This Sunday School lesson will teach children that Jesus is like a good shepherd who knows and loves his sheep. It is based on the classic passage in John 10 where Jesus states those truths. This lesson plan was originally written for elementary aged Sunday School, but you could easily modify it for Children’s Church or a preschool Bible lesson. We also have two preschool lessons based on this same Bible passage that teaches how Jesus loves and Jesus Saves his sheep.
Bible Story: Jesus Knows Me
Scripture: John 10:1-18
Target Age Group: Age 7 – 12 (U.S. 1st – 6th Grade)
Original Learning Context: Sunday School
Target Time Frame: 30 minutes
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Supply List: pictures of shepherds, pictures of gates that lead into sheep fold, picture of Jesus dressed like a shepherd (any pictures that can be obtained about shepherds). Try searching on Google images.
Learning Goal: After this lesson . . .
- The children will be able to share the important people and events from this passage.
- The children will be able to identify the relationship between a shepherd and his sheep.
Learning Indicator: by retelling the story back to the teacher and relating the relationship with the sheep and their shepherd.
Learning Activity #1
Active Listening: Divide the children into two groups, and ask the first group to identify everything they learn about the shepherd in the story. Ask the second group to listen for the things they learn about the sheep.
Immediately following the reading of the passage, call on volunteers from each of the groups to retell the part of the story based on what they learned about the sheep or the shepherd.
Learning Activity #2
Agree/Disagree: Read the following statements and have the children indicate whether they agree with the statement or not. Have them explain the reason they disagree.
- Sheep will go to anyone who calls to them. Disagree. (Verses 5, 8, 12-13)
- A good shepherd will lay down his life to save his sheep. Agree. (Verses 11, 15, 17-18)
- Strangers and hired men will kill a wolf trying to hurt the sheep. Disagree. (Verses 12-13)
- Good shepherd don’t have to enter the door to be good. Disagree. (Verses 1-2)
- Jesus describes Himself as the door and the good shepherd. Agree. (Verses 7, 9, 14)
- The sheep recognize their own shepherd by his voice. Agree. (Verses 3-4)
- Jesus is trying to figure out who His sheep are. Disagree. (Verses 14-16)
- Jesus says He knows His sheep like the Father knows Him. Agree. (Verses 14,16)
- Jesus was forced to die for His sheep. Disagree. (Verses 17-18)
- The thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy Jesus’ sheep. Agree. (Verses 8, 10, 12-13)
Learning Activity #3
Open Discussion: Display various pictures and lead a discussion to help the children understand the ways that recognizing voices would be important in each of these situations. Use pictures such as: a parent and a child (in any situation that has the potential for danger), or person with Seeing Eye dog.
Game: To further enhance the lesson play the following game. Ask for two volunteers and this would be a good opportunity to choose two children that are good friends. This game will display trust in a not only the voice but the person. Blind fold one of the friends, and have the other friend find a spot in the room to stand. Have the seeing friend guide the blindfolded friend to them while guiding them around obstacles in the room.
Test: Have the children retell the story and choose at least from each listening group to tell the part they learned from their listening assignment. If they need help, prompt them with “What came next?”
Connection with the Gospel:
This illustration of Jesus being the Door and the Good Shepherd will help the children recognize the relationship Jesus wants to have with those He loves. This is a good time to talk about Jesus dying on the cross for their sins and providing a way to have a relationship with Him. It’s a good idea to talk to the children about how they can recognize Jesus talking to them by the things He says to them in the Scriptures….like being kind, obeying parents, not lying, etc.
Connection with Life:
Discussion: Ask for different children to share a time when they knew it was important to listen to their parents or a teacher. Talk to them about either what happened because they did or didn’t listen. Challenge the children to strive to obey on a parents or teachers first request.