BIG IDEA: I CARE BY SPEAKING OUT
AIM: The aim of the ‘I Care By Speaking Out’ Childrens Lesson on Jeremiah is all about helping children to see that their words count. They matter.
Intro: It can be scary to speak out to other people and tell them what we think or what God is saying. Yet that is exactly what Jeremiah had to do! He is called the ‘Weeping Prophet’ because he cared so much about the people, he kept telling them everything that God was saying, but they did not listen! This made him very upset.
- Speak Out! Children take turns to say some silly sentences whilst wearing a mouthguard.
- Tongue Twister. Children are challenged to say tongue twisters and must see who can say them the fastest!
- Telephone. Children sit in a circle in their teams. One child from each team is told a sentence that they must whisper to the next child in their circle. The children take it in turns to whisper the sentence to one another until it is passed all around their circle. The last child speaks out the sentence that they heard. The winning team is the team that is able to pass the full sentence around the circle and keep it in tact.
BIG VERSE: Cast all your cares on Him, for He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7.
SET the Scene:
Read Jeremiah 1. You may want to show a video about how he was called such as ‘The Call of Jeremiah’. There aren’t many free videos online that help to tell the story of Jeremiah. Instead, you could try the Bible for Children story presentation or create your own skit using the story presentation as a guide. You will find more helpful ideas to help you understand the story at the Ministry to Children website.
SPOT the Simple Meaning:
1) GOD CARES ABOUT HIS PEOPLE
Prepare some of the bible verses that God speaks out over His people and over us today by writing them on large paper or card. Pick out the verses that you believe God wants you to speak out over the children and declare who they are. i.e. ‘You are a Child of God’ ‘You are His workmanship’ ‘You are part of His body’ etc
Say: God cared about His people, the Israelites. They were a stubborn people who liked to do things their own way. The Israelites had turned away from God to worship other gods such as Baal. They no longer worshipped the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
God called Jeremiah to speak out to the Israelites and to show them that what they were doing was wrong. Chance after chance He gave them to turn around and stop worshipping other gods. Yet the people did not listen.
God loved and cared for these people yet they did not want to know. Jeremiah his time trying to show the people that they needed to turn back to God. He cried because He cared about his people and wanted them to know God. God cared for His people even more than Jeremiah cared.
God cared about the Israelites and He cares about you and everyone. Some of the things that He speaks out about us are written in the bible. We can read the words and know that these are the things He speaks over us, the way He sees us and how He loves us today.
2) GOD SENT JEREMIAH TO SPEAK OUT
You will need to use a puppet that you can put your hand inside and move the puppet mouth.
Say: Have you seen my puppet? When I put my hand inside the puppet I can move it’s mouth. Then I can put words into its mouth by moving the mouth in certain ways as I speak. It means that I can make the puppet say what I want it to say!
I’m so thankful that I’m not just a puppet but I can speak the words that I choose. How about you? [Get feedback] You know, the cool thing is that we can choose to speak our own words, but we can also choose to speak God’s words too. We can ask God what He wants us to say, and just like a puppet says our words, we can say God’s words. A puppet cannot choose it’s words, but we can choose to speak the words of God. We can ask Him to fill our mouths with the words that He wants us to say.
Jeremiah was a prophet. Do you know what one of those is? [Get feedback] A prophet is a messenger from God. Jeremiah would listen to God and then He would speak out the words that God gave Him for the people. Even when it wasn’t what people wanted to hear, Jeremiah still spoke out. Jeremiah was thrown into a well and a prison cell [Jeremiah 37-38], yet He still chose to speak out the truth that God had given him to say.
The people did not want to turn back to God but God had a message for Jeremiah to speak out. If the people would not turn back to Him then they would not be destroyed, but they would be captured. The people did not listen so that is exactly what happened. The people were captured by Nebuchadnezzar and taken to Babylon. [Jeremiah 52]
Jeremiah spoke out the words God gave him even when it was tough. He spoke out the words even when nobody was listening. God sent Jeremiah to speak out and Jeremiah obeyed God.
3) GOD CALLS US TO SPEAK OUT
Draw or paint a giant mouth on a large piece of paper. Leave space around the edges for the children to write or draw on it also.
Say: God has called us to speak out and tell others about Him. He has called us to speak out and say when things are wrong or when things need to change. Just as it was scary for Jeremiah, sometimes it might seem scary to us, sometimes it may seem easy. The most important thing is that we learn to listen to God and the things that He wants us to speak out about. The worst thing we can do is to speak out when God wants us to stay silent. So if we listen to the Holy Spirit, the third person of God [recap: Father, Son and Holy Spirit] then He will help us to know what and when to speak out.
Let’s write or draw on this paperthe things that we think God is asking us to speak out about and to tell others. Think about the people that God cares about and how He wants you to speak out for and let’s draw or write their names too!
SEARCH the Scriptures:
Pictionary: Play a game of Pictionary with the bible characters. Choose a leader or a child to draw the character for their team. The team that guesses the bible character first is the winning team.
People that God Called to Speak Out Include:
Esther: Esther spoke out against Haman and showed the king that Haman was out to kill her people.
Jonah: God called Jonah to speak out and tell the Ninevites that they had to repent and turn back to God.
Paul: Paul spoke out to the Jews and the Gentiles and told the people all about Jesus.
Jesus: Jesus spoke out against the Pharisees and Sadducees and told them that they needed to love others.
Peter: Peter spoke out about Jesus to help build the Church. He was an important preacher and was one of Jesus’ disciples.
- Who does God care about?
- What kind of words does God speak?
- What did God tell Jeremiah to say?
- Did Jeremiah obey? Why/why not?
- Do you think it is easy to speak when God tells you to? Why/why not?
SENSE How You Feel:
Allow the children to think about and discuss the question below as they engage in one of the activities below:
How does it feel to know God wants you to speak out?
- Create the card and marshmallow mouth hand puppet. You will need to cut out card and stick marshmallows inside to create this hand puppet.
- Make a cardboard mouth.
- Make a megaphone. There are lots of ways that you can make megaphones out of card. This particular style is by the Crafting For God website.
Say: What is God speaking out over you? What do you hear Him saying to you today? We can only speak out to others when we know what God is saying to us and when we know who God says we are.
1. Have you accepted Jesus as your Savior and friend? The bible says that we must each confess that we have sinned and that we choose to follow Jesus. We need to speak it out. Why? Because there is something so important about speaking out with our lips. It makes it clear to everyone around us what we believe and who we believe in. If you would like to speak out today and say that Jesus is your Lord, let’s say this prayer together:
Father God, thank You for sending Jesus. Jesus I believe that you died and rose again. I believe that you came to earth so that I can know God. Please come into my life and be my Savior and friend. I believe that you are God. Holy Spirit, please help me to live for Jesus each and every day. Amen.
2. Who is God asking you to care about? Who is He asking you to speak out for? Let’s write their names and/or people groups down and begin to pray for them today. Let’s ask God to help us to be bold and to share with others about what these people need.
3. Is there someone that you care about that doesn’t yet know Jesus? Is God calling you to speak out to them? Is He asking you to be bold like Jeremiah? Let’s ask the Holy Spirit to help us be bold and speak out in truth and love to those that we care about.