Download this free Sunday School lesson to teach kids the story of Jeremiah’s calling and how God wants to use them (even when they are kids). The link below includes the complete lesson plan, two coloring sheet options, and craft idea.
Children sometimes develop a mindset that they are in a “waiting room” of sorts. “Young people are the future of the church,” some say…but do we fail to recognize that young people are the church of today? The story of Jeremiah reminds us that God can use anyone at any age. Kids don’t need to sit around and hope for eventual faith. This lesson aims to help them recognize that God has a plan for them both eventually and right now. God can use them and knows them. Most importantly, God will guide their words and ways, so they can always find strength and security in Him.
Lesson focus: God knows us inside and out. He has created each one of us for a special purpose and has a plan for every life. We can get started on following His plan at any age and time, and He will help us when we aren’t sure what to do.
Target Audience: Kindergarten-6th grade
Materials Needed: Paper bags, decorative materials, stickers, markers, nice paper or card stock
- Jeremiah Coloring Page (included in printable lesson above)
- another lesson plan on this same Bible passage
- Don’t Say I’m Only a Youth cartoon & coloring page on our website
- activities for this Bible story from Sermons 4 Kids
- Worship Music Video from 1 Timothy 4:12
Opening Activities / Lesson Introduction
Lesson Opening: Kick off the lesson with a couple of fun activities to get them thinking about how God knows and loves us, and how He will help us to do whatever He has called us to do.
- Do you know me? Have students come up with a unique fact about themselves, something they don’t think others would know. Invite kids to write their fact down on a slip of paper (this will be best for older kids, unless you have several helpers to assist young ones with writing) and place all of the papers into a box or bag. One by one, draw out facts and see if other students can guess who wrote the special detail. Explain that there are always things we may not know about one another. But there is someone who knows more about us than even we do! That’s God.
- “Don’t worry, I’ll help you.” As a leader, set out a complicated task that students would likely not be able to complete on their own. This could be some sort of drawing, putting together an item, tying a special knot, decorating a cupcake…just make it something that will require extra tools/supplies/directions…at first, tell the kids what they have to do, and start to walk away. When students begin worrying about their abilities, let them know that you are there to guide them through every step of the activity, and you will be their helper.
with students how today they will be learning about how God is a helper and
provider. He knows us all and loves us, and calls us to follow Him at any age.
You don’t even have to be grown up to serve God. He will give you everything
you need to equip you for your role in His kingdom.
Bible Lesson (Jeremiah 1:4-10) God Wants to Use You
Ask students if they have ever experienced not being able to do something because they were too small or too young. Invite some sharing. How does that feel?
Explain that sometimes we think we have to wait to be old enough to do things. But God wants to use us at any age. In the Bible, God came to someone named Jeremiah, and told him that he was going to be a prophet. That means God was giving Him a special job announcing to people the words that God was saying. Invite students to look at the opening verses of the prophet’s book:
Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying,
5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
and before you were born I consecrated you;
I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” -Jeremiah 1:4-5
“Wow, God had a job for Jeremiah before he was even born! Did you know God had a job for you picked out before you were born? He knows what your life will be like before anyone else knows!” Emphasize to children that God understands everything about them and has created them for something incredible.
Then continue the passage, talking about Jeremiah’s uncertainty. Jeremiah was nervous hearing these words from God. He wondered how he would be able to do anything special or important, since he was just a kid:
Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth.” 7 But the Lord said to me,
“Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’;
for to all to whom I send you, you shall go,
and whatever I command you, you shall speak.
8 Do not be afraid of them,
for I am with you to deliver you,
declares the Lord.” -Jeremiah 1:6-8
“God is pretty clear there. Have you ever been nervous or wondered how to do something? Most of us probably have!”
…Share a time that you might have needed help or extra instruction in order to do something.
Explain that God is promising to be with Jeremiah. He is not going to give him a job and leave him in the dust. He will give him courage and also tell him what to say. That sounds pretty neat! In our lives, we might not always hear a big booming voice from God with specific words.
We might not have it all spelled out. But when we read our Bibles, pray, and pay attention to those around us, we can get an idea of what God wants and how He might want us to serve.
Maybe it means sitting next to the new kid at lunchtime, or sharing a special word or smile with a friend. Maybe it’s putting some allowance in the offering plate or donation organization. The key to remember is that no matter what we are doing, if we are doing it for God, He is with us. We are working for Him, not for our own sake.
Then the Lord put out his hand and touched my mouth. And the Lord said to me,
“Behold, I have put my words in your mouth.
10 See, I have set you this day over nations and over kingdoms,
to pluck up and to break down,
to destroy and to overthrow,
to build and to plant.” -Jeremiah 1:9-10
This is a beautiful promise. God is working through our lives. Whatever we do, His hand is behind it. Perhaps God has a plan for kids to be rocket scientists, or Olympians, or presidents, or housekeepers or bakers. Students do not yet know what His plans are for three decades down the road. They might not understand how He is working in their lives. But they don’t have to wait and wonder. They can work every day, at any age, to serve Him.
God has given us love and grace, and promises to be with us to do His work, whatever that might be. Invite students to brainstorm some ways that their words and actions might be able to help one another and serve God. Are there things they might be anxious about?
For you, O Lord, are my hope,
my trust, O Lord, from my youth.
6 Upon you I have leaned from before my birth;
you are he who took me from my mother’s womb.
My praise is continually of you. -Psalm 71:5-6
The Psalmist here is comforted in anxiety because he knows that God is a constant hope and strength. Have older students read surrounding verses in this Psalm, and for younger students put into simpler words. Invite them to consider what is happening and being said here. Why is the Lord our hope? Because He made us! We know we can trust in Him because He knows us. Therefore we give God praise. And that is another thing that is great to do at any age.
Even kids who can’t yet read or write can lift their voices in song and hands in praise. This is an example to everyone! Encourage students to demonstrate joy and gratitude for God’s works. In this way they can be a light to others all around them. Why such joy?
We know that God loves us, made us, and has a purpose for us. He will guide us every day in every way.
Close with prayer and thank God for giving us
strength and purpose all of the time and anytime. Ask for His help to know and
follow His plan and to lean on Him for wisdom.
Craft Idea “Hope Booklets”
Have students create special “hope booklets” to remember that God is their strength and guide. Provide each student with several pieces of nice paper or cardstock and pens. Have them assist in coming up with a list of words or ideas that can help them when they are feeling inadequate or uncertain.
These could be things like “God has a plan for me” or “Trust means knowing I’m in God’s arms.” Or it could be more complex words like “sympathy means I hurt when someone else is hurting”; “God gives strength to work for Him;” “A friendly smile can share God’s love”; or even a Bible verse. Allow students to decorate their cards, and put them together with a stapler or string.
For younger students, create a bookmark with a verse caption printed. (Psalm 71:5)
Or invite them to make a fun Jeremiah paper bag puppet, attaching one of the verses to a man with “words put into his mouth” (Jeremiah 1:9).