MEETING AIM: To discover how being Jesus’ friend can help us be more like him.
BIBLE PASSAGE: Galatians 5:22-26
BACKGROUND: This is the second in a series this month on imagery in the epistles in the New Testament. Letters don’t usually form part of a curriculum for younger children, but there is lots for them to explore and begin to understand, so don’t shy away from passages like this one!
In this picture, Paul compares the outworkings of ‘immoral ways’ with the fruit of the Spirit. Many of these are accessible for younger children – they have many opportunities to be kind, gentle, loving and patient. However, be careful not create the impression that this is all about behaviour. This fruit comes out of being a friend of Jesus and letting the Spirit change us to be more like him; it is not about behaving in a certain way so that Jesus will like you.
Gather the children together and share out some different kinds of fruit. Chat together about what has happened this week. What events did they enjoy? Did anything make them sad this week? Ask the children when someone was kind to them this week. Was there a time when anyone was patient with them? (You may need to explain the idea of patience, if the children don’t understand.)
You will need: shop free-play equipment Set out all the free-play equipment you have around shopping. Make sure you include fruit and vegetables in your equipment. Let the children lead the play, exploring what it is like to buy and sell, sharing, being kind and patient with each other. Join in the children’s play, allowing them to direct you in what you should do.
You will need: large sheets of paper (lining paper is ideal); art and collage materials; Bible
Spread out your large sheets of paper and draw the outline of a large tree on each one. On each tree, draw nine different fruit (they can be all the same kind of fruit or all different, if you’re feeling creative!). If you have a small group, all work together on one tree; if you have lots of children, invite smaller groups to work together.
Encourage the children to work together to decorate the tree and fruit. Once everyone has finished, admire the different trees the children have created.
Show your Bible to the children and explain that, in the New Testament, there are lots of letters written to Jesus’ friends to
help them to follow God’s way and tell others about how wonderful Jesus is! Show the children Galatians and say that this letter was written by a man called Paul to his friends
in an area of the world called Galatia, part of modern-day Turkey. Read Galatians 5:22-26. Look at your tree and say that when a fruit tree, like an apple tree or a cherry tree, is good and strong, it will produce good fruit. Paul is telling his friends that when we love Jesus and follow him, the Holy Spirit lives in us and helps us become more like Jesus.
Have fun deciding together which of the fruit on your tree will symbolise love, joy, peace and so on.
Ask the children these questions, encouraging everyone to take turns in contributing:
- What is your favourite part of this story from the Bible?
- What is the most important part of this story?
- Is Jesus your friend? Why? Why not?
- Are there times when you have been loving, kind or gentle? What happened?
- What happens when we don’t feel particularly kind, patient or loving?
You will need: different coloured card; child-safe scissors; felt-tip pens or crayons; volunteers from your church leadership
(if you did session one, try to get different volunteers if possible)
Let the children choose a colour of card and help them to draw the outline of a piece of fruit on their card. Encourage them to cut their fruit shape out (giving help to any children who need it) and decorate it however they would like. As the children work, share a story from your own life about how loving and following Jesus has meant that you have been able to be more faithful, loving or self-controlled (or show another fruit of the Spirit). If the children have any examples of from their own experience, then let them tell the group about it. Once you have finished your fruit, enjoy looking at your creations together.
Invite your volunteers to share some- thing about their own story, concerning when they had to ask the Spirit to help them be more faithful or loving. Encourage them before the session to think about how they might talk about this with the youngest members of the church family.
You will need: card fruit and volunteers from ‘Creative response’
Invite everyone to stand in a circle and to wave their fruit in the air. Say a simple prayer thanking the Holy Spirit for being with us and helping us become more like
Jesus. Ask him to help you be more loving, kind and patient in the week ahead. Ask the children to wave their fruit in the air and to pray for themselves quietly as they do so.
Ask the volunteers from your church leadership to pray for the children too. Having those who lead your church pray for them can be a powerful experience for the children – it shows that they are valued and important in the life of the church. Invite them to pray for the children; they could ask the Spirit to help the children get to know Jesus better and become more like him.
In your next session, remember to ask the children how God helped them to be more patient or faithful. If your team works on a rota system, then ask the person leading the next session to pick this up with the children.
Supporting documentsClick link to download and view these files
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