Even (and sometimes especially) in the church, students are often at a loss to understand or explain some of the basic essentials of Christianity. Sometimes kids grow so used to a routine of “doing church” that they forget why it is important to participate in a church body or go through the motions we are accustomed to doing. It is critical that kids of any age appreciate the importance of the basics, or they will be more likely to neglect and stray from the faith later. This lesson provokes contemplation to encourage practice of Bible study and church participation.
Age Range: Older elementary/middle school
Message: God calls us to participate in personal and corporate worship through Bible study, prayer, and church. God does not “need” anything from us, but these activities benefit our lives and bring us to greater knowledge of Him.
Passage: Psalm 119:11; 1 Corinthians 12:12-31; Proverbs 27:17; Proverbs 17:17; Acts 2:42-47
Opening Activity: Introduce today’s topic with a couple of games emphasizing attention to the little things. Start with a memory game of sorts. Line up a series of objects on a table and allow a designated minute or so for students to study them. Then cover the table and see how many things kids can remember. For a slightly easier variation, line up several things and take away a few at a time, testing to see if kids can recall and figure what was removed. Explain that today we will talk about little things (like paying attention). We will also be talking about study and memory…why are these things of any value?
Play another game to see how well your students know the Bible. Depending on age, ability, and group dynamic, this might take several forms. Some suggestions include:
- Have “sword drills” to see who can locate a passage the fastest
- Play “Bible Jeopardy” and ask trivia questions based on verses
- Play “alphabet order” and go around a group taking turns coming up with a person or place in the Bible that begins with each alphabet letter (Adam, Balaam, Caleb, etc…)
- Cut out the names of Bible books, and have kids race to unscramble them in order
After discussing the Bible and memory, ask students the big question… “Why bother?”
Bible Lesson: Whether students are Biblical scholars in the making or can’t tell Noah from Moses, it is important for them to consider the role Bible study plays in the Christian life. Ask them why they think it matters, or if it does matter at all. Field some possible responses and discuss what it means to read and study the Bible. Is it just a book of rules and stories? Remind students that the Bible is “alive and active” (Hebrews 4:12), and that it is the God-breathed word of instruction (2 Timothy 3:16). Scripture is God’s instruction manual for us, and it is how He reveals who He is and reminds us of what He has done. It focuses on God’s power and presence, and offers guidance and direction as well as important recollections of God’s story.
We also read the Bible because it encourages us in appropriate behavior, reminding us of how to live:
I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you. -Psalm 119:11
The Bible can be a powerful tool and a helpful teacher, as well. And what about the church? Reading the Bible and bringing requests to God in prayer can be great independent actions. So why bother driving to another building each week, singing off-key, getting scolded from the pulpit, and drinking stale coffee? Does God even care if we go to church? Consider how the church functioned when it first came into being:
All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. -Acts 2:42-46
Peek at the trademarks and features of the early church…they are meeting together and giving their things in a community spirit. This is not a place of grumbling board meetings but of fellowship and eating, leaning on one another. The Bible makes it clear that we are not meant to be isolated but to use each other and “sharpen” each other (Proverbs 27:17). We are all members of one collective body (1 Corinthians 12:16) and work together to do God’s work. So the church builds us up with fellowship and cohesive effort. It also builds up the kingdom by encouraging us to go OUT and spread God’s word. Does this mean just telling others about Him? No; we spread God’s love with actions and assistance, not just explanations.
So back to the opening question…why bother? Well, we want to honor God in every action, large or small. Our daily activities and thoughts should be done with intent to glorify Him. We do this by constantly recalling His presence. We direct our thoughts back to Him. We love and serve others. We must live out the directions of Paul:
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. –Colossians 3:16
What are we waiting for? Let’s get busy! J
Close with prayer and thank God for His word and for His presence in our lives. Ask for help in appreciating and understanding what that means.