AGE APPROPRIATE: ELEMENTARY AGE (7-11 years old)
BIG IDEA: JESUS CAME TO SAVE THE LOST – YOU AND ME!
- ‘The Anthem’ by Planetshakers
- ‘Rooftops’ by Shout Praises Kids
- ‘Hey! Jesus loves me’ by Shout Praises Kids
1. FIND THE COIN. Hide a coin under one of three cups and move the cups around – see if the kids can work out which cup the coin is underneath. Play a few times.
2. HIDE THE COIN. Play ‘hide the thimble’ (mind game) but change it to a coin. Basically, you pretend to ‘hide a coin’ by thinking of a place in the world where it could be. The children ask questions that require a yes or no answer only about where the coin is hidden. i.e. is it in england? is it in this room? etc The more specifically hidden it is the harder it is to find. Children can even ‘hide the coin’ themselves.
3. DUNK FOR COINS. Have a see through tub (storage tubs work well) and put some chocolate coins in it. Have towels to spare. Ask children to take turns putting their head in the tub to collect the coins.
BIG VERSE: For the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost. Luke 19:10.
SET the Scene:
Read Luke 15:8-10. In the parable a woman loses one of her ten coins, because it means so much to her she searches until she finds it. Once she has found it she celebrates. To help communicate the story you could use one of the following:
or use this Drama:
You could read the passage and have someone act out being the woman. You could even choose one of the children that you know is quite ‘dramatic’!
… or for a creative re-telling of the story why not use this visual bible story idea.
SPOT the Simple Meaning:
1) OBJECT LESSON: I WAS LOST AND GOD SEARCHED FOR ME
Have a box full labeled ‘lost property’ and Nemo ‘touched the butt’ video clip.
(Show Nemo video clip first) Say: That clip is just the beginning of Nemo getting lost in the ocean. I’m so glad that our Father God is nothing like Marlin in this clip. God is full of love and faith – He doesn’t fear for us, he simply loves us! Yet just like Marlin, He doesn’t want us to be lost. The bible says that we are or have all been lost at one time. The bible talks about being lost as meaning being away from God or not knowing Jesus. Have you ever lost something at school? [show ‘lost property’ box]. You look everywhere for it but you just can’t find it anywhere! So many things end up in the lost property box at school – some things don’t ever get found and some are unwanted. But what kids really want, they search for until they find it! Did you know that God loves every one of us. We are all wanted. We wants every single one of us! We can all be found by God.
In the bible story a woman loses one of her coins. She looks everywhere for it and then celebrates when it is found. Just like the woman looking for her coin, God searched for us. God sent his one and only Son to come and live and die for us, because he wanted us to live with him forever. He wanted to seek us out.
In Finding Nemo the Father searches the whole ocean for his son. He won’t stop until he is found. It’s the same with us and God. God did everything so that we could spend eternity with Him in heaven, away from eternity without Him in hell. We can live with God forever when we ask Jesus to come into our lives and ask for his forgiveness. Why? Because God searched for us and found us. Do we want to stay lost or do we want to be found in him?
2) OBJECT LESSON: I CAN SEARCH FOR GOD
Start with a game: Hide chocolate or printed coins around the room and have children go and find them one at a time and bring them back to the group. Could be done as a team relay game or with a couple of volunteers.
Say: Those coins were hidden for you to find. The amazing thing about God is that he has hidden things for us to find too! He has so many good things for us to experience and learn about His character. Hidden in the Bible are words that show us more of his character and his goodness. God says, ’You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all of your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13. That means when we search Him out we will find Him. We will experience Him!
How do we search and seek God out? We find Him by searching through His word, talking to Him, asking other believers about him, going to church so that we can hear about him. Even when we have come to know God there is still much more to discover about Him. We can search for him forever and still keep learning and discovering more about who he is.
So, how much do you want God? How willing are you to search for Him?
3) OBJECT LESSON: I CAN SEARCH TO SEE OTHERS SAVED
Nemo helps Dory and the little fishes video clip.
Say: When Nemo was found by his father he didn’t just sit back and enjoy it for himself. When he saw that other fishes needed to be helped he went to their rescue. He found them struggling and in need of help. They had got themselves tangled and in a mess. If Nemo didn’t help them then nobody would. Rather than leave them, he risked his own life to help them.
I’m glad that our Father God isn’t like Marlin at all! He wants us to go out and help all those that need rescuing, all those that are lost! In fact, he is the one that sends us!
If you have been found by God and are no longer lost, then that’s great! But you have work to do. God doesn’t want you simply to sit back and think about how you have been saved, he wants you to do what Nemo wasn’t afraid to do. He wants you to find those that are in need of help. Those that are lost in need of helping. He wants you to help set them free, help them to be saved and sent home. Help them to be found. You can help those that don’t know Jesus by speaking out about how Jesus has found you. Maybe you want to bring someone along to church too. Perhaps you want to pray that they will also find their way ‘back home’ to God.
SEARCH the Scriptures:
Print off the two verses below and put them in separate containers. Choose a number of different containers and ask one child at a time to choose a container and check if the verse is in theirs. Depending on the number of children you are expecting you will want more or less containers.
Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved. Acts 4:12.
What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. Philippians 3:8-9.
Discuss what it means for salvation to be found in Jesus and for each one of us to be found in him, not just once, but every day.
SENSE How You Feel:
Small group activity:
Ask the children to bring something special along with them beforehand (sent out in newsletter as a request). Ask the children:
What is your special item?
Imagine you lost that special item, something that you didn’t want to lose. What would you do if you lost it? How would you feel?
Ask the children to respond by:
- using colour to show emotion (by making a beaded necklace or another item)
- playdough moulding – mould out how they would feel
- constructing something with legos that would
to show how they would feel…
Discuss what they have shared and remind them of the Father’s love for them and how much He wants them!
You will need some chocolate coins and paper for the children to write a prayer if needed.
What do you really want? What or who are you searching for?
Have the children think about this for a few moments. Ask them if they want to give this thing to God by telling him what it is that they want. Remind them that God knows their heart, and he gives the right things at the right time.
Do you know anyone that needs to be found by God?
Hand out the chocolate coins and prayers and ask children to think about a friend or family member and pray for them.