Preparation: Bring in one vegetable seed and some examples of the food that it makes – for example, bring in one corn kernel and an ear of corn. Even better if it is a seeds that could be planted and then grow!
For the worship station – you will need some butcher paper, a black marker, some tape and some colored sticky dots.
If you are not too pressed for time, I always think that it is fun to quickly retell this story and have the children act it out. Don’t read it, just retell it! Have someone be the sower, have some children be the seeds, you will need some birds, too! All of the children can join together at the end when the seed grows and returns a good crop. Then you can wrap up by going through a little bit of Jesus explanation.
If this is going to be too long you can just briefly tell retell the four places the seeds fall and jump right to the explanation below.
Wow! That was really fun, but do you know what it all means? Yeah, neither did the disciples! So Jesus took a little time to explain it. He said that sometimes, when we tell people about our faith that they might say mean things, or that we are silly for believing in any of that stuff. That is like the seeds on the path that got eaten by the birds. Or, maybe we hear about Jesus but we really just want to play with our iPads, or phones, or we get caught up in playing sports or acting in plays or whatever, and we think those things are more important than God. That is like the seeds that land in the thorns and get choked by weeds and can’t grow. Or maybe we get really excited about something at church, but it doesn’t really turn out the way we hoped, so we just decide not to go back to church anymore. That is like the seeds in the rocky soil that don’t have good roots and just fall over.
But then there is the good soil, and it returns a hundredfold, or maybe sixty or thirty . . . ok, wait, what does that mean? Well, I brought in a seed to see if we can figure this out. OK, here is a corn kernel. It really doesn’t look like much, does it? And it is not very expensive, either. I could pretty easily scatter a handful of these in my garden and just hope that one or two would grow and I would probably have at least a few corn plants. Then, each of those corn plants would grow (I hope!) several ears of corn, like this! How many kernel are on this? More than one, that’s for sure, maybe there are 50 or even a hundred, just like the story says, and this is just one ear of corn! All this from a tiny, inexpensive seed.
Jesus is saying that our faith, and the faith we share with others can be like that, too! Some of it might not grow, for all kinds of reasons, but if even the littlest part of our faith takes root in ourselves or in someone else it will grow beyond anything that we can imagine.
God of Creation, we praise and thank you for sowing seeds of faith in us. Help us to continue to scatter the seeds of our faith knowing that faith will not always grow, but that when it does it will be amazing! Amen.
The general idea is to create something big out of little pieces, so this could take many different forms! I will go through the example of making sticker flowers with round colored stickers, but if could be a whole congregation Lego project, or a kick off for a summer food drive, or school supply drive.
For the flowers, tear off a big sheet of butcher paper or art paper. If can be whatever color you want (green would match the season!) Then draw a couple of flower stems, make them big, and add leaves and a block circle at the top that will be the center of the flower. Invite people to stick a dot on the paper to help build a large colorful flower around the circle at the top of the stems.
Before they put the dot on the paper, ask them to think about what keeps their faith from growing? Then have them categorize it as P (path), W (weeds), or R (rocks) and write that letter on the dot.
Some examples might help people decide – for Path it might be things like the way other Christians behave, or hearing that believing in God is silly or stupid. For the Weeds think of things like money worries, sports teams, clubs, video games. For rocks think of disappointments and missed expectations.