This lesson continues our series titled Jesus is My Good Shepherd. It is intended for preschool children, ages 2-5. It is designed for a children’s church or Sunday School, but can be adapted to meet your particular ministry setting.
The first lesson plan (Sheep LOVED by a Shepherd) in this series taught students that they were like sheep, loved by a Shepherd. This second lesson teaches them that they are like sheep, saved by a Shepherd. We have also posted a third lesson (Sheep PROTECTED by a Shepherd.)
Objectives: To recognize Jesus as the Good Shepherd, who loved His sheep so much that He died in their place, for their sin.
Materials for Bible Lesson: a variety of sheep – stuffed animals or plastic farm toys (whatever you have available!) – five would be good; a rope that can be used as a “rescue train” for students to hold onto; Bible
Prior to the Bible Lesson, have at least 4 sheep displayed around the room. Have one sheep hiding in a somewhat visible, but not obvious location.
1. If you utilized the Preschool Bible Lesson entitled “Sheep Loved by a Shepherd” last week, ask the children the following questions as a review:
- What kind of animal does God say we are like sometimes? (Sheep)
- Do you remember what a Shepherd does? (He takes care of his sheep.)
- Who is our Good Shepherd? Who takes care of us? (Jesus)
- Whose voice should we learn to listen to? (The Good Shepherd or Jesus)
- How do we hear His voice? (God’s word.)
2. Say: Last week we learned that we are like sheep, loved by a Shepherd. Jesus takes care of us. He knows each of us by name. I have some sheep here that I’d like to introduce you to. (Pick up sheep one by one.) This is Fleecey. Isn’t she soft and fluffy? This is Funny. He always make s me laugh. This is Froo-Froo. She always likes to get her nails done. But where is Flighty? Flighty….??? Oh dear, I don’t see him. Flighty, did you run away again? Oh my. Flighty, you know it’s not good to run away from your Shepherd. What do you think might happen to Flighty if he is alone somewhere? ( A wolf or dog might hurt him, he might eat plants that would hurt him, he might not be able to find his way home, he may be lonely, etc.)
3. Say: I think this calls for a Rescue Mission! Can you be a part of my Rescue Crew today? I need everyone’s help to find Flighty. Invite the children to climb on board “the rescue train.” (Have them hold onto a rope or whatever you have available.) Say: All aboard. When I say chugga chugga. You say choo-choo! Let’s practice. Chugga chugga; choo-choo…Flighty! Chugga chugga choo choo Flighty! Lead the train around your space, finishing up near the hidden sheep. Encourage the children to look up high and down low, to the left and to the right. (If you have an assistant available, have them act as the caboose prompting children forward.)
4. Once a child spots Flighty, show genuine excitement! Give him a big hug, tell him you love him and you’re so glad he’s safe, and take him back to the classroom on your shoulders, leading the students all the while.
5. While you’re holding Flighty, ask him, “Flighty, why did you leave the pen? It’s safe here with the Shepherd. You could have gotten really hurt.” Hold Flighty up to your ear, as if he is whispering to you. Nod your head as if you understand. Tell the children, “Flighty thought that there was better grass to eat that way. He was tired of the grass here. But when he tried the grass far away, he realized that he really left the good stuff here and he was embarrassed. That grass tasted so awful that he had to spit it out!”
6. Ask the students, “Have you ever done something you should not have done? (Allow for responses.) When you disobey your parents and disobey God, that’s called sin. In Isaiah 53:6 it says that, “We all like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Sometimes when we sin, we like to run away and hide, like Flighty today.
7. In Luke 15:4-7, there’s a story about a shepherd who has 100 sheep. When one ran away, he searched everywhere to find him! And when he found him, he was so excited! He put it on his shoulders and went home to call all of his friends and neighbors. He said, “Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep!” But this story isn’t just about a sheep, right? It’s about us! 8. When we sin, it gets us into trouble, it hurts us, and it hurts others. In Romans 6:23 it says, “For the wages of sin is death.” That’s what we deserve when we sin! When Jesus died on the cross, he died for your sins and mine. He was the (perfect) Lamb of God. God put all of our sins on Him, so he hurt for all of us. He died for your sins because He loves you. He died for your sins so that you wouldn’t have to. 9. Let’s thank God for His goodness to us today with a big round of applause, prayer, and some singing! Pray for each of the students to enter into a relationship with Christ. Sing “Jesus Loves Me.” Then teach the students “Our Shepherd’s Love.”
“Our Shepherd’s Love” (to the tune of “Pop Goes the Weasel”)
All around the fields of green
The Shepherd took care of the sheep
Our Shepherd loved His sheep so much
He died for them!
Game: Sheep Pen
Materials: large sheets or blankets and furniture pieces arranged, as described below
Prior to the game, set up an area where the children can hide, as sheep in a pen. Arrange chairs and/or furniture pieces to accommodate a small group of children. You may need to have a couple of different sheep pens, depending on the number of children in your ministry setting.
1. Tell the children that sheep pens are places where sheep are protected from things that could hurt them, like wolves and dogs. In Bible times, sheep would stay in a place surrounded by rocks or wood. There would be one opening, like a door. Shepherds used to sleep in these openings and would guard the sheep with their own bodies. Many times in the Bible, Jesus calls himself the “door for the sheep.” That means he protects us and provides for us.
2. Say: “Today, you get to pretend to be in a sheep pen of your own, safe and protected by your pen and the shepherd, who loves you and would die for you.”
3. Have the children hide together somewhere, pretending to be sheep. Put a large sheet, blanket, or parachute over the furniture. Have one child pretend to be “the shepherd” and lay at the opening of the pen.
4. The teacher can say this rhyme: (After a few times, the children will follow along.)
Here is the sheep pen, so big and so wide.
Let’s open the gate to see what’s inside.
5. Pull the covering off the sheep pen and have children say, “Baaa!”
Art Project: Sheep Bubble Art Option 1
Materials: 1-2 Tbsp paint, 1 Tbsp dishwashing liquid, ½ cup water, white construction paper sheep cutout, plastic drinking straws (one for each child), shallow pans (aluminum pie plates work best)
Prep ahead of time: Mix together the liquids and pour into the shallow pans.
- Demonstrate the process first.
- Dip one end of the straw into the mixture.
- Blow to form bubbles. Once the bubbles reach the pan edge, stop blowing.
- Place the paper sheep cutout on top of the bubbles and hold it in place. When the bubbles pop, they leave marks on the paper, looking somewhat like fleece.
- Remove paper and place aside to dry.
Alternate Art Project: Sheep Bubble Art Option 2
Materials: small paper cups, straws, 1 tsp bubble solution per cup, food coloring drops, construction paper sheep cutout
Prep ahead of time: Pour bubble solution into each cup with a drop of food coloring in each. Mix together. Distribute one cup and one straw to each child.
- Have children blow bubbles onto their sheep cutouts.
- Allow bubbles to pop on their own to create a design on the sheep.
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