Preparation: Get pictures of sheep-the ideas is that the flocks look the same and that often a ‘fold or flock’ of sheep will all look alike to one another, but you can show various flocks. Also there are photos of flocks where one sheep is not the same, you can use that as well (try this link) Also get pictures of various types of people. You can google these images or use children’s book Faith put out by the Global Fund for Children (Click here for amazon link)
For the worship station you will need a camera and photo printer that prints wirelessly or a Polaroid camera.
Gather the children to you. Show them the picture of the sheep. Ask them what they see and know about sheep (yes, that could get interesting!) Ask them to tell you what the word fold or flock means and help them define it as a group of sheep) Ask them to tell you what they notice about what the sheep look like. (they are all the same but not all the flocks are exactly the same) You can also show them a photo where one flock has a sheep that stands out.
Jesus tells us today that he is the good shepherd who will take care of the sheep. He also says that he must bring in other sheep, all sheep to the fold or flock. Jesus is not just talking about sheep, he is talking about people, about us. Show them the pictures of various kinds of people. Ask them what they notice about the people. “Yes, not all the people are the same are they? Now which people is Jesus saying belong as part of his flock? Yes, all the people do. This can be difficult for us, because sometimes we don’t want to include other people. So Jesus sets a high standard here of telling us that all belong and that we can love and serve even those that might not be like us or even those we don’t always know or understand. This is also really good news for us because we know that we are part of the flock but also because we know that even those who look different or live differently or pray differently are still a part of the flock, they are still loved and given promises by Jesus to be with God. ”
Loving Jesus, thank you for promising to care for us and be our shepherd. Help us to see others as loved and cared for by you as well and to live your love. Amen
+ May you know Jesus in your heart and in your days. Alleluia! +
Have a poloroid camera or a phone camera that connects to a small photo printer. Invite people to take selfies and post them on a poster board. Write the words “All belong in the Flock” on the poster or cut it into the shape of a cross or heart. Or create a background of a pasture on the poster board so all the people are the sheep.
Preparation: create a memory game or use one that you have. Either put some simple pictures on index cards or get small boxes you can hid objects under. Have one object missing purposely without a match. You will want to only have 3-5 object sets for time constraints.
Gather children up front with you. Have the memory game ready and welcome them. Say, I have this game with me today–anyone every played ‘memory’ before? Let’s try it.
Have one child help you with the turning the cards or lifting the boxes. If you have a small number of kids they can take turns, a large number you will want them to just point while you or one child turns items over. Play until you have the matches all but one.
Hmm, where is the match for this one? Anyone able to find it? I wonder where it went? Should we look for it? Start looking in places close to you. You can make this as long or as short as you want. Find the match in your pocket or someplace near you. Oh, there it is! I wonder how it got there? I am so glad we found this match! We can finish the game! Phew, the game would have been ruined if we didn’t find the match! I do not like it when things are lost.. do you? Have you every been lost? (take answers briefly).
Jesus tells us a story today about a lost sheep and a lost coin. The people who lost them, looked everywhere until they were able to find them. And the ones that were lost, well they couldn’t do much of anything to be found just like our card (or whichever object you had lost) could make a noise or cry out or move to be found, could it? Well that is what this story is about–that God loves you SO MUCH that even if you are lost or even if you aren’t sure about God or have questions about your faith, God will find you. God promises you are always one of her children and that you are found because you belong to God. And I was pretty happy I found that piece, so I could finish the game. Well God is so happy to have you as a child that God throws a party and rejoices and does a happy dance and promises to never leave you.
Jesus, you are always looking for us and we thank you for your love that finds us. Amen
God rejoices over you!
Scripture: John 10:11-18
Preparation: Secure a live sheep–Ha, ha! Just kidding! Highly recommended NOT to try this unless you can move kiddos outside whereby it’s a really cool idea and I have seen it done it well!
Plant a few people the children might know to say loudly “follow me”. You might want to pick a parent of one of the children.
musical instruments or other ‘noise makers’
Faith+Open: Gather children to you and welcome them in. Ask, Do you think you can tell what things are by their sound? Ok, close your eyes (this will have to be the honor system!) and I am going to make some sounds and you say what they are:
proceed to make sounds like a bell, spoons together, clapping, other instruments, kazoo, whatever you can find. Do just a few 2-3.
Faith+Share: Now about people’s voices? Do you think you can tell who someone is by the sound of their voice? Close your eyes again and see if you can guess. Have the people you planted shout “Follow me” You can be one of them because they will know it’s you most likely even if they don’t know you because you will be sitting closest to them.
Jesus says today that the he knows his own and they know him. He calls himself the shepherd and the people the sheep that follow the shepherd. One way that sheep know who to follow is that they know the sound of their shepherd’s voice. Then they can follow the person who they know will take care of them and protect them. How do you know who to follow or trust? (take answers) Yes, it might not be only their voice but I bet you know if your parent or grandparent or teacher is calling your name because you have a relationship with them and know that they care for you. Jesus promises that he cares for you too and that he will be known to us because he will never leave us.
Faith+Prayer: Jesus, help me know you, help me know your voice and your love. Thank you Jesus for your life and your love, for your death and for your rising. Amen
Remember what Jesus says to his disciples: Do not be afraid and peace be with you. +