Week 2 objectives: to talk about what Jesus meant when he said ‘I am the vine’ and to discover that Christians who are close friends with Jesus start to want the same things he wants.
Game - 7 mins
Aim: to play a game with ‘grapes’ before talking about Jesus saying ‘he is the vine’.
You will need: two pieces of string both two meters in length, wooden clothes pegs, ‘bunches of grapes’ (see Printables), green crepe paper cut into strips approximately 3 cm wide and 60 cm in length, lively music and the means to play it. Before the session print and cut out enough bunches of grapes for at least four per child. Place the bunches around the room; make some harder to find/reach than others.
Divide the children into two teams. Give each team a length of string. Ask two volunteers from each team to hold the string stretched out between them. The string will be the vines. Add branches by draping crepe paper over the string. Place the pegs on the floor close to the ‘vines’. Explain to the children that they need to collect bunches of grapes from around the room and peg them to their vine, but they can only carry one bunch at a time. Play lively music as grapes are collected. The team with the most grapes on their vine wins.
For a quieter activity...
You will need a grape. Sit the children, cross-legged, in a circle. One person sits in the middle. Each child in the circle places their left hand on their left knee, palm up, with their fingers curled slightly. The person in the middle should not be able to see if the children have or haven’t got something in their hand. Ask the player in the middle to close their eyes. Give the grape to someone in the circle. The person who has the grape places it in their cupped left hand. Ask the person in the middle to open their eyes. Explain that everybody needs to use their right hand to pretend to pick a ‘grape’ from their left hand and place it in the left hand of the person on their right. Everyone counts to ten together picking up the pretend ‘grape’ on one count then placing it their neighbour's hand on the next. Whoever has the real grape actually needs to pass it along. When the group has counted to ten everyone needs to pretend they are holding the grape. The person in the middle then tries to guess who really has the grape. The person in the middle has two chances to guess. On their second guess they swap with the person holding the grape, whether they are right or wrong.
For an even quieter activity...
You will need a vine maze (see Printables). Find out which vine leads to the biggest basket of grapes.
Talk about - 6 mins
You will need: a large sheet of paper or a whiteboard, thick marker pens (including a brown pen), ‘bunches of grapes’ (see Printables) and sticky tac.
Before the session print and cut out five or six bunches of grapes. Write the verse on the large sheet of paper or whiteboard. Remind the children that when John wrote this verse he was writing down what Jesus had said to the disciples. Read the verse aloud.
At that time Jesus talked about a plant called a vine. Draw a wiggly brown line up the side of the paper/whiteboard. The disciples knew that a vine has lots of branches. Add ‘branches’ to the wiggly line. They knew that once a year big bunches of grapes hang down from the branches. Use the sticky tac to stick the bunches of grapes to the branches. One day Jesus explained that he was like a vine and Christians are like the branches. If a branch is taken away from the vine it will dry up and be of no use. Circle one of the ‘branches’. Jesus said it is important that Christians stay joined to him like branches on a vine. Underline the phrase ‘joined together with me’.
Another way of thinking about being joined to Jesus is to think about being close friends with him. You might like to repeat the verse replacing the phrase ‘stay joined together with me’ with ‘stay close friends with me’. Draw a stick person next to the vine. Very briefly explain that a close friend is someone whom we spend lots of time with. The Bible teaches that Christians can be close friends with Jesus; they can spend time with him as they read their Bibles, pray and worship. Quickly underline the phrase ‘follow my teaching’. Explain that Christians who are close friends with Jesus also follow his teaching, this means they do the things Jesus taught people to do.
Write the word ‘prayer’ next to the verse. Remind the children that when Jesus said these words he was also talking about praying. Quickly explain that prayer is talking with God. It is a conversation. Prayer is both talking and listening to God.
Underline the word ‘ask’. Remind the children that last week we discovered God has said it is OK for people to ask him for things when they pray, in fact he says he wants to be asked. Remind the children that the Bible teaches that God loves it when people ask him for things they need. Christians believe God longs for people to have all they need to live his way and live lives full of peace and joy.
Explain that this verse describes a way people can be sure to ask God for the things he wants to give them.Circle the words ‘ask’ and ‘want’. Read the verse aloud again.
Explain that this verse teaches that God gives people who are close friends with Jesus what they ask for. Christians believe this is because people who are close friends with Jesus start to want the same things Jesus wants and therefore ask for the things God longs to give.
Song - 2 mins
To the tune ‘Father Abraham had many sons’
Stay joined together,
Together with me,
And follow all my teachings.
If you can do this,
Then you can ask,
You can ask for anything.
Make up some simple actions to go with the song or play follow-my-leader as you sing it.