All people matter to God – this is an important truth for kids to know. Use this lesson to teach about the value of all people because they are made in the image of God. This teaching plan is ideal for children’s church, Sunday school, or home Bible study.
“God’s Masterpieces: Made in His Image”
Bible Lesson for Kids on the Value of All People
Theme: Our Human Nature and Our Sin
Memory Verse: “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17
The Point: God made people to reflect Him
Opening Activity – Mirror Time
As kids in your group arrive, tell a few of them that they need to start imitating or mirroring the next kid who joins the group. After playing for a while, just hang out with the group and chat about the previous week all the while imitating the one group member. Continue until that kid notices that people are copying him. Then, have the kids pair up and face their partner…one should do something and the other will mirror them.
SAY: “This morning in large group we’ll be talking about mirroring or imitating someone and who we were created to mirror.”
Help your group get settled down for large group.
LARGE GROUP INTRODUCTION
“How many of you guys looked in a mirror this morning? So, you should all know exactly what you look like, right? So, we’re going to play a little game to make sure you know what you look like. Since there are a lot of us in here this morning, we’re going to have to be quick and careful about playing this game. I want everyone to stay right where you are and then I’m going to make a bunch of statements. If the statement I make is true about you I want you to stand up and remain standing. (make a bunch of appearance statements- starting with a few people standing… until everyone is standing up).
“Since we’re all standing up, I think the best thing we can do right now is to take some time to focus on God. What’s the word we use when we talk about focusing 100% of who we are- all of our minds, all of our hearts and all of our strength on God? Right, it’s called worship. Let’s read some verses that talk about worshipping God.
Let’s do what these verses said and sing joyful songs, let’s be glad about the opportunity we have to worship God, let’s give Him the glory that only He deserves as we sing this morning and sing songs that remind us of the great truths of who God is and what He has done. Let’s start by reminding ourselves that God is eternal and that He never changes.
Suggested Music: Forever God (or another song about God being eternal)
That song reminds us that God never changes, that He will always be the same and that He always keeps His promises. One of the greatest promises that God ever made to His people was to send Jesus to earth to take the punishment that we deserved and die in our place on the cross. Let’s sing a song that reminds us of those truths.
Suggested Music: Jesus Came to Earth (or something else about the gospel)
LARGE GROUP TEACHING
“If you remember, I started off this morning talking about looking in the mirror, which may have seemed a little odd and random to you this morning, but I promise I had a point and it’ll all become clear in a few minutes. When you look in a mirror, what do you see? Right, you see yourself. But, is that you in the mirror? No, it’s your reflection, or an image of you.
Have any of you watched a baby sitting in front of a mirror? They smile at the other baby and the other baby smiles back. They reach out to touch the other baby and the other baby reaches out for them. Babies can sit for a long time fascinated by a mirror and the other baby inside the mirror. Now that we’ve all grown up, we’ve looked in mirrors enough to know that the image is just a reflection. No one in this room would be fooled into thinking that the image in a mirror was another person, would you? But, let’s think about the image that we see when we look in a mirror. When I look in this mirror (hold up mirror) I see myself… my eyes and nose and hair and what clothes I’m wearing today. I see an image of myself…an image of what I look like on the outside.
This morning we’re only going to talk about 2 verses right in the beginning of the Old Testament. We’re looking in the first book of the Bible, which is called? Right, Genesis. Just so you know where we’re headed, let me review a bit. The verse we’re going to read happens on the 6th day of creation. In the other days of creation, when God made the plants and the fish and the birds and the land animals, the Bible says that He made each of those things according to their kind…example… all trees are alike as trees, but there are different kinds- orange, mango, palm, fir, oak, etc.
Now that we’re caught up, I need a boy to stand up and read Genesis 1:26-27. So, according to those verses, whose image are we made in? Right, God’s… (have the boy who read the verse come up and look in the mirror)…. So, according to those verses, God must be a…. (8 year old boy with brown hair and brown eyes and a big smile)…. If you are those things then stand up- you guys must look like God.
Wait a second, that can’t be what those verses mean. Those verses can’t be saying that we are made to have the same outside image as God- or else we’d all look alike. And, we know from other verses, like John 4:24 that God is spirit- He doesn’t have a body. So, what could these verses mean? Well, those verses mean that God made people to be like Him, to look like Him on the inside, to do the things He does, think the things He thinks, love people the way He loves people, and live the way He lives. Most importantly, God made us to be perfect just like He is perfect. And at the very beginning, people were a very good reflection or image of God, but then something happened that kept people from being able to perfectly reflect God. People sinned. Adam and Eve used the brains and ability to make choices that God had given them to choose to disobey God. And Romans 3:10-12 tells us that every single person since Adam and Eve has made the same choice- the choice to turn away from God and sin.
If you’re like me at all, this has got you thinking and asking yourselves some tough questions. If we’re supposed to be images of God, but we’ve all sinned, how can we ever really reflect God to people around us? Well, we can’t do it by ourselves, but because Jesus died on the cross and came back to life 3 days later, we can be made perfect reflections of God once again. You may also be wondering, how do we know what God is like? We can read about God in the Bible and we can read about His perfect image, Jesus, in the Bible as well. Listen to these verses that talk about Jesus being the perfect image of God….
That helps to clear things up a little bit, but obviously Jesus would be a perfect reflection of God, Jesus is God’s Son and is God Himself- He is perfect, so it makes sense that He would be a perfect image. But what about you and me; people who have all sinned and messed up and disobeyed God? Well, the Bible tells us that even though we can’t be perfect on our own no matter how hard we try, that God provided a way for us to be perfect and holy, by sending Jesus to die on the cross so that we could be forgiven of our sin. And, the Bible tells us that when we believe in Jesus and ask Him to be in charge of our lives and live our lives so that we are following Him, that He will transform (or change) our hearts so that we’ll become more like Him and become the images or reflections of God that we were made to be. Listen to these verse that talk about God transforming His people to be like Jesus….
That’s the good news. God made us to be His reflection. He wants us to reflect Him to the world, so that when people see us they see Him. And, He is the one who transforms our hearts so that we can be true reflectors of Him. There is absolutely nothing we can do on our own to be true and perfect images or reflections of God, but when Jesus came to earth, lived a perfect life, died and rose again three days later He provided the one and only way for us to be forgiven of all our sins and for God to transform His people into the perfect reflections we were created to be in the first place.
Before we go to our small groups, let’s sing a song that reminds us of that truth. This song reminds us that God made the world and that through Jesus dying on the cross in our place, God makes His people new so that we can worship Him and reflect Him.
Suggested Music: Almighty Creator (or something about people praising God)
Children’s Prayer Moment
“Dear God, thank you for making people in your image. Help us to see how we’ve messed up and gone against your plan. Teach us what it means to be your follower. Help each of us to learn to trust you and follow you and believe in you. Thank you that when we are following you that you do the work of transforming us into images of you. Help us to reflect you to the world around us, so that when people see us they see you. In your name I pray, Amen.”
SMALL GROUP APPLICATION
Image of God Portraits (Review & Application)
WHAT YOU NEED: one piece of blank paper per kid, crayons, markers and Bibles
As kids come back from large group, start out by having one of the kids in the group read this week’s challenge verse (Psalm 8:3-5). Chat briefly about how when you look at the majesty of creation that people don’t seem like much compared to stars or mountains or sunsets, but that God created us for the special purpose of reflecting Him to the world and therefore in God’s eyes we are the most important part of His creation.
Give each kid a piece of blank paper and ask them to quickly draw an image (or a self portrait) of themselves. As they work, read through the following truths about God’s creation of humans…
Once you’ve reminded the kids of these truths about being human, have them add things to their “images” to show or reflect the image of God. Remind them of large group time and what a true reflection of God should look like. Encourage them to add things to their drawings that would be indicative of someone who is reflecting God (you may need to prompt especially the younger kids with some ideas….speaking the Gospel, reading a Bible, wearing a t-shirt with a Bible verse on it, being kind and loving to people who might otherwise be hard to love). As kids work, make sure they understand (and that you repeat often) that doing these things doesn’t make you a Christian, but that these are the kinds of things that Christians do. Be clear on the gospel and the truth that God remakes people from the inside out and gives them a new heart. Remind them that the only thing that makes someone a Christian is turning away from their sin and turning to Jesus for salvation.
Use the following discussion while kids work.
SAY: “Obviously when God said He would make man in His image He didn’t mean that we would look like God on the outside, but instead that our hearts should reflect Him to the world around us. When people look at someone who is following Jesus they should see Jesus. So, based on what we heard in large group, what do we have to do to be a perfect reflection of God? Right, there’s nothing we can do on or own- it takes God working in our lives to transform us into His perfect reflection. This week, every time you see a mirror take a quick look into it and think about what you need to be to show the image of God. Ask God to help you show His image to those around you this week.And each time you see a mirror, remember that you are [THE POINT] God made people to reflect Him.”
[Heart to Heart] Share with the kids in your group one example of what it looks like in your life to reflect the Gospel in your everyday life…maybe in talking to a friend or in parenting or even how you choose to do business here in Dubai. Make sure that in your example you also clearly remind the kids of the truths of the Gospel (God made the world, man sinned, Jesus died in our place for all who would repent and turn to Him) and how it fits in with the situation. Showing the kids how the Gospel is lived out in your everyday life will help them to see how the cross impacts all areas of life.
What’s a Human? (Review & Application)
WHAT YOU NEED: man & woman outlines, Bibles & markers
Draw simple blank outlines (the man and the woman) and show to the group. Explain that you’re going to get started this morning by talking about ways that God created men and women differently. Explain that you’re going to read some verses and write the truths you find in the verses around the outside of the man or the woman.
(if you have readers/ writers in the group – -Have kids take turns being a scribe as someone else in the group (or you) reads each of the following verses.
If you don’t have readers or writers – you should read the verse and have kids raise their hands…or jump up…or something… if they know what it says about being a person and then you write around the outlines)
Use the accompanying dialogue to help make sense of these 4 verse about how God designed people.
- – -To start out, humans, just like everything else in the world are creatures and God is the creator. We need to admit our dependence on God and realize that as His creatures, “God has complete rights over us, and as His creatures, we should render complete obedience and love to Him.” As His creatures, we owe God our complete loyalty and devotion.
- – – God has made human beings with a certain ability not found in any other animals or other living things on earth….the ability to know the difference between right and wrong and choose to act in ways that are either right or wrong. Because God has given us the ability to know the difference between right and wrong, we need to respond to Him by hearing His Word and obeying and following Him.
- – – Because God created everything good, this means that our bodies and our souls were created good. God created us to enjoy things in life…taste, sounds, sights, etc. God created the things in life that we enjoy and they are good, but we also need to remember that everything we do needs to be pleasing and honoring to God.
- – – God made people male and female. God made men and women equal in value, but unique in design and purpose. (this will be discussed more fully in the next activity).
SAY: “As humans, we are the pinnacle, the grand finale of God’s creation. He created us differently from the rest of creation and created men and women different. In being uniquely created, we also need to remember that our calling of how we should respond to God is also unique and special. We were created along with the rest of creation to glorify God, and God has given us a special ability in order to do that.”
[Heart to Heart] Read Genesis 2:8-17. Discuss with the kids in your group the first instructions God gave man…work the garden, take care of it, eat the fruit, but don’t touch the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Talk about how this one scene shows the qualities we just talked about…(1) dependence on God for food, but a chance to choose whether or not to trust Him, (2) the ability to know right from wrong and opportunity to choose what to do, (3) food and a garden given to them to enjoy, and (4) Genesis 2:18 points to the difference between men and women in that fact that God made a helper for Adam. Through the scene we also see a glimpse into the heart of man and how the story would turn out. Read Romans 3:10-12 & 23 as a reminder that all of us, like Adam and Eve, have chosen to use the qualities that God gave us for good and use them to turn away from Him and pursue our own desires. Thankfully, God didn’t leave us alone to figure all this out, but He sent His only Son into the world to take our punishment so that we can be made right with God and so that God can transform our hearts to follow Him.
Reflecting God’s Image (Review & Application)
YOU NEED: a roll of masking tape
*** If you have multiple groups in the room, you can do this as a classroom wide activity. If so, individual groups should link arms and compete against each other
Mark two lines on the floor with masking tape, about ten feet (3 meters) apart. Have kids line up side-by-side behind one of the lines and link arms. As you read the list, guide the kids to decide if the action shows the image of God or not. If it does, they all take one small step forward as a group. If it doesn’t, they all take one step back. The goal is to make it past the other line.
SAY: “This week, as you go through your days at school, at home, with your family and your friends ask yourself with each thing you choose to do if you are reflecting God or if the people around you are just seeing you. Take some time to think about things you could do, or things you could say that would reflect the image of God to the people you know and help them to know more about who God is and what Jesus did when He died on the cross. In everything we do, we need to remember that [THE POINT] God made people to reflect Him.”
[Heart to Heart] Remind kids that the point of reflecting God to the world around them is for everyone everywhere to hear the Good News, or the Gospel, about Jesus. Have one of the kids in the group remind you what the Gospel is. Fill in any gaps in their explanation, reminding kids that it’s important to tell people the whole Gospel. Give an example of someone not telling the whole Gospel…it’s not enough to tell people that Jesus died on the cross and rose again if we don’t tell them why- we need to tell people that Jesus died on the cross because all people have sinned and when Jesus died on the cross He took the punishment that we deserve for our sin, so that God’s people could be forgive of their sin. As you go through this activity and discussion, make sure kids are clear on the truth that acting like a Christian doesn’t make someone a Christian….EX: you can obey your parents without believing in Jesus, but when you believe in Jesus you’ll want to obey your parents.
Mirror Prayer (Prayer)
WHAT YOU NEED: nothing needed
Invite kids to sit with you in a circle. Tell the kids in your group that they are going to be your mirror. Do a few hand motions for them to imitate, say a few random things for them to imitate. Then, fold your hands, bow your head and close your eyes encouraging them to imitate. Say a prayer thanking God for making us in His image and for teaching us about Him. Say the prayer a few words at a time so that the kids can mirror your prayer. The prayer should be focused on praising God for His work and thanking Him for creating us.
SAY: “It’s so great to have a chance to all pray together and thank God for making us in His image. Each time you see a mirror this week, say a brief prayer thanking Him for the truth that we’ve been talking about today, that [THE POINT] God made people to reflect Him.”
- The fact that human beings are God’s masterpieces should never lead us to attitudes of pride or arrogance. Why is this?
- Since all human beings are created in the image of God, what should be our attitudes
- about all other people, regardless of the color of their skin or the country they are from or how much money they have or anything else?
- What are some ways that God wants us to “image” or reflect before others what He is like?
- Jesus was the perfect image of God (Colossians 1:15). How does Jesus’ obedience to His Father help us understand what it means to live in the image of God?
WHAT YOU NEED: none
If you have extra time before the parents arrive, or if the kids in your group are getting restless at any point in the lesson, throw in a few minutes of the mirror game. Either have kids find partners and one kid do actions that the other child mirrors…or play as a whole group with you doing random actions and the kids mirroring you.
SAY: “I love it when we get to play and laugh together. That reminds me that even though we’re all very different, one thing we have in common is that we are all made by God and we all know the truth that [THE POINT] God made people to reflect Him. This afternoon, ask your mom or dad if you can teach them a new game and play the mirror game with them. While you play the game, tell them how you learned today that [Impress] God made people to reflect Him.”