BIG IDEA: FRIENDS ARE A GIFT FROM GOD
AIM: To encourage the children to make friends and to be good friends to others.
1. ‘Friend of God’ by Shout Praises Kids
2. ‘My Best Friend’ by Shout Praises Kids
1. The Friendship Factor. Choose two pairs of friends and have one of each pair answer questions about their friend (whilst their friend is out of the room). The friends come back into the room and must answer the questions about themselves. The friends who get the most matching answers are the winning team.
2. Famous Friends. Print off pictures of famous friends and put them up around the room (Woody and Buzz, Mike and Sulley, Mickey and Goofy, Dory and . Have two contestants compete to match the friends up by grabbing them from the wall one at a time. To make the game a little different you could give them a clue and they must find the friend you are talking about.
3. Find a Friend… Prepare some sheets in advance with types of friends that the children must find. Each child is given a sheet with a pen or pencil and must get the friends [anybody in the group that matches the description] to write their name in the box when they have been found.
4. That’s My Favorite! Have children get into groups according to their favorite things. Colors, animals, subject at school, hobby, TV program or celebrity.
BIG VERSE: A friend loves at all times… Proverbs 17:17a.
SET the Scene:
Introductory Question: What makes a good friend?
Question 2: Can you tell us about some or one of your friends?
The story of Jonathan and David can be told in many different formats. For this story why not use the Brick Testament pictures (changing a few where needed) and put them on a powerpoint to present to the children…
Say: In today’s story we see that Jonathan was a very good friend to David
Read 1 Samuel 18-20. You can show this video to help communicate the story.
SPOT the Simple Meaning:
1) OBJECT LESSON: GOD GIVES US FRIENDS
My Best Friend/s. Show the children a picture of some of your closest friends.
Say: Just like David and Jonathan have close friends, I have close friends too! Do you want to see a photo/video of them? [show the images and share a fun story of how you are friends.] Did you know that all good things come from God? James 1:17 says that ‘Every good and perfect gift from above.’ Our friends are a gift from God to us.
Friends are great aren’t they?! They are someone to play with when we feel alone, someone to share stories with, someone to cheer us up when we feel sad, someone to enjoy all the good things in life with! We all want friends because friends are people that know how we feel, share our interests or just generally enjoy being around us – and we enjoy being around them too!
David and Jonathan were best friends! They were there for each other. Jonathan and David loved one another and cared about how each other felt and were being treated. It might have been scary for David living in the King’s palace from a young age, so when he met Jonathan and they made friends it must have made David’s day! If you don’t have a good friend like Jonathan then maybe you can find someone that you can be a good friend towards. Is there anyone you know that needs God’s gift of a good friend?
2) OBJECT LESSON: TO TEACH US HOW TO LOVE OTHERS
Skit: friends falling out or use a clip from Toy Story when Woody and Buzz fall out.
That video clip reminds us that sometimes friendships are difficult, especially when someone hurts us or says nasty things. Buzz was sad because he had realized he was just a toy. Now, up until this point Woody disliked Buzz. He was mad that Buzz got so much attention. When he sees how sad and stuck Buzz is he realizes he loves his friend and wants to help him, so Woody tries to cheer him up and remind him that being a toy is a great thing! Seeing Buzz as a friend, Woody was able to love him and help him.
Having friends teaches us how to love. We can love our friends when things are easy, but when things get tough it will really test how much we love someone. Jonathan loved David as his best friend. 1 Samuel 18:1 says ‘Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself.’ This happened before his father started to get angry and hate David… so what would Jonathan do now?
Jonathan was a good friend. He loved his father, but he also loved David and did not want David to be killed. He helped David escape his father’s plans to kill him. Jonathan learned to love David even when there were big problems. He proved that his love for David was genuine, being a good friend to David had helped Jonathan to grow in love.
Who are you a good friend to? How do you show them that you love them?
3) OBJECT LESSON: TO HELP US PUT OTHERS FIRST
You will need a powerpoint presentation with these questions on it:
I have a friend who…
is missing their dad… what should I say?
is in hospital sick… what can I do?
got angry with me and hasn’t spoken to me in days… what can I do?
doesn’t know Jesus… what can I say/pray/do?
There are always people who need help. If you’re not sure if you have any friends then a good place to start is finding someone that needs help and help them! Being a good friend means putting someone else’s needs first. Having friends makes us think about what the other person would like or needs. As we answered those questions we found that we had to start thinking about what someone would need in order to cheer them up or sort a friendship out.
Jonathan put David’s needs first. Jonathan could have been king. He could have tried to kill David so that he could have the throne and be king himself…but Jonathan loved David and put David first. Jonathan didn’t think about what he wanted, he thought about what his friend needed. Even King Saul tried to remind Jonathan that David would take the throne if he was not killed saying, “As long as the son of Jesse lives on this earth, neither you nor your kingdom will be established. Now send someone to bring him to me, for he must die!” 1 Samuel 20:31. Jonathan simply replied “Why should he die? What has he done?”
Jonathan didn’t think about himself. His fame, his power, his position. All Jonathan could think about was how he wanted his friend to live.
How much do you think about your friends? Do you put them first or think only about yourself?
SEARCH the Scriptures:
Can the children find the stories of the different friends in the bible? Hand out bibles and ask the children to find the stories, without any bible references. Then discuss how that person might have been a good friend.
Friends in the bible:
1. The Disciples: friends of Jesus. (The gospels)
2. Abraham: friend of God. (Genesis)
3. Job: friends he would rather not have! (Job)
4. The paralyzed man: friends that were faithful. (Luke 5)
5. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego: the three friends that stuck together. (Daniel 4)
1. How was this person a good friend?
2. How does God show that He is a good friend in this passage?
3. How does this passage teach to be a good friend?
SENSE How You Feel:
1. FRIENDSHIP BRACELETS
You will need: colored threads to make friendship bracelets or string and beads.
What would it feel like to have a friend like Jonathan? Create friendship bracelets with the children. Have plenty of colors of thread or beads available. Allow the children to choose colors indicate how they would feel to have a good friend like Jonathan. Then ask, how can you be a good friend like Jonathan was to David?
2. ARROW AND BAG
You will need: markers, scissors, glue or tape, popsicle sticks and the correct number of arrow craft templates.
Remind the children how Jonathan saved David by using the arrows as a code to tell him to escape. Remind the children that Jonathan put David first when he did this. Then hand out the arrow craft template to each child. They should color in the sheet, cut around the arrow heads and bag and then fold the bag and tape it together. Finally the arrow heads and ends should be taped to the popsicle sticks. To finish ask the children how it might have felt to have Jonathan save you by sending the arrow. Ask how they can become a better friend, just like Jonathan was to David.
Pray this short prayer with your children:
Thank you God that You are the best friend anyone can ever have. Thank You for giving me friends that can help me to learn how to love others and put them first.
Lord, help me to be a good friend to my friends just like Jonathan was to David.