Week 2 objective: to discover that God did something amazing – he sent his Son Jesus from Heaven to earth, to live with people.
Game - 6 mins
Aim: to think about planet Earth being surrounded by many different stars and planets.
You will need: at least eight paper plates, a stop watch, suitable music and the means to play it (optional), a book about planets possibly from a library or images of space from the internet (beware of copyright regulations), planet-maps (see Printables), felt tip pens and colouring pencils.
Print sufficient planet-maps for your group - for 12 children you will need around eight maps. Before the session write ‘Earth’ in the middle of one of the paper plates. Roughly colour in the rim of the plate blue and green. On the remaining paper plates write different names of planets and colour the rims using suitable colours. Write one name on each plate. Use names that are appropriate for the age of the children i.e for most groups of children call the planets ‘red planet’, ‘purple planet’, ‘orange planet’, ‘spotty planet‘, ‘stripy planet’ etc. For much older children you could use the name of real planets.
Using a planet-map, arrange the plates on the floor so that their position replicates the arrangement of the circles on the map. Make sure the planet names are uppermost and orientated the same way. Don't worry about which ‘planet’ is where at this stage.
Divide your group into teams of three or four children and give each team a planet-map.
Tell the children that they need to try and memorise which planet is where. Explain that they can walk around the planets either as a team or on their own trying to commit their position to memory. If you have music play it while the children wander around. After about twenty seconds, stop the music and encourage the children to return to their groups. Turn the paper plates over so the names can no longer be seen. Give each group a pen or a selection of coloured pencils and ask them to quickly fill in the names of as many planets as they can. Younger children may need some help writing the names - alternatively they could draw the relevant coloured dot in the centre of the circles. When all the children have filled in as many names as possible, reveal the planet names and see which team got the most right. Award one point for every correct name and an extra ten points for those that remembered the position of planet earth.
If you have time, allow one of the teams to rearrange the planets then repeat the game.
Show the children a picture in a book or an online image of planet Earth. Briefly explain that Earth, along with seven other planets, goes round and round the sun. If you have time talk a little more about our Solar System, telling the children the names of the planets and their positions in order of distance from the sun.
Talk about - 7 mins
You will need: a large sheet of paper or a whiteboard, marker pens, a Bible and a globe or a map of the world.
Before the session write the verse on the whiteboard or paper. Underline the phrase ‘by sending his only Son into the world’. Read the verse aloud stressing the part you have underlined.
Circle the word ‘world’. Ask the children what people mean when they talk about ‘the World’. Show the globe or the map of the world. Are they just talking about planet Earth? ...or is it all the countries that make up planet Earth? ...or perhaps the people that live in the countries?
Explain that when people talk about the world they can mean all of these things. However people who study the Bible think that when John wrote about the world he was talking about people. He was talking about all the people of the world - all the people that live on Earth. Write the word ‘people’ underneath the word ‘world’ and draw three or four stick figures next to the verse. Explain that another way of saying this verse is ‘God showed how much he loved us by sending his only Son to live with people so that we might have eternal life through him.’
Quickly circle the word ‘loved’. Point to the words ‘loved’ and ‘world’ as you explain that Christians believe God loves all the people in the whole world – all the people that have been born and all those that are to be born. Christians believe that God loves everybody very much; he loves everybody, everywhere. Christians believe God doesn’t just love everybody as one group, he loves everybody individually; he knows everybody by name and he loves each and every person.
If you have time briefly explain that the Bible teaches that God loves everybody, everywhere more than they could ever imagine; there is nobody that God does not love. There is nothing anybody can do that will make God love them less, or anything they can do to make God love them more. It's because God loves people so much that he sent his Son to live among them.
Next week we will discover more about what Jesus came to do when he lived among people.
Song - 2 mins
To the tune of ‘All good gifts around us’ (i.e. the chorus to the hymn ‘We plough the fields and scatter’) .
God showed how much he loved us,
By sen--ding his own Son,
Into the world,
so we might have,
eternal life through him.