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Bible passage: Matthew 25:14-30.
Background: Sometimes we see a ‘pecking order’ to gifts. Some people may disqualify themselves because they’re not preachers or worship leaders, but God has given us all unique gifts of equal value that he wants us to use to extend his kingdom. This session is designed to encourage us to explore those unique gifts and how we can use them for God, rather than disqualifying ourselves and wasting our gifts.
You will need: square pieces of paper; pens
As you begin the session, invite the children to sit together in a circle and share out any refreshments you have brought. Ask the group about their week. Celebrate their triumphs and sit with them in their disappointments.
Give each child a piece of square paper and make a ‘chatterbox’ game (folded paper with questions on the inside).
Write questions on the inside relating to their week (for example, what was the best part of your week? What did you do on Saturday?). When they’ve finished making them they can go around the group and play the game.
You will need: lots of small, wrapped sweets; upbeat music and the means to play it
Give everyone the same number of sweets (make sure you count them carefully!).Then play some music and give the children two minutes to run around the room giving away their sweets and taking sweets from others. Those with the most sweets at the end are the winners! Ask the winners what they are going to do with all the sweets they have.
Ask those who ended up with the fewest how they feel. What are they going to do with their sweets? When this session has finished, share the sweets out equally and encourage the children to share them with others.
You will need: a lump of playdough for each child (and leader); International Children’s Bible for reading the story (you could use a Bible website or app such as Bible Gateway)
Give everyone some playdough. Ask the children and leaders to make something – anything they want – with the playdough while they listen to the story. Make sure they know that you also have some playdough for yourself, but don’t make anything with yours. Explain that the story is one Jesus told about a boss and his servants.
Read out Matthew 25:14-30 and when you have finished, ask the group what they have made with their playdough. Be encouraging and enthusiastic.
Show them your playdough – you didn’t make anything with it at all! In fact, you’re going to throw it away now. Make a big show of throwing it in the bin. Give the children a chance to respond (if they don’t, or are slow off the mark, prime another leader to say something like: “You’ve wasted that!”). What do the children think of your actions? Ask them what you could have done with the playdough you threw away.
Ask the children these questions, encouraging everyone to contribute (if you have lots of children, split into smaller groups to give everyone a chance to speak):
- What does the playdough represent from this story?
- What was the point of throwing it away unused?
- Which servant do you think you are you most like in the story and why?
- Who do the different characters in the story represent?
- What does this story tell you about God? • What has God given you, and how are you going to use it?
You will need: several large sheets of paper; pens; string or rope
Before the session, draw a large circle in the centre of each sheet of paper. In some of the circles write: “What has God given me?” and in the others write: “How can I use it?” Lay the paper on the floor around the room. Discuss the talents and gifts God has given us. These don’t have to be spiritual; they can be anything from baking cakes to being brilliant at maths. If some children are unable to think of anything, ask others in the group what the ones who are struggling are good at. Invite the children to write these gifts around the circles that ask the question: “What has God given me?”
Then ask them to think about how they can use these gifts for God (for example, if you are brilliant at maths, maybe you can help someone in your class who struggles with it). They can write these thoughts around the circles that ask the question: “How can I use it?” Give each child a piece of rope or string and attach the A and B circles so that each talent is linked to a response. This should make a huge ‘spider’s web’ across the room.
You will need: the spiders’ webs from ‘Creative response’
Ask the children to pair up and walk around the spider’s web, praying for each other to use their gifts for God’s purposes. You might want to round up the prayer time with a general prayer thanking God for giving you so many gifts and asking for his help in using those gifts for him.
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