BIG IDEA: GOD TRANSFORMS ME
AIM: The ‘The Pumpkin Gospel’ Childrens Lesson will help your kids to understand the good news of Jesus and to have the ability to share the good news with others, once they remember the story themselves.
- ‘Turn on the Lights’
- ‘Let Your Light Shine’ by Hillsong Kids
- Pumpkin Tic Tac Toe. (regular/widescreen) Create your own tic tac toe board (noughts and crosses board) using paper and markers. Using the [mepr-s3-link src=”lesson-pumpkin-gospel/Pumpkins 1-min.pdf”] Pumpkin 1 [/mepr-s3-link] and [mepr-s3-link src=”lesson-pumpkin-gospel/Pumpkins 2-min.pdf”] Pumpkin 2 [/mepr-s3-link] PDFs, print and cut them out and place them at the side of the board. Children use one color of the pumpkins and must try to get three colors in a row: up, down or diagonally. Children take turns to place their color on the board. The first child to get three in a row is the winner.
- Pumpkin Bowling. (regular/widescreen) Place some old plastic empty bottles in your chosen positions and use a pumpkin to throw underhand and try to knock the bottles down. The child that hits the most bottles is the winner. This could be made into a relay; teams have their own bottles and pumpkin and compete to throw the pumpkin until all their bottles are down.
- Pumpkin Candy Toss. (regular/widescreen) Scrape out the insides of a few pumpkins and write some numbers on the outside. Leave the pumpkins to dry before using. The numbers will be the points system. Using some wrapped candy children can try to throw them inside the pumpkin of their choosing. Children can work alone or as part of a team. Use one or more bean bags and play as a race or relay if preferred. The child or team with the most points is the winner.
BIG VERSE: You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Matthew 5:14.
[mepr-s3-link src=”lesson-pumpkin-gospel/Light of the World Bible Cards-min.pdf”]Download Bible Verse Cards.[/mepr-s3-link]
Write each word of the verse on a large pumpkin and hang from a green washing line using pegs. Read it out altogether and then take one word away. Keep repeating this process until there are no words left. Alternatively use orange balloons and a Sharpie pen to write a word on each balloon and have children hold them, or use the washing line.
SET the Scene:
This lesson is based on the overall gospel, taking different Bible verses and unpacking them to create one parable story.
SPOT the Simple Meaning:
1) GOD PICKS YOU FROM THE PATCH
Say: Ephesians 1:4 says that “we were chosen before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless before Him in love.” Yet we are not holy and blameless on our own – we need God’s Holy Spirit to do a work in us!Have you ever been to a pumpkin patch and picked your very own pumpkin? [Get feedback] When we decide to follow Jesus we realise we are just like a pumpkin that gets picked! We start to understand that we’ve been picked by the One who truly matters – God! God picks us and brings us in.
2) HE WASHES OFF ALL THE DIRT
Say: 2 Corinthians 5:17 says; “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ,the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” You see, just as a farmer brings in a pumpkin and washes all the dirt off it, God brings us in and washes away all our sin. Sin is the wrong thoughts, words and actions that we do – things that are selfish and hurt others, God or ourselves. God wants to wash us clean so that we can fully know Him.
3) HE OPENS YOU UP AND SCOOPS OUT THE YUCK
Say: Romans 6:6 says; “For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sinmight be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin.” Inviting God to do a work in our lives and washing us clean means washing us inside too! Our hearts and minds are full of wrong things that we have thought about. When we ask God to wash us clean and take away our sin, He comes to clean out the yucky stuff from inside us too! Bitterness, hate, jealousy, guilt. shame, fear, rejection – so many things that work their way into our heart and start to go bad. God wants to clear all those things out and make us clean! So just as we might clean out the inside of a pumpkin, so God cleans our heart and mind so that we can fully focus on Him!
4) HE CARVES YOU A SMILE
Say: Psalm 71:23 says; “My lips will shout for joy when I sing praise to you— I whom you have delivered.” Don’t you just love to carve a smile on your pumpkin?! Well, just like a smile is carved on a pumpkin, so God gives us His joy, carving a smile on our faces too! God’s joy is unlike any other joy – it’s the best kind there is! God’s joy fills us to overflowing so that even when others see us go through tough times, we can ask God to fill us with His joy and He will! He will give us power to overcome any situation. In the Bible a man called Nehemiah says; “The joy of the Lord is your strength”. That means whenever we feel tired or like we can’t go on, we can ask God to carve that smile again and give us the joy we need to get through the day.
5) HE PUTS HIS LIGHT INSIDE YOU
Say: Matthew 5:16 says; “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven”. Probably the best bit about a pumpkin is putting the light inside, right?! The amazing thing about following Jesus is that He doesn’t just leave us to do life alone. God places His Holy Spirit within us. The Holy Spirit is our guide in life, a counsellor – someone we go to for help, He is our helper and friend. The Bible says that when we follow Jesus and are filled by His Holy Spirit, we become the light of the world; just as Jesus is the light of the world! How cool is that?! God invites us to be His light in the world; to bring hope to dark places. We can take Jesus with us wherever we go and light the way for others to find Him.
SEARCH the Scriptures:
Pass the Pumpkin. (regular/widescreen) Grab a pumpkin and cut it open, scooping all the yucky stuff out. Then print off the list of [mepr-s3-link src=”teaching-series-signs/Gospel Verses-min.pdf”]gospel verses[/mepr-s3-link] and put them inside alongside some blank slips of paper. Children sit in a circle and when the music plays children must pass the pumpkin around. Then when the music stops they can pick a piece of paper. Children that collect a Bible verse can speak it out and are given a candy.
- What does ‘sin’ mean?
- What happens if we don’t deal with our sin?
- Who can help us with our sin?
- How can we become clean?
- How can we get God’s light in our lives?
SENSE How You Feel:
How does it feel to know God picked you?
How does it feel to know God puts His light within you?
Encourage your children to think about the question above as they do one of the activities below.
- Carve your very own pumpkins. Use a kid friendly pumpkin carving set to do this safely with a good adult to child ratio.
- Decorate a pumpkin or mini pumpkin using foam pieces, permanent markers and different coloured and textured paper.
- Mould your own pumpkin using Playdough or clay.
- Build a pumpkin patch and farm out of building blocks or Lego.
- Sensory: Make pumpkin scented rice and place mini pumpkins inside it and mini shovels for children to use.
- Make a paper plate pumpkin with “God picks me!” written on the outside. Simply use an orange plate, or paint your plate orange then stick black shapes on the plate for the eyes, nose and mouth. Use a Sharpie to write the message on the plate.
- Create balloon pumpkins using orange balloons and attaching green paper or streamers. Decorate them with faces using Sharpie permanent markers.
- Fill in the [mepr-s3-link src=”lesson-pumpkin-gospel/Pumpkin Count-min.pdf”]Pumpkin Count[/mepr-s3-link] and the [mepr-s3-link src=”lesson-pumpkin-gospel/Pumpkin Escape-min.pdf”]Pumpkin Escape printable[/mepr-s3-link]
If you are carving pumpkins together in a rotation station, you could encourage the children to say this prayer as they carve.
The Pumpkin Prayer:
As I carve my pumpkin help me say this prayer:
Open my mind so I can learn about You;
(Cut the top of the pumpkin)
Take away all my sin and forgive me for the wrong things I do.
(Clean out the inside)
Open my eyes so Your love I will see;
(Cut the eyes out in heart shapes)
I’m so sorry for turning up my nose to all you’ve given me.
(Cut a nose in the shape of a cross)
Open my ears so your word I will hear.
(Cut the ears shaped like the Bible)-we did rectangles
Open my mouth so I can tell others You’re near
(cut the mouth in the shape of a fish)
Let Your light shine in all I say and do! Amen.
(Place a candle inside and light it)
You can download the Pumpkin Prayer PDF [mepr-s3-link src=”lesson-pumpkin-gospel/The Pumpkin Prayer-min.pdf”] here [/mepr-s3-link]