Children’s Ministry Option
United in peace, for the world, we are called to strengthen the church.
Scripture: Ephesians 4:1-5
“Always be humble and gentle. Be patient and accept each other with love” (Ephesians 4:2, ICB).
Materials and Resources
For Creative Set:
- Key words: cord of three strands Sunday school craft
- Cord of three strands (braid cording)—large hemp or cording from hardware store. Use electrical tape to secure the ends together as they start/finish.
- Heart tracers. Scissors. Markers. Printed verse on hearts.
Write the Scripture on the board. Identify the key verse (color, underline, written separately). Look up the sign language for love so you can teach the children.
Prayerfully reflect on this week’s passage. This is your time to dwell with God. What word(s) or phrase in the passage jumps out at you? How do they speak to you? What do you want to say to God?
Pray for the children you will be teaching this week.
Reflect on how children might help lead this week.
Remember, you are not alone as you teach. Christ is with you and loves you.
Welcome, Opening Prayer
Nursery-Toddler-Preschool—Focus on love and peace as children are greeted and transitioned into the room. Begin showing and helping them practice the sign language for love.
If a combined opening is used for all grades, this is a great way to center the lesson this first week on the theme for the next six weeks: Unite. You may choose to focus on the main Unite statement: “We are called to be mission friends….” or the key verse (or both!) by creating a poster with these statements on it to incorporate into your opening.
Use the cord of three strands—If you use an illustration, see creative set in lesson.
Grades K-2—Focus on Unite—and the idea of accepting each other in love and how this strengthens the church.
Grades 3-5 (Add to K-2 if older students are present): Talk about the activities of the church that show unity. What can harm unity? What makes it stronger?
Nursery-Toddler-Preschool—Point to the word love in the Scriptures. Pass out cut-out hearts with the words “Accept each other with love” (Ephesians 4:2). Practice the sign language for love.
Talk about what it means to accept each other and to love people who aren’t in our immediate family. How do we love differently because we love Jesus? Make “muscles” and talk about how love makes us strong and unites us. Speak the words and Scripture over the babies and toddlers.
Grades K-2—Look up the key verse, helping students find it in their Bibles. Point to the word love in the Scripture. Trace a heart and cut it out. Practice tracing the letters on cut-out hearts. (Add tracer heart with words.) Talk about the words humble and gentle from the key verse. How do we accept each other? How do we accept each other at church? Talk about unity and where we see it in our church and families.
Grades 3-5—Look up the key verse, helping students find it in their Bibles. Read the Scripture—first on their own, then teacher read, then a student reads (practicing lectio divina—ask students to focus first on a word that stands out to them, next on what it might mean, and last, on what it means to them). Trace or draw hearts and cut them out. Write the Scripture on the heart as you talk about the words humble and gentle from the key verse. How do we accept each other? How do we accept each other at church? What makes it hard to accept each other? Talk about unity. How is this easy and difficult to live out?
Nursery-Toddler-Preschool—Use an age-appropriate sensory box for the unit—introduce these today. Objects might include small church shapes, people of various ethnicities, picture of the world/globes, maps, the peace sign, hearts, etc. Talk about the shapes and findings throughout the morning. Practice the memory verse. Play a game that requires everyone to add something (i.e., a puzzle, building blocks, etc.). Afterward ask, How do we have to work together? Look how good we are at being united! We are stronger and better when we do it together (practice moving some large object safely, such as a big empty box, a rug from one spot to another, toys to a different place or picked up and put away).
Grades K-2—Braid a cord of three strands to illustrate the church, the people, and God. This makes us stronger together. Illustration: demonstrate how it is easier to break the cord with one strand (using scissors, one strand cuts easily, two is more difficult). You may to pre-tie the braids as a strand of three for this group (electrical tape works well to tape the ends together). Attach their heart with the verse to the cord—use thread/needle, hot glue, or other method.
Grades 3-5 (Add to K-2 if older students are present)—Modify to have the students braid the cord. Talk about the church and braid a cord of three strands to represent the church, the people, and God. Joining together makes us stronger. Attach their heart with the verse to the cord—use thread/needle, hot glue, or other method.
Sending and Living: Pray with the students about this week’s lesson and the Unite theme.
Nursery-Toddler-Preschool—Take home hearts; use key words as you say goodbye and connect with parents (i.e., if you have insight into how they experienced the lesson, make connections between what the kids learned and what the parent experienced).
Grades K-2 / Grades 3-5—Be sure to review the key verse. Take home hearts; use key words as you say goodbye and connect with parents (i.e., if you have insight into how they experienced the lesson, make connections between what the kids learned and what the parent experienced). Encourage kids to love others in their family and school and community. Talk about and brainstorm ideas how to do that on a flip chart or board. Have kids write or draw ideas on the board as they wait.