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God rules
experience it:
supplies: play dough
each child and adult are given some play dough. they are told to talk about what they would like to create with their play dough. they share their idea with the class and then are instructed to start modeling their creation. after about a minute, i pretend the play dough is speaking to me and i inform the class that the play dough does not like what they have decided toplay-doh-4-pack(1) create. i then share what the play dough said it would like to be. (i make up something and instruct the class to begin creating again.) again, after about a minute or two, i tell them the play dough decided it wanted to be something else and give them a new assignment. i do this several times, much to their frustration, and they think i have lost my mind talking to the play dough. 🙂  when they complete their last assigned creation, i have them turn and talk with their parent/guardian.

discuss it:
kids discuss these questions with their parent/guardian:
– should the play dough decide what the creation should be or the one modeling the playdough?
– how is this like us trying to tell our Creator what to do?

teach it:
God created everything. God is in charge. He is Holy and the boss of us.
Genesis 1:1
Revelation 4:11
Colossians 1:16-17

discuss it:
how did God’s Word help you understand that God rules?

wesinnedwe sinned
teach it:
Romans 3:23
Romans 6:23

discuss it:
how did God’s Word help you understand that we sin?

teach it:
Sin is:
-going our way instead of God’s way.
-rebellion against God.
Because God is Holy, He must punish sin.

discuss it:
let’s pretend you go home today and discover your brother/sister/friend destroyed your favorite toy.
how would you feel if your parents didn’t punish the sin of your brother/sister/friend?

experience it:
we can’t fix or ignore our sin.
supplies: very burnt popcorn (i usually cook a pack of popcorn for five or six minutes. watch closely, because it can catch burned_popcorn_mediumfire. yes, it messes up my microwave. you should smell my house!!! to preserve the smell, i put it immediately in a rubbermaid container.) 
     get two volunteers who are hungry for a snack. have them come sit up front and give them paper plates and napkins. tell them you are super excited about the snack you made them. after they are seated, pull out your burnt popcorn. i usually walk around the room with it so that everyone gets a good look and smell of the popcorn. pour some on each of your volunteer’s plates. they usually look at you like you are crazy. i tell them to go ahead and eat. when they pause or turn up their nose at the popcorn, i ask them what is  wrong? they usually say “well it is burnt.” or “i can’t eat this.” i tell them “sure you can. you said you were hungry, maybe if you pretend it isn’t burnt you can eat it.” then, after they still will not eat it, i usually pick some of it up and tell them to just try to fix it so it will not be burnt. after a couple more interactions, i let them off the hook and tell them to return to their seats. (yes, i have had a child eat the popcorn before.)
     i end this experience sharing with them that just like it is crazy for us to try to pretend the popcorn isn’t burnt, it is even crazier for us to pretend we do not sin. also trying to fix popcorn, is as crazy as us thinking we can fix our sin. because i have handled the popcorn, i usually smell my hands and talk about how sin stinks and gets all over us. we can’t get rid of it ourselves. the smell in the room is also a great teaching tool for the rest of the class. 🙂

discuss it:
kids discuss these questions with their parent/guardian:
– how is this bag of popcorn like our sin?
i share again, that our sin separates us from God and we are lost without Him.
– do you understand that you are a sinner?
– how does your sin make you feel?
– can you fix your sin?

closing experience
Screen Shot 2015-10-24 at 4.14.59 PM      we end the night with a stairwell experience. all the kids and the adults in the class go to the stairwell. the adults stay upstairs and the kids all go to the landing. i have a dad volunteer to be Jesus for me.
i explain to the kids that their goal is to get to the top of the stairs to be with God and Jesus, but the steps, railing, and walls are all very hot lava and they will melt if they touch them. i explain that the stairs are separating them from God and they need to see what they can do to fix the separation. i also inform them that their world ends at the landing of the stairwell, so they can’t run down and come up another way.
i then ask kids for ideas on how to get up. (i have heard it all.) i allow each of them to try their suggestions. (i.e. fly? run up stairs real quick? build a jet pack? this is always fun to watch them try to build this with no supplies. jump to the top of the stairs?)
after they exhaust their suggestions, usually one child will say can “dad Jesus” help us? the answer is that they need to individually ask “dad Jesus” to come down and pick them up and carry them up the stairs. after a couple of children have been carried up, i have a parent ask “dad Jesus” to go rescue their child. “dad Jesus” answers them with a “no.” i use this illustration to drive home the point that it is an individual decision to receive help and their parents/guardians cannot do it for them.
we end this activity with some children still on the landing. we talk about how some people think they can fix their separation on their own and never ask for help.
after this activity, we go back to the room. kids and parent/guardians turn again to romans 3:23 and romans 6:23. they discuss how the activity in the stairwell paints a picture of what it looks like for us to be separated by sin and only Jesus can save us.

stay tuned for part 3 where the second week of classes is explained. 

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    • danielle Reply

      thanks for asking mark. yes, i hope to have it up by the end of next week or at the latest the middle of december. i had a little bit of a life change that turned it upside-down for the good, so i am a bit behind on this post. will get it up soon. 🙂

  1. Pingback: Gospel class – Part 3 of 3 | dWELL

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