Family Matters – Extended Family

Topic:

the extended family

Aim

  • To help pupils see that the Bible affirms the extended family.
  • To help pupils understand the importance of supporting each other.

Things you’ll need

If you use the Key Stage 1 option you will need a flip chart and pens.

Preparation

If possible, arrange for a class to practice the opening activity before the assembly.

Bible Base

Ruth 1-4

Content

1 Ask for twenty volunteers, ten boys and ten girls. Divide them into two groups – one group of girls, one group of boys. Ask each group to stand in a circle, all facing to the right. Then they must all sit down on the knees of the person behind them. When they are all sitting down, they must wave their arms in the air. (The reason for having separate boy and girl teams is to avoid their embarrassment at having to sit on each other!) As they are trying to do this, explain to everyone else just how difficult it is to do. Congratulate your volunteers on their efforts, however well they do.

2 Point out that in that exercise everyone needed to rely on everyone else for it to work. It wasn’t just the people nearest to you who needed you, but even the people on the other side of the circle. Often we are good at helping and caring for people near to us, but not for those we think of as further away. In the Bible it says that God wants people to look after the people who are close to us, like parents, brothers, sisters etc; but he also wants us to care for people further away from our immediate families, like uncles, aunts, cousins and so on.

3 Tell the pupils that in the Bible we read about Ruth and her family, who had some sad and difficult events in her life. Tell Ruth’s story:

Ruth lived with her husband and his mother who was called Naomi. Then there was a famine and Ruth’s husband died of hunger. Ruth looked after Naomi, her mother-in-law, someone who as very close to her. Even when Naomi, told her she could go, Ruth stayed with Naomi to care for her.

Ruth and Naomi travelled to the country where Naomi was born. There, Ruth worked in the field collecting corn for food. She went along after the farmers and collected the scraps they missed for her and Naomi to eat. Ruth worked in the field of someone called Boaz. When Naomi found out, she was pleased, because Boaz was a distant relative, someone who might help them. One day Ruth told Boaz that he was a distant relative of hers, and how poor she and Naomi were. Boaz knew that he had to look after them properly, so he married Ruth and looked after her and Naomi.

Application

A Christian viewpoint

Ruth knew that she had to look after Naomi. Boaz knew he had to look after both Naomi and Ruth. The Bible says that we should care for people near to us, and those not so near. Just like the sitting game, we all need to support each other, even if the people are not close relatives.

For everyone

We all have families, whether they are big or small. We can learn to be people who care about those close to us, and also those not so near. We can write or phone or help with shopping or cleaning, or just sit and chat. By giving our time we can show we really care.

Response

Pray, thanking God for our families. Mention some of the people listed if you do the Key Stage 1 option. Ask God to help us to become people who care for those close to us, and those not so near.

Key Stage 1 option

1 Instead of the sitting game, ask the pupils how many people live in their house. Write up their answers on a flipchart so that everyone can see. Ask the pupils which relations live in their house (eg Mum, Dad, Grandma and so on). Then ask which relatives live in different houses, and which ones live overseas. Write up all the answers. You could find out who has the most people living at home, or the most relatives in more than one country.

2 Talk about all the different relatives and how some are very close to us, like our mums; others are not so close to us, like our aunts. They might live near, or even with us. In the Bible, we read that God thinks all our families are important, however big or small, and that each person in the family is important. Go on to tell the story of Ruth.

 

Families are important

Topic:

the importance of family

Aim

To help children think about why families are important and about being members of God’s family.

Things you’ll need

  • List of questions about animals and their young (see below)
  • Pictures of animals, if possible with their young.

Bible Base

  • Proverbs 31:27
  • Ephesians 6:1,4
  • Ephesians 2:19

Content

1 Ask for eight volunteers to come to the front. Divide them into two teams. Explain that you are going to have a quiz where the object is to give the special name of the young of various animals (eg a young cat is a kitten). In turn, ask the teams questions of increasing difficulty. You could use animals from the list provided (see box), or see if you can find more obscure ones. Add in some which you answer yourself with incorrect answers (eg duckbill platypus/duckbill platykitten) just for fun! Show some of the pictures of animals and their young that you have brought at appropriate moments, as the quiz goes along. Congratulate the winning team and ask all your volunteers to sit down.

2 Ask the children if they have seen birds, like ducks or swans, swimming on a lake or river with their young. Talk about birds and how they care for their young: they provide food for them; teach them to find food for themselves; teach them how to preen themselves, using oil from the gland at the base of their tail feathers to coat their feathers so that they don’t sink etc. Ducklings or cygnets snuggle up to the mother bird under her wings for warmth and security. If the parent birds think there is any danger to their young they will flap their wings and make a noise to deter people or dogs from coming too close.

3 Talk with the children about ways in which these families are similar to our own (being sensitive to the variety of family units that are likely to be represented). We all need to know that we are cared about and that we belong.

Application

A Christian viewpoint

Christians believe that families are part of God’s plan. Families provide the security, care and support we need. In our families we can learn how to get on with other people (Ephesians 6:1,4). Jesus taught his followers to call God ‘Father’ and Christians think of each other as brothers and sisters in a huge family that spreads all over the world (Ephesians 2:19).

For everyone

Whatever we believe about God, families are very important. We all need the safety and love of our families to grow up in. Sadly, family relationships sometimes break down and then we might need other people to help us. Sometimes people talk about ‘the family of man’ which includes all human beings.

Response

Ask the children to think about their own family– focusing on good things. They may like to think about God as a Father who knows and loves and cares for them. They may like to think about their school as a family where people care for and support one another.

If appropriate, you could finish the assembly with this prayer:

Lord God, we thank you for our families and for all the people who care for us. Please help us to care for others too. Amen.

 

Animals and their young

Cat (kitten)

Dog (puppy)

Duck (duckling)

Sheep (lamb)

Lion (cub)

Horse (foal)

Cow (calf)

Deer (fawn)

Eagle (eaglet)

Swan (cygnet)

Goose (gosling)

Kangaroo (joey)

Hare (leveret)

 

Good Friends – Prayer

Topic:

Prayer

Aim

To help pupils learn that, for Christians, prayer is an essential part of their relationship with God. It’s a result of God’s love for them and their love for God.

Things you’ll need

  • Copies of the friendship sketches (included at end of assembly)
  • A copy of the Lord’s Prayer on large pieces of card

Preparation

Before the assembly ask two pupils to help you with the sketches and rehearse them ready for the assembly.

Bible Base

Matthew 6:5-13

Content

1 Introduce the sketches by saying that you are about to watch the behaviour of two good friends.

Sketch 1

After the children have watched the sketch, ask if they think the two people are good friends. If not, why not? What should good friends be doing? When someone has answered, ‘Talking to each other’, ask your actors to perform the second sketch.

Sketch 2

Ask the children if the people are now acting like good friends. If not, why not? When you get the answer, ‘Listening’, ask your actors to perform the third sketch.

Sketch 3

Say that you think they now look like very good friends. Does everyone agree? Why not? Bring out the fact that they didn’t spend much time with each other. A good friendship needs three things: talking, listening and spending time together.

2 Ask the children what friendships would be like with one or more of these parts missing. Talk about their ideas.

3 Explain that an important Christian belief is that people can be friends with God. Being a friend of God needs the same things as being friends with a person. Christians need to talk to God, listen to God and spend time with God. This is called prayer. Christians pray so that they can become better friends with God.

4 Talk about how Jesus taught his disciples to pray. He taught them a prayer that is still used today by Christians all round the world. It is known as the Lord’s Prayer. Display the Lord’s Prayer. Read it through, explaining words where necessary.

5 Tell the children that when Jesus taught this prayer to his disciples he said that they shouldn’t just pray when people could see them and think they were good. They should pray at home where no-one could see them, so it would be just them talking to God, listening to God and spending time with God. These are the things that make for a good friendship.

Application

A Christian viewpoint

It’s important for Christians today to do as Jesus said and pray regularly. Sometimes Christians use prayers that are written down. Sometimes they pray using their own words, praising God (ie telling him how much they love him), saying sorry for things they’ve done wrong and asking God for help.

For everyone

Jesus knew that a good friendship needs these three things: talking, listening and spending time together. For Christians, that also includes being friends with God. Are we also good friends with other people? Do we do those three things? If our friendships are going to be really good friendships we need to learn to do each of those things too.

Response

If it is appropriate, finish with the Lord’s Prayer. Use the version from the Bible that you have displayed on the OHP. If the children are used to saying a different version, this might help them to think carefully about what they are saying. If they don’t usually pray, then read it out for them to listen to. Finish by asking God to help us be really good friends by talking, listening and spending time with each other.

 

 

Friendship sketches

Sketch 1

Two pupils stand side by side looking a bit bored.  Once or twice they glance at each other and smile.  Apart from that, they ignore each other.  Stop the sketch after about twenty seconds.

Sketch 2

The two pupils say the following things at the same time.  They don’t stop talking or take any notice of each other.  They should both be very enthusiastic.

Pupil A:  Hi there!  How are you?  Did you watch Blue Peter last night?  It was great, wasn’t it?  I liked the bit when they were climbing up the mountain and one of them fell down.  And did you see the kittens they had on the show?  They were so cute – all small, fluffy and orange.  I’d love to have a kitten like that, only my mum won’t let me.  Actually, I need to go because I said I’d help my teacher clean out her cupboard today and wash the paint pots.  Bye!

Pupil B:  Hello.  Do you want to come and play football wtih us?  There’s only seven on our team, so we need someone else.  You won’t have to be in goal.  Ranjit is our goalie.  Oh go on, it’ll be a laugh.  I’ll share my crisps with you if you’ll do it.  We’re being Aston Villa, the others are Man United, so we’re bound to win again.  Did you see the football on telly last night? My dad lets me stay up to watch it with him on Sky.  Well hurry up!  We’re playing over by the bins.  Come on!

Sketch 3

The two pupils rush up to each other and start talking.  They don’t interrupt each otehr and they listen to each other’s answers.

Pupil A: Hello, how are you?

Pupil B: Fine, thanks.

Pupil A: Bye then.

Pupil B: Bye.

They both turn away.

 

Let’s give Him a big hand – Worship

Topic:

Worship

Aim

To help pupils understand the biblical view of God, that he is someone who deserves to be worshipped.

Things you’ll need

  • Some water in a bowl
  • A measuring jug
  • Several objects which can be easily measured with the ‘span’ of the hand
  • Some modelling clay
  • A blanket
  • A globe
  • A lively worship song with a strong rhythm and means to play it (optional)

Bible Base

Isaiah 40:12; 48:13

Psalm 47:1,2

Content

1 Invite some children to come and help you with the following tasks (give a running commentary on what they are doing).

  • Find out how much water can be held in cupped hands by scooping up water from the bowl, then emptying it into the measuring jug.
  • Measure some objects using the width (span) of your hands.
  • Use your hands to create something simple from modelling clay.
  • Spread the blanket out flat on a table or the floor, using only your right hand.

2 Talk to the children about:

– the quantity of water the volunteer could hold;

– how many hand widths across the objects were that were measured.

3 Tell the children that the Bible asks these questions (Isaiah 40:12, Youth Bible):

Who has measured the oceans in the palm of his hand?

Who has used his hand to measure the sky?

Show the globe and talk about the amount of water in the oceans. Talk about the size of the sky.

4 Show the children the object your volunteer made from clay and talk about spreading out the blanket. Ask the children who they think says these words from the Bible (Isaiah 48:13, Youth Bible):

‘I made the earth with my own hands.

With my right hand I spread out the skies’.

5 Ask the children to think about the crowds at a sports event or concert. What to the spectators do when an athlete or performer does well? (Answer: clap/cheer applaud.) Ask the children why people do this. Tell the children that in the Bible we hear about people clapping God. Psalm 47:1,2 (Youth Bible) says:

Clap your hands, all you people.

Shout to God with joy.

The Lord Most High is wonderful.

He is the great King over all the earth!

Application

A Christian viewpoint

Christians believe that God is worth getting excited about! When they think about how great he is, they want to do something to show that. Explain that this is where the word ‘worship’ comes from – ‘worth-ship’. Sometimes worship means being quiet and still and thinking about God, but Christians also believe that God is worth shouting, singing and clapping to.

For everyone

Whether or not we are Christians, all of us can take time to consider who we think deserves our worship.

Response

Remind the children about what they have heard from the Bible about God. Ask them to think about those things in silence for a few moments. You may like to give the children the opportunity to sing, or clap along to, an appropriate song of praise to God.

 

 

 

What a sacrifice!

Topic:

Sacrifice

Aim

  • To help pupils think about the meaning of sacrifice.
  • To challenge them about their priorities.

Things you’ll need

  • 1 or 2 large boxes
  • A bar of chocolate
  • Some of your own favourite possessions to show the pupils

Bible Base

  • Matthew 4:18-22
  • Matthew 9:9
  • Matthew 19:16-22

Content

1 Put the bar of chocolate on show. Ask for a volunteer who likes chocolate. Ask him/her to hold the boxes whilst looking at the chocolate. Say that he/she mustn’t put them down until you tell them to – but they will get to eat the chocolate eventually!

2 Ask the rest of the pupils to think about what their favourite thing is (eg a game, a book, a video etc). Show them some of your favourite things which you have brought to the assembly. Explain why you like them. Talk about how you would feel if you had to give them all away. Check that your volunteer is still holding the boxes, whilst looking at the chocolate.

3 Now explain the idea of sacrifice. Start by talking about how people sometimes give things away to other people for a reason. In the Bible, people sometimes gave things away because God told them to. This is called ‘a sacrifice’. People gave things away as a sacrifice for two reasons:

First, to give God the best they had, to show how much they loved him. Often their most precious possession would be an animal. The animal would be cooked and eaten and special prayers would be said – to praise God, to say sorry or ‘thank you’ to him.

Pause here and turn to the person who is still holding the boxes for you. Make sure they understand that they must not put the boxes down. Then talk about the bar of chocolate and tell them to eat it. When they don’t do as they are told, ask everyone what the person needs to do in order to be able to eat the chocolate. (Answer: put the boxes down.) Tell your volunteer to put the boxes down now so that he/she can eat the chocolate.

Second, God also told people to make sacrifices to help them remember what was important. Sometimes we get so worried about our favourite possessions that we forget about God, or other people. The volunteer had to get rid of the boxes before he/she could eat the chocolate – which had become the priority.

4 Emphasise that God doesn’t just tell us to get rid of everything for the sake of it. We might make sacrifices for the two reasons above. But sacrifice might mean giving away more than just a ‘thing’.

5 Briefly tell the pupils how in the Bible we read about Jesus calling Simon Peter, Andrew, James, John and Matthew to follow him and how they left everything for Jesus. They sacrificed everything so that they could follow him, because they realised that that was more important than anything else in their lives. Tell how Jesus also met the rich young ruler who didn’t want to sacrifice his money for Jesus, so didn’t follow him.

Application

A Christian viewpoint

The Bible teaches that Christians need to be ready to make sacrifices. God wants them to put him first, to give him the best they have –which isn’t just objects, but themselves! That means they must obey him at all times. God also wants Christians to be prepared to sacrifice ‘things’ to show that they are not what is most important in their lives but rather that God is.

For everyone

Whoever we are, we might need to make sacrifices. We might need to be prepared to give things away to help us remember God, or to help us stop worrying about ourselves and care for other people more. For example, we might need to be prepared to lend a game to a friend, or spend less time on our computer and more time helping our mum or dad.

Response

Ask the children to think about what is the most important thing in their lives. Then, keep that thing in mind as you say this prayer:

Dear Lord, help us to be prepared to make sacrifices, to be ready to let things go so that we can put others first instead of ourselves. Amen.

 

You don’t have to be a star – God’s special messengers – Moses

Topic:

Moses

Aim

To help pupils understand that you don’t have to be ‘a star’ to be a leader.

Things you’ll need

A flipchart

Bible base

  • Exodus 2, 3; 4:10-16
  • 1 Samuel 16:7

Content

1 Tell the pupils that you are going to play ‘fantasy football’. Ask them the following questions, writing their suggestions up on the OHP as you go.

  • Choose four or five players who you would pick to play in the first eleven for England. Why did you pick those players?
  • What qualities would you look for in your team members?
  • Who would you choose for captain? Why?

Now ask the children to imagine that their team has a big match coming up. Is it important to know who the opposition are? How would it help to know what the opposition is like?

2 Talk about Moses. Explain that he was adopted. (Be sensitive. Remember that some of the children listening might not be living with their natural parents. Moses was given up out of love – his parents believed this would be best for him.)

Explain that he was brought up as a prince – Pharaoh’s son. He would have had the best in education and lived in comfort. Then it was discovered that really he was a Jew (the Jews were slaves to the Egyptians). From having everything and being highly respected as a member of Pharaoh’s family – a very important person – he went to being ‘a nobody’.

Tell the children about these aspects of Moses:

  • he was the son of a slave;
  • he was a murderer;
  • he couldn’t speak very well.

Now refer back to the qualities the children said they would look for in a team captain. Tell the children that this is the man God chose to be his team captain.

3 Talk about Moses as the captain of God’s team. He knew the opposition very well. After all, he had been brought up in Pharaoh’s home. He knew all about the powerful Egyptians. Point out that Moses must have had a lot of courage. He had to ask the man whose home he had lived in to let all the Jews go. He knew the power of the Egyptians and how important the Jewish slaves were to them.

4 Ask the children which ‘team’ they think was most likely to win: the disgraced, stuttering, son of a slave, Moses, and his team of slave labourers? Or, the powerful ruler, Pharaoh, and his strong team, the mighty Egyptians?

5 Say that the children might think that Pharaoh and the Egyptians would win easily. But Moses and his team had something special. Their team manager was God. And Moses had something else – a friend who worked alongside him. Talk about how Aaron, Moses’ brother, spoke for him, because Moses didn’t feel he could speak to Pharaoh himself.

Application

A Christian viewpoint

1 Talk about how you don’t have to be ‘a star’ to speak up for what is right, or to be brave enough to do what is right.

2 Talk about how sometimes it takes courage to believe in God and have faith in him, when others don’t.

For everyone

Encourage the children, like Moses, to stand up for what is right – even when it’s very hard or frightening to do so. Sometimes it helps to find a friend who will support you. Can they think of some times when they might need to stand up for what is right?

Response

1 Ask the children to think about leaders of the nation or local leaders. Ask them for suggestions (eg the prime minister, the police, their headteacher). Write their suggestions up on the flipchart. Lead the children in a prayer for those who are struggling to stand up for right, even though it might be hard.

2 Pray for people in leadership (like those listed on the flipchart).

3 Ask God for his help to be brave enough to stand up for what is right, even when others don’t.

 

Trust and obey – God’s special messengers – Abraham

Aim

To help the children think about who they trust and obey.

Things you’ll need

A chocolate bar (hidden before the assembly begins).

Bible Base

Genesis 12:1-9

Content

1 Ask for a volunteer. Give him/her instructions which will lead them to the hidden chocolate bar.

2 When the chocolate has been found, ask the children questions which will help them understand that the volunteer had to trust you and obey you in order to find the prize.

3 Tell the story of Abraham from Genesis 12:1-9. Explain that you are going to tell the story with various sound effects or actions, as follows:

  • Abraham (bow)
  • Sarah (curtsey)
  • sheep (‘baa’)
  • goats (‘maa’)
  • donkeys (‘eeyore’)
  • servants (‘yes sir, no sir’, bowing, hands together)

You could use the sound effects and actions to help you tell the story in either of the following ways:

  • Invite the children to the front to take the parts of Abraham, Sarah, the sheep, the goats, the donkeys and the servants. They must make/do their sound effects/actions at the appropriate point in the story.
  • Invite all the children to join in with the sound effects/actions.

The story:

Abraham and his wife Sarah were living in Haran (in Syria). Abraham was a very rich man. He had sheep, goats, donkeys and servants. Abraham liked living in Haran. He had good neighbours who had become good friends.

One day God told Abraham to leave his country, his relatives and his father’s family and go to a different land. God said he would show Abraham where to go. He said he would bless Abraham and make him famous. Abraham looked around Haran where he lived. He looked at his sheep, his goats, his donkeys and his servants. He thought about his neighbours (who had become good friends) Did he want to leave his home? No. Did he know where was he going? No. Would he ever come back to his neighbours (who had become good friends)? Maybe not.

God had told him to leave. He had promised to show him where to go. He had promised to bless Abraham and make him famous. Did Abraham trust God to show him this new land? Did he trust God enough to take his wife Sarah, his sheep, his goats, his donkeys and his servants and leave his neighbours who had become good friends? Did he trust God enough to set out on this long journey to an unknown land, with only a tent for his home?

Ask the children to put their hands up if they think he should stay or think he should go.

Abraham decided to trust God and obey him. He said goodbye to his neighbours, got together his sheep, his goats, his donkeys and his servants, not forgetting his wife Sarah (and his nephew, Lot) and left Haran. He trusted God to show him where to go. He trusted God to bless him and make him famous.

Abraham travelled until he came to Canaan (walk around). And Abraham settled in Canaan with his wife Sarah (and his nephew, Lot), his sheep, his goats, his donkeys and his servants. He put up his tent and before long he had new neighbours (who became good friends).

And God did make Abraham famous. He is still remembered today by Christians, Muslims and Jews.

Thank the children who have taken part.

Application

A Christian viewpoint

When Christians read this story in the Bible, it encourages them to trust God and obey him like Abraham did. Christians find out from the Bible what God wants them to do and how he wants them to live. They ask God to help them to obey him and do what’s right. Abraham had to trust God, although it wasn’t easy, and God did what he had promised.

Ask the children to think of something they know they should do to obey God – even though it might not be easy.

For everyone

Ask the children to think of a person they know they should obey (eg a parent, a teacher). Sometimes they might not understand the reason for or agree with what that person asks them to do. Remind the children how Abraham had to trust God– who he knew wanted what was best for him. It couldn’t have been easy, but he did what God asked.

Response

1 Ask the children to think of something they must do today, even though they will find it difficult.

2 You could use this prayer:

Lord God, when we know what the right thing to do is, please help us to do it. When it is hard to do what is right, please help us to trust you. Amen.

 

Look again – Legion

Topic:

Legion

Aim

To help children understand that first impressions of people or situations don’t always give a true picture. We need to look again and make sure that we’re ‘seeing’ properly.

Things you’ll need

• A large tapestry picture

Bible Base

Mark 5:1-20

Content

1 Display the back of the tapestry picture and ask them to guess what the picture is.

2 Introduce the story by explaining that often we look at things, but don’t really understand what we are looking at. In the following story, the children will hear about someone who Jesus helped because he was looking properly, but other people weren’t seeing things clearly.

3 Tell the following story. Emphasise the bits in bold.

Once there was a man who was filled by evil spirits. He would walk round shouting, screaming and hurting himself. The people of his home town made him live on his own outside their town in the hills. They looked at the man and saw someone who was frightening.

One day Jesus came to the town. On his way there he met the man out in the hills. The man was shouting and hitting himself. Jesus looked at the man and saw someone who needed help.

Jesus made the evil spirits come out of the man. They went into some pigs which ran into the sea. The man was better. He stopped shouting and screaming. He didn’t hurt himself any more.

The people from the town came running to see what had happened. They were really cross. They looked at the man and thought, ‘Our pigs were more important than him.’ They looked at Jesus and saw someone they thought was frightening and would cause trouble.

‘Get out of our town,’ they shouted at Jesus.

The man who had been healed wanted to go with Jesus and help him. He looked at Jesus and saw the only person who was able to help him. Jesus told the man to stay in his town and tell people what had happened.

Jesus looked at the man and saw someone useful, someone much more important than the pigs.

4. Show the front of the tapestry. Now you can look at it properly and see what the picture is.

Application

A Christian viewpoint

In the Bible, we discover that Jesus looks at things as they really are. When he looks at people, he sees all of us as people who need help. We need help to do things right; we need to be forgiven when we do things wrong, we need help to see things properly, like the man could after he had been healed. Jesus wants to help us because, the Bible says, he looks at us and loves each one of us.

For everyone

1 In the story, Jesus was the one who saw things properly. He saw that the man wasn’t frightening, but that he needed help. The people in the town didn’t stop and think about what they were seeing. They just looked quickly and decided they knew how things were. But they got it wrong.

2 Ask the children about how they make their minds up about people and situations, using some of these questions to help them think about this:

  • Do you bother to look properly? Or, are you like the people from Legion’s home town and make up your mind about someone or something before you’ve really thought?
  • Do you decide what people are like by what they look like?
  • Do you decide something will be boring before you’ve tried it? Or, that something tastes horrible before you’ve eaten it?

Jesus challenged people by looking properly at things and seeing things as they really were. His way of looking at things challenges us to do the same. Are we always ready to look again?

Response

You could finish with this prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, thank you that when you were here on earth you saw things as they really were. You saw the man, Legion, as needing your help, not as someone to be sent away. Thank you that when you look at us you see us as people you love, needing your help. Help us to be people you see things properly, just like you do. Amen.

 

Money, money, money – the rich young ruler

Topic:

the rich man

Aim

To encourage pupils to question the idea that having lots of money is what is most important in life.

Things you’ll need

  • A Data Projector, laptop and screen
  • Pictures of a large house, an expensive car, a yacht, a private jet from Internet
  • 2 large money bags (bags with £ sign on), filled with ‘money’

Bible Base

Mark 10:17-23

Content

1 Talk about the National Lottery. Pretend that you recently won millions of pounds (make sure the children know that you are pretending). Talk about the expensive possessions you have bought with some of the money (show the pictures of the house, car etc). Ask the children what they would buy if they were you? Talk about the difference it would make to their lives. Would it make their lives perfect? Would it make a difference to the way they treated other people?

2 Make the point that many people who are rich are still not happy. It has always been that way, even 2000 years ago in Jesus’ time. Jesus was a wise man and many people came to ask him questions about the best way to live their lives. Tell the story of the rich young man who once met Jesus.

There was once a young man who was very rich. He had everything he needed– a big house, a fast car … oh, cars weren’t invented then … Well, he probably had a very fast camel… and lots of money (shake the money bags), but there was still something missing. He knew that money wasn’t everything and he believed that loving and obeying God were very important too. He wanted to be sure that when he died he would be able to go to heaven and be with God for ever.

‘What must I do to get the life that never ends?’ he asked Jesus.

‘The way you live your life is very important,’ Jesus said. ‘You mustn’t murder anyone, you mustn’t steal, you mustn’t tell lies about anyone, you mustn’t cheat, you must respect your parents…’

‘I’ve obeyed those rules since I was a boy,’ said the young man. ‘Is there anything else?’

Jesus looked straight at the young man. He really cared about him and wanted what was best for him. ‘There is one more thing you need to do, he said. ‘Go and sell everything you have, and give the money to the poor. Then come and follow me.’

Pause to consider what that would mean to a rich young man. Talk about the things you have imagined buying with your lottery money. How would you feel about selling them all and giving all the money away? How would the children feel if it was them in that position? Ask the children what they think the rich young man did.

Then continue:

The rich young man was very sad to hear Jesus say this because he was very rich. He looked at Jesus and he looked at his money and thought about his big house and his fast camels and all the other things he had…and he turned and walked away from Jesus. Jesus was very sad too.

Application

A Christian viewpoint

1 Jesus taught his followers that God must be most important in their lives. For many people, money and the things they own are more important to them than God. Jesus taught that we have a choice– you can’t serve God and money.

2 This story of the rich young man makes Christians think hard about how much money they keep for themselves. It doesn’t mean that all Christians give everything they have away, but it reminds them that money mustn’t become the most important thing in their lives.

For everyone

Sometimes when we see the National Lottery on television and we hear about all the things rich people have, it makes us think that having lots of money is what life is all about. Jesus taught that the way we treat other people is more important.

Response

1 Ask the children to think about what is really important in their lives. Is what they own more important than the way they treat other people?

2 Ask them to think about other people in school. How could they go out of their way to be generous to those around them today? (Make it clear you don’t mean just by giving things away!)

 

Power to teach – The Lord’s Prayer

Bible base:

Luke 11: 1-13

Teaching objectives:

To show children that the Bible says Jesus had power to talk to God and to teach others how to talk to him.

You will need:

  • 3 or 4 scarves (or lengths of rope)
  • A copy of the visual aid, copied onto flipchart paper. The solution is given and you may want to practise beforehand!
  • Red, green and orange paints or marker pens.

Introductory activity:

Show the pupils one of the scarves, tied in a knot. Ask for 2 or 3 volunteers to come to the front and tie another scarf/rope in a knot like the one you have just shown them.

After the volunteers have tied the scarves in a knot, explain that you managed to tie yours without lifting your hands off either end of the scarf. Each of them had to lift one hand off the scarf to tie it. Ask them if they think they could do it without taking their hands off.

Allow them to try for a few minutes, tying themselves in knots while you assure them that it is possible! (By picking the scarf up by either end with arms unfolded it will always be impossible to tie it in a knot without releasing one end.)

When they have given up, untie your scarf and show them how you did it. You should fold your arms in the conventional way, placing one hand over and one hand under the other arm. From this position, pick up one end of the scarf in each hand and simply unfold your arms. A knot will be tied in the scarf.

Allow them to try using this new method.

Ask the children to take their seats again. Although I told you it was possible, you didn’t know how to do it until I showed you the right way. Once I taught you, then you were able to do it for yourself.

Have you ever watched someone doing something and wondered if you could do it too? Maybe you’ve watched a magician performing a trick, or watched your favourite footballer do a really clever move, and you’ve wanted to learn how to do it.

In today’s story, Jesus’ disciples watched him praying. When the Bible talks about praying, it means talking to God. The disciples wanted to know how to talk to God the way Jesus did!

So, when Jesus had finished praying, the disciples asked him if he would teach them how to talk to God. What he taught them is written on this sheet of paper.

Show the pupils the visual aid you have prepared.

It’s not very clear, is it? Perhaps this is how the disciples felt about prayer. They had watched Jesus talking to God but they weren’t sure how they could do it themselves.

Let’s see if we can discover three things that Jesus told them about prayer.

Start to paint or colour the first word on the sheet in red: LOVE

The first thing he told them was that they should love God. The Bible says that he told them to pray:

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.”

This means that God should be really special to them. He should be more important than anyone else. Jesus was telling them that they should tell God how great he is and how much they love him!

Paint or colour the second word on the sheet in orange: ASK

The second thing he told them was that they should ask God for whatever they needed. The Bible says he told them to say:

“Give us this day our daily bread.”

This doesn’t just mean that they should ask him for bread! Jesus wanted them to ask God for everything that they needed for life. They could go to him for anything and he would hear them.

Paint or colour the third word on the sheet in green: SORRY

The third thing they were to say to God was sorry. Jesus told them to say:

“Forgive us our sins.”

When the Bible uses the word ‘sin’, it means anything we do or say or think that is wrong. The Bible says that these things hurt God. So Jesus told his disciples to say sorry to God for all the wrong things they had done that God didn’t like.

So, these three words sum up the first bit of what Jesus told his disciples about prayer. They should love God first and praise him for how great he is. They should ask him for whatever they needed. And they should say sorry to him for the wrong things they had done that God didn’t like.

But then Jesus went on to explain something else about prayer. Perhaps the colours we have painted these words in will help us to discover what else he told them. Do these colours remind you of anything?

Red, amber and green are the colour of traffic lights. What does each colour mean?

Take the pupils’ suggestions.

Jesus told his disciples that everyone who asked for something from God would get an answer, but it wouldn’t always be an immediate green light for ‘go’ . Sometimes they might have to wait for a while, like waiting at an amber light. At other times they might have to stop and wait for longer, like waiting at a red light. And Jesus said that God would never give people things that were bad for them.

The disciples had watched Jesus pray. They realised that Jesus had the power to talk to God and they hoped he had the power to teach them too. Refer back to the three words. He told them that they should tell God they love him, ask him for their needs and say sorry for the things they had done to hurt him. He would always hear them, even if it seemed like they had to wait for a while.

The Bible says that we can pray to God in the same way that Jesus taught his disciples. It says that when we talk to God today, he still hears us and will still answer us.

Optional prayer time:

Give thanks to God that we can still talk to him today. Ask him to help us talk to him more, to tell him we love him, to ask for his help and to say sorry.