In our culture, competitiveness is a part of everyday life. Our children value being the best at whatever it is they are doing. It is good that children strive to always do their best, but the Bible teaches us to be humble and to always do for others without thinking of ourselves. This lesson will help children understand that they need to put others before themselves.
Lesson Title: Putting Others Before Ourselves
Bible Reference: Mark 9:33-37
Target Age Group: Preschool to Elementary
Learning Context: Sunday School
Target Time Frame: 45 minutes
Focus Verse: “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.” Mark 9:35b
- I can serve others.
- I can put others before myself.
Basic Supply List:
- Paper Plates
- Pens, markers, crayons, glue, stickers, etc.
- Styrofoam cups
- Bouncy Ball
- Toy to Clean
- Large Tubs
- Dish soap
- Sponges or Rags
- Towels for clean up
Note: In the teaching plan below the words in italics are meant to be read aloud. The regular text is simply directions for the teacher.
> > > > Basic Teaching Plan < < < <
Introduction: Begin the lesson by playing a simple game such as London Bridge or Duck, Duck, Goose. Play as long as time allows. When you are finished have the class sit down and ask, Why do we play games such as this? Discuss possible reasons for playing then tell the class that the primary reason we play games is because they are fun to play together. Say, We all like playing games and we all like to win, but we can run into problems when we feel like we have to be the best all the time. Let’s read a passage from Mark 9 to see what Jesus says makes us great.
Biblical Evidence: Read Mark 9:33-34. Say, Whenever Jesus came upon the disciples they were embarrassed because they knew that they should not be fighting over who is the greatest. They knew that Jesus would not want to them to argue at all. Jesus takes this as an opportunity to teach them a lesson.
Read Mark 9:35. Say, Jesus told the disciples that they must be the last to be the first. In other words, if you want to be great you must be a servant of others. You must think of others before yourself and you put their needs first. If you want to be great then you must serve others because greatness is found through service.
Read Mark 9:36-37. In this passage Jesus is saying that people who are great will help everyone around them, even if they are strangers of people who don’t seem so important to us. No one is better than another person. We are all equal and should work together to serve God through serving others. We serve others when we remember that they are important too and when we put them first.
Serve Others Fan: Give each child a paper plate and have them cut it in half. Write the Bible Verse on the plate. Decorate plate with paint, markers, glitter, crayons, stickers, or anything materials that you may have. You have no created a fan. Encourage the kids to use this fan to serve others by fanning them on a hot summer day.
Least to Greatest Ball: In this game the goals are numbered from least to greatest. Use this as a way to explain least to greatest and tell the class that we should not rank people in this way because we are all equal. Play the game for fun and have the kids encourage each other as they play. Take 2 large Styrofoam cups and cut them in half. You now have 4 goals. Write 5 points, 10 points, 15 points, and 20 points on the cups, respectively. Use masking tape to secure them to the ground with the 5 point cup closest to the kids and the 20 point cup furthest away. Have the kids stand behind a starting line and roll a bouncy ball towards the cup. Whichever cup the ball goes in is the number of points that they get. Emphasize the fun that the kids have will playing over the individual accomplishment of winning.
Service to the Church: Take the kids on a service project though out the church. Fill several tubs with soapy water, sponges, and toys from the nursery or other classrooms. The class will serve the church by cleaning the toys and having a lot of fun playing in the water. Remind the class that the work they are doing is helping others. Cleaning may not be the most fun thing to do, but it is a great way to put the needs of others before you.
Closing: In closing, have the class gather together in a circle. Roll a ball back and forth across the circle. When a child catches the ball have them say one way that they can serve others and put them first. When everyone has had a turn pray together, encouraging the class to put others first this week.
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