Why is church important? Why does God value community and relationship, and what does that mean? Young (and older) children might go along with family church habits, but often come to a point where they question the value of Christian fellowship and collaboration. This lesson focuses on the early church as example of community, and explores teamwork and relationships.
Lesson focus: Part of the Christian life includes sharing and working with other Christians. It is important that we participate in joint worship and share with others, in order to build up the body of Christ and be prepared to serve other people.
Passage: Acts 2:42-47
Target Audience: Kindergarten-6th Grade (adaptable older or younger)
Materials Needed: Hula hoops; paper; coloring/drawing materials; varied odd materials (tape, paper towel tubes, straws, etc.)
Lesson Opening: Doing it together…start off with a couple of activities to emphasize team work elements. First, have two students sit back to back and link their arms together. From this state, challenge them to stand up, using one another as support.
If there are several students present, have them stand in a circle. Hold hands or link arms, and insert a hula hoop between two of the kids. Have them try to pass the hula hoop around the circle without letting go.
Split kids into groups (number depends on size of group). Provide them with several odd and random materials, and invite them to build a tower or “invention” with the materials. Give 3-5 minutes, and encourage creativity. Have students share what they have done with their group.
Let students know that we will be talking about community today, and how we can work with each other to accomplish more.
What does community mean? Ask kids to share their perceived definition of community…is it just people being together? A place to have meetings? Something to work with? Explain that God values relationships, and He wants us to work together, as church members and friends. God has made us for one another and intends us to need each other:
The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” -Genesis 2:18
From the beginning, God values our interactions with one another, and as we see throughout the history of Israel, He encourages us to band together and work with each other as a group. The disciples who first started the church after Christ’s ascension were intent on community…
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. –Acts 2:42-44
Note the things these men were doing: they taught and listened. They shared meals together. They prayed together. They spent time together. This was more than just a “honeymoon” time of exciting things and wonders. It was a time of sharing. What can we learn from that example? Church is not just a place to hang out with friends or be “fed” spiritually…it is an opportunity to share and group together for God. Let’s look at what else characterized the early church:
They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. –Acts 2:45-47
The founding apostles gave and sold what they had in order to help others, along with meeting together and worshiping God. What was the result? “the Lord added to their number daily.” Because they were so willing to give and help, people were attracted to the church.
Ask the tough question: does this describe the modern church? Does it characterize our church? How do you think we could or should reach out more?
Above all, remember that we are to encourage one another, in order to continue building up the church by building its members.
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. -Hebrews 10:24-25
Make a group drawing. Provide each student with a piece of paper and coloring materials. Come up with a theme (animal, house, garden, etc.) for a drawing, and instruct kids to create the picture, one bit at a time. The catch, though, is that with every element, the papers will rotate to the next person. For example, the first instruction might be “draw the feet.” Then everyone will rotate to the next person’s paper, and “draw legs,” and swap again to “draw a torso” etc.… Continue until everyone is back to their original paper, now a drawing completed “in community” with the others around the table.
Close with prayer and reminder of God’s work in the church. Ask for help in understanding and serving others in community and to others around us.