Download this complete Sunday School lesson for kids based on Luke 14:25-35. The link below includes two coloring pages, craft directions, game ideas, and the Bible teaching plan. We make your ministry easy -- so you can focus on the kids God is bringing to your class.
This Gospel message can be somewhat challenging to communicate with children. Hating family members? Bearing crosses? The point to communicate and emphasize here is that we need to consider what it means to be a disciple. It might be difficult, but God goes with us and provides strength and hope for our journey.
Lesson focus: Following Jesus is not always easy, and can have challenges. We can be prepared for this, but also know that being disciples is worth the cost!
Passage: Luke 14:25-35 NIV
Target Audience: Kindergarten-6th grade
Materials Needed: Cross-shaped wood or ceramic pieces; popsicle sticks, pipe cleaners; beads; glitter; decorative supplies; Bibles
Bonus Ideas: More free ideas for teaching this Bible lesson for kids
- Compare our children’s sermon (with video example) from Luke 14:25-35
- Download our free C is for Christ coloring page from the Bible Alphabet Coloring Book
- Compare another lesson plan from Luke 14 where Jesus confronts hypocrisy
- Download “How Do I Follow Jesus” coloring page from our Jesus is King: Gospel Coloring Book
- We also have a coloring page based on the book of Luke from our Bible Books series.
Lectionary Reference: Proper 18 (23) (September 8, 2019) Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost -- Year C
“Boss of Me” Song for Sunday School
Lesson Opening / Game Activities
Lesson Opening: For this opener, invite students to contemplate the theme of cost consideration with monetary means as well as a traditional tale….some ideas include:
- Count the cost…how much is it? Tell students that they have a budget, and provide a catalog or “menu” of sorts (this can vary depending on age range). Give them some time and have them select as many items as they care to within their given budget.
- The Price is right…hold up pictures (or display items) of various price ranges. Invite students to guess what price things are, and discuss what they think might be more pricey or “worth it” for big ticket items.
- The Little Red Hen, re-visited…introduce the “cost counting” topic with a classic story: The Little Red Hen! Feel free to help students act out or use any variation on the tale.
Explain to students that they will be talking about what it means to be disciples of Christ, and how there is a cost to following Jesus.
Bible Teaching (Luke 14:25-35) Counting the Cost of Following Jesus
Ask students about things that they enjoy or do
well. Does anyone play sports? Musical instruments? Artistic endeavors? Discuss
what they have to do in order to excel at these things. To be better in
athletics, you have to practice, do the drills, and put in effort to improve.
To play an instrument, you need to also practice and maybe even take special
lessons. You also have to maintain your equipment, whether uniforms and pads or
instruments and accompanying pieces. Is it worth all of this work? Well, it is
if you are passionate about your pursuit and wish to do it well!
Explain that when we talk about following Jesus, we have a similar calling. It isn’t always easy. In fact, it’s often quite challenging, and Jesus warned us of that. Have students look at the Gospel in Luke, and help them read what it says (or have them read, if they are able):
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. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. -Luke 14:25-27
Does that sound a little harsh? Is Jesus actually telling us we have to disown our families and hate people? That doesn’t seem like a positive way of achieving blessings, does it? Assure kids that Jesus does not want us to actually hate our families. After all, we are commanded to honor our parents. The warning here is that we are not to let families come before faith in Christ. Nothing should be more important to us than following Jesus, so He is admonishing people to check their hearts and be prepared to do whatever it takes to be a disciple. He warns them to be prepared…
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. -Luke 14:28-33
If you are preparing to take a drive, or play a sport, or go on a hike, or bake bread, or essentially do anything, you have to get ready first. You have to look over what is required before you pursue your goals. Here, Jesus is telling people that they have to be prepared to be disciples they have to understand what it means. And what does it mean?
Put the cost of discipleship into more child-friendly terms. Fortunately, most kids (at least in first world countries) do not have to fear strong persecution for their faith. But there are things that they might have to set aside for the sake of Christ. Perhaps they can’t practice on the Sunday morning soccer squad, because they have church. Maybe they have to wake up a little earlier in the morning to read the Bible. Maybe they put a dollar into the offering plate instead of purchasing candy. There are smaller and larger methods by which young folks might be called to follow Christ. Remind them, though, that it is something we need to work at. If you want to follow Jesus, you do need to be disciplined to pray, read the Bible, and follow through.
“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 14:34-35
What does this mean? Explain to children that we
want to continually, daily remind ourselves of what it means to follow Jesus,
and we want to genuinely be doing that: taking care of others, praying,
reading. HOWEVER, at the same time, it’s also essential to let kids know that
this is not how we are redeemed. Jesus has already payed the price for our
salvation. He is still doing the work. God is the one who brings grace. Practicing
discipline and being willing to work for Jesus is important, but all things we do
are still through HIM and not our own efforts.
And there are great blessings that come when we are willing to do these things! Of course, we know that the greatest blessing will ultimately be our home in Heaven. But we also have the promise of wonderful things in this life. We have fellowship with God, creator and savior of the universe! That’s pretty spectacular. We also have the opportunity to grow God’s kingdom by bringing in more disciples. When Jesus called His first disciples, He demonstrated His power, and also told them they would be able to go out and make more disciples. Read this passage with children to emphasize the beauty of that ability and promise:
But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” 9 For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken, 10 and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” 11 And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him. -Luke 5:8-11
We get to do great things as children and followers in God’s family. The best part is that we know we don’t have to do these things alone. God will be with us. All that we do is through Christ. We are learners, followers, disciples of Him. And as such, we have the greatest and most merciful leader we could ask for. What a blessing. Hallelujah!
Close with prayer and thank God for giving us strength and hope. Ask for His help in following Christ and pursuing discipleship, and offer grateful awe for the opportunity to do so.
Sunday School Craft Idea: Cross Decoration
Remind students that when they are practicing
discipleship, they are following Jesus. Fortunately, Jesus has done the heavy
lifting for us already! So we are to look to Him for support and strength. Yes,
it can be tough to follow Him wholeheartedly, but it is also a huge blessing in
our lives. To recall and celebrate this, have students make a special cross-themed
craft, and attach a helpful caption like “Look to the cross”, “Jesus is my hope
and strength”, or a part of one of the Luke verses quoted in this lesson (maybe
the fishers of men part, or one of the more encouraging components…not so
much the element of hating family and friends).
There are many excellent ways to get crafty with crosses. Consider perhaps:
- Sand art with glue and colored sand
- Using special adhesive to fashion a cross out of pennies (really “count the cost”!)
- Glue tissue paper in a cross shape to create a mosaic of sorts
- Make “stained glass” by rubbing a bit of baby oil over a crayon-colored cross
- Make a special three-dimensional cross with contact paper and small items (sequins, glitter, feathers, flower petals) inside
- Glue beads onto popsicle sticks and attach in cross-shapes
- Paint egg cartons and tie together in cross-shape with ribbons
- Make a beaded cross with pipe cleaners and multi-colored beads
- Outline a cross and use whatever media (markers, paint, pastels, colored pencil, crayon) you prefer to fill it in!