Use this children’s Sunday School lesson to teach kids about when to tell people about Jesus and when not to.
Intro Game: Disciple Tag
Choose one student to be It. When they tag someone, that person links hands with them and joins their team. They continue adding people to their team, linking hands with each one until all but one student is part of their chain. That remaining student becomes It for the next round.
Play two or three rounds and then, explain that when we tell people about Jesus, we want them to believe in Jesus too. If they do, they become a Christian and join our team. Then, they help us tell more people about Jesus.
Bring out the rotten food and the fancy food. Ask students, Which one of these would you rather eat?
I hope you would all pick the nice food and not eat this rotten food. But did you know that a dog or a pig will eat even the rotten food?
(If you have a dog, tell a story about a time when your dog ate something gross.)
(Bring out the dog food and open it up.) What about this? How many of you would eat this?
Dogs like people-food, but they also eat this kind of stuff every day.
If dogs and pigs and other animals are happy to eat rotten food and animal food, then why would we give them nice fancy food? We might as well keep the nice food for people because we know what good food is and we appreciate it.
But some people don’t appreciate nice things. It’s like Jesus said in His sermon on the mountain.
(Read Matthew 7:6.)
“Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.”
Jesus isn’t talking about real pigs or dogs here. He’s talking about people. And the sacred things and the pearls that He’s talking about is the truth. Jesus is saying that there are some people who don’t appreciate the truth when they hear it.
You might try to tell them something about God or Jesus, or you might try to tell them about something that they’re doing wrong, but they don’t want to hear it. They don’t want to hear about God. They don’t want to hear about how they can be better. Instead, Jesus says that they will trample the truth and then, tear you to pieces. That means that they won’t listen to what you said and then, they’ll get mad at you for saying it.
So, we have to be careful what we say to people. We have to decide first if they will appreciate the truth that we’re about to tell them or if they won’t want to listen to it and will only get mad at us for saying it.
What do you think are some reasons why people wouldn’t want to hear about God? (Suggestions: Maybe they’re too busy right now and we should wait until another time to talk to them; Maybe they don’t believe in God, and they’re not ready to think about God so we should wait until they are ready; Maybe something bad or sad happened to them, and they’re mad at God for it, so we should wait for them to calm down before we talk to them; etc.)
What do you think are some reasons why people wouldn’t want us to tell them about the things that they’re doing wrong? (Suggestions: If we tell people they’re doing wrong things in a mean way, they won’t want to listen to us and will only get mad at us; Maybe they like the wrong things that they’re doing, and they’re not ready to stop, so we should wait until they are; etc.)
So, remember, we want to tell people the truth about God and about how to live the right way, but we also need to tell people those things at the right time and at a time when they’re going to appreciate the things that we tell them. Think about when the right time to say things will be and ask God to help you say those things in the best way. Then, people will appreciate what you’re telling them, and God will be happy with you.
Activity: Acting It Out
Divide students into groups of two or three. Have each group decide on and act out a scene in which someone is sharing about Jesus, but the other person doesn’t want to hear it. Ask them to show how each person might react.
Acting It Out part 2
Now, have the groups continue their same scene in which the Christian comes back later, and the other person is ready to listen, or in which the non-Christian later approaches the Christian for more information.
Game: Disciple Tag
Play the intro game again for as long as time permits.
Jesus, help us to know the right time to tell someone about You. And help us to say things the right way so that people will be able to hear the truth without getting angry. Amen.
You can also find this lesson for Kindle or in print in my book, Jesus Teaches on the Mountain.