Discipling our kids well at church necessitates that we use an interactive and theologically-solid children’s church teaching curriculum. But where do we find one of those? Here’s a suggetion. This past summer, GCI Generations Ministries (GenMin) provided a children’s companion to its standard camp curriculum for teens. This companion curriculum, titled Celebrate the Grip, is free to GCI congregations to use with their children. It’s quite good!
The first teaching segment in the curriculum is posted below and the full curriculm is posted on GenMin’s website (click here).
Celebrate the Grip, chapel 1
Big Picture Point: Jesus knows me and loves me.
Bible Story: Jesus is Anointed at Simon’s House, Luke 7:36-50
Opening Song: “Your Love Never Fails,” The Newsboys
“Good (Morning/Afternoon)! Welcome to our first chapel! I am so excited to talk to you today and to really explore what it means to Celebrate the Grip—that means we are going to see all the ways that God has got us and won’t ever let us go, because of how much God loves us. There are a lot of stories in the Bible that tell us all about this, and most of them have to do with Jesus.
The Bible (hold up Bible) is completely true—it’s not a book full of made-up stories, but a book that contains the true Story of God and people. In the Bible, we learn that Jesus, God’s only Son, came to us, looking like one of us, to find and embrace us, just as we are, because God made you and loves you no matter what.
Now, before we get into our Bible story today, I need four volunteers to come up and play, “What Do You Know”?
Game: “What Do You Know?”
Materials: Pads of paper, markers, earmuffs, silly string, “fabulous prize”
One contestant is chosen to be the guesser and will turn around and put on the earmuffs while the other contestants write down any number between 1 and 10 on their papers and show the audience.
“Ok, (Contestant name), you have a chance to guess what number these contestants each chose. If you guess any of their numbers, you win, and you will receive this “fabulous prize” (show fabulous prize). If you guess no numbers correctly, you lose and will be silly-stringed off the stage to the amusement of every person here. Are you ready? Ok. You may ask each contestant one question and one question only to give you a hint as to which number they have chosen.
(Allow the game to play through, rewarding the contestant if they guess correctly, and letting the other contestants spray him with silly string if they do not. If you have time, and the first contestant loses, play another round with the remaining contestants, selecting a guesser and playing as in the first round.)
Thank you so much to our fantastic contestants; let’s give them a round of applause! (Dismiss contestants back to their seats, or to the washroom if they’ve been silly-stringed)
Jesus is Anointed at Simon’s House, Luke 7:36-50
Materials: 5 pieces of paper, stapled to long paper strips, to go around actors’ foreheads like the game “Hedbanz”. Paper 1 shows a broken heart, paper 2 shows “angry eyes”, and papers 3-5 show big question marks.
Adult volunteer to play Jesus.
(Open Bible) “This is the Bible, and as I said before, it tells the true Story of God and People. The part of the Story we’re reading today comes from Luke, chapter 7, verse 36-50. I’ll need more volunteers to help me with this story today – 2 girls and 3 boys please. (Bring volunteers on stage, and give a boy the angry eyes headband, a girl the broken heart, and the remaining kids the question mark headbands) And also, our Jesus, played by (adult volunteer’s name).
So, to set the scene, Simon (point to Angry Eyes )was a Pharisee. He was very concerned about following the rules, and he invited Jesus over to talk with Him, mostly about rules. Simon was also very concerned with making sure everyone else follows the rules too, which is why he has angry eyes. He got very upset when people broke the rules. Simon invited Jesus to his home, with some other guests who had questions about Jesus (point to the crowd). So, Simon, his guests, and Jesus, were all sitting down at dinner, eating and talking. They were eating Roman style, which means they were kinda lounging around, like you might at a picnic. (Encourage the actors to recline and mime eating)
Now, we all know how to treat guests in our home to make them comfortable – what are some ideas? (allow answers from the group) Well, in Simon’s country, when a guest came to your house, in order to make them feel comfortable and welcome, you’d offer them a way to wash their feet from the dusty road, some nice lotions to take away the camel smell, and kiss them on the cheek. But remember, Simon was mostly concerned with rules and not people, so he didn’t do any of that when Jesus came over to his house. Simon wanted to get talking right away about the rules and how people should follow them.
Simon and his friends and Jesus were eating and talking all about the rules, when suddenly a woman burst into the room (point to Broken Heart). Some parts of the Bible say different things about her name, so we’ll call her MM for Maybe Mary. MM walked straight into the room and threw herself at Jesus’ feet (direct Broken Heart to do so). She cried over Jesus’ feet and wiped them with her hair. She opened a little jar she had in her pocket and poured special perfumed lotion all over Jesus’ feet and she kissed His feet. She wanted Jesus to know how much she loved Him, because she knew that Jesus loved her first.
Simon was horrified! This was a woman who was well known all over town for breaking all of the rules! And she had just barged into a private party! Look surprised, Simon. Now look angry. Good. So Simon thought to himself – If Jesus really was sent by God, He would know that this woman is a rulebreaker. She is the worst of the worst.
Now, in our guessing game, did anyone get it right 100% of the time? No, because none of us knows everything. But Jesus not only knows everything, He knows everyone. Jesus knew that this woman was so grateful because she was forgiven of her sins. Jesus knew that Simon really wanted to follow God the right way and keep all the rules. Jesus knew that the crowd hadn’t made up their minds yet about who He was.
Jesus told Simon a story that showed that God had already forgiven this woman of all she had done and that God had forgiven Simon of his sins too – like loving rules more than people. God forgave first because He knew everything this woman had done, everything Simon had done, everything everyone of us has ever done. But God loved us just the same and forgave us just the same.
God knows everything you’ve ever thought, or done, or said. God knows how much you love your parents and friends, He knows how much you want to send your little siblings to the moon sometimes; He know when you lie and fight and hug and forgive. God knows all of those things. And God sent Jesus to us to love us and to make a way for our forgiveness.
This is why we have our first Big Picture Point: Jesus knows me and loves me. Let’s say that together: Jesus knows me and loves me. Great! We’ll be talking more about that in our small groups in just a few minutes. But first, let’s pray and thank God for His love for us. (Lead Closing Prayer)
Closing Song: “Hey, Jesus Loves Me”, Shout Praises Kids, Friend of God, 2007
Small Group Discussion
Game: Laundry Basket.
Materials – a circle of chairs, carpet squares, or papers
Make sure you are one chair short of the number of kids in your group. Assign each kid one of four articles of clothing – shirt, socks, jeans, hats. Pick one player to begin as IT in the center of the circle. IT calls out a clothing type, and all those kids must trade seats quickly. If IT can get a seat in the scramble, whoever is left standing in the center becomes the new IT. At any point, IT can call “Laundry Basket”, and all the kids must trade seats. Play as long as interest holds.
“We’re comfortable with people knowing what kind of clothes we like by what we wear; but there’s a lot of stuff we wouldn’t want anyone to know about us – that we’re still scared of the dark, or that we lied to our mom about our homework, or that sometimes we are extremely angry or sad or lonely.”
Discuss what Jesus knew about this woman: that she had good days and bad ones, that she made wise choices and foolish ones, and yet He loved her. How is that like us? When we have things we want to hide, we can remember that Jesus knows me and loves me.
To download the full “Celebrate the Grip” curriculm for kids, click here. To comment on your experience using it, or to ask questions, use the “leave a reply” feature below. We’d love to hear from you.