Watch the video demonstration below and download our printable message script to share this children’s sermon in your church. It’s based on the passage in Luke 14 where Jesus warns about the high cost of discipleship.
Teaching Example Video
Children’s Message: Counting the Cost, the Meaning of Discipleship
Main Objective: The main objective of this message is to communicate to children that following Jesus is not always easy, but it is worth it. This Gospel message can be a challenging one to share with children. After all, who wants to think about abandoning family and leaving things behind? The point here is to emphasize that God is with us no matter what. Being a disciple can be tough and costly, but we know that it will yield blessing, in this life and the next.
Law/Gospel Theme: In some respects, this can sound like we have to somehow earn our way to grace, or “do enough” to be considered a disciple. That is not what this Gospel message describes. Jesus is saying that we need to understand and plan for what it means to follow Him. There will be difficulties to encounter, and we need to be prepared for that. But we can know that Jesus offers good news, and will always be there for those who love Him and aim to serve Him.
Object Lesson Materials & Props: Cookbook, utensils/ingredients (optional), store-bought baked item (feel free to have as much or as little as desired in the way of “kitchen items.”).
Bible Passage: Luke 14:25-35
Lectionary Reference: PROPER 18 (23) Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost. Year C. September 8, 2019
Bonus Ideas: More learning activities to further develop this Bible lesson
- Watch our video teaching example of this object lesson message
- Don’t miss the complete Sunday School lesson on Luke 14:25-35
- Compare another Sunday School Lesson from Luke 14 on Following Jesus
- Download our free D is for Disciple Coloring Page (from the Bible Alphabet series)
- Download our How Do I Follow Jesus? Coloring Sheet
- Compare “Counting the Cost” from Sermons 4 Kids
Children’s Message (Luke 14-35) Object Lesson on Counting the Cost
(Note: adjust to your preferences and needs! You don’t have to use cooking. It could be sports, playing an instrument, sewing a blanket…use something that will take time, money, and effort. Make it fun and personal)
Greet students, wearing an apron/chef hat, if desired
Hello, children of God!
I have a special treat for you today. We are going to do a live cooking demonstration, and we will wind up with something delicious to enjoy! I was looking through my cookbooks, and I think it would be fun to make some fresh homemade DONUTS.
Do you like donuts? I sure do. I don’t know if you’ve ever tasted a homemade, from-scratch, fresh out of the fryer donut, but it is pretty amazing. I am super excited. So, let’s see, I’ve got my cooking outfit here…and I have some utensils ready. Here’s a spoon…here’s a bowl, and, um, some sugar, because donuts are yummy, which means they have sugar! And….let’s see. Maybe I should take a look at the recipe and see how I’m supposed to actually make these…
(Look at directions in the cookbook) Okay, so I have to mix the yeast and milk first? Uh-oh. What is yeast? I’m not sure I have that in my pantry. I may need to find a substitution. What’s next? After I mix that, I use my mixer to make a dough with flour and milk…then I let the dough rest. Rest? What does it need to rest for? It’s dough!
Hmm…next, I have to mix the other ingredients in. Then I have to switch my mixer to a “dough hook”? Do I have that? And then knead it, and let it rise another thirty minutes? What? This is getting pretty involved…and I’m not even finished! Yikes. Okay, so let it rise…and then I have to cut out shapes and let them rest again. What is with this dough, that it gets so many breaks? Let’s see… “Heat oil in a pan until deep-fry thermometer reads 350 degrees.” Why would I have a deep-fry thermometer? Do I have to go out and buy one? These tools can get pricey, you know. I can’t go out and get all this equipment! Let’s see, I put the doughnuts into the oil, then cook them on each side, then I have to drain them and wait before I add any frosting or do anything else… you know what guys? Here, let’s just have the store kind. They aren’t quite as tasty or special, but it sure is a lot easier…(hold up pack of store bought treats)
Do we ever want to do things the easy way? It sure can be tempting. Do a little less in practice drills. Spend more time playing and less time on piano. Avoid the extra homework questions…the easier way is, well, easy! But it is not always the best way. In fact, the harder things often bring greater rewards. And this is what Jesus talks about in the Gospel lesson here. Sometimes people get started on something and don’t realize what it will take to see it through. Sometimes people want to follow Jesus and don’t think about what it will involve. Jesus is telling the crowds in this message that true discipleship—really following and serving—is costly and challenging.
Now, this does not mean that we have to do a certain amount of work to be in God’s family, or that somehow by the things we do we will be saved. God has already given us grace. But sometimes people think that everything will be smooth and simple when we are Christians. Following Christ is wonderful, but it is not always easy. It might mean doing tough things, like waking up early to pray instead of hitting the snooze button. Or it may look like talking to a new kid at school that other people are avoiding. Or perhaps you put some money into the offering instead of buying a toy or a cookie. And you know, those things are not too bad compared with what some people in other places have to do to serve God.
Jesus says here that nothing can come between us and Him. We don’t have to hate our family and our life, necessarily. But we cannot cling to anyone or anything but the Lord. If there’s something that is distracting us from loving God, we need to be ready to set it aside and love God with our whole hearts. We need to be prepared to “count the cost” of following.
The great news, though, is that God promises reward. It might be harder to follow all of the steps of the donut recipe, but I’ll bet if I was willing to go through with it, the end result would be delicious. It can sometimes be harder to do what we need to do in order to follow Jesus, but life with Him is always worth it! We know that we have a Heavenly reward awaiting us; but we also have the promise of God’s love and guidance helping us every day and every way as we live and work now. What a wonderful treat! Let’s thank God for that.
Suggested Children’s Prayer Moment
(Have kids repeat each line, if desired)
Thank you for your Word, the Bible
Help us to understand and follow it
Help us to follow Jesus
Even when it is difficult
Thank you for being with us no matter what
Thank you for your love
We love you, God!
Thank you for Jesus
In His name, Amen!
Luke 14:25-35 NIV “The Cost of Being a Disciple”
Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them,26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31 Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. 33 So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.
34 “Salt is good, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? 35 It is of no use either for the soil or for the manure pile. It is thrown away. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” –Luke 14:25-35