Four sessions

 
 

Week 1

Week 1 objective: To learn that this verse comes from the book of Hebrews and to discover that the book of Hebrews has been called a masterpiece.


GAME: 7 mins
Aim: To play a game about creating a masterpiece. 
You will need: two large lumps of clay (see Printables for homemade clay recipe) or playdough, text boxes (see Printables), a stopwatch and a table and chairs.

Before the session print and cut out the text boxes. If you think some of the suggestions are too difficult for the children in your group, do not include them in the game.

During the session divide your group into two teams. Give each team a lump of dough. Explain that one person from each team will use the dough to create a masterpiece. The rest of the team will need to guess what it is they are creating.  Explain that the two volunteers modelling the dough will be told what to create. Carefully show the first text box to the two volunteers making sure the other children cannot see what is written on it. When the children are ready to start, call out ‘ready, steady, dough…’ 

At once the volunteers should begin shaping the dough to look like the object written in the text box. The children modelling the dough mustn’t speak, make noises or use actions.  As soon as the other members of the team think they have guessed what is being created they should shout out their suggestions. 

The first team to guess what has been created is the winning team. If nobody manages to guess what the masterpiece is, after sixty seconds shout ‘stop’ (you may want to give younger children longer). Congratulate both children for creating their masterpieces. If you have time, choose two new volunteers to shape the dough and play again. 

TALK ABOUT: 6 mins
You will need: A large sheet of paper or a whiteboard, marker pens and a Bible. 

Before the session write the verse on the whiteboard or paper.

Read the verse aloud and explain that this verse will help us learn more about the Church and what Christians can do when they gather together. 

Underline the word ‘Hebrews’. Point out that this month’s verse comes from the book of Hebrews. Encourage one of the children to find the book of Hebrews in the Bible. Explain that ‘Hebrews’ is a letter.

Tell the children that for hundreds of years people have been trying to work out who wrote the book of Hebrews. People who study the Bible think the letter was written to a group of Jewish Christians. Some people think the Christians may have been priests working in the Temple in Jerusalem. But people are still unsure who wrote it. Some people think it might have been written by the Apostle Paul but it doesn't quite sound the same as Paul's letters. Other people think that Barnabas, who travelled with Paul, may have written Hebrews, but people are not sure about that either. Some other people think it may have been written by a lady called Priscilla but not everybody agrees with that idea. Who wrote the book of Hebrews remains a mystery.

There are however things that we do know about the book of Hebrews.
•    It is written so well and says so many wonderful things that people call it a ‘masterpiece’.
•    It is a book that helps us to keep trusting God. 
•    The most important word in the book of Hebrews is the word 'better'. The book tells the reader that Jesus is better than the angels, He is better than Moses and His death is better than the sacrifices made in the Old Testament times. 

Read the verse aloud again and remind the children that over the next few weeks this verse will help us learn more about the Church and what Christians can do when they gather together. 

SONG: 2 mins
To the tune ‘He's got the whole world in His hands’:

    Let us he-elp each other, to love others;  x3
    Let us help each other to do good.

    Hebrews chap-ter ten, twenty-four,   x3
    Hebrews chapter ten twenty-four.
 

 

Week 2

Week 2 objective: To discover whom the writer to the Hebrews was talking about when he said ‘Let us help each other…’ 

GAME: 8 mins
Aim: To play a game of potato skittles where the letters on the skittles read ‘Y’, ‘E’, ‘S’, to introduce the idea that Christians have said ‘Yes’ to God’s love and forgiveness.  
You will need: three 2 litre bottles, a permanent marker, three or four potatoes, masking tape and a score sheet (see Printables).

Before the session write the letters ‘Y’, ‘E’ and ‘S’ on the bottles. Write one letter on each bottle. Fill the bottles with water and make sure the lids are screwed on tightly. 

At one end of your teaching space arrange the bottles in a triangular shape i.e. as if they were standing on three corners of a triangle. The bottles should be standing up-right and there should be at least 30cm between each bottle. Try and make sure the bottles are not positioned in the correct order to spell the word ‘yes’. At a distance of at least three meters place a strip of masking tape on the floor of your teaching space. 

Encourage the children to take it in turns to try and knock over the bottles with a potato. Each child should stand on the strip of masking tape and gently roll the potato towards the bottles. If the potato knocks over all the bottles the child scores five points; if some or all of the bottles remain standing the child should roll a second potato. If some or all the bottles still remain standing the child can roll a third potato. After rolling a maximum of three potatoes count the total number of bottles the child has knocked over. This number will be the child’s score. Allow as many children as want to, to take turns bowling the potatoes.  

TALK ABOUT: 7 mins
You will need: A large sheet of paper or a whiteboard, marker pens and the bottles used in the game. 

Before the session write the verse on the whiteboard or paper.

Read the verse aloud and explain that this verse will help us learn more about the Church and what Christians can do when they gather together. Use the ‘Topic Overview’ (see Printables) to recap briefly what the children talked about in Week 1. 

Underline the phrase ‘Let us help each other’. Ask the children who they think the writer was talking to when he said ‘let us’. Listen to the children’s answers and respond positively. 

Explain that people who study the Bible think that ‘Hebrews’ was written to a group of Christians. Explain that when the writer said ‘let us help each other’ he was talking to Christians. He was saying ‘OK Christians, let us help each other to love others and to do good’. Point to the words in the verse as you say them out loud. 

Show the children the bottles used in the game. Ask the children to put the bottles in order so that the letters spell a word. If necessary offer to help. When the children have made the word ‘Yes’, ask if anyone knows how a person becomes a Christian. Listen to the children’s answers and respond positively. Explain that a person becomes a Christian by saying ‘Yes’ to God’s love and forgiveness. Write the word ‘Yes’ next to the verse.

Ask the children to suggest how Christians can help each other to do good things for other people. Listen to the children’s answers and respond positively. Talk about the following suggestions:
1. Christians can work together in teams to do good things.  
2. Christians can pray for other Christians as they do good things.  
3. Christians can give money, tools, food to other Christians who do good things. 

Write the word ‘Church’ next to the verse. Tell the children that the Bible tells us that it is important for Christians to meet together. Groups of Christians who meet together are called churches (draw five or six stick people under the word ‘Church’). There are thousands of churches all over the world. Sometimes people think a church is a building (draw a building next to the people then cross it out), but it’s not, it’s the group of Christians meeting together. One of the main things Christians do when they meet together is worship God; they tell Him they adore Him and praise Him for the wonderful things He has done. But Christians who meet together do other great things too – they often help each other to love and care for others. Spend some time thinking about your church and the Christians who meet together – talk about the way you help one another to love others and do good things. Perhaps someone in your church organises a food bank collection or a soup lunch for the elderly. 

 

Week 3

Week 3 objectives: To think about why the writer to the Hebrews says we should love others and do good. To remind the children that God’s way of living is about two main things: loving Him and loving others. 

GAME: 7 mins
Aim: To play a game about doing two things at once. 
You will need: ‘Two things challenge’ sheet (see Printables), lots of objects from the ‘Two things challenge you will need’ list and masking tape. 

Before the session print off a ‘Two things challenge’ sheet. Stick a long strip of masking tape to the floor of your teaching space – this will be the start line. As far away from the first strip as your teaching space allows, stick a second strip of tape parallel to the first – this will be the turning point. 

Divide your group into two teams. Explain to the children that they are going to take part in a relay race. Encourage the teams to line up behind the start line. Decide which two things each child is going to do. The children competing against each other should both be doing the same things, e.g. if the first child in one team is balancing a book on their head while marching to the turning point the first child in the other team should do the same two things. 

Give the appropriate objects to each person for their tasks. Explain that only when a child has arrived back at the start line can the next child set off. If you have more than five children in each team explain that the first child will need to pass their objects to child number six and the second child will need to pass their object to child number seven etc. Make sure the children know what they need to do before starting the game. 

The first team to have all its players back at the start is the winning team. 


TALK ABOUT: 6 mins
You will need: A large sheet of paper or a whiteboard, marker pens and ‘How to remember the two main things’ prompt sheet (see Printables). 

Before the session write the verse on the whiteboard or paper.

Read the verse aloud and explain that this verse will help us learn more about the Church and what Christians can do when they gather together. Use the ‘Topic Overview’ (see Printables) to recap briefly what the children talked about in Weeks 1 and 2.

Remind the children that last week we learnt that the writer to the Hebrews was speaking to Christians. He or she was saying ‘Ok Christians, let us help each other to love others and to do good’. We learnt that groups of Christians who meet together are called churches or local churches (draw five or six stick people under the word ‘Church’). One of the main things Christians do when they meet together is worship God; they tell Him they adore Him and praise Him for the wonderful things He has done. But Christians who meet together do other great things too - they help each other to love and care for others. This week we are going to think about why Christians love and care for others.

Underline the phrase ‘love others’. Ask the children how many things they each did during the relay race – remind the children that they each did two things. Explain that living God’s way is about doing two main things – loving God and loving others. The Bible tells us that all the Laws God gave to His people are about these two things: loving God and loving other people. Jesus said to a Pharisee that the two most important things are to love God and to love your neighbour in the same way you love yourself (Matthew 22:37–40). 

Explain to the children that Christians love God and love others not just because the Bible tells them to, but, because of God’s love for them and the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives, Christians discover that more and more they want to live God’s way; more and more they want to love God and love others. 

Show the children how to remember the two main things using their hands (see Printables). 


SONG: 2 mins
To the tune ‘He's got the whole world in His hands’:

    Let us he-elp each other, to love others;  x3
    Let us help each other to do good.

    Hebrews chap-ter ten, twenty-four,   x3
    Hebrews chapter ten twenty-four.

 

Week 4

Week 4 objective: To think about why Christians need help to love others and do good. 


GAME: 8 mins
Aim: To play a game about joining pieces of wool together to introduce the idea that Christians gather together as Churches.
You will need: three or four different coloured balls of wool, scissors and a stopwatch.

Before the session, cut the wool into 20cm lengths. From each ball of wool you will need around 25 lengths. 

Divide your group into three or four teams. Mix up the lengths of wool and place them in the centre of the room. Position the teams around the room. Each team needs to be equidistant from the pile of wool. 
Tell the children that the aim of the game is for each team to collect as many pieces of wool as they can and join them together to make a long strand. The team with the longest strand is the winning team. 

Explain that each team must only collect wool of one colour and only one person from each team can collect one piece of wool at any one time. When one person returns to the team the next person can go. Decide which colour of wool is going to be collected by which team. When the teams are ready to play, shout ‘Go!’ Either encourage the children to keep playing the game until a team has collected all their pieces of wool, or after three minutes shout ‘Stop!’ Encourage the teams to compare the lengths of their strands and announce the winning team. 

TALK ABOUT: 7 mins
You will need: A large sheet of paper or a whiteboard and marker pens.

Read the verse aloud and explain that this verse will help us learn more about the Church and what Christians can do when they gather together. Use the ‘Topic Overview’ (see Printables) to recap briefly what the children talked about in Weeks 1, 2 and 3.
Remind the children that over the last few weeks we have learnt that groups of Christians who meet together are called churches (draw five or six stick people under the word ‘Church’). One of the main things Christians do when they meet together is worship God; they tell Him they adore Him and praise Him for the wonderful things He has done. But Christians who meet together do other great things too - they often help each other to love and care for others. This week we are going to think about why Christians need help to love and do good things.
Last week we learnt that living God’s way is about doing two main things: loving God and loving others. Living God’s way feels good and right for Christians, because they believe it’s the way God created them to live. But, without God’s help, it is in fact impossible for Christians to live the way God created them to live. Sometimes they try hard to live God’s way but after a while they make mistakes and get things wrong (Romans 3:23, 24). To live God’s way Christians need the powerful help of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit changes Christians from the inside out; He helps them learn and grow to live God’s way; He helps them learn and grow to be more like Jesus, more peaceful, patient and kind. 

Underline the phrase ‘help each other’. Explain that Christians need each other’s help too to live God’s way. God created us to work together. He created us so that we would need each other’s help. As the Holy Spirit helps each Christian they can then help each other learn and grow to live God’s way too.

Hold up one of the pieces of wool. Explain to the children that God doesn’t just want Christians to be on their own like one piece of wool. He wants us to gather together with other Christians. Hold up one of the long strands. Explain that God wants us to join together with other Christians to help and encourage each other to live His way – to love Him and love others. 

Remind the children that a couple of weeks ago we talked about how Christians can help each other to do good things for others: 

1. Christians can work together in teams to do good things.  
2. Christians can pray for other Christians as they do good things.  
3. Christians can give money, tools, food to other Christians who do good things. 

With older children you might like to dig deeper (see Printables) into the topic of the Church. 

As this is the last week of the month cover up the Bible verse and ask the children if anyone can say it from memory. Help the children if they get stuck. If you have a rubber stamper and tickets, stamp the tickets belonging to children who can say the Bible verse. Include those who needed some help. 

 

four sessions

 
 

Week 1

Objectives: To discover that this verse comes from the book of ‘Hebrews’, and that nobody knows who wrote ‘Hebrews’ but it is described as a masterpiece. 


GAME: 7 mins
Aims: To play a game where a volunteer tries to work out who drew which picture.
You will need: A5 size paper and an assortment of felt-tip pens.

Ask for a volunteer to be ‘it’. Explain to the children that everybody (including ‘it’) will need to draw a picture of themselves. Hand out the paper and the pens. Encourage ‘it’ to sit away from the group so they don't see whose picture belongs to whom. Once everyone has completed their picture collect them in and muddle them up. Ask everyone to sit in a circle and hand ‘it’ the pictures. ‘It’ then needs to guess who’s who and place each picture on the floor in front of the ‘correct’ child (they should place their own self-portrait where they had been sitting in the circle). At this stage the children should not tell ‘it’ if he/she has guessed correctly. When ‘it’ has placed one picture in front of each child, the children need to reveal if ‘it’ was right or wrong; if ‘it’ was right the child should pick up and hold their self-portrait, if ‘it’ was wrong they should leave the picture on the floor. ‘It’ can then have another go at guessing who’s who and re-allocate the pictures. Encourage ‘it’ to keep going until everyone is holding their own picture. If it is impossible for ‘it’ to guess correctly encourage the other children to help. This game is likely to be too easy for older children if they simply draw a self-portrait, so encourage them to draw themselves in disguise! If you have time play the game again, this time encouraging the children to draw a picture of where they live. Ask for a new volunteer to be ‘it’.

If you have a small group of children try and get hold of the board game ‘Guess Who?’ and play the game together a couple of times.

TALK ABOUT: 6 mins
You will need: A large sheet of paper or whiteboard, a Bible and marker pens.  

Before the session write the verse on a large sheet of paper or whiteboard. 

Read the verse aloud to the children and underline the word ‘Hebrews’. Point out that this month’s verse comes from the book of Hebrews in the Bible. Explain that the book of Hebrews is a letter.

Talk about how during the game ‘it’ tried to work out who had drawn which picture. Explain that for hundreds of years people have been trying to work out who wrote the book of Hebrews. Just as ‘it’ had a good look at the pictures in the game, people have had a really good look at the book of Hebrews. They have read it over and over again. Some people think it might have been written by the Apostle Paul but it doesn't quite sound the same as one of Paul's letters. Other people think that Barnabas, who travelled with Paul, may have written Hebrews, but people are not sure about that either. Some other people think it may have been written by a lady called Priscilla but not everybody agrees with that idea. Who wrote the book of Hebrews remains a mystery. 

There are however things that we do know about the book of Hebrews.

  • It is written so well and says so many wonderful things that people call it a masterpiece.
  • It is a book that helps us to keep trusting God. It reminds us that because Jesus died and came back to life we can be close friends with God. 

SONG: 2 mins
To the tune ‘What shall we do with the drunken sailor?’

    We should not stop gath-er-ring
    to-gether with-o-ther believers,
    We should not stop gath-er-ring
    to-gether with believers,

    Hebrews 10 verse 25
    Hebrews 10 verse 25,
    Hebrews 10 verse 25
    to-gether with believers.


This song works well if you start really slowly and get faster and faster. Older children might not be keen to sing but might enjoy rapping the words.


 

Week 2

Week 2 objectives: To think about why Christians gather together and what the word ‘fellowship’ means. 

GAME: 7 mins
Aims: To play a game with four simple commands.
You will need: A keyboard piano or a similar instrument with a drum setting.

If you don’t have a suitable instrument, make a beat by clapping your hands then clicking your fingers twice.

Explain to the children that they are going to play a game of human ‘Bop It’ (there are lots of additional ideas online for playing this game but try to use only four commands as this is an important part of the illustration). You may first need to explain that ‘Bop It’ is a game of following commands to a beat. As the beat gets faster the game gets harder. 

Inform the children that the four commands are ‘kick it’ –pretend to kick a ball, ‘twist it’ – twist the top half of your body while keeping your feet still, ‘pull it’ – pretend to pull a leaver above your head , ‘bop it’ – jump once.  Encourage the children to stand in a circle. Start the drum beat or make a beat by clapping your hands then clicking your fingers. Encourage the children to respond to the commands in time to the beat. Begin to call out the commands allowing time for the children to respond. Keep changing the order in which you give the commands to make it harder for the children to respond correctly. After a while speed up the beat or clap and click a little faster. If a child makes a mistake they should sit down; however, you may want to give them two or three chances if they are struggling. As the game progresses, make the beat faster and faster until there is only one player left. Declare the final player the winner.

TALK ABOUT: 6 mins
You will need: A large sheet of paper or whiteboard, a Bible, marker pens and ‘Four things’ textboxes (see Printables).  

Before the session write the verse on a large sheet of paper or whiteboard. Print and cut out the textboxes.

Read the verse aloud and underline the phrase ‘gathering together with other believers’. Quickly explain that ‘believers’ is another name for Christians. Draw four or five stick people next to the verse. Ask the children if they can think of times when Christians gather together. Respond positively to the children’s answers and talk about Christians gathering together on Sundays and other occasions. Talk with the children about why they think Christians gather together. Ask them to list some of the things Christians do when they meet. 

Explain that Christians get together to help one another live God's way. Draw an arrow above the stick people pointing upwards. Remind the children that Christians believe living God's way is the right way to live; they believe they were created to live God's way. Explain that the Bible teaches that living God's way is about two main things: loving God and loving others. Draw two hearts next to the arrow.

But how do Christians help each other live God's way? Sometimes Christians simply do things together. They show their love for God by worshipping together and their love for others be working in teams to care for people.

But Christians also help each other to live God's way through fellowship. Draw a big circle around the stick people. ‘Fellowship’ is the word the Bible uses to describe times when Christians teach, challenge, comfort, support and encourage one another. Christians believe that when they spend time together in this way the Holy Spirit works powerfully among them, helping each one of them learn and grow to live God's way. Go over the outline of the arrow pointing upwards to make it thicker and bolder. Many Christians believe that during times of fellowship they use the gifts and abilities God has given them to help others live God's way.

If appropriate talk about the people in your church spending time together in this way. If you have time talk about the different gifts and abilities described in the Bible. How do these help Christians learn and grow to live God's way?

Summarise by pointing to the simple pictures you have drawn and remind the children that Christians gather together to help one another live God's way. Christians help each other by (1) doing things together and (2) through fellowship. Remind the children that ‘fellowship’ is the word the Bible uses to describe times when Christians teach, challenge, comfort, support and encourage one another.

Quickly explain that fellowship has been an important part of Christians' lives for hundreds of years. Remind the children of the game they have just played. Point out that there were only four things the children did: kick, twist, pull and jump. Explain that the Bible teaches there were four things the first Christians did day after day: they prayed, listened to teaching about God, broke bread (you may want to briefly talk about the celebration of Communion using language familiar to the children in your setting) and fellowshipped. Stick textboxes next to the verse. Today people who study the Bible still think these are really, really important things that Christians should do. They believe that when a Christian does these four things the Holy Spirit is able to work powerfully in his or her life helping them learn and grow to live God's way.


CHALLENGE: 2 mins
Help the children remember the four things the first Christians did day after day. Say the four things: ‘pray’, ‘listen’, ‘break’, ‘fellowship’. As you say ‘pray’ put your hands together with a loud clap. As you say ‘listen’ cup your hands round your ears. As you say ‘break’ mime breaking a bread roll in front of you. As you say ‘fellowship’ everyone in the circle should link arms and rush to the centre - being careful not to bump heads. When you have done this a couple of times see if the children can remember the four things. Remind the children that this week we have learnt about fellowship - Christians fellowship when they gather together.


SONG: 2 mins
To the tune ‘What shall we do with the drunken sailor?’

    We should not stop gath-er-ring
    to-gether with-o-ther believers,
    We should not stop gath-er-ring
    to-gether with believers,

    Hebrews 10 verse 25
    Hebrews 10 verse 25,
    Hebrews 10 verse 25
    to-gether with believers.


This song works well if you start really slowly and get faster and faster. Older children might not be keen to sing but might enjoy rapping the words.

 

Week 3

Week 3 objectives: To discover that Christians can meet together in groups of different sizes and that a church is the group of Christians meeting together, it is not the building. 

GAME: 7 mins
Aims: To play a game where the children form groups of different sizes. 
You will need: A permanent marker, balloons, some music and the means to play it.

Before the session blow up the balloons and draw a simple face on each with a permanent marker pen. Place the balloons in the centre of your room. 

Explain to the children that while the music plays quietly they need to walk around the room on their own. After a while the music will start to get louder. As it gets louder ask the children to start walking around in groups. Tell them how many people they need in each group. For example if you call out ‘three’ the children need to start walking around in groups of three.

Once everybody has been walking around in a group for a while turn the music down and encourage the children to start walking around the room on their own again. 

Keep alternating between times of quiet and loud music but vary the number of people required in a group. For example call out ‘four’ then the next time ‘six’. If the children do not have enough people in their group they can take balloons from the centre to count as people. For example in a group of four there could be two children and two balloons. 


TALK ABOUT: 5 mins
You will need: A large sheet of paper or whiteboard, a Bible and marker pens.  

Before the session write the verse on a large sheet of paper or whiteboard. Read the verse aloud to the children and underline the phrase ‘gathering together’. 

Remind the children that last week we talked about Christians gathering together to help one another live God's way. Draw four or five stick people next to the verse. Draw an arrow above the stick people pointing upwards. We learnt that Christians can help each other by (1) doing things together and (2) through fellowship. Draw a big circle around the stick people. Explain that ‘fellowship’ is the word the Bible uses to describe times when Christians teach, challenge, comfort, support and encourage one another. Christians believe that when they spend time together in this way the Holy Spirit works powerfully among them, helping each one of them learn and grow to live God’s way.

Talk about the game the children have just played. Talk about the game starting with the children walking around on their own. Explain that the Bible teaches that it is important for Christians to spend time with God on their own, talking and listening to Him. But last week we learnt that it is also important for Christians to gather together in groups. Talk about how you can’t have a group of just one person, there needs to be more than one.

Talk about the children gathering together in different sized groups. Explain that the number of Christians that gather together in a group could be two, four, ten, twenty etc. 

Ask the children why it might be nice to sometimes get together in small groups and other times in big groups. Ask the children if they have ever been in a group where hundreds of Christians have gathered together. If a child has been in such a group ask them what it was like and what everybody was doing, or talk about an experience you have had. Briefly ask the children where Christians might meet together and discuss the answers the children give.


CHALLENGE: 3 mins
Divide the children into pairs and give each pair a piece of paper and a couple of pens/pencils. Explain that they have 20 seconds to draw a church building. Count down from 20 to zero. 

Ask the children to show their pictures and talk about what they have drawn. Ask the children why they think you asked them to draw a church building and not a church. Explain that the church is a group of Christians meeting together. Although many church buildings are very beautiful and useful, wherever a group of Christians meet together they are the church. The church is not the building.

If you have time explain talk about the local and Universal Church. Explain that Christians believe there is one big Church called the Universal Church. The big Church is made up of all Christians everywhere – it stretches around the world. It is in fact made up of all Christians that are alive now and have ever lived.

Explain that it is not possible for all Christians in the Universal Church to meet together in one place, instead lots of Christians meet together in smaller groups close to where they live. These groups of Christians are called local churches. All around the world there are thousands and thousands of local churches.

Christians often get together in their local churches on a Sunday because this is the day on which Christians have gathered together for hundreds of years. But Christians get together on other days too. 

SONG: 2 mins
To the tune ‘What shall we do with the drunken sailor?’

    We should not stop gath-er-ring
    to-gether with-o-ther believers,
    We should not stop gath-er-ring
    to-gether with believers,

    Hebrews 10 verse 25
    Hebrews 10 verse 25,
    Hebrews 10 verse 25
    to-gether with believers.


This song works well if you start really slowly and get faster and faster. Older children might not be keen to sing but might enjoy rapping the words.


 

Week 4

Week 4 objectives: To think about the writer's instructions: Christians should not stop gathering together.

GAME: 7 mins
Aims: To play a game or complete a challenge without stopping. 
You will need: See ‘A one minute challenge for older children’.

A game for younger children…
Explain to the children that you are going to play a game of traffic lights. They are a car and need to obey the traffic rules that you are going to shout out. Most of the time they need to walk around (or run if you have an energetic group) trying to avoid bumping into one another. Explain that there are going to be lots of rules but the most important rule is that they don’t stop until you shout ‘red traffic light’ at the end of the game. Explain that when you shout…

‘Rain’- the children keep moving but wave their arms like windscreen wipers until you shout ‘no more rain’. 
‘Roundabout’ - the children need to turn around once whilst still moving. 
‘Speed bumps’- the children jump forward rather than walk.
‘Low bridge’- the children crouch down but keep moving forwards.
‘Horn’ - the children touch the floor once and make a noise like a horn.

Encourage the children to start walking or running around then begin to call out the commands. After a while call out the commands in pairs so the children have to do more than one thing at once. Eventually call out ‘red traffic light’, to end the game.

A one minute challenge for older children…
You will need a stopwatch and appropriate sports equipment such as a tennis ball, a football and a skipping rope. Give the children a challenge that is suitable for their age and ability such as throwing and catching a tennis ball, dribbling a football between two markers, or skipping. Explain that their challenge is to keep doing the activity for one minute without stopping.  


TALK ABOUT: 6 mins
You will need: A large sheet of paper or whiteboard, a Bible and marker pens.  

Before the session write the verse on a large sheet of paper or whiteboard. Read the verse aloud and underline the phrase ‘gathering together’. Remind the children that a couple of weeks ago we talked about Christians gathering together to help one another live God's way. Draw four or five stick people next to the verse. Draw an arrow above the stick people pointing upwards. We learnt that Christians can help each other by (1) doing things together and (2) through fellowship. Draw a big circle around the stick people. Explain that ‘fellowship’ is the word the Bible uses to describe times when Christians teach, challenge, comfort, support and encourage one another. Christians believe that when they spend time together in this way the Holy Spirit works powerfully among them, helping each one of them learn and grow to live God’s way.

Remind the children that last week we learnt that the church is a group of Christians meeting together. The church is not the building.

Read the verse again and underline the phrase ‘Don’t stop’. If the children played the running around game talk about how it was important that they didn’t stop moving. Sometimes they had to do lots of different things and maybe it was hard to keep going but to play the game they needed to keep on moving and not give up. Ask the children if they found it easy or difficult to keep going. Did they get tired? 

If the children did the ‘one minute challenge’, talk about how they had to keep on doing something for a whole minute without giving up. Ask the children if they found it boring or exciting to keep on doing the same thing. Was there something better they could have been doing or was it a good thing to do? Ask the children to imagine what it must be like for athletes to keep on training and training without giving up.

Talk about how the person who wrote the book of Hebrews was saying that Christians should keep on getting together with other Christians and not give up. The writer knew that it would not be easy; in fact the writer knew of some people who had already stopped. The writer was saying keep going, even if it’s not easy it’s important that you keep getting together. 


SONG: 2 mins
To the tune ‘What shall we do with the drunken sailor?’

    We should not stop gath-er-ring
    to-gether with-o-ther believers,
    We should not stop gath-er-ring
    to-gether with believers,

    Hebrews 10 verse 25
    Hebrews 10 verse 25,
    Hebrews 10 verse 25
    to-gether with believers.

This song works well if you start really slowly and get faster and faster. Older children might not be keen to sing but might enjoy rapping the words.

Week 1

 
 

Week 1

Objective: To understand that the verse comes from the Gospel of John, which is very different from the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke.

Game - 8 mins:
Aim:  To play ‘Spot the difference’ and begin to talk about recognising differences. 
You will need:  A chair, a low table and a selection of household items. Try and choose items that relate to two or three themes such as sports equipment, outdoor clothes, cooking items and/or things to do with reading and writing.   

Ask for two volunteers. Appoint one volunteer as the ‘guesser’. Explain that he/she will need to leave the room. Make sure arrangements for children leaving your teaching area comply with your safeguarding policy. Ask the other volunteer to sit in the chair next to the small table. Now encourage the rest of the group to arrange four or five household items on the table then give a few extra items to the volunteer to hold or wear. If you have chosen themed items you could arrange a scene to do with one of your themes; for example the volunteer could be cooking a meal. Alternatively the children could create a ‘silly scene’ such as the volunteer wearing a hat while reading a book, playing chess and eating a bowl of soup. 

Once the group have set the scene the volunteer must sit completely still and the ‘guesser’ be allowed back into the room. The ‘guesser’ should then examine the scene and try to remember all the different items and their positions, including what the volunteer is doing and wearing. The ‘guesser’ should then leave the room again. 

While the ‘guesser’ is out of the room the group should rearrange the scene making approximately five changes. The ‘guesser’ should then re-enter the room and try to guess what has changed. Finally the group should let the ‘guesser’ know if they are right or wrong and reveal any changes that were not spotted.  

If you have time, talk with the group about which differences were easy to spot and which were harder. Ask the children why they think some differences were more obvious.


Talk about - 4 mins
You will need: A large sheet of paper or a whiteboard, marker pens, ‘Looking at the Gospels’ sheets (see Printables) and a Bible.

Before the session write the verse on the whiteboard or paper. Underline the Bible reference and explain that this verse comes from the Gospel of John. Ask one of the children to find the Gospel of John in the Bible. Explain that ‘John’ is one of four Gospels, the books that tell the story of Jesus’ life. Ask the children to quickly find out the names of the other three Gospels by looking in the Bible. Explain that people who have studied the Gospels noticed that the Gospel of John is very different from the other three. Some people have carefully read through the Gospels trying to spot the differences between ‘John’ and the other three.

Show the ‘Looking at the Gospels’ sheets and point out the differences between ‘John’ and the other three Gospels. Ask the children why they think John’s Gospel is so different. Some of the answers given by people who study the Bible include: 1. John did not speak to the same people as Matthew, Mark and Luke, therefore his information is different. 2. John wanted to tell people who Jesus was, not just what he did.


Song - 3 mins
To the tune: ‘London Bridge is falling down’

    Everyone will know that you,
    Know that you,    x2
    Everyone will know that you,
    Are my disciples.

    Because of your love for each other,
    For each other,    x2
    Because of your love for each other. 
    You’re my disciples.
 

 

Week 2

 
 

Week 2

Objective: To introduce the idea that we can recognise Jesus' disciples by their love for one another. 

Game - 8 mins
Aim: To play a game about getting into groups by recognising different actions. 
You will need:  Action slips (see Printables) and pencils. 

Before the session print and cut out three pages of action slips. For each game you will need one slip for every child but make sure your selection includes actions that are repeated at least once. For example, for a group of six children select three 'jumping slips' and three 'hoping slips'; for a group of eight children select two 'flapping slips', two 'marching slips', two 'skipping slips' and two 'jumping slips'. If you would rather suggest some different actions use the blank slips to write down some alternatives.

Hand out the slips to the children asking them not to show what is written on them to anybody else. Put the slips you are not using to one side. Explain to the children that when you say ‘go’ they need to start doing the action written on their slip. They then need to look around and get into groups with everybody else doing the same action as they are. If you have time, collect the slips, shuffle them, then hand them out again to the children. Repeat the activity. 

Talk to the children about how they could tell who should be in which group by carefully watching each other's actions.

If you do not have enough children to play the above game play a miming game instead. A volunteer should think of a task or an occupation and then mime somebody doing it. The other children should try to guess what the job might be. To prepare you could write down some unusual occupations on the blank slips before the session. After playing the game talk to the children about how they could tell what job somebody was doing by carefully watching their actions.


Talk about - 7 mins
You will need: A  large sheet of paper or a whiteboard, marker pens and a Bible.

Before the session write the verse on the whiteboard or paper.

Underline the reference and read the verse aloud. Remind the children that the verse comes from the Gospel of John. Ask one of the children to find the verse in the Bible. Explain that John was one of Jesus' twelve disciples. Draw two stick people next to the verse and write ‘John’ and ‘Jesus' underneath. Tell the children that John travelled with Jesus; he watched him and listened to him, then wrote down what he saw and heard. 

When John wrote this verse he was writing down what Jesus said just before he was arrested. The disciples had just eaten a meal with Jesus. ‘I will not be with you much longer’, said Jesus. But then Jesus explained that people would still be able to recognise that they were his disciples… how? Point to the verse as you read it out loud again.

Remind the children that during the game they watched each other closely to see which action they were doing; by each other’s actions they could tell who should be in which group or what job somebody was pretending to do. This verse tells us that if people watched Jesus’ disciples carefully they would see that they were loving towards each other and when people saw that, they would  know that they were Jesus’ disciples.

Underline the word disciples. Explain that this verse isn't just about the first 12 disciples, it's about all Christians everywhere. Christians today are Jesus' disciples because like the first disciples they want to live the way Jesus lived and do the things he taught. They want to think, feel and live like him. 

But why did Jesus say that people would see his disciples being loving towards each other? 

Explain that a disciple is someone who, with the powerful help of the Holy Spirit, is learning and growing to be more like Jesus. Because Jesus is loving, with the powerful help of the Holy Spirit, his disciples (Christians) will learn and grow to be loving too. 

 

 

Week 3

 
 

Week 3

Objective: To talk about what the word ‘agape’ means and how Christians can learn and grow to love each other in this way. 

Game - 4 mins
Aim: To play a game where the children are introduced to the word ‘agape’. 
You will need: Printed letters (see Printables), masking tape, sticky tac, plain white A4 paper, lively music and the means to play it. 

Before the session print off the ‘letters’ and scrunch them  into balls. Scrunch up additional sheets of paper until you have approximately four balls per child. Divide your teaching space in half by sticking a long strip of masking tape to the floor across the centre of your room. Divide your group into two equal teams and encourage one team to stand on one side of the tape and the other on the other side. Give half the paper balls to one team and the remaining balls to the other team.

Explain to the children that they need to try and get rid of all their paper balls by throwing them across the tape to the other team. The other team will do the same. Play the music while the children throw the balls backwards and forwards.

After about 10 seconds shout ‘Find me an A’. The children should then, as quickly as possible, unscrunch the paper balls (on either side of the masking tape line) to find a letter ‘A’. When you have the letter stick it to the wall using sticky tac. There will be two letter ‘A’s, stick one to the wall and re-scrunch the other. Ask the children to re-scrunch the remaining paper. Restart the music and encourage the children to begin ‘getting rid’ of the balls again. After about 10 seconds ask the children to find a ‘G’. Repeat this with finding the other ‘A’, then a ‘P’, then finally an ‘E’.  You may want to encourage the children to look for two letters at the same time if you are short of time.

Stick all the letters on the wall. Ask the children if they can read the word you have spelt. Explain that it is an ancient Greek word that is pronounced a-ga-pay. 


Talk about - 8 mins
You will need:  A large sheet of paper or a whiteboard, marker pens, the printed letters from the game and a Bible. 

Before the session write the verse on the whiteboard or paper. Read the verse aloud. Stick the printed letters from the game next to the verse to spell the word ‘agape’. Point out that the word ‘agape’ is not in the verse. Explain that when John first wrote this verse he would have written it in ancient Greek and instead of the word ‘love’ he would have written ‘agape’. Underline the word ‘love’. Explain that ‘love’ is the right English translation for ‘agape’ but there is an even better way of describing what ‘agape’ means: ‘agape’ means ‘loving somebody in such a way that you put them first and expect nothing in return’. 

If we were to take John’s verse and read it the way Jesus said it we would read… ‘everyone will know that you are my disciples because you put each other first and expect nothing  in return’. 

Quickly underline the word disciples and remind the children that this verse isn't just about the first 12 disciples, it's about all Christians everywhere.  Christians today are Jesus' disciples because like the first disciples they want to live the way Jesus lived and do the things he taught. They want to think, feel and live like him.

But why will Jesus' disciples love each other this way? Remind the children that last week we discovered that a disciple is someone who, with the powerful help of the Holy Spirit, is learning and growing to be more like Jesus.  Jesus loves people with agape love - putting them first and expecting nothing in return. Because Jesus loves people this way, with the powerful help of the Holy Spirit his disciples will learn and grow to love people this way too. 


Song - 3 mins
To the tune: ‘London Bridge is falling down’

    Everyone will know that you,
    Know that you,    x2
    Everyone will know that you,
    Are my disciples.

    Because of your love for each other,
    For each other,    x2
    Because of your love for each other. 
    You’re my disciples.


 

 

Week 4

 
 

Week 4

Objective: To talk about the importance of Christians loving one another. 

Game - 8 mins
Aim: To play a game where the children think about doing things together.  
You will need:  Thin rope or cord, between one and six metres in length. The more children you have, the longer the piece of rope will need to be – as a rough guide allow 50 cm per child. Tie the ends of the cord together to make a loop.

During the session encourage the children to stand in a circle. (Parts of this challenge will be possible even with two people, although a lot harder.)  Each child should hold a portion of the cord loosely in both hands.

Ask the children to work together to make the cord into a circle. When the children are happy with the circle, ask them to make a square. Other shapes you could ask the children to make include: a triangle, a rectangle, a heart, a star, a pentagon, a kite, a crescent, an oval, a diamond. Give the children plenty of time to make each shape before moving on to the next one.

After you have played the game spend some time talking about what the game demonstrates. Ask the children the following questions and discuss their answers: 

  • Would the game have been easier or harder with more people? 
  • Could you have made those shapes on your own? 
  • Would the shapes have looked better with more people?
  • What would have happened to the shapes if one person had refused to join in? 
  • If one person hadn't wanted to join in, what might you have done to encourage them to take part? 
  • What could you have done to encourage people not to give up?
     

Talk about - 7 mins
You will need: A large sheet of paper or a whiteboard, marker pens and a Bible. 

Before the session write the verse on the whiteboard or paper. Read the verse aloud.

Quickly underline the word 'disciples' and remind the children that this verse isn't just about the first 12 disciples, it's about all Christians everywhere. Christians today are Jesus' disciples because like the first disciples they want to live the way Jesus lived and do the things he taught. They want to think, feel and live like him.

Remind the children that a few weeks ago we discovered that a disciple is someone who, with the powerful help of the Holy Spirit, is learning and growing to be more like Jesus. We also learnt that Jesus loves people with agape love - putting them first and expecting nothing in return. Because Jesus loves people this way, with the powerful help of the Holy Spirit his disciples will learn and grow to love people this way too. 

But why is it great when Christians love each other?

Remind the children that our game showed that when people get on well they work well together as a team and do things that they couldn’t do on their own. One of the reasons it is great for Christians to love each other is that together they can do great things for God.

Ask the children if they can think of some great things that Christians can do together for God?

Discuss the children’s answers. You might like to talk about organisations that you know where Christians work together to help people, such as organising food or clothes banks. Explain that some Christians also work together to tell people the Good News about Jesus. Sometimes Christians organise events to either help people, or to tell people more about God. 

Ask the children to think for a moment what it would be like if Christians who worked together didn’t get along with one another.  Now ask them to think what it would be like if Christians who worked together loved each other with ‘agape’ love, putting each other first, expecting nothing in return.

 

Week 5

 
 

Week 5

Objective: To talk about a church being the people not the building. 

Game - 8 mins
Beware of allergies – make sure it is safe for the children in your group to handle the food used in this activity.  

Aim: To play a game that introduces the idea that the Church is the people, not the building. 
You will need:  A table, chairs and dried pasta of various types (try to include spaghetti and small macaroni in your selection).

Encourage the children to sit up to the table. Place the pasta in the centre of the table. Ask the children to make a picture of a church building using the pasta shapes. The children can work directly on the surface of the table; they do not need to glue their pasta pieces together or make the ‘picture’ on a piece of paper.

When the children have finished constructing their pasta church buildings, allow them to talk about their pictures if they wish. Praise each of the children for creating their pictures. Remind the children that their pictures are of church buildings and that the church is the people; not the building.  


Talk about - 7 mins
You will need: A large sheet of paper or a whiteboard, marker pens and a Bible. 

 Before the session write the verse on the whiteboard or paper.

Quickly underline the word 'disciples' and remind the children that this verse is about all Christians everywhere.  Christians today are Jesus' disciples because like the first disciples they want to live the way Jesus lived and do the things he taught. They want to think, feel and live like him.

Remind the children that a few weeks ago we discovered that a disciple is someone who, with the powerful help of the Holy Spirit, is learning and growing to be more like Jesus.  We also learnt that because Jesus loves people, with the powerful help of the Holy Spirit his disciples will learn and grow to love too.  Last week we learnt that when Christians love each other and get on well they can do great things together for God.

Draw a group of stick people next to the verse and remind the children that the church is not the building; it is the group of Christians who gather together. Circle the group of stick people and explain that although many church buildings are very beautiful and useful, wherever the Christians meet together they are the church.

For older children you might want to explain that Christians believe there is one big Church called the Universal Church. The big Church is made up of all Christians everywhere – it stretches around the world. It is in fact made up of all Christians that are alive now and have ever lived. Of course it is not possible for all Christians in the Universal Church to meet together. However, lots of Christians meet together in smaller groups close to where they live. These groups of Christians are called local churches. All around the world there are thousands and thousands of local churches. Christians often get together in their local churches on a Sunday because this is the day on which Christians have gathered together for hundreds of years. But Christians get together on other days too.

Quickly ask the children to list some of the things Christians do when they gather together. Discuss the children's answers and explain that Christians gather together to help one another live God’s way - to love God and others.  

If you have time talk about Christians simply doing things together when they meet. They show their love for God by worshipping together and their love for others by working in teams to care for people. Explain that Christians also help each other through ‘fellowship’. ‘Fellowship’ is the word the Bible uses to describe times when Christians teach, challenge, comfort, support and encourage one another. Christians believe that when they spend time together in this way the Holy Spirit works powerfully among them helping each one of them learn and grow to live God’s way.

Five sessions

 
 
 
 

Topic overview:


Week 1 objective: To understand that the verse comes from the Gospel of John, which is very different from the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke.

This verse comes from the Gospel of John. ‘John’ is one of four Gospels, the books that tell the story of Jesus’ life. People who have studied the Gospels noticed that the Gospel of John is very different from the other three. 

Show the ‘Looking at the Gospels’ sheets and point out the differences between ‘John’ and the other three Gospels. Why is John’s Gospel so different? Some of the answers given by people who study the Bible include: 1. John did not speak to the same people as Matthew, Mark and Luke, therefore his information is different. 2. John wanted to tell people who Jesus was, not just what he did.


Week 2 objective: To introduce the idea that we can recognise Jesus' disciples by their love for one another. 

This verse tells us that if people watched Jesus’ disciples carefully they would see that they were loving towards each other and when people saw that, they would  know that they were Jesus’ disciples.

Underline the word disciples. Explain that this verse isn't just about the first 12 disciples, it's about all Christians everywhere. Christians today are Jesus' disciples because like the first disciples they want to live the way Jesus lived and do the things he taught. They want to think, feel and live like him. 

But why did Jesus say that people would see his disciples being loving towards each other? Explain that a disciple is someone who, with the powerful help of the Holy Spirit, is learning and growing to be more like Jesus. Because Jesus is loving, with the powerful help of the Holy Spirit, his disciples (Christians) will learn and grow to be loving too. 


Week 3 objective: To talk about what the word ‘agape’ means and how Christians can learn and grow to love each other in this way. 

 Explain that when John first wrote this verse he would have written it in ancient Greek and instead of the word ‘love’ he would have written ‘agape’. Underline the word ‘love’. Explain that ‘love’ is the right English translation for ‘agape’ but there is an even better way of describing what ‘agape’ means: ‘agape’ means ‘loving somebody in such a way that you put them first and expect nothing in return’. 

If we were to take John’s verse and read it the way Jesus said it we would read… ‘everyone will know that you are my disciples because you put each other first and expect nothing  in return’. 

But why will Jesus' disciples love each other this way? Remind the children that last week we discovered that a disciple is someone who, with the powerful help of the Holy Spirit, is learning and growing to be more like Jesus.  Jesus loves people with agape love - putting them first and expecting nothing in return. Because Jesus loves people this way, with the powerful help of the Holy Spirit his disciples will learn and grow to love people this way too. 


Week 4 objective: To talk about the importance of Christians loving one another. 

Why is it great when Christians love each other?

Remind the children that our game showed that when people get on well they work well together as a team and do things that they couldn’t do on their own. One of the reasons it is great for Christians to love each other is that together they can do great things for God.  You might like to talk about organisations that you know where Christians work together to help people, such as organising food or clothes banks. Explain that some Christians also work together to tell people the Good News about Jesus. Sometimes Christians organise events to either help people, or to tell people more about God. 

Ask the children to think for a moment what it would be like if Christians who worked together didn’t get along with one another.  Now ask them to think what it would be like if Christians who worked together loved each other with ‘agape’ love, putting each other first, expecting nothing in return.


Week 5 objective: To talk about a church being the people not the building. 

Draw a group of stick people next to the verse and remind the children that the church is not the building; it is the group of Christians who gather together. Circle the group of stick people and explain that although many church buildings are very beautiful and useful, wherever the Christians meet together they are the church.

For older children you might want to explain that Christians believe there is one big Church called the Universal Church. The big Church is made up of all Christians everywhere – it stretches around the world. It is in fact made up of all Christians that are alive now and have ever lived. Of course it is not possible for all Christians in the Universal Church to meet together. However, lots of Christians meet together in smaller groups close to where they live. These groups of Christians are called local churches. All around the world there are thousands and thousands of local churches. Christians often get together in their local churches on a Sunday because this is the day on which Christians have gathered together for hundreds of years. But Christians get together on other days too.

Ask the children to list some of the things Christians do when they gather together. Discuss the children's answers and explain that Christians gather together to help one another live God’s way - to love God and others.