Children's Ministry Option

Main Focus
United in peace, for the world, we are called to love mercy and do justice.
Scripture: Isaiah 58:6-12

Bible Background

“Undo their chains” (v. 6)
Fasting and following religious rituals will not manipulate God into showing favor to us. God is more concerned with the motivation of our hearts than with our outward acts. Oppressing the poor and weak of society, and burdening them with slavery, is the opposite of what God’s people should be doing. God’s desire for social justice is a familiar theme in the prophets, especially the book of Amos.

““And the Lord will answer you” (v. 9)
Genuine repentance is evidenced by the behavior of God’s people—including how they treat people who are poor and hungry. Genuine repentance will lead to genuine blessing. Fasting without genuine repentance was useless.

“Your light will shine in the darkness” (v. 10)
Overcoming darkness with light was a motif connected with the rise of the Messiah (see Isaiah 9:1-7; 51:4).

“Your people will rebuild the old cities that are now in ruins” (v. 12)
Destruction caused by war regularly necessitated that ruined cities be rebuilt. The restoration of Jerusalem is promised also in Isaiah 44:28 and 61:4.

Key Verse

Nursery–Grade 2
“If you do these things, your light will shine like the dawn” (v. 8a).

Grade 3–5
“I want you to share your food with hungry people. I want you to bring poor, homeless people into your own homes. When you see someone who has no clothes, give him yours. Don’t refuse to help your own relatives. If you do these things, your light will shine like the dawn” (v. 7-8a).

Materials and Resources

  • Flip chart: visual of the verses (one image per page)—draw in some items while telling the story
  • Circles of yellow with verse printed on them
  • Nursery-preschool washable paint (orange) for hand print around the circle
  • Grades K-5: Paper lanterns with verse on the handle
  • Key words: paper lantern craft, let your light shine craft
  • Preparation
    Pre-draw the pictures on the flip chart of the images from the Scripture passage: untie ropes, giving food to people, light over darkness, rebuilding bricks knocked down.

    Pre-draw the pictures on the flip chart of the images from the Scripture passage: untie ropes, giving food to people, light over darkness, rebuilding bricks knocked down.

    Welcoming, Opening Prayer
    Song option for opening:
    “This Little Light of Mine” (or version of the song that appeals to older ages)
    Using the flip cart from Bible Exploration may be appropriate if all students are together in a large group setting.

    Talk about love and forgiveness. Focus on sharing. Create situations with the toys and areas in the room to help toddlers practice sharing.

    Grades K-2
    Talk about love and forgiveness. Explain what mercy and justice are. Write these on posterboard or white board (or have on screen). What might not look like justice and mercy? (Bullying, being mean, hurting someone’s feelings.) What would look like justice and mercy?

    Grades 3-5
    Add to K-2 if older students are combined in opening: Engage in the topics that are issues in our society: homeless, prison injustice, racism, etc. How does (could) our church unite around these issues?

    Bible Exploration

    Focus on God’s word being a light. Look at stories throughout children’s picture Bibles. Use sensory bins with objects that represent the Scripture (building tools, flashlight, food items). Talk about how God wants us to help others. Focus on the key verse.

    Grades K-5
    Using objects similar to those for the sensory bins, read the Scripture and identify contemporary items/ways of “being the light.” Use flip chart: read the Scripture and flip through the pages with the visual designs. has wonderful examples of flip chart Bible stories under the Sunday school resource section. Drawing the majority of the images ahead of time allows you to add small details while the story is being told in class and captures the children’s imagination. Add to these as you read (or have another volunteer read) the passage. Focus on the key verse.

    Create Set


    • Create a baby food jar (or other container) of things that they can do this week to let their light shine (take home)—“I let my light shine by…”
    • Write the key verse on tape and then put it on a wide glow stick
    • Nursery-Toddler-Preschool
      Paint (orange) for hand prints around the inner circle creating a sunshine image (can be done on a paper plate or cardstock paper). Print the verse on the page before you paint.

      Grades K-5
      Paper lanterns with verse on the handle or bottom of the lantern. Decoupage jars with tissue paper/verse and include battery-operated candles. May need to create traceable letters for younger children. Also available are coloring pages of the various verses (see Appendix D, Week 3 for sample).
      Key words: paper lantern craft, coloring page Isaiah 58:11

      Sending and Living

      Pray with the students about this week’s lesson and the unite theme.

      Provide a sunshine sticker to wear and one to have their parents give them when they let their light shine for Jesus during the week.

      Grades K-5
      Discussion: How will you let your light shine for Jesus? Pray together for the ways God will be with them as they shine their light this week. In what ways does our church shine for Jesus? How does focusing on justice and mercy unite us?

      Take home jar/glow stick or other item created representing the lesson.