God loves his children and it brings him joy to have us close to him. Jesus told this really simple parable to show us that God diligently pursues those who are far from him and and that he celebrates when we are restored to relationship with him! In this lesson we’ve sandwiched the parable between two variations of the parable that are more relatable from a child’s perspective.
- Some people are lost because they have walked away from God.
- God still loves those people and celebrates when they turn back to him!
“I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
– Luke 15.10b (ESV)
If you’re doing this lesson as part of a series, then explain to the kids that each week you’re looking at a different parable that Jesus told. Explain that a parable is a story told to help people understand something about God’s kingdom. Briefly reviewing the previous week’s lesson in some way is often helpful.
You will need a lost-pet poster. You may need to make one up if you can’t find a real one. Here’s a lesson script, but feel free to adapt it to your own teaching style or personalize it:Have any of you ever lost a pet? What did you do? You probably went out looking for it didn’t you? Perhaps you made a poster like this one. This person lost their pet and they’re looking really hard to find it and get it back! They’ve got their favorite photo of their (cat/dog) and they’ve given a really good description of it. Wow, they’re even offering a reward to anyone who finds their (cat/dog). Why do you think they went to so much effort? It’s probably because they really love their pet and want to have their pet back.
Now, I bet you all know that God created everything, even our world! But did you know that God is also King of the world? The problem is that people have rebelled [Define rebel] against him. Some people say that God is not their King and they walk away from him. This makes God sad because he loves them. He loves us even more than any of us love our pets. We are way more important to God than a pet and he loves it when someone who is lost comes back to him. Jesus came to help people to find their way back to God. He told a story that helps us to understand that God is looking for us when we’re far from him.
Read the Story: Luke 15:4-10
This is a great story, but it’s a little hard to understand, huh? I have an idea! I’m going to tell you a story just like the one we just read! But first, I have a question: Do you kids do any chores?
Thanks for all these great answers guys! Do you know how much one of those coins in story is worth? Like $200! Have you ever lost a lot of money? [Gather answers] Well, here is a story about a young boy who lost a lot of money. Once there was a boy who really, really, really wanted a new bike. But his parents couldn’t afford to buy it and neither could he! So he decided to mow lawns for his neighbors. Everyday during the summer he would go out in the hot sun and mow a neighbor’s lawns. He would get $5 here and $10 there and he slowly saved up. After many hot days in the summer, he finally had enough money to buy a bike — he had saved $350! On the day his mom was going to take him to the bike store, he noticed his money was missing! He was so worried! He looked under the bed and under the couch and behind his desk and in his closet and even in the refrigerator! He was tearing his house apart and was so upset! But then he found his money in his shoe! What a weird place to find his money! But it didn’t matter because he was so excited to find his money. He was so excited that he ran to tell his mom and his brother and his friend! They were so excited for him that they all were jumping up and down excited.
What a cool story! But remember that this story is really about God. The woman in the first story and the boy in the second are like God and we are like the money that God is looking for. When people walk away from God, they get lost. But Jesus loves everyone and wants everyone to believe in him. So God is looking for all those who are lost. God was pursuing everyone so much that he sent his Son Jesus to come and tell us about God and then died to take our punishment away from us so we can live forever with Jesus. And when anyone believes in King Jesus, God and all the angels rejoice! When every one of you believed in Jesus, God celebrated with all his angels. Imagine that! Basically God had a big party with all the angels when you believed in Jesus! That is how much God loves you. God loves you more than you know!
Prayer: Acknowledge that God made everything and that he is a good king ruling over everything with justice and love. Thank Jesus that he has made a treasure available to us. Pray that the children would see how valuable their relationship with God is.
- What happened to the coin?
- What did the woman do when she lost the coin?
- What did the woman do when she found the coin?
- Who does the woman represent?
- Who does the coin represent?
- What did God do when you believed in Jesus?
- What are some ways that God loves you?
Game (Find the missing classmate)
Supplies: A blanket.
This game works well in a group of 8-20 kids. Take a moment to review all the kids names so that newer kids aren’t at a disadvantage. To start the game have one of the children leave the room with an adult so that you can select one of the other people in the room to hide under the blanket. When the child is brought back into the room he or she needs to figure out which of the children is hidden under the blanket. The more children there are, the more difficult it is but the more fun it is when the child is found! When he or she correctly indicates who’s under the blanket, the ‘lost child’ is ‘found’ and gets to step out for the next person to be hidden.
This game is great to reinforce the idea that each of the children are valuable and worth looking for.
Craft (Coin rub)
Supplies: A selection of coins and paper.
Let the kids make rubbings of coins on paper with the key verse on it.