This message aims to communicate to children the critical fact that God knows and loves them personally, and that He has a specific calling and plan for their lives. Kids can easily become confused or uncertain about things in this world, and being reassured of God’s love is important to boosting their confidence and identity. The optional object in this lesson uses simple beloved children’s toys to enhance understanding of what it means to have a plan and story in life.
“He Knows Your Name” Children’s Sermon from John 1:43-51 about God’s Calling and Purpose in our Lives
Law/Gospel Theme: Sometimes we develop the impression that we must “do enough” or work hard to truly be loved and used by God. We over-emphasize our role in our lives, when God is truly the author of all activity. This message reminds kids (and maybe adults, too!) that God has a specific plan and purpose for their lives. He knows and loves us and will always stay with us, using even tough circumstances for overall good.
Optional Materials: Small toys or dolls (optional)
Bible Passage: John 1:43-51; 1 Samuel 3:1-10
More Teaching Ideas
- Watch our video demonstration of this children’s sermon on YouTube
- Don’t miss the related craft ideas and full Sunday School Lesson on John 1:43-51
- Compare the lesson on this passage from rfour.org
- Compare “Tell Your Friends about Jesus” from sermons4kids
“He Knows Your Name” Children’s Sermon: John 1:43-51; 1 Samuel 3:1-10
Greet children, holding a few old toys, preferably some sort of dolls/stuffed animals/action figures:
Hello, children of God… You may have noticed I’ve got some little toys here…I used to love playing with these as a kid. Well, maybe I still do enjoy playing with them, actually. But I remember making up specific names for each one of these little dolls. In fact, not only did they have names, but they had stories, too. I had other dolls they interacted with, and I made up all sorts of elaborate and complicated stories for them. They had characters and there was a point to all of the little things that I had them do. Even though they are just toys, I cared about them in a sense, and I knew who they were and what I was doing with them.
Do you know what? In a very small way, this is sort of similar to how God knows us and has plans for our lives. Each of us has a story that God writes for us, and He is directing everything that happens to us. It might sometimes feel like we are insignificant and don’t really matter much in the grand scheme of things. It might even seem like God is distant or doesn’t care what happens to us. That’s not true! He is present in every moment of our lives. He has a plan for us. We all have special unique stories that He knows about. We have a purpose. This is why it’s important to pray and consider what God might want us to do. He puts events into motion, but we still need to remember that He is with us and that we should act according to His love and laws.
It’s also great to recognize that God loves and cares for each and every one of us. He loves us far more than we love our toys, because He created us! He knows our names and our stories, but He also knows our future, our favorite things, and even how many hairs are on our heads! I tried counting that once, and it isn’t easy to know. But God does. We are His most precious creation, and He has a special purpose for us.
You may not yet know what your specific “life calling” is, but you can trust that God has a great plan for you! Keep loving Him and His people, and ask Him to help show you the ways in which He wants you to live. Meanwhile, rest in knowing that He loves you and promises to be with you and take care of you. Your life is meaningful, and God loves YOU!
(Have kids repeat each line)
Thank you for calling us by name
You have made us uniquely yours
Help us to trust in your purpose for our lives
Thank you for promising to stay near
Thank you for your love
We love you, God!
In Jesus name, Amen!
Bible Verses/story to Reference: John 1:43-51; 1 Samuel 3:1-10
The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” 44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46 Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” 47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” 48 Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” 49 Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” 50 Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” 51 And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” -John 1:43-51
Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the Lord in the presence of Eli. And the word of the Lord was rare in those days; there was no frequent vision.
2 At that time Eli, whose eyesight had begun to grow dim so that he could not see, was lying down in his own place. 3 The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the Lord, where the ark of God was.
4 Then the Lord called Samuel, and he said, “Here I am!” 5 and ran to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call; lie down again.” So he went and lay down.
6 And the Lord called again, “Samuel!” and Samuel arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call, my son; lie down again.” 7 Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.
8 And the Lord called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” Then Eli perceived that the Lord was calling the boy. 9 Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down, and if he calls you, you shall say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant hears.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
10 And the Lord came and stood, calling as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant hears.”
-1 Samuel 3:1-10