BIG IDEA: I CAN BE A FRIEND
AIM: To help the children see that Jesus is a friend to the friendless and they can be a friend of Jesus too – they just need to welcome him into their life!
- ‘I am a Friend of God’ by Shout Kids Praise
- ‘Jesus is my Best Friend’ by Yancy
- ‘My Best Friend’ by Hillsong
1.Splat Attack Game. (regular/widescreen) Children sit in circles with a black garbage bag to protect their clothes. A custard pie (shaving foam on a plate) is given to one of the players. They must pass the plate around the circle and when the music stops the person that has the plate must decide. 1. To splat themselves and stay in the game or 2. splat someone on their left and be eliminated from the game.
2.Do you know me? (regular/widescreen) Children find someone to be in pairs with them. They each have pieces of paper. The leader asks everyone to write down what they think their partner’s: favorite color, favorite sport, favorite thing to do and favorite cartoon character is. Children write them down on their paper. Then they compare scores to see who got the most correct. [This game would work well after the children have played the ‘Speed Friending Game’ below.]
3. Friends Singalong. (regular/widescreen) Some friends love to sing karaoke together. Choose some well known songs and have each of the children split into groups. Have each group listen to part of the song (sing it yourself first) then they must jump in and finish singing the song. Make sure you choose songs that the children will recognize and remember the lyrics to.
BIG VERSE: JESUS PERFORMED MANY OTHER SIGNS IN THE PRESENCE OF HIS DISCIPLES. JOHN 20:30A.
ICEBREAKER: Who is your best friend and how long have you known them?
SET the Scene:
Read John 5:1-15.
You could also use the Pool of Bathesda
1. What does this passage tell us about the people in it?
2. What does the passage tell us about Jesus?
3. Who do you feel most like in this story?
4. Who need to know about this story?
SPOT the Simple Meaning:
1) BE A FRIEND TO THE FRIENDLESS
Speed Friending: Encourage your children to sit in two parallel lines. Then ask the lines to face one another and make sure each person in the lines are paired up with someone from the opposite line. Everyone sits down and they are given a minute to ask a few questions. You can have the questions already arranged as some of your children may struggle to initiate conversation or are shy.
Questions can include:
- Where do you go to school?
- What’s your favorite subject at school?
- What’s your favorite color/ chocolate bar/ candy/ TV program/ hobby?
Say: The man at the Pool of Bethesda had had a rough time. He wanted to jump into those waters and get healed. Yet nobody was there to help him. He didn’t have one friend that had stayed with him to help him get into the water. Everyone beat him to it. Have you ever been disappointed or felt like you missed out on something good? [Get feedback] When that’s happened did you talk to your friends about it? [Get feedback] Friends can help us feel better when we feel sad. It’s great to have friends who are there for us in the good times and in the bad times.
This man had been unable to walk for 38 years! That’s a long time! Yet when the angel stirred the water nobody helped him get in. It seemed like everyone else had someone to help them. That’s when Jesus stepped in. He asked this man what he wanted. He wanted to be healed! Jesus was such a good friend – he helped the man immediately by doing what he knew how to do best – healing him!
2) SIN NO MORE
Darren: Dave, you did it again.
Dave: Did what?
Darren: You lied about hanging out with Rob
Darren: Well, don’t you think I would have liked to come too?
Dave: We were only playing on the Nintendo Switch. You can do that any day. Darren: Yeah, but I wanted to do it with you guys.
Dave: Really? I mean, it’s just a game.
Darren: Yeah, so why did you lie about it?
Dave: Honestly, Rob thinks you’re boring. He didn’t want to hang out with you. I tried to tell him..
Darren: Oh thanks (sarcastically)
Dave: Listen, I’m sorry Darren, I should have told him you’re great fun to be around. I’ll do that next time.
Darren: You will?
Dave: Yeah. Come on, let’s go play football.
Say: Did you see Dave and Darren in that conversation? Dave lied to Darren and it messed up their friendship for a moment. It wasn’t right to lie – even if Dave was trying to protect Darren’s feelings.
Jesus is the best kind of friend. He never lies to us or does anything that would hurt us. He listens to our needs and he helps us. Maybe you have felt like you have been disappointed by life. Just like the man by the Pool of Bethesda who kept missing his chance of being healed. Or maybe you’re disappointed by friends who let you down. Jesus is here for you. He wants to help you and walk with you through the good times in life and the bad times. He is the Son of God and He came to bring you new life! He wants you to know how good He really is by becoming your best friend. If you haven’t done that before, you can start being a friend of Jesus today.
Yet just as Jesus told the man in our story, we need to go and sin no more. That means not doing wrong things over and over again. It means saying sorry to whoever we hurt – including God. Dave knew he had hurt Darren’s feelings so he said sorry. God loves people and He doesn’t like it when we act selfishly and don’t think about Him or others. In fact, the Bible says it separates us from Him. Jesus came so that we could be friends with God and so that we can be brought back to Him – so the wrong things we do can’t separate us anymore. Why? Because Jesus’ love is stronger and He came to the world so that we might know God. The Bible says that the wrong things we do deserve death, but because of Jesus we can be forgiven for those things! Once forgiven we can live for Jesus!
So if you would like to pray and ask Jesus to be your best friend, pray this prayer with me…
Father God, I’m sorry for the wrong things that I have done. I believe that Jesus came so that I might know you, that he died and rose again. Please forgive me and help me to live for you Jesus, Amen.
SEARCH the Scriptures:
Rope Challenge. (regular/widescreen) You will need a jump rope and two leaders per team. Two leaders hold the end of a rope and use it as a jump rope, moving it around and around. Each child must try and jump over the rope at least once. When they do, they gain a bible verse for their team. You may want to print out plenty of the friendship Bible verses for this challenge – so make lots of duplicates, if needed. The first team to get all the bible verses that have been prepared is the winning team.
- What do you love to do with your best friend?
- What makes a good friend?
- How do you try to be a good friend?
- What kind of friend do you think Jesus is? Why?
SENSE How You Feel:
Imagine you were the man that could not walk.
How did it feel to start walking?
Encourage the children to think about their answer to this question as they do one or more of the activities below.
- Create a card man with the B & W Man or the Color Man. and the and rug Printable a fabric rug under his arm using the man and rug printables.
- Use a popsicle stick to make a man with a piece of fabric under his arm.
- Re-enact the story through stills; take photos of each freeze frame you make.
- Pretend that some of the children are people in the story. Interview them and see what they thought about what happened.
- Color/Fill in the Walking activity sheets for 5-7s and 8-11s.
- Sit in a circle. Go around the group with the starting sentence “When Jesus came to me as I was sat by the water I felt…” Then ask the children to finish the sentence. Make other sentences up such as “When Jesus healed me I was…”
- Check out the Pool of Bethesda Pinterest board.
Is there someone you have seen that needs a friend? How can you be a friend to that person? [Remind the children of safety if their friend is not from their school or someone they know.]
Write or draw their name on a pre-cut person and put blu tac on the bottom of their feet and stick them on your desk at home to remember that person in prayer.