Use this children’s Sunday School lesson to teach kids that we can always have faith and never need to be afraid.
Needed: Faith vs. Fear cards, masking tape or other supplies to make the outline of a large ship, crumpled pieces of paper
Intro Game: Faith vs. Fear
Print out or write the words Fear or Faith on a set of index cards. You should have an equal number of cards that say Faith as Fear.
Divide students into two teams, and have the teams line up on separate sides of the room in single file lines. Mix up the cards and give each student a card that says Faith or Fear. Set a timer for 3-5 minutes, depending on how many students you have. When you say Go! the first two students run toward each and show each other their cards.
If one says Faith and the other says Fear, the student with Faith scores a point for their team. The person with Fear does not score. If both say Faith, both score a point and if both say Fear, neither does. Both return to the back of their lines and trade their cards for a new card.
As soon as they leave the center, the second two players run up and do the same thing. Play continues until the timer runs out. The team with the most points at the end wins.
Make an outline of a boat on the floor. I used masking tape for this, but you may want to draw a boat outline on butcher paper or come up with your own idea of how to do this.
Tell students to gather around the outside of your boat.
Read Matthew 8:23-27 and have students act out the story as you read. I’ve given an example of how you could do this below.
“Then Jesus got into the boat, and His disciples followed Him.”
Everyone, step into the boat. Remember, you have to step high to step over the side of the boat.
“Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake…”
Everyone look furious, like you’re really mad… Yeah, that’s what the storm was like. Very scary.
“…so that the waves swept over the boat.”
Everyone, make a big wave with your arms and make it crash over the side of the boat. Make a big splashing sound. Good.
“But Jesus was sleeping.”
Everyone, pretend you’re sleeping.
“The disciples went and woke him, saying, ‘Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!’”
Everyone, look really afraid… Good. That’s probably how the disciples looked.
“Jesus replied, ‘You of little faith, why are you so afraid?’ Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the waves…”
Everyone, yell, “Stop!”… That’s what Jesus told the storm to do. He told it to stop.
“…and it was completely calm.”
Everyone, take in a deep breath. Let it out, “Ahhh!”
“The men were amazed…”
Everyone, look surprised. Yeah, it says the disciples were amazed. They were surprised that Jesus could just tell the storm what to do.
“…and asked, ‘What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey Him!’”
How did the disciples feel when the storm came while they were in the boat? (Afraid.)
Should they have been afraid? (No.)
Why not? (Jesus was with them, and they should have known that He could help them.)
Should we ever be afraid? (No.)
We should never be afraid because we know that Jesus is with us and can help us.
If Jesus could make the storm stop and help His disciples, do you think He can help you with your problems? (Yes.)
Jesus is powerful enough to help us with any problem.
Game: Calming the Storm
Make an outline of a boat on the floor. Crumple a lot of paper. Pick a few students to stand inside the boat outline. You stand in the outline as well, pretending to be asleep. You are Jesus. They are the disciples. The rest of the students are the storm.
They pick up the crumpled papers and try to throw them into the boat outline. The disciples try to bail out their boat by removing the papers. The round ends when you yell, “Stop!” The storm stops and the disciples are able to bail out their boat. Remind students that Jesus was able to tell the storm to stop, and it did.
Play again. This time, the students who were the disciples are now the storm, and the students who were the storm are now the disciples.
Game: Faith vs. Fear
Play the intro game again and remind students that we never need to afraid because Jesus can always help us.
Jesus, we praise You for being so powerful that You can even tell the storm to stop, and it listens to You. Help us to have faith and pray to You whenever we need help. Amen.
You can also find this lesson for Kindle or in print in my book, The Miracles of Jesus.