments that you have brought. Ask the children if they have done anything this week and to tell the group about it. Share something that you have done this week too. Chat together about who the children’s favourite film hero is. What about favourite baddies?
INTRO ACTIVITY – 10 mins
You will need: pass the parcel made up with dares inside each layer; music and the means to play it
Before the session, make up a pass the parcel with several layers. In each layer, include a challenge and dare. You could have challenges / dares such as: “Sing your favourite song” or “Tell us a joke to make us all laugh”.
Play pass the parcel. As each layer is opened, the child can either do the dare themselves or choose someone else to do it for them. If they choose someone else, they must do the next dare!
Explain that today we are thinking about making choices and sometimes we have to dare to be different.
BIBLE STORY – 10 mins
You will need: each scenario written on a piece of card; props for the storytelling, such as wigs, costumes, a lectern and a gavel
Choose children to be the judge, jury, two lawyers, a victim and the accused. If you have more children, you can include witnesses too. They can change roles for different scenarios. The judge reads out the scenario and then gives each lawyer time with their ‘client’ to decide how they are going to argue the case. Witnesses can be included here too. When you come back to the courtroom, the judge then directs proceedings by asking each side to argue their case. The jury must then deliberate and come to a conclusion which resolves the problem.
Scenario 1 – A friend (victim) has lent his fidget spinner but now the borrower (the accused) refuses to return it, saying it was given to him.
Scenario 2 – A younger brother (the accused) consistently teases their older brother (victim) behind their mum’s back. The older brother wants revenge.
Scenario 3 – A girl (victim) has her lunch and other items stolen at school each day. She hasn’t told her mum but wants to confront the gang (the accused) who have been bullying her.
This should create lots of fun and food for thought! You might need to work closely with the children for the first scenario, but they should get the hang of it pretty quickly.
Once you have completed all three scenes, read the Bible passage for today’s session before moving straight on to ‘Chatting together’.
CHATTING TOGETHER – 5 mins
Ask the children these questions, making sure everyone has the chance to contribute:
- • What does this Bible passage tell us about Jesus?
- • Jesus asks us to live very differently. Sometimes this is a challenge! What choices could you make that are different to other people?
- • How is it fair to ‘do good’ to your enemies?
- • How easy is it to be different to others?
- • What decisions would you have made differently in the scenarios in ‘Bible story’, knowing what you do about Jesus’ words from Luke 6?
CREATIVE TIME – 10 mins
You will need: envelopes; paper with ‘I dare myself to…’ printed on the top; pens
Give out the pieces of paper with ‘I dare myself to…’ printed on the top. Challenge the children to think about what they are going to do this week. They should write on the paper one choice that will be different for the coming week. They should then put it in an envelope and give it to a friend, parent or leader.
As you work, chat to the children about how easy or difficult it is to put Jesus’ words into practice. How easy is it to love those people who aren’t kind to us, who make fun of us or whom we don’t like? If you have a story from your own life, it might be useful to share that now. Even a story where you get it wrong and you don’t treat others how Jesus teaches us will help children see the different choices we all need to make if we’re following Jesus’ way.
In a week’s time, they should open the envelope and think about how they got on.
PRAYER – 5 mins
We can only live like Jesus with the power of the Holy Spirit. Invite the children to stand in a circle and place their hand on the shoulder of the person on their right. Pray for them to dare to be different and be filled with the Holy Spirit. Repeat with the person on their left.
Remember to come back to this next time you meet so that you can find out how the children have been ‘different’ with those people who aren’t kind to them. (If you work on a rota, then tell the leader who is leading the next session what you have done so that they can recap with the children.)
is co-founder of Hope at Home, has 30 years’ experience of leading and developing youth and children’s work and is a freelance writer.
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