Use this lesson plan when teaching from Matthew 10:40-42 in your children’s Sunday School class. We’ve included complete teaching notes, game ideas, craft projects, and more. It’s everything you need to teach this Bible lesson to kids.
“Welcome One and All”
Sunday School Lesson on Matthew 10:40-42
Hospitality and valuing others is important.
What does it mean to welcome someone? The term can take on multiple meanings, when we think about it. “Welcome” can be a casual hello, a verb used to bring people in, or an adjective that refers to appreciation for someone’s presence. In modern culture, we can often encounter debate over the idea of welcoming people or things. In fact, when we discuss welcome with relation to issues such as immigration, acceptance, or diversity, it can become something of a controversial topic. Who should really be considered “welcome”?
In terms of Christianity, we are all welcome to be part of God’s family. Unfortunately, the reputation of the church does not always carry a connotation of such acceptance. Jesus demonstrated love and care for all people, from young children to sinners and society outcasts. He invited us to be ambassadors of His love. We are called to embrace others with hospitality and genuine care. What does this look like when we seek to educate children? Most importantly, we remind them that God cares for kids and for all people. Because of that, we want to welcome others and let them know they are loved. This might be in church, in school, or even in our homes. We welcome others because Christ welcomes us.
Lesson focus: God welcomes us to be part of His family, and loves each and every person unconditionally. As followers of Christ, we are called to extend hospitality and love to those around us. We welcome others in the name of Jesus.
Target Audience: Kindergarten-6th grade (or whoever you might have at home!)
Materials Needed: Construction paper, decorative materials, paper plates, paper towel tubes, scissors, glue or tape, coloring supplies, string or pipe cleaner, Bible (all optional, depending which activities you choose to use—except for the Bible, you need that for sure).
- See our Christian Hospitality video playlist on YouTube
- Matthew 10:40-42 Sunday School Lesson
- Children’s Sermon on Matthew 10:40-42
- Bible Crafts on Welcoming Others
- Hospitality Sunday School Lessons
Teaching Games and Lesson Introduction
Lesson Opening: There are several fun activities to get the ball rolling when it comes to talking about hospitality and welcome. Your options will vary, of course, based on timing and personality.
Here are some activities to get kids thinking…(select the best ones for your audience and age group):
- What does the word “welcome” mean? How about the word “hospitality”? Check them out in a dictionary or thesaurus (best for older children).
- How do people say “welcome” in other languages? Look up a few and practice.
- Find a video clip of a grand welcome: it might be a parade, a welcome home celebration, or a festive honoring of a dignitary. Discuss what might make someone feel welcome.
- Why do we offer hospitality? When we are filled with Christ’s love, we can’t help but burst out and invite others into His family. To illustrate this concept, think about popcorn. It’s just a small thing, but when filled with hot air, it expands. Enjoy some popcorn and think about how it reflects on our lives as Christians.
- Tea party, anyone? Act out what you might do if you hosted a dinner party or tea party. Why is it important to treat others kindly when you are hosting them as guests?
Explain that you will be talking about how to demonstrate hospitality to God’s beloved people, and what it means to welcome and care for others. Jesus welcomed others, and wants us to do the same.
Ask: Has there ever been a time when you did not feel welcome somewhere? Have you ever been “unwelcomed” because you were young?
Sunday School Lesson (Matthew 10:40-42) Welcoming Others
Bible Lesson: As always, how you choose to experience the story will vary according to the ages and abilities of your children (and how many are participating). For this lesson, Take a look at some of the words of Christ (well, and Paul, if using the epistle passage). Consider how Jesus exhibited the ability to welcome all people, and how He wants us to do the same.
Feel free to review the stories with video clips, puppet show reenactments, children’s Bibles, or whatever method works best for you to communicate the verses and stories. Some are likely best to simply be read and explained. Here are a few potential passage options:
“Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. 41 The one who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and the one who receives a righteous person because he is a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. 42 And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.” -Matthew 10:40-42
There are two significant things to note here. For one, we see in these verses that Jesus cares about kids. Not everyone in Bible times thought children were valuable or important. But Jesus welcomed them. Here, he uses children as an example of the “least” in society, but promises that anyone who treats others with generosity and care will actually be serving Him. When we welcome others and demonstrate hospitality, we are welcoming Christ, and allowing ourselves to be used by God.
Ask: How can you demonstrate hospitality to someone else? How can you help others?
Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. 17 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” -Luke 18:15-17
Here is another passage where we see Jesus welcoming and loving children. This reinforces His care for all people, and the joy kids can experience in knowing that they are embraced and loved by a Heavenly Father. Jesus welcomed them and others into His presence, even if no one else would. Sometimes children get left out, when it comes to things like parties or amusement park rides. Jesus will never leave us out!
Ask: What do you think Jesus means by saying we need to “receive the kingdom of God like a child”? (This may require some explanation and assistance.)
For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave[g] nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.
What does this mean? Jesus welcomed ALL people. It didn’t matter what background they came from, He died for everyone. We want to share that good news with others, no matter who they might be. Even if people are different from us, we are one in Christ, part of His family.
Ask: Who might God want you to reach out to or pray for?
Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,[f] you did it to me.’ -Matthew 25:34-40
How does this relate to the passage from Matthew 10? Jesus is telling us that by caring about other people, we show we care for Him. Sometimes we think that by doing charitable things, we are helping others, which is true. However, we are also encountering Christ, and receiving our own special blessings and rewards through such actions. Consider how we might act differently if we took this attitude. For example, what if we chose to see Jesus, rather than a smelly homeless person? By welcoming others, we welcome the Lord.
Close with a prayer of thanks to God for His acceptance and welcome. Ask for help as we seek to offer hospitality and welcome to those around us.
Sunday School Crafts for Matthew 10:40-42
Crafts: “Red Carpet Welcome Note”, “Popping up to Welcome” decoration, “Warm Welcome Hands” banner.
Follow up/Additional Activities
- Host a block party for your neighborhood, and invite friends to play!
- Find out how you can pray for and encourage those in your community.
- Make cards for teachers, community workers, and others in need.
- Prepare kits for homeless or needy people you see in town.