This last Saturday, we gathered together as a team to discuss the midweek program, some upcoming events and how everyone is liking the new What’s Up curriculum. Though we all agreed that the material is a little deep (especially for preschoolers), the content is excellent and we want to keep pushing forward for a little bit to see if the teaching gets a little easier with time.
This week, we’re taking a look at the Sin of the Heart — namely what we say comes from what is inside of our heart.
Big Idea: The sin in our lives comes from our sinful hearts. We need God’s help to make our hearts clean.
Last week, we were talking about our need for a Savior and I asked the kids if they had any sin in their life. I was surprised to hear so many of the kids readily confessing their sins (“I lie to my parents all the time!”), but it did seem that the older the kids were, the less willing they were to share their personal struggles. I think this is so indicative of the state of the church in general. It seems the older we are (both in true years and “spiritual years”), the less likely we are to admit to our shortcomings and daily sinfulness. I love that this curriculum asks small group leaders to share their own struggles. The teachers manual states:
It’s essential that you show kids it’s safe for God’s children to admit their sin — by readily admitting examples of your own sin. Make your examples specific, not vague. How honestly you do this will likely make a big difference in how open your students feel they can be for the rest of this course…
For this week, we’ll be taking a closer look at two possible responses kids might have when faced with their own sinfulness.
#1: I Want to Look Right
#2: Don’t Blame Me!
Not only do these responses line up well with our animal characters, but there are some great examples of these responses in the Bible as well.
Remember, the goal of this lesson to allow kids to come face to face with their own sinfulness. Don’t be afraid to let the conversation flow a little bit without any resolution. That will come later.
Large Group Time
For our large group lesson, I want to demonstrate that our sinful actions come from our sinful heart (probably with an object lesson) and no matter how hard we try — we can’t always do the right thing by our own power. We need God’s strength to do that. We’ll have a visit from Angie the Zebra as well as Smug Scott the toucan. I think we’ll have Angie confessing her sins, but Smug Scott still trying to deny them or blame his sins on someone else.
Small Group Time
This week is mainly about conversation and discussion — confessing sins and sharing our struggles with one another. Small groups can spend some time in prayer asking for God’s strength to help them overcome sin.
For the younger (or more active) groups, you might want a little more activity. If that’s the case, keep reading for some suggestions related to sin in our lives.
Create in Me a Clean Heart
Empty Notebook Object Lesson
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This lesson comes from Ministry to Children and involves a clean notebook and one cluttered with marks and “stains”. In these instructions, the teacher is encouraged to prepare the notebooks ahead of time, but I think it might be more meaningful to the kids if you mark up one notebook as they confess their sins aloud.
The Lies of Sin
This lesson is found at Ministry to Children as well and it explores the concept of the false promises sin gives us (Proverbs 14:12). In this lesson, kids are tricked into drinking “juice”, which is really just colored water, but it might be even more powerful if the water was salty or bad tasting — to emphasize the point that even if it looks good, sin will leave us with a bitter taste and bad experience.
Keep Sin Off You!
I really like this one (and it could be done outside if the weather is nice!). You can find the full instructions at Turning our Hearts blog, but basically kids try to walk through chalk (or flour) and keep the sin off them. No matter what they do, they cannot until Jesus intercedes.
Preschoolers and Pudding
This lesson, geared towards the younger kids involves some pudding and some great verses from the Psalms. It will be something the kids remember, that’s for sure! Get the full instructions here.
That’s it for now!
If you have any great ideas about sin of the heart, I’d love to hear about them!