This message reminds students that God loves and cares for us, and that He protects us at all times. Just as a shepherd watches out for the needs of the lambs and sees that they have what they need, God provides for us. Jesus gave His life for His sheep, willing to sacrifice for those He loves. The Bible uses many beautiful reminders of this shepherd analogy, and explaining those passages helps children understand and appreciate the marvelous love of the Lord.
Law/Gospel Theme: Jesus laid His life down for us, giving us new and lasting life. We can proclaim with David that we “fear no evil” knowing God is with us. He protects and provides for us through all circumstances, and nothing is required of us to receive that blessing.
Optional Materials: Shepherd’s staff, sheep toys or pictures of sheep
Bible Passage: John 10:11-18; Psalm 23:1-4
Message: Decide how creative and “sheepish” you’d like to get in communicating your message…
More Teaching Ideas:
- Compare our full Sunday School Lesson on John 10:11-18
- See the Good Shepherd Lesson Plans on Sunday School Works
- Compare another children’s sermon on the Good Shepherd
- Watch the video demonstration of this kids’ sermon or the related craft ideas
The Good Shepherd Children’s Sermon on John 10:11-18
Greet the children, perhaps holding a shepherd’s staff and/or sheep toy…
Hello, children of God! Do you know any shepherds? (Allow responses, likely in the negative)
Well, do you know what a shepherd does? What is the job of a shepherd? That’s right, a shepherd takes care of sheep! A shepherd is in charge of guiding a flock of sheep and making sure they stay safe and healthy. He (or she) finds good grass for the sheep to eat, and water for them to drink. He finds places for the sheep to sleep, and guards them at night so wild predators can’t come and attack. If needed, a shepherd fights off bears or wolves or lions to keep the sheep safe. See, sheep aren’t really too smart. If left alone, they might wind up just wandering around without purpose. They’d get lost without the shepherd. The sheep know who their shepherd is, though. They recognize his voice and understand that they need to stay near to be cared for.
Now, you might think you don’t know any shepherds. But actually, you do. You know the greatest shepherd of them all: Jesus! The Bible actually refers to sheep and shepherds a lot. In fact, there’s a beautiful Psalm that describes how the Lord is a shepherd. It was written by David, who was a shepherd before he became king. He knew his sheep! He talked about how God cares for us, taking us to water and food. We don’t need to be afraid when He’s near, because He will protect us just like a shepherd. And Jesus Himself said that He was a good shepherd. He knows and loves us like a shepherd knows his sheep. He laid down His life for our sake, giving up everything to protect and save us.
We are sort of like those sheep. On our own, we can’t really do much! We might try to make it on our own, apart from God, but we wind up stumbling around and getting lost. We need our Good Shepherd to lead us and care for us. Like a sheep follows its shepherd, we should want to follow Jesus. We can do that by reading His word, praying, and seeking to understand what He wants of us. It might sound rough to call ourselves “sheep”, but with a truly good shepherd, anything is possible! God does it all, caring for us and providing for us every step of the way!
Why don’t we offer a prayer of thanks to our Good Shepherd?
(Have kids repeat each line)
You are the good shepherd
Thank you for taking care of us
Thank you for providing for us and protecting us
Help us to follow you
Thank you for your love
We love you, God!
In Jesus’s name, Amen!
Bible Verses/story to Reference:
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.” -John 10:11-18
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.
3 He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. -Psalm 23:1-4