PRESCHOOL & ELEMENTARY
WEEK OF JANUARY 31
The Cost of Following Jesus
Bible Passage: Matthew 8; 16; Luke 9; 14
Story Point: Following Jesus is not always easy, but He is worth it and with us when it's hard.
Key Passage: “The Holy Spirit …will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” John 14:26
What is God Like: God is Omnipotent (all-powerful)
Did many people want to follow Jesus? (yes)
Did Jesus teach that following Him is easy? (No, Jesus taught that following Him is not easy.)
Why would Jesus teach that following Him is not easy? (He wanted people to think and choose carefully.)
Is following Jesus worth it? (yes, always)
What did Jesus promise to those who give up everything to follow Him? (life with God forever)
Jesus said the Son of Man has no place to what? (lay His head, Matt. 8:20)
What did Jesus say a person must take up to follow Him? (his cross, Matt. 16:24)
What did Jesus say about a king going to war? (He must consider whether his army can win, Luke 14:31)
Why do you think we must be willing to give up our family and even our life to follow Jesus? Guide kids to see that Jesus is the most important. If we truly love our families, we will want to put Jesus first so that we can help them see that He is best for them. If we love anything, even families or other good things, more than we love Jesus, those things have become idols.
What are some ways you might suffer for Jesus’ sake? Discuss what can happen if kids stand up for what’s right against friends or other kids at school. Discuss missionaries who move away from home. Talk about places where Christians are not allowed to worship God and might be arrested or killed for their faith.
What do we gain by following Jesus? Help kids think about the rewards we have through Jesus, both in this life and the next. Remind them that Jesus gives us peace, love, joy, and wisdom. Help them see that no matter what hard situations we face now, someday we will rule with Jesus when He returns.
PRESCHOOL & TODDLER ACTIVITY
WHAT YOU NEED: toys and/or household items, play money
WHAT YOU DO: Provide play money and allow children to “shop” for toys and other household items. Assign a basic cost to each item as a child brings it to you, such as “That book will cost you five bills” or “Those markers will cost you ten coins.” Do not worry about actual values; just help the children count each piece of money as they give it to you. As children bring you another item, say “That will cost everything you have! Is that worth it to you?”
WHAT YOU SAY: A cost is how much you have to give up, like money, to get something you want or need. Was it hard when you had to give up all of your money to get something you wanted? That’s a harder choice to make! Today we heard about something Jesus said would cost everything but would be worth it. He wanted people to think about the cost and choose carefully.
VARIATION FOR TODDLERS: Provide food boxes and toy food. Place stickers on each item showing a price. Give toddlers play money to play out a grocery store. Tell the Bible story. SAY: Jesus taught about God. Jesus told people they must love Him most of all to follow Him. That means loving Jesus more than food or money!
COUNT THE COST
WHAT YOU NEED: items from your pantry, paper, pencil and a grocery app or website
WHAT YOU DO: Place various grocery items on the counter. Make sure you have a list of all their prices (or look them up together on a website/app after the activity). Provide each child with a sheet of paper and a pencil. Invite the kids to write down what they think the price of each might be. For very young kids, this might be difficult. Encourage them to try anyway, and remind them that there is no penalty for guessing incorrectly. Once the kids finish, reveal the correct prices. Congratulate all the kids for their efforts.
WHAT YOU SAY: When you go to the grocery store, it is important to count up the cost of the items you want to take home. Today we learned that following Jesus is worth any cost.
WEEK OF JANUARY 24
Who taught people about God’s kingdom? (Jesus)
Where did Jesus teach His sermon? (on a mountain)
What word did Jesus repeat at the beginning about people who follow Him? (blessed or happy)
Did Jesus promise good things for those people? (yes)
True or false: if you trust in Jesus, how you live doesn’t matter. (false)
Why did Jesus say those who mourn are blessed? (because they will be comforted, Matt. 5:4)
What did Jesus compare believers to? (salt and light, Matt. 5:13-16)
What did Jesus come to do with the law? (obey it perfectly, not get rid of it; Matt. 5:17)
What are some ways God’s kingdom is different from worldly kingdoms? Guide kids to give examples about how God’s kingdom is the opposite of what our hearts naturally desire. In God’s kingdom, we love our enemies and consider ourselves blessed even in difficult or sad times. We give generously even to those who cannot repay. We trust in God instead of ourselves, and we do good to glorify God, not to look good in front of others.
Why does God care so much about what’s in our hearts? Help kids understand that sinful actions always begin as sinful thoughts and desires. Remind them that it is not enough to simply avoid doing bad things. Obedience to God means we do not even think evil thoughts. Help them see that we need Jesus because only He can meet God’s standard of perfection.
Where did Jesus’ authority to teach come from? Guide kids to think about Jesus’ identity as God the Son. Remind them that He was present at creation and that He is the King of kings. His words are God’s own words. His teaching is perfect.
PRESCHOOL & TODDLER ACTIVITY
SHINE THE LIGHT
WHAT YOU NEED: a flashlight per child
WHAT YOU DO: Give each child a flashlight and dim the lights. Play “I Spy” by describing an object. Guide children to point their flashlight at the object when they guess it. Finish by “spying” a Bible.
WHAT YOU SAY TO PRESCHOOLERS: Jesus said that believers are a light in a dark world. He taught how people who believe in Him should live to show people what God and His kingdom are like. What did Jesus teach when He was on earth? Jesus taught about God and His kingdom. We read Jesus’ teachings in the Bible. The more we read the Bible, the brighter our lives will shine for God’s glory!
WHAT YOU SAY TO TODDLERS: Jesus taught about God. Jesus said His followers are like salt and light. People who trust in Jesus live like Him.
FOLLOW MY EXAMPLE
WHAT YOU NEED: supplies are dependent on what leader of activity decides
WHAT YOU DO: Choose a person to lead the family in creating something. It can be a simple craft, assembling a snack, or how to do an activity. If needed, give them time to plan. This is a great opportunity for someone in the family to share their gifts or interests. Examples include paint an image, draw an illustration, or sculpt something from play dough. Have the leader pass out supplies and demonstrate. Then, people could try and replicate what the leader did.
WHAT YOU SAY: What other things have you learned how to do by following others’ examples? In the Bible story we heard this week, Jesus taught His followers how to live. Then He spent His ministry showing them how to live.
WEEK OF JANUARY 17
Why did Jesus say the man was blind? (so people could see God’s power)
What did Jesus do with the mud that He mixed together? (Jesus put it on the blind man’s eyes and told him to wash it off.)
What happened after the man rinsed the mud off the his eyes? (The man could see.)
What did the man do after he learned that Jesus was God’s Son? (The man believed and worshiped Him.)
Who showed His power when he healed the man in today’s Bible story? (Jesus)
Why was the man born blind? (so God’s works might be displayed in him, John 9:3)
How did Jesus heal the man? (Jesus mixed spit and dirt, put the mud on the man’s eyes, and told him to wash it off; John 9:6-7)
What did the religious leaders do to the healed man? (threw him out of the synagogue, John 9:34)
In what ways are we like the man born blind? Guide kids to consider what it means to be born in sin. Help them see that spiritual blindness prevents us from being able to pursue God on our own. Guide kids to discuss what it feels like to be in darkness. Point out both the fear of the dark that some have and also the practical limitations of doing things in the dark.
Why do you think Jesus calls Himself the Light of the world? Help them understand the ways in which Jesus “lights up” our life, such as helping us see and understand God’s truth, giving us joy, and helping us walk in obedience to God. Point out that, while it is difficult to do things in the dark, light helps us work.
How can we be given “spiritual sight”? Direct kids to think about the message of the gospel. Help them see that they cannot earn salvation, but it is given freely to those with faith in Jesus’ death and resurrection. Remind them that with salvation comes new life and the Holy Spirit’s help to love and obey God.
How do you see God as all-powerful in this story?
GUESS THE ITEM
WHAT YOU NEED: a bag, small items from around the house, blindfold (optional)
WHAT YOU DO: Gather an assortment of small items. Place each item in a paper lunch sack and fold down the top. Invite child to reach into the bag without looking in the bag. Encourage him or her to guess the item. Do for other items. Give the child an opportunity to hide an item and for the adult to guess.
WHAT YOU SAY TO PRESCHOOLERS: It’s not easy to know what something is when you can’t see it. Jesus healed a man who could not see. Sin keeps us from seeing what is true about God in our hearts. Jesus helps us see what is true so we can know God.
WHAT YOU NEED: painter’s tape, chalk (depending on weather) or just a room without too much to trip over.
WHAT YOU DO: Use tape (or string) to make a simple but winding path on the floor. Select a person to wear a blindfold and attempt to navigate the path. Try it again with one person calling out instructions to get through the path. Another variation is to have someone lead someone by gently guiding them by the shoulders.
WHAT YOU SAY: That was pretty hard to navigate such a winding path. If the person leading you was also blindfolded, it would have been impossible. Jesus gave sight to a man who was blind. In John 9:39-41, Jesus told people that He came to give sight to those who are blind and make those who can see become blind. Jesus was speaking about the Pharisees. They were spiritually blind. They thought they understood everything there was to know about God, but they did not believe in Jesus, God’s own Son. We are all born spiritually blind—dead in sin. When we trust in Jesus, our hearts are able to understand who Jesus is and worship Him.
WEEK OF JANUARY 10
Whom did Jesus meet by the pool? (a man who could not walk)
What did Jesus do for the man? (Jesus healed him.)
What did the man do after Jesus healed him? (obeyed Jesus; got up, picked up his mat, and walked)
Why were the Jewish leaders angry with Jesus? (He broke their rule about not working on the Sabbath and said that He is God’s Son.)
Who showed His power when he healed people in today’s Bible story? (Jesus)
Where was Jesus when He saw the man who could not walk? (at the pool called Bethesda in Jerusalem, John 5:2)
Why were the religious leaders upset at the man who had been healed? (He carried his mat on the Sabbath; John 5:10)
Who is Jesus’ Father? (God, John 5:17-18)
How are we similar to the man who could not walk? Guide kids to discuss the fact that we can’t heal ourselves. We are trapped in sin just like the man was trapped. The Bible describes us as dead in sin. We need Jesus to rescue us and give us new life. Apart from Jesus’ complete work on the cross, we could not have salvation.
How can we gain salvation and healing from sin? Guide kids to think through the message of the gospel. Remind them that we are saved by grace through faith. We cannot earn salvation, but when we have faith that Jesus died for our sins and rose on the third day, God gives us salvation.
Why do you think Jesus told the man to stop sinning? Guide kids to see that the phrase “so that something worse doesn’t happen” is a reference to being separated from God after death. Help the kids see that no matter what physical ailment we may suffer with, we can all have eternal life and hope for the future. Jesus’ death and resurrection gives us that hope for eternity spent with God in a restored world.
How do you see God as all-powerful in this story?
ROLL OUT A PLAY DOUGH MAT
WHAT YOU NEED: play dough, playdough rolling pins, craft sticks and plastic people figures
WHAT TO DO: Give each child a ball of play dough and rolling pin. Show them how to roll the dough flat and then use a craft stick to trim the dough into a mat shape. Offer a child plastic people figures to use to play out the Bible story of the man picking up his mat and walking.
WHAT YOU SAY TO PRESCHOOLERS: Jesus healed a man who could not walk. Before he
met Jesus, the man lay on a mat hoping to get into the pool that he thought would help him. All people need the kind of help that only Jesus can give. Jesus wants people to trust in Him so He can free them from sin.
WHAT YOU SAY TO TODDLERS: • People were upset that Jesus healed the man that couldn’t walk. Jesus said He is God’s Son. GOD IS ALL-POWERFUL.
COUNT THE TOSSES
WHAT YOU NEED: 3 tennis balls or juggling balls (consider using hackey sacks)
WHAT YOU DO: Hold a tennis ball in one hand. Challenge the kids to watch you closely and count how many times you toss the ball into the air. While you are doing this, hold up some number of fingers on your other hand. After tossing the ball for a few minutes, ask the kids how many fingers you were holding up. Chances are, no one will know.
WHAT YOU SAY: In that game, you were so focused on counting the times I tossed the ball, you missed how many fingers I was holding up. In our Bible story this week, we learned about a time religious leaders focused so hard on a small detail of their religious laws, they missed something important Jesus was doing. After making illustration, try juggling as a group or family.
WEEK OF JANUARY 3
Jesus Healed a Woman and a Girl
Bible Passage: Mark 5
Story Point: Jesus healed a woman and raised a girl from the dead.
Key Passage: Isaiah 53:4-5
What is God Like?: God is Omnipotent (all-powerful)
What did Jairus ask Jesus to do for him? (Jairus asked Jesus to come to his house and heal his daughter.)
Who in the crowd touched Jesus’ robe? (a woman who had been sick for many years)
What happened to the woman when she touched Jesus’ clothes? (The bleeding stopped; Jesus healed her.)
What happened to Jairus’ daughter before Jesus got to the house? (The girl died.)
What did Jesus do for the girl? (Jesus took her hand, told her to get up, and she became alive again!)
Who was Jairus? (a leader in the synagogue and father to a dying girl, Mark 5:22-23)
How long had the older woman been suffering with her sickness? (12 years, Mark 5:25)
How did the people outside Jairus’ house react when Jesus said the girl wasn’t dead? (They laughed. They had no faith; Mark 5:39-40)
What can we do if someone we know is sick or hurting? Guide kids to think about ways to show love to others who are going through difficult circumstances. Help them see that praying for others is the strongest tool we have against hard times. Remind them that Jesus doesn’t promise our lives will be easy or pain free, but we can trust Him to always do what is right.
How can we show our faith in Jesus? Help kids brainstorm ways to share their faith with others by giving God credit when they succeed, talking about what they learn in church, or telling others about the ways Jesus has helped them overcome difficult times.
How can we glorify God if someone we love isn’t healed when we ask God to heal them? Guide kids to see that our hope is not in physical healing but in the restoration of the world that will come when Jesus returns. Help them see that people who have faith in Jesus will live eternally with God, no matter what hard times they go through now.
WHAT YOU NEED: a sheet of paper, washable paint or washable stamp pads, magnifying glass, wipes or cloths to clean up.
WHAT YOU DO: Help kids make fingerprints. Turn these into fun pictures and/or explore the fingerprints with a magnifying glass. For younger children, help them make fingerprints or color their hand with washable paint and make an imprint on paper.
WHAT YOU SAY TO PRESCHOOLERS: I wonder what Jesus’ fingerprints look like. After Jairus’ daughter had died, Jesus held the girl’s hand in His hand. Jesus told her to get up, and He made her alive again. She got up and began to walk around! Jesus healed a woman and brought a girl back to life. Jesus showed that only He is powerful enough to save people from sin and death when they trust in Him. When God forgives our sins, He changes us to make us more like Jesus.
WHAT YOU SAY TO TODDLERS: Jesus made a girl alive again. Jesus touched her hand. Jesus can heal and give dead people life. GOD IS ALL-POWERFUL.
FIRST AID KIT
WHAT YOU NEED: first aid supplies, container (disposable food ones are good), red duct tape or create your own sticker.
WHAT YOU DO: Provide supplies for kids to assemble basic first aid kits. Help kids cut strips of red duct tape and attach them to the outside of their containers to form a cross (or improvise!) Suggest that they keep the first aid kits in their backpacks or in the family car. If time allows, kids may assemble additional kits to give away. As kids work, review the Bible story.
WHAT YOU SAY: When you see the cross on your first aid kit, remember that Jesus is our ultimate Healer. You can pray to Jesus for both physical and spiritual healing. By healing the woman and raising the little girl from the dead, Jesus showed His power as the Messiah. Jesus died on the cross and rose again to save people from sin and death. When we trust in Jesus, God forgives our sins and changes us to be more like His Son.