1 October 2023
Bible readings for today
God of all authority,
enable us to hear your call and do what you ask of us.
Forgive us for judging others,
help us to embrace the outcast and the downtrodden.
Transform our lives so that everything we do may proclaim your generous love.
Through Jesus Christ our Liberator,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen
A parable of two sons (Matthew 21:23-32)
Have you ever told someone something and they didn’t believe you? What was that like? (pause) I remember once that my teacher at school let me be ‘teacher for the afternoon’ at school. This was quite a privilege and I was really excited about it. I spent ages planning a lesson for my classmates and getting all the things I needed together to make it really interesting and fun.
Well, everything was fine until I tried to be the teacher. My friends wouldn’t listen to me and decided to be silly about everything I asked them to do. It made me feel really embarrassed, and I thought that it was all my fault.
Afterwards, my teacher took me aside and talked to me about it. She said that I had done a really good job, that my planning was excellent and that she was really impressed.
She also told me that perhaps the reason my friends had acted up was because they knew me as their friend, not their teacher.
In the story today, the chief priests and leaders were giving Jesus a hard time. Why do you think that was? (pause) Well, I think that maybe it was because Jesus was acting like a leader himself but they didn’t recognise him as one. So even though Jesus was speaking the truth about God, these chief priests and leaders wouldn’t listen just because they didn’t think he was good enough to be a leader with such authority.
I want you to take a moment and think about whether there is anyone in your life that has been trying to tell you something and you haven’t wanted to listen to them? (pause) God calls each of us to be leaders in different ways at different times. It’s God who gives us authority, not our friends or anyone else.
Perhaps the lesson from today’s story for each of us is to think twice before we ignore what someone says to us just because we don’t want to hear what they have to say.
Game - truth or lie
What you need: Pieces of paper, pens
What to do: Give each child a pen and a piece of paper.
Then explain that in no particular order they need to write down two things that are true about themselves, and one thing that isn’t. E.g. 1. My middle name is Charlotte (true) I have two sisters (lie) and I can drive a car (true). Give them a few minutes to do this.
Then, get them one at a time to read out their three things (in no particular order) and get everyone else to try and guess which the lie is!!!
A parable of two sons
Today's bible story explores the theme of faithfulness. Sermons 4 Kids have a modern day parable of this story on their website. You might like to update it with examples and activities that would be engaging for your children, e.g. Dad asks the kids to rake the garden, but the kids give excuses like playing Roblox, making TikToks.
You will need:
If kids ran church...
The following is an exercise for the children to get children thinking about how they would run church or to create their own children’s ministry programme. You may like to choose one or the other, depending on your setting.
For ease, the exercise below looks at how to lead a discussion about running their own children's ministry, but you could apply this to 'kids running church'. The theory is that by creating them themselves, they will be invested in making them work and it will help create a better children’s ministry group. There may be ideas that come out of this exercise that you would like to incorporate into your children’s programme
What you need: Giant pieces of paper, glue, magazines and newspapers, felts and pens
What to do: Explain to the children that today they are going to have the opportunity to design their ideal children’s ministry programme. Set up four tables each with a large piece of paper and supplies (or one table if you have a small group). Get them to think about the following things:
Then let them loose to create for about 15minutes. Encourage them but don’t take over or put your own ideas into it.
At the end of the time, get the groups to share what they have come up with to the whole group. Let everyone have a chance to share. Then, ask them to each choose one thing from what they came up with that they would like to see happen in your regular children’s programme. Write these down.
(If you can, you should show it to the adults in church as well and hang them up where they can look at them over morning tea.)
Note: You may not be able to incorporate everything that they come up with (eg a waterslide) but you may be able to do something similar (eg. An interesting way of coming into the room eg linked cardboard box tunnel) Make sure that you don’t promise anything that you won't follow through on.
Exodus 17:1-7 - Moses strikes a rock
Did you know that this is not the only time that Moses strikes a rock to get water? Again in Numbers 20:1-13, the Israelites are grumbling again in the wilderness, complaining that they don't have enough to drink, and God provides water from a rock (this story in Numbers can be found here). Looks like the Israelites took a while to trust that God would provide for them along the way...
Water from a rock?
Today's story is included in the Saddleback Kids video from last week. While it is only a small part of this video, repetition can help children recall last week's story and build on their learning.
You can find a large list of games that could be adapted to this Bible passage on the Sermon4kids website.