Use this children’s Sunday School lesson to teach kids about working together as a church and as Christians.
Needed: Bibles, bowls of dry cereal or other food, empty bowls whiteboard or chalkboard, drawing paper, crayons or colored pencils
Intro Activity: Acting It Out
Divide students into groups of three or four. Have each group decide on and act out a scene in which a group of Christians from other churches or countries can work together to do something.
Intro Game: Distraction Reaction
Have students line up at one end of your playing area. Set up a bowl of dry cereal or other food behind each one of them. Keep a large empty bowl in front of you.
Tell students that their goal is to race to the other side of the playing area. Do not mention the bowls of food yet.
When you say, “Go!” students will start racing. But almost immediately after you say, “Go!” say, “Wait! I need you all to take one piece of the food behind you and bring it over here to put in this empty bowl. It’s to help feed hungry people. Then, you can go back and line up for the race.”
Once they’re all lined up, do the same thing. Repeat the process a few times until students become frustrated. Then, let them race and eat the snack in their bowls.
Ask students, What has to be done to make the church run? (Help them think of a list. Write their ideas down on a whiteboard.)
What would happen if one person had to do all the things on that list?
That person would probably get pretty tired and probably wouldn’t have enough time to do everything on that list, so a lot of things wouldn’t get done.
(Read Acts 6:1-7.)
“In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenistic Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, ‘It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.’”
“This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. 6 They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.
“So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.”
In this Bible passage, the followers of Jesus were helping the poor people by giving them food. But some of the poor women weren’t getting their food. They were being skipped and forgotten about. And the leaders of the followers of Jesus said that they couldn’t give people their food. Why did the leaders say that they couldn’t do it? (Because they were too busy. They were teaching about Jesus and doing other things, so they didn’t have time to make sure everyone was getting their food.)
It was kind of like how I kept interrupting your race and having you bring food over to help feed hungry people. The leaders wanted to teach people about Jesus, but they had to keep stopping to feed people.
So, to make sure that people got their food, what did the leaders of the followers of Jesus say to do? (They said to choose other people to work on the giving out the food.)
The leaders realized that they couldn’t do everything on the list of things that had to happen for the church to run well. They needed other people to help them do the things on the list.
Give students drawing supplies and tell them to think of one talent that they have, one thing that they’re good at, and draw themselves as a superhero based on that ability. There can be athletic superheroes, smart superheroes, and friendly superheroes.
Tell them to be creative. Help them to think of their talents. Once they’ve drawn their superheroes, ask them to think of how a superhero with that talent could help at church. Again, tell them to be creative in their answers.
As they’re answering, write down each student’s talent and how they could help at church on the whiteboard. Once all the students have answered, show them the board.
Ask them to imagine all of their superheroes combining to make one really powerful superhero. Explain to them that that is what it’s like when everyone helps at church. We’re all combining our talents to make one really good church.
And then, when all the churches combine, and all the Christians work together for Jesus, then our superhero begins really powerful.
If someone isn’t helping, then the church isn’t as good because we’re losing that person’s talent. Our superhero church isn’t as powerful. Encourage students to think of ways that they can help at church to make the church and the larger Body of Christ really cool like a superhero.
Father God, we thank You for giving us all ways that we can help in Your church. Help us to know how to work together and how to help other Christians who aren’t in our church. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.
You can also find this lesson for Kindle or in print in my book, Followers of the Christ.