New Years Bible Lesson for Kids “One Thing”

Young boy holding up one fingerAt the beginning of each year many people reflect upon their life and what they can do to improve it.  We see slogans everywhere motivating people to “be the new you” through weight loss programs, financial planning, exercise regiments and home organization.  Yet most of us find by the end of the year we have slipped back into some of our old habits once again.  This occurs because people are striving for change in their own strength without seeking the help of the Lord.

In this lesson, children will be encouraged to examine their life and identify one thing they need to give up at the start of this new year.  What is the one thing in their life that is holding them back from having a closer walk with the Lord or having a relationship with him at all?  They will learn that this change they seek cannot be found on their own, but can only be made possible with God’s help.

Text: Luke 18:18-27

Learning Objective: The children will examine their life to identify one thing they are holding on to which is keeping them from having a closer walk with God.

Target Age: K-5th grade

Time Needed: 30-45 minutes

Materials Needed:

  • Make copies of a large “number one” This can be either hand written or typed from a computer.
  • scissors, and pencils if you choose to do the supplemental activity


  1. “What is special about the month we are now in?”  It is the first month of a new year!
  2. “What year is it?” 2012
  3. “Have you heard about making a new year resolution?  What is a resolution?”
  4. “A resolution is a goal.  Something you want to do or be by the end of the year.”
  5. “Do you have some ideas for a resolution you could make?”  Take input from the kids.
  6. “Did you know a resolution can be something you choose to give up, too?  For example, you can resolve or make a goal to give up eating candy because it is not good for your teeth.  Or you could give up playing video games after dinner because sometimes you end up staying up too late.”


  1. “Jesus spoke to a man in the Bible and asked him to give something up so the man could follow Jesus with his whole heart.  Jesus wanted the man to resolve to give up this thing so he could fully follow Jesus.  Can you guess what that one thing was?” Take input from the kids.
  2. “Let’s look at the passage where Jesus talks with this man and find out what the one thing is Jesus asked him to give up.”
  3. “Open your Bibles to Luke 18:18-27 and let’s read the passage together.”
  4. Read the passage out loud.


  1. “What is the question the man asked Jesus?”  How can I have eternal life?
  2. “How did Jesus answer his question?”  Reread verses 19-20.
  3. “First, Jesus reminded the man that no one is good and that all people have sinned.”
  4. “What was the man’s reply?”  He said he had kept all the laws Jesus listed and was a good man.
  5. “Yet what did Jesus tell the man he still needed to do?”  Reread verse 22.
  6. “Jesus told the rich man to give up everything he owned to follow Jesus.  This is the ‘one thing’ the man had left to do before he could have eternal life.”
  7. Reread verse 23.  “How did the man feel about giving up everything he owned?”  He was sad because he was very rich and he did not want to give all of his possessions up to follow Jesus.
  8. “Now something I want to make clear to you is that Jesus does not give us a list of things to do in order to get into heaven.  There is no to-do list to check off.  But you might wonder then why did Jesus ask this man to do something to receive eternal life?  Jesus knew that this wealthy man was being held back by his many possessions.  His great wealth was the ‘one thing’ that was keeping his heart hard.  Jesus knew this man’s heart would not want to follow Jesus until his possessions had been given away.”
  9. “Jesus says in verse 24-25,” Reread these verses.
  10. “To be a true follower of Christ and receive eternal life we must give our whole heart to Him.  This rich young ruler was willing to give most of his heart and life to Jesus, but not all of it.  His wealth was the ‘one thing’ keeping him from following Jesus with his whole heart.”


  1. “Is there one thing holding you back from following Jesus with your whole heart?  Maybe you are not a follower of Jesus yet because you do not want to give up your sin and repent?  The ‘one thing’ you need to resolve to do this new year is to give up your sin and believe in Jesus’ death on the cross to save you.  Your ‘one thing’ to give up is your sin.  This new year may be the year you choose a new life in Christ!”
  2. “For those of you who know Christ with saving faith.  You have already turned from your sin, believed in the saving work of Jesus death on the cross, and you are seeking to live your life in the way Jesus would want you to live.  Yet, you may still have ‘one thing’ in your life that is holding you back in your relationship with Him.  Maybe there is something your heart is clinging to which you think is more important than Jesus.  Is it getting the lead role in the school play?  Is it becoming the player to score the most goals on your soccer team?  Is it sneaking extra food from the kitchen at home when no one is looking?  Is it not following what your parents say because you think you know better?  All of these things can hold you back from having the closest relationship you can have with Jesus.”
  3. “So what is your ‘one thing’ today?  For the rich young ruler it was holding on to his wealth, which meant he did not receive eternal life.  What is your ‘one thing’?”
  4. “Let’s close with one final word from Jesus.” Reread verse 27.
  5. “Jesus does not leave us to give up that ‘one thing’ all on our own and by our own strength.  He knows we cannot do it on our own, but we need his help.  Ask Jesus for help to give up your ‘one thing’ to Him.  Pray for Him to help you give up your ‘one thing’ this year, so that you can have a relationship with Him or so you can have a closer relationship with him.  None of us can give up our ‘one thing’ all on our own.  We need His help every day.”

Suggested Supplemental Activity:

  1. Copy an outline of a block number one.  There should be one for each child.  This can be hand drawn with space in the middle for the children to write.
  2. The children will write in the middle their “one thing” they need to give up this year so they can follow Jesus with their whole heart.
  3. The children will cut their number one out and keep it between the pages of their Bible as a reminder to them throughout the year.
  4. In this activity, it is important to dialogue with each child about their “one thing.”  Help them to understand why that thing is a hindrance to growth in their relationship with God and how they will need His help to overcome it.


  1. Susan Hickox says

    The “Just One Thing” lesson went so well! The children were so excited about their large # 1′s. They carried them into “big church” where we go before returning to our children’s church. Everyone was asking them what the #1 was for–they didn’t know yet and invited even the adults to come and see, too! Funny! But, it was a great tool for creating interest in the lesson! God bless you Tony for this ministry-to-children site.!

  2. Timesha says

    Thank you so much for this website! It truly encourages me and helps me to keep pushing forward in ministry. May God continue to bless you and your ministry

  3. Lauri says

    Thank you for your great lesson on New Years. I teach a teen Sunday School class with both saved and unsaved teens and was looking for a lesson to start the new year off right and this is perfect. What a great challenge!! I can’t wait to check out your web site, I am sure I will find alot of very useful material. Thanks for your faithfulness to help us teach the Word of God to our kids. Lauri

  4. Velvet Hefner says

    Thank you, Tony, for your help in supplying me awesome lessons for my 5th grade Sunday School class. Our church is always short on money, it seems. So, I do not order Sunday School material. I am always looking elsewhere for help in how to present God’s Word on a 5th grader level. Your lesson plans have helped save our church money on Sunday School material and has helped me. May God continue to bless you and your staff throught this next year. Velvet

  5. Barbara M says

    great lesson…my group will need a little game too…if I find one or think of one I will add it

  6. Hen Path says

    Thanks for this is really good.
    I’ve just a sugestion, as we don’t know in our country what “K-5th grade” means it could be good to have the age besides.


  7. Rebecca says

    U have been part and partial of our children’s church thru out the year and u are doing the same as we begin 2014. I bless the Lord for people like u who work tirelessly for the Kingdom. May the Lord bless you and your entire family. We love you and pray for you, all the teachings i have used and my children’s church ” Freedom kids “are very active every Sunday yet i get most materials from you. Thank you and stay blessed. Rebecca

  8. Sonya says

    I am using this lesson during Children’s Church tomorrow, Sunday, December 29, 2013. Reading through this lesson has caused me to evaluate my relationship with the Lord and examine all the things in my life to reveal if there is “one thing” that is preventing me from having a closer relationship with Him. Thank you for this lesson!

  9. Sarah Mosupye says

    Thank you I love the plan too, will use it this morning in our Children Ministry services this morning, in Mamelodi, South Africa 29 December 2013. May the Almighty God continue to use you in 2014 with supporting ministeries like ours biblical teachings as God has requested in Luke 10. Sarah Mosupye

  10. Debra Fatic says

    I teach Sunday School in a very small church. I am teaching many different ages. This and many of your other lessons have been a great help. I can gear it very easily to many ages. THANK YOU AND GOD BLESS!!!

  11. chrisdenard says

    I’ve been praying about a New Years lesson this one has touched my heart and even cause me to think what I need to give up so I can get closer to my Savior. Thank you so much for these lessons they have helped me in my teaching and my spiritual life.

  12. Himangini david says

    I really thankful for this site. It is really helpful to us. Your lesson are very simple and easy to understand. Thankyou very much.
    God bless your ministry.

  13. johnwesly says

    I thank god for this website because i had hard time draw the pictures for my Sunday school children because they’re 35 people in my village I’ve do that for all of them so i was searching for pictures at finally i got your website but i never think that you’ll helping me by sending mail
    I thank you so much……………… and please pray for ministry

    • Emily says

      Hi I’m very thankful for this website too! It is a blessing. Johnwesly where are you from? I’m defenetly praying for your ministry! May God be with you and expand your ministry this year and all the years to come.

  14. says

    We used this lesson for our Sunday school, which has 2 streams – pre-school, ages 2-6; and primary school, ages 6-12. It translated very well both up and down and really reached the kids. We used it for the older kids with the 10 promises for 2013. The kids all knelt before God to confess their ‘one thing’, which was very powerful. Thank you for the great lessons and materials this website provides, which cross countries – our Sunday school is in Jamaica!
    We continue to give God the glory he so richly deserves. By the way our kids also did a great job proclaiming the gospel with your christmas pageant!

  15. Kristie says

    This New Years lesson was what I was looking for. In fact it is was even better than I expected. In my Sunday school class, which is held on an army base, I had a 3 year old, a 5 year old, an 11 year old, and the mother of the little girls. I was concerned that the lesson would go over the heads of the little ones but each person there responded with understanding and took home a lesson for their life. It was wonderful! I am also going to use this lesson with the new adult believers in my house church this week. Thanks for this lesson!!! and the many other things I have used from your website!

  16. Sarah Nance says

    I absolutely love your website! I teach the kid’s k-5 group on Wednesday nights at our church, and inevitably I will put off finding my lesson for the week till Tuesday night, or even Wednesday afternoon! But I can always go right to your site and find something perfect that will fit in with the theme I have in mind. Your lessons are simple and fun, and your website is very user-friendly. I thank God that I found this site. (Actually that He led me to it!) You have been a tremendous help to me. Thank you! Keep up the good work and God Bless!
    In Christ,
    Sarah Nance

  17. Heather says

    We do devotionals with our 3 children each evening. As they are growing older, we are trying to look for something new so they will enjoy our time teaching about God’s word. When I came upon this website, I was so excited. It has scripture reading, lessons, and interaction with the kids. It is so well laid out. Thank you for putting this together!

  18. Tevita says

    I am truly thankful for this ‘site’. The lesson is well-laid out and would be easy to teach to the right age group kids. We owe you bro. May God continue to use you and your ministry to influence the lives of kids in the things of the Kingdom !
    May 2013 be an even better year than 2012 and the previous years, as far as your ministry is concerned.
    God bless!
    Tevita, Fiji

  19. Lori says

    Thank you so much for this website! It has been a big help to me. God Bless you! The Christmas worksheet pages were amazing. Thank you again. I really appreciate you.

  20. Angie says

    Thank you for your site! The lessons are simple to follow and understand and they have been a blessing to me and the kids I teach to.
    May God continue blessing your ministry!


  21. Debbie says

    I love this lesson! I teach in our Junior Church which is K-6 so it is the perfect age level. I believe it really drives home the message on a level that each one of the children can understand. I also believe they will understand it with their heart, not just their head. I have enjoyed and used your ideas for a long time now and have never been disappointed! God bless you for the work you are doing! It is touching many more children than you realize!

  22. Praises M. Kwanwah says

    It is a blessing to teach children with the word of God because they are the next generation and what ever they have been thought will become part of them for the rest of their lives. I bless God for your Ministry may God increase you with all the the good things you need to make your ministry more prosperous in Jesus name

  23. April says

    Thank you for having such a wonderful site! So many ideas that we can not only use in church but I can use at home as well. Thank you!

  24. Jaye Copeland says


    What a joy to see how God is continuing to use you to reach children with the simple message of His love. Didn’t know if you remembered me from y Indiana days. I continue to use you as a great resource! God bless!


  25. Janora White says

    I am nine months pregnant, and am sometimes too tired to get all the kids out for church. I often use your lessons, when the other children and I are unable to make it there. These lessons have been such a blessing and are written in a way that are easy for parents and interesting for children. Each of my children (I have five) were able to identify things they wanted to change and are taking it more seriously then a “resolution” because it’s linked to Jesus! Great Lesson.

  26. marie virelili says

    Hi, Tony

    Thank you for the wonderful message and work have prepared
    for our kids. It is not only for kids but for us too as adults, father
    mother, Young brother and sister……
    the message has touched me too.
    I give thanks to Jesus. He teach us the way to Eternal Life.
    God’s blessings. Amen


  27. margaret says

    I am a primary school teacher in Scotland, not only the lesson activity ideas but the in-depth description you give of each is a tremendous help for educators! I love this site! It is extremely comforting to have a knowledgeable resource like this.
    Thank you!

  28. Randi says

    Thank you for this lesson on Luke 18:18-27 titled “One Thing”.
    I will be using it at Children’s Church tomorrow.
    I like the set up with the hook, book, and look. I believe this age of children I have will receive a blessing from it. I, also, like the supplement to it.
    Mrs. Brown

  29. cynthia says

    thank u verry much do you have lesson for age 10-15
    May God bless your ideas i opening my eyes

  30. David Munford says

    I am a new Chirldrens Pastor and I have found this website so helpful. I am on your site everyday always reading the different articles and pulling from the resources. I hope this site stays free and open because it is the best site I have found for new ministers.

    • Angela James says

      Exactley, I have learned things myself from this site, I teach Children Sunday School. I thank God for this site being free, because where I come from we dont have that much Church Members or people to help support our Church.

      • Debbie Pagel says

        Thank yo so much for creating this website. I teach our 6-12 year olds on Wednesday night and I used this leasson (One Thing) and was awesomely received by the children and co-teachers. I thank Jesus for you!! Stay Blessed!

  31. Blossom Alambo says

    Thank u so very much Brother Tony! I’ve been so enriched by d vast materials on ur site. May our Father in Heaven continue to bless & increase ur ministry including ur family & other brethren laboring with u. Amen! Blossom (Nigeria)

  32. Autumn says

    Hi Tony! Thanks for all of your great lessons. I am a children’s minister and use your site often. I do have a question about the “One Thing” lesson, is there a print out to go along with this lesson that I am missing somewhere?

    Thanks again.
    In Him,

  33. Eno Dee says

    I am planning to start a Bible Club in my area and the resources here is going to help a great deal, I am so blessed, infact i will first teach this lesson to my grown children. God bless

  34. Bernard Musona says

    Thanks for the message Tony. This is not only for the kids but for older christians as well. I will be using this lesson on 31 Dec 2011. God bless you!

  35. Rebecca Sheri Afuga says

    “One thing” message has touched me as a person, i have already beefed it up for the main church service on 31/12/11. it is a message one can base on to lay a foundation for the new year and strengthen your relationship with Jesus to be the right candidate for eternal life.
    i will share with my Sunday school class on 1/1/12 thank you for sending me this message.
    Thank you also for all the info through out 2011 you have blessed all of us may God Bless you and the ministry at large. Let 2012 be a year of fulfillment in your life, family and ministry.

  36. Prakash Bhasme says

    Dear Bro. Tony,
    Greetings in Jesus’ name! Thanks for all those Bible lessons for kids. We have been using these lessons and activities for our sunday school kids at our village. It has been a great blessing to us. Keep up the good work. God bless you.


  37. Mary M Smith says

    Do you have lessons suitable for children ages 9-12? I teach children’s church for that age level and am struggling to find interactive lessons that will keep children engaged. Help!

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