The parable of the bridesmaids (Matthew 25:1-13)
In our reading today Jesus warns us to be prepared to meet him.
Parable of the bridesmaids bible story
A story about being prepared to meet Jesus, which can be found on Sermons 4 Kids.
Use the game of "Simon Says" to introduce the theme of being alert and awake from today's passage.
Choose one person to be Simon and stand at the front. Simon calls out instructions to the group. “Simon says jump up and down.” Or “Simon says turn around”. The idea is that every time “Simon” says something everyone has to do it. But if Simon says, “Jump up and down” without first saying “Simon says”, then no one should do it. If someone does something that Simon didn’t say to do, they have to sit down. The last one in the game, wins.
What you need
Construction paper, scissors, tape, glue sticks, rules, pens.
What you do
Make paper lanterns following the step below. Then invite the kids to decorate them and write Matthew 25:13 on the handle.
Ready, set, wait!
Ministry to Children have some great ideas on this page -- including games, crafts and lesson ideas
Introduce the theme of being "ready" from today's passage by playing this simple packing relay game
In today's passage there were two groups of bridesmaids. Those that were ready and had packed all that they needed and those that weren't and had to go shopping for what they'd forgotten. Whilst they were shopping they missed out on the very thing they were waiting for!
When we go on holiday we have to be ready...ask the children what things they might need to pack for their holidays.
Today we're going to have a "packing relay"....
Materials: 2 Suitcases or backpacks, enough holiday items (such as sunglasses, suncream, shorts, jandals, sun-hat, toothpaste, hairbrush, camera, beach towel, bucket and spade) for two groups.
Divide the group into two teams or if working with pre-schoolers just have children line up in one group.
Place a back pack or suitcase for each team at the end of the room.
Have each team line up behind their pile of things to pack.
When you say go, the teams must race one by one to take an item and place it in the backpack/suitcase. The person to take the last item up to the backpack/suitcase must put the backpack on and race back to their team. The first team to have their bag packed and ready to go are the winners.
For preschoolers simply have them take an item one-by-one to place in the suitcase.
The parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30)
Today we learn about using our God-given gifts.
Who is our neighbour?
Intergenerational service projects
Family Service for family small groups
God has given us so much so we want to share His love and kindness with others. Participating in intergenerational service projects not only develops compassion and thankfulness but also build draw us closer together as God’s family.
Things to consider:
Here are some ideas to get you started thinking:
Don't bury your talent bible story
A story about using our God-given gifts, which can be found on Sermons 4 Kids.
The Salvation Army have some fantastic Junior Soldiers resources for their discipleship groups, and this one covers the theme of today's reading
Ministry Ark also have a lesson plan for Matthew 2514-30
Children's activity sheets based on the parable - wordfind, anagram, crossword, maze.
A craft activity can also be found on Childrens Bible Lessons Blog
Service projects for families
Simple ideas to encouage families to create a habit of serving together.
Family Service projects
God has given us so much so we want to share His love and kindness with others. Participating in service projects as a family helps develops compassion and thankfulness while drawing us closer as a family. Involving children in the decision-making and prayer about who & how we serve, helps children recognise what they do makes a difference.
Here are some simple ideas you might like to try: Ideas for families with young children …
For older children…
As a family choose to go without dessert (or some other treat for the week) and donate the money you save, to a charity.
Craft - superpower masks
What is your super power (talent) from God? (Kids might need prompting; include qualities, like kindness, helpfulness, generosity). Using the superhero mask template, colour it, decorate it, and write on it what your super power is to inspire you to go out and be a superhero this week.
Superhero mask template found on the CBC Kids website here
About the Bible Passage
Talent show activity
The following activity is adapted from a lesson on the Ministry to Children website, found here:
Parable of the talents - piggy bank
The parable of the talents explains the concept that God has given us talents that He wants us to use and develop. Ideas for having a discussion around using the talents God has given us, using a piggy bank as an analogy.
You will need:
In the same way that we put money into a piggy bank to be used later when something needs to be done or bought, when God created you, God also put talents inside you, to be used later for the things prepared for you to do (reference: Ephesians 2:10 “God planned for us to do good things and to live as he has always wanted us to live”).
When we use these talents, we grow as people, we help other people and show them how awesome God is. We can tell our family and friends the talents that we see in them too, so that they are encouraged to use their talents too.
If we don’t use and grow the talents that God has given us, it’s like filling up a piggy bank with money and then never using it – the money is wasted and the piggy bank has no purpose. If we don’t use and grow what God has put inside us, it is wasted and we don’t find our purpose (reference: 1 Peter 4:10 “Each of you has been blessed with one of God’s many wonderful gifts to be used in the service of others. So use your gift well”).
These talents can be things that we do, e.g. organising, encouraging, leading, or they can be more like personal characteristics, e.g. wisdom, compassion, generosity.
Brainstorm on the whiteboard (or verbally if one isn’t available) a list of talents that God has put inside you, people you know. Have the children write on a piece of paper a talent that they would like to have/develop/grow in, fold up the paper and put it inside the piggy bank.
Take the talents out one at a time (as many as time allows) and discuss with the group, e.g. what does it look like when a person is a good encourager; how can we encourage other people; how can we be better encouragers? Put all of the talents back in the piggy bank and pray (teacher and/or children) over them and the children they belong to.
The Sheep and the Goats (Matthew 25:31-36)
Christ the King Sunday is marks the end of the lectionary year, and is a day where we celebrate Jesus as King
We have reached the end of the church year! For decades now many churches have celebrated this by focusing on the centre of our faith: Christ. Specifically, "Christ the King." This feast is not without its controversies, and, aptly, it comes with a gospel reading that is confronting in itself. Join John Franklin, Lisa Emerson and Michael Godfrey as they face up to the challenges - and discover the good news - within the parable of the Sheep and the Goats.
Sermon outline for adults
Contributed by: Spanky Moore, Diocese of Christchurch, on the Anglican Youth Ministry website
Hell is a topic not many of us know much about, but one that also puts plenty of people off following Jesus altogether. What do Christians believe about hell and how should it impact the way we live our lives?
All age talk - a gift for God!
A quick visual talk to explore how we show our love for God by loving others.
Supplies: A bunch of flowers, a few boxes of cereal, a man's t-shirt
Tell the children: "Look, I went shopping and bought some things for God. I love God so much I really wanted to show Him that I love Him and not because it's His birthday but just because!
What do you think I got him?
Well, let me show you. Here is a bunch of flowers. I think these are just lovely, do you want to smell them? I would love to get given flowers like these and I know my Mum always likes to be given flowers. Did you want to have a closer look? What do you think God will think of these flowers? I hope He likes them.
Place them down and look again in your bag
What else did I decide to get God. Can you guess? Well, I love cereal. It's my favourite thing to eat in the morning and sometimes at other times of the day too! I couldn't decide on what flavour! Which one do you think He might like? Which is your favourite? Well, let's put them down here whilst I see what else I bought God.
Place them down and look again in your bag.
Oh that's right, the last thing I bought God was a shirt. What do you think of this? Do you enjoy getting clothes for your birthday? Do you ever get given clothes by your Mum or Dad simply because they saw it and thought you might like it? Do you think God would like this colour? I wonder if I got the right size?
Well, here are all my gifts to show God that I love Him. What do you think? Hmm...do you think God actually needs them? I mean the flowers are beautiful but He made all the flowers in the world. As for the cereal, I don't know if God eats cereal and I wonder if He really needs extra clothes to wear. Although it was really thoughtful of me to try and buy God some gifts I don't think he really needs these. He can see my heart, and He knows I love Him.
But there is another way I can show God I love Him. In today's story, the King tells the people that “Whenever you did it for any of my people, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you did it for me.” (Matthew 25:40) That means that when we reach out to help other people or to give them gifts, even if they are strangers to us, God says it's like we are reaching out to help Him.
So I could still give God this shirt by giving it to someone else! Who might need this shirt? eg: homeless shelter, refugee families
And I could still give God these flowers by giving them to someone else! Who might need some flowers eg: people in hospital, people in rest homes
And I could even still give God this cereal by giving it to someone else...who might need some cereal? eg: local food bank
When we give these gifts to others, it's as if we're still giving them to God.
Pray to end: God we do love you and want to show you that. Help us to do a loving thing for....(allow children to fill the gap with people who may need love and help) and may they feel your love through us. Amen.
This satire video has a catchy song about the difference between goats and sheep. Its all kinds of crazy, and not about our bible passage at all, but you'll be singing in for a long time!
Source: Russell Ricker
The sheep follow Jesus
Talk through being Jesus' sheep by blessing others and make/colour a sheep to remind us who we are.
Jesus separated the people into two groups in this story, like a shepherd separates the sheep into one group and the goats into another group. The group of “sheep” were congratulated, blessed and told that they would be part of God’s kingdom.
-- Why did Jesus say that to them? What had they done that Jesus was pleased with?
Jesus said, ”When I was hungry, you gave me something to eat, and when I was thirsty, you gave me something to drink. When I was a stranger, you welcomed me, and when I was naked, you gave me clothes to wear. When I was sick, you took care of me, and when I was in jail, you visited me.”
The “sheep” were confused and didn’t know what Jesus meant, maybe because they had never met Jesus or because certainly would have remembered helping Jesus and knew that they hadn’t.
Jesus told them that when they had helped people, it was the same as if they had helped him.
“Whenever you did it for any of my people, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you did it for me.” Jesus told them.
-- Who did the “sheep” help? What kind of things did they do for them?
In a flock of sheep, the sheep follow their shepherd, they go wherever he goes, because they know that the shepherd will always take care them. Part of being in Jesus’ flock of sheep and following him is doing the things that Jesus does for us, e.g. taking care of the people around us who need help.
Choose one of the crafts below for the children to make their sheep:
When you do it for the least of these...
A dramatisation of Matthew 25:31-26
Narrator: When Jesus comes as King with all the angels with him, He will sit on His royal throne and all the people of the earth will gather before him. Jesus will divide them into two groups and He will say to one group.
Jesus: Haere mai! You are blessed by my Father! Come and live in the kingdom that He has prepared for you since the beginning of time. Because when I was hungry, you fed me and when I was thirsty, you gave me a drink. When I was a stranger, you made me welcome, and when I was cold, you gave me clothes. When I was sick and you took care of me and when I was in prison and you visited me.
Narrator: These people will say
First group: When Lord did we ever see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you a drink? When were you a stranger and we made you welcome or cold and we gave you clothes? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
Narrator: And Jesus the King will reply
Jesus: Whenever you did this for anyone, even the least important person, you did it for me!
(Depending on your audience, you may want to add the second part of the story)
Narrator: Jesus turned to the second group of people and said
Jesus: Go away from me! You are worthless and deserve only hell. When I was hungry or thirsty, you gave me nothing. I was homeless, cold and alone, you did nothing to help. When I was sick or in prison, you never visited or cared for me.
2nd Group: Master what do you mean? When did we ever see You hungry or thirsty? When were You homeless, cold or alone? When were You ever sick or in prison?
Jesus: The fact is whenever you failed to do one of these things to someone who was being overlooked or ignored; you failed to do it to me.
Narrator: So Jesus sent them away and He invited the first group into heaven to celebrate with Him for ever.
Happy and sad prayers
Use this prayer to help children begin to think about their happiness and the happiness of those around them.
Supplies: A large face that looks happy one way and sad the other way up.
Show the happy face first and ask what people or events have made the children happy during the last week and make a list of them.
Pray about the list or say a one-line thank you prayer for each one.
Then turn the face upside down and ask if anything sad or worrying has happened to them or others they know in the past week and make a list of them too. Perhaps there are people who are ill who need praying for. Pray for this list.
Finish by thanking God that he always knows how we feel, whether we are happy or sad, and thanking him for being just as close to us in the good times as in the bad. Ask God to help us see how we can help people who may be feeling sad this week.
For the least of these
Activity Sourced from here
Retell the parable of the sheep and the goats using pictures and props to act out taking care of others.
Have cutouts of the following people with the face of Jesus, make another face to cover the face of Jesus. Stick these figures to the wall, with the faces covering Jesus face so that their face can be flipped up to reveal Jesus’ face.
Faces PDF: Faces
Figures: Figures Page 1 and Figures Page 2 (you can enlarge all of these to put on the wall, 11 x 17 works good)
Person 1: Someone who is hungry
Person 2: Someone who is thirsty
Person 3: Someone who is homeless
Person 4: Someone who looks cold
Person 5: Someone who is sick
Person 6. Someone who is in prison
You will also need cutouts of food, drink, a house, clothing, get-well cards, cards that say “I am praying for you”, a cutout of a bible, card that says “you are not alone” and “you matter” – these things can be stuck to the hands or on the same sheet as the appropriate person.
Re-tell the story as follows
So Jesus says that if we help people who are in need, it is like helping him.
So if we come to someone like this (come to person 1). This person is very hungry. We can ignore him. But Jesus says that we show our love for him when we care about the things he cares about. He cares that this person is hungry. So when we give him food (have a few of the children put food in his hand) it is like we are giving the food to Jesus (flip up the face of the man so they can see Jesus’ face)
Say the same sort of thing for each person below, adding the following props to the pictures with explanations of how these things show kindness…
Rob the nest game
Topic: This game could help you introduce the topic of what it feels like to work with or against others or the topic of generosity.
Equipment: A hula-hoop per team and one for the center, 10-20 small objects/balls/bean-bags
Put one hula-hoop in the middle as the central nest, fill this with all the balls
Place the other hula-hoops/"nests" at equal distance away from the centre-hoop
Split group into teams of 3-5 people and have them stand around their "nest"
Explain to the children that their job is to be the team at the end with the most balls/"eggs" in their nest
On the count of 3 children are able (one at a time from their team) to raid the central nest and fill their team nest
Once the central-nest is emptied their job is to raid other groups and take their balls/"eggs" back to their home nest
Let the game "play" for a few minutes before blowing the whistle at which point all team members must return to their nests. Count up the balls and see which team has managed to rob the most.
Rob the Nest Reverse: As an alternative, start the game as normal with teams raiding the central nest but then have the children give the eggs to the other teams...still the team with the most eggs in their nest will be the winners at the end...the aim is to out-give others.
Possible debrief questions: How did it feel to have items taken from your team nest? How did you feel doing the robbing? Which version of the game did you enjoy the most? To the winning team...how did it feel to win even though you didn't you didn't fill your nest for yourself?