BIG IDEA: GOD IS FATHER
AIM: The ‘God is Father’ Childrens Lesson on the Prodigal Son is
- ‘Who Dunnit?‘
- ‘Good Good Father’ by Chris Tomlin
- ‘The Fathers Song’ by Matt Redman
- ‘God Rocks!’ 1 John 3:1 song
- Father Match Up Game. Have pictures displayed and children must match the fathers to their children – you can use famous fathers and kids from family friendly TV shows and movies. Play with two opposing players and see who can match up the most or match them up the fastest. This could also be played as a runaround game where players run around the room to grab pictures of the fathers and children or it could be used as a powerpoint game where players must guess who the children are.
- Happy Families card game – for small groups. Buy a pack of Happy Families and split the pack up between your group. Players must take a card from the player next to them and see if they can gain a whole family – a father, mother, girl and boy. The winning player is the player to find the most families.
- Balloon Pop Pick Up. Players compete to pop balloons to pick up the words that you have put on pieces of paper inside them to describe a good father. The player that finds the most good words is the winner. [Make sure you put an odd number of words in the balloons to begin with so that the winner is obvious!]
BIG VERSE: How great is the love that the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God, and that is what we are! 1 John 3:1.
SET the Scene:
The Prodigal Son story.
- ‘The Prodigal Son’ by Zebtoons
- ‘The Lost Son’ – a wordless modern adaptation
- ‘The Prodigal Son’ a short film
- ‘Gods Story: Two Sons and a Father’ by Crossroads Kids
- ‘The Prodigal Son: a Social Media Retelling’ for older children and teens
- ‘Prodigal Son’ by Bibletoons
- ‘Kids Tell Bible Stories: The Prodigal Son’ by First Baptist Church of Temple
Say: Jesus told us the story of the lost son to help us understand the Father’s love for us. God is our Heavenly Father and He loves us so much! Yet just like the son in the story, we have all turned our back on God at some point in our lives. Even if only for a few minutes. Yet just as the father in the story loved and forgave his son, so God loves and forgives us too.
SPOT the Simple Meaning:
1) GOD IS OUR PERFECT HEAVENLY FATHER
You will need three people to play the three characters – names and gender can be changed if needed.
[Sara is sitting in her room upset her 2 friends Katy and Rachel walk on stage.]
Katy: Hey Sara, are you ok?
Sara: (sighs) Heyy…Ehhhh
Katy: What’s up?
Sara: Well…I just got upset today when I saw people getting picked up by their dad from school. I got more upset because I came home thinking about it too much, you know because I haven’t got a dad so I can never be picked up by my dad. I’m really upset about it.
Rachel: Katy, tell her what we learnt at our kids club [Or kids church] this week! It might help?
Sara: I don’t think anything can help me.
Katy: It might, because we learnt about God and that He is our Father!
Sara: Oh yeah great, yeah thanx, nice one! Someone else to leave me.
Katy: No, no. God’s not like that!
Sara: Then God’s not a father then is He? Because all I know about fathers is that they leave you to get on with their own life and never come around to see how you are, never ask what I’m interested in or how I’m doing at school or tell me that they love me…So if God is a father I don’t want to know Him!
Katy: No…Seriously, God is NOT like that kind of Father. Some people do have a good dad and God is all the good things that a good dad is, like being kind and looking after you and not liking it when you’re sad, but also the Bible says that God is perfect so that means He wants to be our Perfect Father…you know the Father we’ve always dreamed of…and the bit you’ll love is that the Bible says He will NEVER leave us! He’s always there when you need Him and want to talk to Him.
Rachel: Yeah, and He’s always interested in what you have to say!
Sara: Oh right.
Katy: Yep! So instead of your earthy father doing the bad things to you, like leaving you and just not getting to know you at all, God has always known you and will be there for you as your Perfect Father!
Rachel: So I think God is just who I need! Especially today!
Sara: Yeah maybe you’re right. It all sounds great and almost too good to be true. Maybe I should come to your kids thing and learn more about God?!
[They walk off stage together]
Say: There are lots of different kinds of fathers. I don’t know what your experience of a father has been. You may have had the best dad in the world. Perhaps your dad has let you down. [Talk about your own father here. If you have a testimony to share that fits, this is a great place to do it!]
God is the Perfect Father. He never makes a mistake and He is always there for you. He will always love and accept you. You don’t have to be afraid to let Him get close. 1John 3:1 says ‘How great is the love that the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God, and that is what we are!’ You have a Perfect Father who loves you unconditionally – that means no matter what!
2) THE FATHER LAVISHES HIS LOVE ON US
You will need a can of spray cream and a cupcake on a plate.
Say: God the Father doesn’t just give us a little love, but He lavishes His love on us! (1 John 3:1) I’ve got a can of spray cream here, who thinks I can lavish this cake in cream? [wait for response] I wonder… is this lavishing? [put a spot of cream on the mini cake] [wait for response]. Is this lavishing? [add a bit more cream, but not much].[wait for response – most times kids will shout for you to put the whole can on the cake]. Is this lavishing? [add the can until it all ends].
When God lavishes His love on us that means that He completely surrounds us with His love! We are covered in love! There is noone that can love us more than God! He loves us so much that He sent His only Son to live a perfect life and to die a perfect death so that we could know God! His love is the best!
SEARCH the Scriptures:
Copy, print and laminate the bible verses below onto paper. Make sure that they are a big enough size that they cannot be swallowed! Get lots of cupcakes and cut them in half. Hide the bible verses in the cupcakes. Then cover them in cream.
Encourage the children to each take a cupcake and – without using their hands – wade through the cream and try to uncover the bible verse. Then they must pick the bible verse up with their teeth. The winner is the person to have the bible verse between their teeth first.
Verses about God being our Heavenly Father:
Yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist. 1 Corinthians 8:6.
One God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. Ephesians 4:6.
And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. Matthew 23:9.
Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation. Psalm 68:5.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. Ephesians 1:3.
SENSE How You Feel:
Imagine you were the lost son.
How would it feel to see your father run towards you when you returned home?
- Create a card for Father God, thanking Him for being a great father!
- Make a Father’s tie to remind the children of the memory verse
- Open arms Father craft
- Make some of the pig crafts found here
- Google, print and color a Prodigal Son coloring sheet
- Put the characters [children acting as the characters] in the ‘Hot Seat’ and ask the children to imagine they are the lost son/father as you and the rest of the children ask them questions.
Walk the children through the story as if it were them in the position of the prodigal son. Ask all the children to get comfy; lie down and close their eyes so that they are focussed. After each question you can give them time to respond in their heart and mind.
Say: Imagine that you are the son in our story and that you had become unsatisfied with your father’s company and the things that he was asking you to do. What has made you that way? Why do you feel dissatisfied? You have told him that you are leaving and walking away from him – with anything that he can give you. What does he look like as he gives you what he has? What does he do? How have you made him feel?
Imagine you are walking away from him and your home, away from your own brother. What is he thinking?
You’ve left and you’re living for yourself. Everything is going so well! You have got all you ever wanted. What does life look like? How are you feeling? Suddenly you look into your pocket and realize you have no money left. You are forced to get a job feeding pigs. It’s the only job you can get. You’re so hungry. You wish you could eat the pig’s food, but instead you begin to think… what if I went home? What if I became a servant for my father? How are you feeling? What thoughts are running through your mind?
You begin to make the long journey home. It isn’t easy and you know you will look like a failure. What will your father think?
Then, as you approach the house, you see a person in the distance, running towards you. He has the biggest smile on his face! It’s your father! He wants you! He’s been waiting for you all along. You fall to your knees. What is he doing? He calls to others to bring you the finest clothes and to give you a party. He is so happy you are home! You are no longer lost but found!
Ask all the children to spend a few minutes talking to God their Father. Remind them that God is the father in that story. There is nothing that they can do that would make Him want to turn away.