Christians often talk about serving others, but this concept is rarely explained in depth to children. The Bible is rich with examples of servanthood, but none greater than Jesus in himself. This lesson plan will introduce the meaning of service, specifically in the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. It is part 1 of the “Servanthood for Kids Series” we will be posting over the month of September.
TARGET AGES: 9 – 13 Older Elementary. You may need to simplify this lesson when working with younger children.
CURRICULUM UNIT: This lesson is part of the Servanthood for Kids: The Life of Jesus
OBJECTIVE: To help students understand that active service for God and others is the true mark of a growing believer in Jesus Christ.
MAIN IDEA: Jesus was the ultimate servant during his life on earth because he willingly gave up his life for us. We honor his example of servanthood by humbly serving others in our daily lives.
SCRIPTURE PASSAGES: James 2:26, Mark 10:45, Philippians 2:8, John 3:16, 2 Timothy 2:24, Ephesians 6:7-8, 1 Peter 4:10
MATERIAL(S): colored index cards, pencils, Servanthood Activity pages (click to download)
OPENING PRAYER: “Lord, prepare our hearts as servants. Help us to follow your word concerning how we should serve you and serve one another. Amen.”
Lesson (15 minutes)
- Say, “Today we are discussing what it means to be a servant. First, can anyone define the word ‘servant’?” Allow a few moments for discussion and add the definition of a servant (someone who performs duties for other people) if necessary. Next, explain that there are many occupations which call for servanthood. Pass out index cards with listed occupations (students may have more than one card). Have each student tell the class the occupation on their card(s). For each card ask, “How is a [doctor, teacher, policeman, etc] a servant?” By the end of the activity, make the distinction that someone’s actions show if they are a servant. Read James 2:26 and emphasize that our servant-like actions as Christians prove that our faith is real.
- Comment, “There are many examples of people in the bible who were servants. Who can name one and tell us how he or she was a servant?” (Possibilities include Jesus, Noah, Moses, David, Jesus, Mary, etc.) Transition into the understanding that Jesus was the greatest servant who ever lived. Ask students to look up the following verses and read to the class: Mark 10:45, Philippians 2:8, John 3:16. Conclude the verses and say, “Jesus was the greatest servant who ever lived because He willingly gave up His perfect life so we would have the chance to be saved from our sin. We follow His example every time we serve!”
- Continue by telling the students that Jesus set the ultimate example of servanthood through his humility, obedience, and love for others. Read the following verses to find additional characteristics of a servant: 2 Timothy 2:24, Ephesians 6:7-8, 1 Peter 4:10. Comment, “When we serve Christ, we must also serve others because Christ was a servant. This is one of the best ways to show others that we are a Christian – by being a servant.”
“Preparing to Serve” Matching Game (10 minutes)
Get ready for the game by picking two different colors of index cards (you will need five of each color). Cut each card in half for a total of ten smaller cards in each color. With one color, list needs in the church, community, or at home. With the second color, list acts of service for the students to match with each need. Say, “We are going to work together to match a need with an act of service.” At the end of the game, discuss each pair of cards and encourage students to serve in similar ways.
Servanthood Activity Page (15 minutes) *Attachment*
Pass out the activity sheets and explain that we are going to come up with ways to serve our families, church, schools, and community.
Conclusion (5 minutes)
RECAP: Serving God and others should be a daily part of a believer’s life. When we chose to think of others before ourselves, our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ shines the brightest.
CLOSING PRAYER: “God, help us to be humble servants. We want to honor Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins by serving you and serving others. Amen.”
Servanthood Lessons in the Life of Jesus
This lesson is part of a 10 unit curriculum for older children (age 9 – 13) that follows the life of Jesus and explains how he was a model of serving others.