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. Timeka says

    Object lesson idea: I teach middle school age kids and a little something wacky usually brings the message home for them. The Lord gave me the idea of drawing on a volunteer’s face with eye liner or masquera (sin) and having them try to wipe it off themselves (works of the flesh or ones own strength). Then to bring out the point that we need God’s help to overcome sin areas. We need to look into the mirror of the Word and be washed by the the water of the word! Should be fun!

  2. Nneka says

    This website is such a great tool for teaching . Thanks for all the timely ministry. My church kids love these lessons.

  3. Servant of the Lord says

    I thanked the Lord so much for this lesson. I was looking for a lesson to share with the children before going to church tonight (New years eve service 2014) and wanted to tell them about making a commitment to the Lord next year. This is what I believe the Lord led me to. After sharing the lesson, I asked each of the children to write down one thing on the Number One sheet that they needed to ask God to help them with then place it into their pocket. I told them to take the sheet with them to the altar tonight when it was time to pray (around 11:50 pm or so) and talk with the Lord regarding their petition and thank Him afterward. They all (7), including myself, named several things that they needed to change! Thank you so much for being used by the Lord to encourage and change hearts!

  4. Merkey A. Muludy says

    wow, thank you for your lesson, now i am preparing to use it with my children beginning of this new year. I know the children will love it too. Once again, thanks a lot and God Bless.

  5. 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.!

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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.


  11. 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

  12. 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!

  13. 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

  14. Lindsey says

    I love your lessons! Thank you! I am using this lesson December 29, 2013!

  15. 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!!!

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. 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!

  21. 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!

  22. 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

  23. 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!

Your voice matters -- Share your ideas with other readers.