Scripture: Luke 15: 1-10
Memory Verse: And God said, “I will look for those that are lost and bring back the ones that wander off.” — Ezekiel 34:16 (CEV)
1. Older children will locate the parables of the lost sheep and lost coin in their Bibles. Younger children will learn that the story is in Luke. All will hear or review the story.
2. The children will look for missing puzzle pieces and think about the importance of the missing piece.
3. The children will play a game that reinforces the details of the stories.
4. The children will consider the meaning of the stories.
Welcome and Introductions: (10:00)
1. Greet the children and introduce yourself. Wear your name-tag. Make sure the children are wearing name-tags. If not, ask the shepherd to supply a temporary badge. Remember you are interacting with a different group of students each week who may not know you.
2. Open with a brief prayer (optional, as they have just prayed in Great Hall).
3. Warm-up game: Have a collection of children’s puzzles — the kind with about 15 pieces in a cardboard tray. Before class, remove one piece from each puzzle and tape these pieces to the walls around the room (use painter’s tape so you don’t damage the mural). Also take all the pieces from an extra puzzle and scatter them around on the wall.
Divide the class into pairs and give each pair a bag containing the pieces to a puzzle, minus one piece. Let the children race to put together their puzzle, find their missing piece on the wall, and celebrate when the missing piece goes into the puzzle.
Grades 1-2: Give the teams their puzzle tray along with the pieces.
Grades 3-5: Have the trays spread out around the room. The kids have to find the right tray for their puzzle pieces.
Scripture/Bible Story: (10:10)
Gather the children in a circle.
1. Grades 1-2 will not use Bibles, but do open yours to show them where the story is. For grades 3-5, make sure everybody has a Bible. The shepherds will have extra Bibles. Help the students to find the book of Luke. (Get the shepherds to go around the room and help with this.)
2. If necessary, review the organization of the Bible: The Bible is divided into two big parts, the Old and New Testaments. Each part is made up of books, which are divided into chapters and verses. Have them figure out whether Luke is in Old or New Testament (it’s about Jesus so it’s in NEW Testament). Show them that if they open their Bible in the middle, they’ll usually land in the book of Psalms in the OT. Point out that the book name is at the top of each page. After finding Psalms, if they then take the pages on the right side and divide them in half, they’ll land somewhere near the beginning of the New Testament. Remind them that the first four books of the NT are Matthew, Mark, Luke, John.
After they’ve found Luke, help them find chapter 15. Some of the children will confuse chapters and verses. Show them that chapter numbers are the big ones, and also are at top of every page.
3. Read the story or tell it using the summary below as a guide. Either way, be as dramatic as you can. Unless this is the first Sunday of the rotation, let the children help you tell the story. This will give you an idea of how much they already know. Other ideas for reviewing the story in later weeks:
Tax collectors and other bad people were all crowding around to listen to Jesus. So the Pharisees and the other Jewish leaders started grumbling, "This man is friendly with sinners. He even eats with them." So Jesus told them this story:
If you have a hundred sheep, and one of them gets lost, what will you do? Won't you leave the 99 in the field and go look for the lost sheep until you find it? And when you find it, you will be so glad that you will put it on your shoulder and carry it home. Then you will call in your friends and neighbors and say, "Let's celebrate! I've found my lost sheep."
Jesus said, "In the same way there is more happiness in heaven because of one sinner who turns to God than over 99 good people who don't need to."
Then Jesus told another story:
What if a woman has 10 silver coins and loses one of them? Won't she light a lamp, sweep the floor, and look carefully until she finds it? Then she will call in her friends and neighbors and say, "Let's celebrate! I've found the coin I lost."
Jesus said, "In the same way God's angels are happy when even one person turns to God."
Tell the children: Now it’s time to play “True or False.” I’m going to read a statement, and if you think it’s true, go to this side of the room (where you have taped a sign saying TRUE to the wall). If you think it’s false, go to that side of the room (with FALSE sign).
After they have voted with their feet, tell them who is correct. Encourage discussion.
1. When Jesus told the story of the lost sheep and lost coin, he was talking to his disciples. False — he was talking to Pharisees and other Jewish leaders.
2. The Pharisees were grumbling because Jesus was friendly with Roman soldiers. False — they criticized him because he was friendly with tax collectors and other sinners.
3. Jesus said that a person who has 100 sheep and loses one would sell the 99 and go look for the lost one. False — leave the 99 in the field and go look for the lost one.
4. Jesus said that the shepherd who finds the lost sheep would be so glad; he’ll carry it home on his shoulders. True.
5. Jesus said that the shepherd who finds the lost sheep will call in his friends and neighbors and say, do you want to buy a sheep cheap? False — He’ll say, "Let's celebrate! I've found my lost sheep."
6. Jesus said, "There is more happiness in heaven because of one sinner who turns to God than over 99 good people who don't need to." True.
7. Jesus said that a woman who has 10 silver coins and loses one of them will say, “no matter, I still have 9 coins.” False — she’ll light a lamp, sweep the floor, and look carefully until she finds it.
8. Jesus said a woman who finds her lost coin would quickly take it to the store and spend it before she loses it again. False — she’ll call in her friends and neighbors and say, "Let's celebrate! I've found the coin I lost."
9. Jesus said, "In the same way God's angels are happy when even one person turns to God." True.
10. The stories we read today were from Matthew. False — Luke.
11. The stories of the lost sheep and lost coin are two of Jesus’ parables. True. A parable is a story that teaches a lesson.
12. In these parables, the shepherd represents God and the sheep represent us. True.
13. In these parables, the coins represent God and the woman represents us. False — God is the woman and we are the coins.
Reflection Time: (10:30)
Gather the children back into a circle.
Recite the Bible memory verse learned in the Great Hall. “And God said, “I will look for those that are lost and bring back the ones that wander off.” — Ezekiel 34:16 (CEV)
Discuss: How do you feel about a puzzle that’s missing a piece? It’s incomplete, unsatisfying, you can’t hide the fact that it’s gone, you want to find the missing piece.
How did the shepherd and the woman feel about the lost sheep and lost coin? They missed them and were determined to find them.
In these parables, the shepherd and woman are like God, and the sheep and coins are like people. What are some ways in which people can be “lost” from God? When they don’t know Jesus; when they forget about God; stop coming to church, praying, learning; stop trying to live the way God wants them to live, be mean, lie, cheat, steal, disobey parents, etc.
What does God do when someone is “lost”? Like the shepherd and the woman, God seeks out everyone who is lost.
What happens when a “lost” person comes back to God? God and the heavenly host rejoice and God also calls us to celebrate when a lost person is found.
Jesus told these parables to the Pharisees — good Jewish people who thought he was associating with the wrong crowd. Sometimes we in the church are like the Pharisees, not wanting to have anything to do with people we think are bad. Remember Jesus taught us that God doesn’t give up on anybody, so we shouldn’t either.
Journals (10:35): Pass out the journal pages and ask the shepherds to pass out pencils/markers. Optional: Give the children a sticker or some other memento to paste in their journal as a reminder of the workshop.
Read the prompt out loud and offer suggestions if needed (they may have lost a pet, a toy, money, a library book …) If they don’t know how to spell a word, write it on the white board. Those who finish early can turn the page over and do the activity on the back.
At 10:45 ask the students to close their journals and sit quietly.
Encourage the children to bring an offering next week. Remind them that
the offering from this rotation will go to the Presbyterian prison ministry at
Prayer: Close with a brief prayer. Suggestion: God, thank you for being our loving shepherd. Help us to follow you always and to bring those who are lost to you. Amen.
Tidy and Dismissal: Ask children to help collect puzzles, papers, Bibles, etc. When the room is tidy, dismiss the class.
Teacher preparation in advance:
1. Read the scripture passages and attend the Faith Quest Leaders Bible Study.
2. Prepare opening and closing prayers.
3. Write the scripture verse on the white board or display it in the room some other way.
4. For the puzzle race, remove one piece from each puzzle. Put the remaining pieces in bags. Use masking tape to attach the removed pieces plus all the pieces from an extra puzzle around the walls of the room.
5. Make small signs saying TRUE and FALSE. Tape them on opposite walls of the room.
6. Practice telling or reading the story. Be dramatic.
Dry-erase marker (in supply bin)
Extra Bibles (stored in cabinet in Creation Station)
Pencils (in supply bin; the shepherds also have pencils)
Jan Hanson, First
Amy Crane, Palma Ceia Presbyterian
Storytelling ideas: http://www.dennisdewey.org/Dennis8.htm