Scripture: John 1:1-18
Memory Verse: “God loves us so much that he lets us be called His children, as we truly are.” I John 3:1 (CEV)
· Jesus wants us to be witnesses, like John the Baptist.
· We are the children of God.
Welcome and Introductions:
1. Greet the children and introduce yourself.
2. Explain the purpose of this workshop. Tell the children that today they will use the puppets to learn about witnessing or sharing the good news of Jesus Christ and about being a child of God.
Review the Bible story. For the first two weeks of the lesson, you will need to tell the whole story to the class. After that a quick review should suffice. This is a long scripture passage, but you will still need to move through it quickly (no more than 10-12 minutes) as the children will be eager to get to the puppets. You might even want to practice telling the story in 10 minutes before the first Sunday. If you have to, cut time on the sections of the verse that do not pertain to this workshop’s concepts (other workshops will cover the other verses more thoroughly), but try to cover a little of everything in this scripture.
You will probably not have time or very little time for basic Bible facts in the first weeks, but if you do, here are some ideas to cover. You can use questions to let the children interact. Examples: Our story is from John--where would I find the book of John? (New Testament--there are also three other books of John which are not part of the Gospel, I John, II John and III John. Don’t bring these up unless a student does.) John is one of four books of the Bible called what? (The Gospel---Matthew, Mark, Luke are the other three.) Why do we call them The Gospel? (Gospel means the good news about Jesus Christ.)
Tell the story in John 1:1-18. You can use a mixture of your own words and scripture. You may tell them that this scripture is one of the most beautiful explanation in the Bible of who Jesus is; it’s almost a poem or hymn. In this scripture, the Bible uses “WORD” and “LIGHT” to mean Jesus. Then ask them to listen for those two words thinking “Jesus” when they hear them as you read John 1:1-2 (CEV) slowly (or if this is 3rd grade and older, have one of the students read it.) What do they learn from these verses? Jesus was in the beginning—he has always existed. Jesus was “with” God--he is separate from God. Jesus is God—even though Jesus became a human, he was God in the flesh. These are very important things to know about Jesus.
You might summarize the next section, John 1:3-5, by saying that it tells more things about Jesus: God created everything through Jesus, and Jesus is so perfect and good that he is stronger than anything which is not good.
Since this workshop focuses on John the Baptist, it’s probably a good idea to read John 1:6-8 about John the Baptist. Tell them God sent John (a man) to tell everyone about Jesus. This was called “witnessing.” To witness means to say something is true because you know or believe it. You can use another example of witnessing, such as that you could witness that this church is called the Kirk of Kildaire or that a certain child or shepherd’s name is “______.” God had previously told John all the things he witnessed about—Jesus was in the beginning, Jesus is God, Jesus would become a human and come to Earth to be with human beings. John was not God, just sent by God.
You could summarize John 1:9-11 as saying that no one knew who Jesus was at first except people who were told by God or by witnesses like John. Jesus needed people to witness as to who he was. When Jesus was a man on Earth, lots of people did not believe or accept who Jesus was, but some did. And those who believed were the children of God (John 1:12-13). They were God’s children because God made them so, not because they were unusually good. It is by the grace of God that we are children of God. All that they did to become children of God was to believe in and accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
A child of God is anyone who believes in and accepts Jesus. This means Jesus was God who became a man, then died for us and rose again and Jesus is our Lord and Savior.
John 1:14-18 explains more about Jesus. He became a man, lived with us, and he told us the truth about God and helped us understand God because he knows God better than we do.
After the first few weeks, you could use questions to review the story quickly. Examples: In this story, what are some of the other words for Jesus? (Word, Light) Was Jesus created just when he became a man? (No, he was with God in the beginning) Is Jesus separate from God? (Yes, he was “with” God so that implies separateness.) Is Jesus God? (Yes, it says the Word was God. He is also God.) Who was John the Baptist? (a man sent by God to witness about Jesus coming, about who Jesus really is.) What is witnessing? (Saying that something is true because you know or believe it.) Who are the children of God? (anyone who believes and accepts Jesus.)
Are you a child of God? (Try to direct this question to each person in the room.)
Lastly, tell all the children that God wants us to continue to witness as John the Baptist did. God wants everyone to be a child of God. Tell the children that their role in witnessing can be very simple—just sharing what they know about Jesus and behaving as Jesus would with love toward other people. We can play a part (but do not have to do it all) of anyone learning about Jesus.
Note: There are 2 skits. One has 2 characters; one has 4 characters. You will probably have to repeat one or both of the skits to give everyone a chance to perform, or you might choose different options about who speaks depending on how many children are present. Let each child have a chance to operate a puppet or they will be disappointed.
There are a lot of questions provided, probably more than you could possibly cover. Choose the questions you feel are most relevant for your age group.
Ask the shepherds to pass out the journal sheets and pencils/markers. You might mention that you don’t have to convince another person to believe in Jesus to be a good witness. God is very patient and will give a person a long time to learn about and understand Jesus in order to truly believe. Many people will play a part in making someone a child of God—think of all the teachers at church who are helping people learn about Jesus.
Tell the younger children to think of someone to whom they would like to witness about Jesus. Ask them to draw a picture of themselves and that person together. They can write “I can witness” at the top of the picture.” Ask the older children to think about witnessing. Then tell them to number their page 1 to 5. Ask them to try to think of five different things (doesn’t have to be complete sentences, just keywords) to tell someone about Jesus. At the end of journaling, challenge them to try to find someone to witness to this week. Remind them that God wants us to be witnesses for God.
At 10:45 ask the students to close their journals and sit quietly for prayer.
Prayer: Praise God for wanting each of us to be God’s children and that god has made it so easy to become one through grace. Ask God to help each child feel comfortable witnessing about Jesus.
Tidy and Dismissal: Ask children to help clean up as they wait for their parents to arrive.
Teacher preparation in advance:
1. Pray: Ask God to give you the talents, words and patience you need to teach God’s children this lesson.
2. Read the scripture passages and attend the Faith Quest Leaders Bible Study.
3. Make at least 10 copies of each script page. Cut the scripts into pieces so that each player can have a copy. You can also post two copies of the script at each end of the stage so puppeteers can refer to it.
4. Prepare a closing prayer.
5. Check out the room before your first Sunday workshop so that you know where everything is located. The bin with supplies is in the locked cabinet of the puppet room. The key for this cabinet hangs on a hook behind the banner outside the Holywood room. Bring a CD or taped music for background music while you are gathering, along with meditative music for reflection time.
6. If you choose to pre-record the scripts, borrow the boom box from the church and using a scratch tape-record the scripts. Family members and their friends can have a lot of fun playing the different parts.
1. Copies of the script.
Notes supplied by Susan Mazzara for curriculum writers' Bible study in March 2002
WITNESSING TO HELP OTHERS BECOME
CHILDREN OF GOD
Mrs. Feldman: “Grace, I like your name. Did your parents give you that name so you would become a graceful dancer?”
Grace: “No, Ma’am. My mother said she named me this to remind me that I am a child of God.”
Mrs. Feldman: “What does grace have to do with being a child of God?”
Grace: “Grace is a gift that God gives to all of us. It’s a way—the only way—to live forever with God. Grace is how you become a child of God.”
Mrs. Feldman: “That’s a lot for a little girl to know.”
Grace: “My mother tells me about grace all the time. She says it’s the most important thing for me to understand.”
Mrs. Feldman: “What’s the way—the only way—you were talking about?”
Grace: “It’s Jesus. All you have to do is believe that Jesus is Lord and that he became a man to die for us and our sins. That makes him our Savior. Then he arose from the dead to live with God forever. If you believe that about Jesus, you’re a child of God. That’s the grace part—it’s a gift from God to live forever just for believing.”
Mrs. Feldman: Grace, you’re an amazing little girl. Thank you for telling me about Jesus.”
Nancy: “Let’s play Bible trivia. Peter, you can draw the first card.”
Peter: “Ok.” (picks card) “I don’t know this guy, John the Baptist.”
Richard: “I do. He told everyone Jesus was coming and that Jesus was God.”
Peter: “I’ve heard of Jesus. You said Jesus was a god? Like a superhero?”
Cindy: “The superest of heroes. God, his Father, is the most powerful being ever. He can do anything and knows everything. Jesus can do all that too because God gave him the same power.”
Peter: “Is this from a book or a movie? It sounds like a good story.”
Nancy: “It’s from the Bible, and it’s all true!”
Peter: “Whatever happened to Jesus?”
Richard: “He died for our sins.”
Peter: “That doesn’t sound so powerful. Superheroes don’t die.”
Cindy: “Oh, it was all part of God’s plan. God rose Jesus from the dead.”
Peter: “Whoa! No way! I wish I knew God and Jesus.”
Nancy: “You can. All you have to do is believe in Jesus then something really amazing will happen to you. God, as the Holy Spirit, will become a part of you, like a conscience. You’ll start learning to do things God’s way.”
Peter: “Then would I be a god, too?”
Cindy: “No, but you would be a child of God and have a relationship with God and Jesus.”
Peter: “I want to believe in Jesus and become a child of GOD.”