Still looking for a children’s message that relates with the upcoming big game? Try one of the following ideas and you’ll be sure to have kids remember this lesson for a long time! These can work with the Olympics, Super Bowl, The World Series or March Madness. Basically anytime kids have the “Big Game” on their mind.
“Everyday Heroes” Children’s Message: “Everyday Heroes” is an easy, low prep children’s message. Select five respected members of the church (pastor, teacher, elder, etc.) and coerce them to put on either a helmet or a jersey prior to your lesson. You could also have them carry a football (or if they are really adventurous, don football pads!)
With your students, briefly discuss famous sports heroes: show photographs, discuss their quick stats, their throwing arm, how many games they won, the price of their autograph, etc. Talk about how many athletes are famous on the field. But off the field, they are not famous at all. In fact, many have so many problems that their lives and their families are destroyed by sin.
Explain that God talks about what heroes look like in the Bible. And guess what? They don’t look strong or tall or big or muscular. Tell the story of Samuel anointing David in 1 Samuel 16. (I personally love the account in The Jesus Storybook Bible entitled “The Teeny, Weeny True King”). Reference 1 Samuel 16:7, “But the LORD said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.’”
Ask the students to name characteristics of a true hero, in God’s eyes. Get them started with qualities like a follower of Christ, someone who is gentle and speaks with kindness, someone who helps/serves others, etc. Tell the students that you have invited some everyday heroes to be a part of our lesson today. Invite the members of the congregation to come up. Explain that these people are heroes in God’s eyes every day because they quietly and humbly seek Him first. (In fact, most of them probably are going to be embarrassed by such hoopla!) Introduce them like a sports commentator would and have the children (and congregation) applaud them.
Tell the children that these people are the real heroes that we need to model our lives after. They may never win a Super Bowl ring or win a National Championship. They may never have people applaud them for their work. They may never be asked to autograph anything and they may never be interviewed for anything heroic. But God does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. And we should too!
Additional Sports Related Lesson Plan Ideas:
The Impossible Game: Use this object lesson to explain that no one can perfectly keep God’s rules. We need Jesus perfect obedience in our place.
Tough Talk: Tough talk is a fun way to practice memory verses or sing simple songs (especially for Pre-K thru 2nd) Have the students use gruff, tough, coach talk to review God’s word or to sing some of their favorite songs with a new twist.
Team Huddle: Use this as your prayer time. Have the students form a circle like a huddle, get on their knees (optional), and pray accordingly. Popcorn prayer works best for younger children especially. Have children fill in the blank with one word. The teacher would say, “God, we are thankful for ___________” and students would fill in the blank. “God, we love that you are ___________.” Or “God, we need prayer for _________ today.”
Player Warm Ups: Lead your class in team warm ups, including running in place, jumping jacks, or simple stretches. (Just be cautious about the stretching – girls may not be dressed for such activity.) Create an obstacle course in a wide opened space in your facility. Use cones or chairs to run around. Jump over jump ropes on the ground or pieces of tape on the floor. Throw a touchdown pass into a hula hoop held by an adult or a target on the wall. This is a great activity to use as an attention getter at the beginning of the lesson or as an after lesson game.
Sports Commercials: This activity works best with older elementary students. After a lesson, separate students into teams, give them 5-10 minutes, and have them tell the Bible lesson and/or what they learned in the form of a commercial.
Ball Shaped Snacks: Consider using a small football/basketball shaped cutter to cut cheese slices into pieces for crackers. Cut up oranges for a healthy snack. For dessert options, make brownies, cookies, or rice crispy treats into the shape of sports balls and decorate with simple piped frosting.