The “I AM” Names of Jesus: A Children’s Church Lesson

This is a lesson plan for Children’s Church on the “I AM” Names of Jesus, but it can be adapted for any children’s ministry setting.  It is intended for 1st – 5th graders.

Bible Basis: God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.  This is what you are to say to the Israelites:  I AM has sent me to you.  God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers – the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob- has sent me to you.’  This is my name forever, the name by which I am to be remembered from generation to generation.  ” – Exodus 3:14-15

Bible Story: Jesus calls himself “I AM”
Scripture: Various passages from John
Target Age Group: Age 7 – 12 (U.S. 1st – 6th Grade)
Time: 20 Minutes
Learning Context: Children’s Church
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Learning Objectives: After this lesson, the children will be able . . .

  1. To identify the “I AMs” of Jesus and their corresponding meanings.
  2. To apply the “I AMs” of Jesus in their lives.

Materials: PRINT PRINT this lesson plan, Bibles, post-its with simple nouns on them (one for each child), Optional Nametag Necklaces with jobs written on them (reader, writer, presenter, illustrator), small pieces of paper with the following verses on them:  John 6:48-51, John 8:12, John 10:7-9, John 10:14-16, John 11:25-26, John 14:6, and John 15:1-2, tape, pencils, construction paper, paper, markers, alphabet beads, beading string, white board/chalk board and writing implement

Anticipatory Set:  “Who or What Am I?”

  1. Distribute post-it notes with simple nouns on each.  Stick them on each student’s forehead.
  2. Each student should attempt to figure out their noun.  Have them ask questions that have yes or no answers.  (Do I have four legs?  Am I an animal?  Do I meow?)  Help as needed.
  3. The student ends the guessing game by stating, “Oh, I am a ________ (cat.)”
  4. Say:  As you saw in our game today, every person, place, or thing has a name.  It could be the name of a teacher or president, a church or a baseball field, a giraffe or a book.  Just like everything has a name that describes it, Jesus has names that describe Him.  Some of the names that describe Him seem crazy, funny, and strange.  Today we’ll learn more about what some of those names really mean.  You won’t believe what Jesus calls Himself!  Let’s get started!

Bible Lesson:

Part I:  “A Burning Bush and God’s Forever Name”

1.  What if someone asked you your name and you said, “I Am.”  They would say, “You are what?”  “I am,” you say.  “You are what?”  “I Am.”  They would probably be very confused, right?  This is what happened to poor Moses in Exodus 3.  Moses is minding his own business, keeping watch over sheep, when all of a sudden he is staring at a bush that is on fire.  But this bush is different.  This one doesn’t burn up.  So he goes closer.  And God calls Moses’ name.  (Yes!  The bush is talking!)

2.  God asks Moses to not only take off his shoes (that was the easy part), but he asks him to save His people, the Israelites, who are slaves in Egypt.  Moses is scared and doesn’t think he can handle such a big job (remember, he is just taking care of sheep!)  So he says in Exodus 3:13, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘the God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’  Then what shall I tell them?”

3.  Do you know what God says?  Let’s look up Exodus 3:14 together and read it aloud.  (Help the students find this verse in their Bibles.)  “God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.  This is what you are to say to the Israelites:  I AM has sent me to you.” Poor, poor Moses.  Can you imagine what the Israelites may have thought of him?  (This guy takes care of sheep and he is supposed to save us?  He hears God talking from a burning bush?  And God’s name is ‘I AM?’  I AM what?)

4.  But God had a very good reason for this name.  I AM means that God was and is and is to come.  He has always existed, even before any ocean or star or person.  He still exists now.  And He will always exist and be there, forever and ever and ever.  In Hebrews 13:8, it says that God is the same, “yesterday and today and forever.” That’s what I AM means.  Maybe Moses wasn’t so crazy after all.  Turns out, the leaders of Israel did trust him, because they knew the I AM God.  Unfortunately, the leaders of Egypt did not trust him, because this God wasn’t their own.

5.  God says that, “I AM” is His name forever, “by which [he is] to be remembered from generation to generation.  In the Old Testament, God called Himself, “I AM.”  In the New Testament, over a thousand years later, He still calls Himself, “I AM” through His Son Jesus.  Let’s learn what Jesus called Himself!

Part II:  “He Calls Himself Bread and More!  The Names of Jesus”

1.  Divide the students into teams of 2-4 students.  Give each student a job on the team (or let them choose.)  If it’s a team of 2 students, one can be the reader and the other can be the writer.  If any more students are added, give them the jobs of presenter and illustrator.  (You may want to make nametag necklaces with the jobs on them for future lessons.)

2.  Explain to the students their roles, but clearly state that they are to work together as a team to teach us all about each name of Jesus.

Reader: Your job is to read the Bible verses clearly and just loud enough for your group members to hear.

Writer: Your job is to use the paper and pencil given to you to write down your group’s thoughts about the Bible verse.  What does your group think that it means?  Who does Jesus say that He is?  Why?

Presenter: Your job is to share with our class what your group thinks the verse means.  You may use the writer’s notes and the illustrator’s picture to help you.

Illustrator: Your job is to draw a picture of the verse.  (If Jesus says that He is a boat, draw a picture of a boat with Him in it.)  Be creative!

3.  Distribute any other supplies the students may need:  Bibles, paper, pencils, construction paper, and markers.  Also distribute the following verses on small pieces of paper or post-it notes:  John 6:48-51, John 8:12, John 10:7-9, John 10:14-16, John 11:25-26, John 14:6, and John 15:1-2

4.  Allow the students to work on their name of God for about 10 minutes.  Assist as needed.  Give the teams a 2 minute warning before the time is up.

5.  Have a white board/chalk board ready to jot down quick notes from each team (as a visual).  Have the presenter from each group share the findings and teach the class about their particular I AM of Jesus.  The illustrations can be taped to the board.  Give each team a round of applause after they teach.  Here are some additional, clarifying notes to make to help the students understand.

The I AM sayings of Jesus

  1. I AM the Bread of Life (John 6:48-51): Our bodies need food to live (like cereal, apples, pop tarts), but food won’t get us to heaven.  Our hearts need Jesus.  When we accept Jesus into our hearts, we will live forever.   Plus He makes it so that we are satisfied.
  2. I AM the Light of the World (John 8:12): This world is dark with sin, but Jesus gives us light.  He takes our sin away and shows us (like a flashlight) how to walk in the dark and where to go next.
  3. I AM the Gate for the Sheep (John 10:7-9): In the sheep pen, the shepherd was like a gate or a door, letting sheep in and protecting them.  Jesus is the gate to God – the only one.  We have to go through the gate (or door) to see God and be saved from our sins.
  4. I AM the Good Shepherd (John 10:14-16): Just like a shepherd takes care of sheep, Jesus takes care of us.  He will do anything to save His sheep, even die for them.  And that’s what He had to do so that we might have life.
  5. I AM the Resurrection and the Life (John 11:25-26):   When Jesus rose again, He defeated death.  Death doesn’t have to make us afraid anymore, if we have Jesus in our hearts.  Not only that, but Jesus is life!  Those who follow Him have, “Life to the full!”
  6. I AM the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6): Jesus is the only way to God.  He is everything true.  He is life for those who follow Him!
  7. I AM the True Vine (John 15:5): Jesus is the vine, His followers are the branches.  The branches need to have the vine to grow.  If they don’t, they’re going to fall off and be of no good.  We all need to stay connected to Jesus (through His word, church, prayer) in order to grow.

Application: Say:  Don’t answer these questions out loud, but think about them in your heart.  Do you know Jesus?  Do you believe who He says He is?  He has a lot of names and now you know what they mean.  But have you done anything about them?  Have you ever asked Jesus to be your Savior?  If you haven’t, think about doing that today.

For some of you, Jesus is living in your heart.  But maybe you need to remember that Jesus is the Bread of Life (He makes us happy, not stuff.)  Maybe you are confused about something and you need Jesus to be your Light and help you to see.  If that’s you today, please take a moment to ask Jesus to help you know Him better.  This is a prayer we can all pray!  (Take a moment to close the lesson in prayer.)

Bible Lesson Review Game:

1.  Review each illustration of the name of God one last time.

2.  Hide the illustrations and erase the board.  Distribute paper and a pen.

3.  In their original teams, the students will be challenged to remember every name of God that we discussed.  (There are 7.  A bonus goes to the team that thinks of just name “I AM.”)

4.  The first team to think of all 7  wins.

Art Project:    “I AM Bracelets”

Materials:  letter beads and beading string pre-cut

1.  Distribute supplies.  Demonstrate.

2.  Have the children tie a knot at one end of the bracelet.

3.  Have them figure out what they want to say and lay out the beads.  Here are some suggestions:  I AM His.  He is I AM.  Way, truth, life.

4.  String the beads in order to say the phrase chosen.

5.  Tie the other end of the string into a knot.

6.  Tie the bracelet onto each child’s wrist.

Need More Help? Check out all our free Bible lessons or find the right Sunday School craft.


Comments

  1. Joanne Philbin says

    This is awesome. I cant wait to do this next week. God bless you for sharing.

  2. Julia says

    I run a Christian club at lunchtime in our local school and am tired of the weak, boring, repetitive and unrelated stories we’re given to present to the children time and time again so I have ditched this term’s plan and was looking for something deeper and pertinant. So great to find your site! I will be using the 7 “I Am” statements leading into Easter. Now I just have to pull some crafts, games and songs in to round off an exciting term.

  3. Becca says

    Thank you so much! This is a great lesson for my girl’s club class (4-6th graders). Loving being reminded and teaching other about Who our God is.

  4. Dolly Mani says

    Excellent presentation and Application – Adapting it for our Youth VBS theme of the 7 I AMs of Jesus God bless your talents and may u continue with Creativity to suit our times – Dolly, Calcutta, India

  5. says

    I agree that these lessons are meaty. I love that its integrated with teamwork, whole-class, hands-on, etc. Thanks and God bless this work!

  6. says

    I am adapting the lesson to go the month of March. I am beginning the series with the burning bush lesson where God introduces His name, “I Am”, and will be using a great video I found on youtube to present the story. I will then choose 3 other “I AM” names for Jesus, and will end with the “I AM THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE” for our Easter lesson. I want to thank you for these wonderful ideas…they are truly a blessing to our church.

  7. Emily says

    God bless you for making such a great website with “meaty” lessons available to church teachers/directors who desire to go deeper with the children. I have been writing curriculum for more than 4 years b/c I’m just not happy with the mainstream stuff that is out there. I’m so happy to have stumbled upon your website that can provide me with fresh ideas.

  8. Sherry Massey says

    Our children did a skit for Easter that was about the Great M&M. Lol. It was really about the Great I AM, which was explained during the skit. The children didn’t really understand the I AM concept. I’m going to use this lesson to help them understand it better. We used all the I Am’s for Jesus that you have in the lesson. Thanks for the lessons on your website. I’ve used several and children have loved them all.

  9. Melissa says

    I was able to take this lesson and make it a 7 week series. I used each name per week and then added it to my power point. Each week at the beginning of class each week, I would start at the beginning of the power point and go over all of the previous ones. Then I ended with “I Am The Resurrection And The Life” as my Easter lesson. What a way to end a series.
    The kids who have been in my Children’s Church class can name all of them.
    Thank you for the ideas.

  10. Refilwe says

    I am a sunday school teacher, I am looking for a play on the names of Jesus, or an idea of a choral verse on the name of Jesus, will you please send me one.
    The I AM is a good lesson which I will also use in other lessons.
    Regards
    Refilwe

  11. Tiya Sharon says

    I am glad to find this website. I am a coordinator of the Children’s church at my local church. As such i am responsible for developing lessons. I wanted to develop lessons on the Iam Names of Jesus Christ. So I decided to check on the web praise God I found this website. May God bless you as you minister within and beyond. We are starting with these lesson! May the Almighty God bless you
    Capital City Pentecostal Church
    Lilongwe, Malawi, Africa

  12. Betty Johnson says

    Kristin,
    I am a director of church camp for 4th and 5th graders. So glad to have found your website. My theme for camp is the names of Jesus. Believe it or not, I hadn’t really thought about the I Ams before fulfilling God’s statement that he is “I am.” That revelation was astonishing to me that I hadn’t thought of it before. Thanks so much.

  13. Becky says

    I really like this lesson. I love the way you made so much fun. I plan to use it in my Wed. night girl’s group.

  14. Sreenivas says

    It’s a timely help for me to teach the children about God’s nature and love for mankind who he made for his glory. I am going to share it in our Sunday school. I am sure our children will love it and will be inspired by the word of God through this lesson. Thank you so much for the good work through this website!!

  15. Thelma says

    I have a preschool group and am looking forward to trying this lesson out this week and next. I am sure the bracelets idea will work very well in about 2 weeks time.

  16. Rachel says

    This lesson looks very well planned with lots of different activities! I’m going to use it for my Wednesday night kids class. We memorize a different verse each week, and this week’s is John 14:6- (I am the way, the truth, and the life…) This will go along perfectly! Thanks for the help!

  17. Brenda says

    What a treasure to find this website! I needed inspiration for my lessons and I intend to use it tomorrow. Thanks for such a clear and usable lesson!

  18. Anna says

    Hi. Just discovered your site while preparing a lesson on Moses learning The Name of God. It’s perfect for what I had in mind. Thank you

  19. says

    Donna,

    I am so excited that the lesson went well for you:) Soooo glad that the students could recognize the names of Jesus and the meanings behind them. I will pray that God continues to work on their hearts so that they discover more about His character.

    Alice,

    So glad you’re going to use it this Sunday! Will pray that it goes well for you and that God gives you wisdom and the children understanding. Many blessings! Would love to hear suggestions that you have to improve upon it.

    Kristin

  20. says

    this is a wonderful lesson i think i have printed it out and am going to try it out this Sunday and will let you know after the lesson.

  21. Donna says

    Hi Kristin, I used the lesson about the names of Jesus last Sunday in our “Super Church” and it was truly “SUPER”! WE have a small group, but I had about 10 in there from ages 5-12 and everyone enjoyed it. The game at the beginning with the post it notes was alot of fun and tied in so well with the lesson. I really believe that this is a lesson everyone will remember for a long time. I had several at the end of the lesson that could repeat and remember ALL the names of Jesus and what they meant. Thanks so much for the great way to teach it as well as being so interesting in itself.

    God Bless You,
    Donna

  22. says

    Great to hear you’ll both be using the plan on Sunday. Let us know how it can be improved. Blessings!

  23. Lauren Fouts says

    One of the best and most thoroughly thought through lesson plans I’ve read in awhile. Thanks for the hard work…I intend to use it next Sunday. Kudos!

  24. Donna says

    Great lesson to start the New Year! I plan to use it this Sunday. Thanks!

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