Week 4 objectives: to find out what the Gospel is and to discover that we can tell people what being a Christian means to us by talking about the Gospel.
Game - 7 mins
Aims: to introduce the idea that we can often find good news in a newspaper.
You will need: Four points of the gospel (see Printables), ‘How to roll the four points into newspaper batons’ instructions (see Printables), masking tape, enough newspapers for one between two (even if you have a small group you will need four newspapers), ‘how to set out your room’ diagram (see Printables) and a bag of cotton wool balls (if you are playing on carpet you will need to use ping-pong balls, tennis balls or small balloons instead of cotton wool).
Before the session follow the diagram to make a large grid on the floor using the masking tape. Print ‘Four points of the gospel’ and follow the instructions to make the newspaper batons. Divide the children into two teams. Call the teams ‘A’ and ‘B’. Explain that each team needs to pick two players. The four players need to stand in the grid. Players from team ‘A’ should face the players from team ‘B’ as indicated in the diagram. The volunteers then need to play a game of ‘hockey’ using the cotton wool or ping pong balls and the newspaper batons as hockey sticks. The players must remain in their square at all times and can only hit the ball when it is in their square.
To score a goal they need to hit the ball over their opponent's goal-line. As soon as one team scores a goal, the four players sit down and four new players can compete against each other.
Talk about - 6 mins
You will need: a large sheet of paper or a whiteboard, marker pen and ‘Four points of the gospel’ explanation 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 telling others what being a Christian means to us. Quickly underline the reference. Remind the children that ‘1 John’ is a letter to a group of Christians. Tell the children that people who study the Bible think that John, who wrote 1 John, was one of Jesus’ disciples.
Underline the phrase ‘seen with our eyes’. Remind the children John saw Jesus heal the sick. He saw Jesus die on the cross. He looked inside the empty tomb. He met with Jesus after God had raised him back to life and he saw what looked like flames on his friends when they were filled with the Holy Spirit. Because John had seen these things he believed that Jesus was God the Son; he believed that God had sent Jesus to live, die and rise again. John believed that through Jesus everybody everywhere could become close friends with God. Because of what John had seen with his own eyes he believed that Jesus was the Saviour of the world.
Underline the phrase ’and now tell…’ then underline the phrase ‘God sent his Son to be their Saviour’.
Explain that John didn’t keep quiet about what he saw; he began to tell people that God had sent Jesus to be their Saviour; he began to tell people what he had seen. Over and over and over again John told people that ‘God sent Jesus to be the Saviour of the world.’ John wanted to tell everybody in the whole world that Jesus was their Saviour. John wanted to tell everybody everywhere that Jesus had come to save them from a life without God. John wanted other people to know what it’s like to be friends with God.
At that time many of the other disciples were also sharing what they had seen. Some of the disciples started travelling to different countries to tell people about Jesus. Others, like John, wrote letters. People began to take John’s letters around the world. Today John’s letters can be read in hundreds of different languages all around the world.
Write the word ‘Gospel’ next to the verse. Ask the children if they have heard the word ‘Gospel’ before. Ask the children if they know what the word means. Explain that ‘the Gospel’ means ‘the good news about being a Christian’. When John told people that Jesus had come to save them from a life without God he was telling them ‘the Gospel’.
Show the children the newspaper batons and briefly talk about the different types of news you might find in a newspaper: good news, sad news, bad news, exciting news etc. Ask the children to unravel the newspaper batons they used in the game to find the good news about being a Christian.
Use the ‘Four points of the gospel’ sheet to explain to the children how the four signs tell us the good news about being a Christian.
Explain that if somebody asks them ‘Why are you a Christian?’ they can talk about the good news of being a Christian by remembering the four points. Sometimes it’s difficult to remember all four points so even if they just remember the first one that’s great.
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.
Song - 2 mins
To the tune of ‘On top of Spaghetti’(‘On top of Old Smokey)
We’ve seen with our own eyes
And now tell the world,
To be-ee their Saviour,
God sent his Son.
You’ll read in John’s letter,
One John four, fourteen,
To be-ee their Saviour,
God sent his Son.