FOLLOWERS OF JESUS ARE SERVANTS

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1 BOOK 3, PART 2, LESSON 4 FOLLOWERS OF JESUS ARE SERVANTS THE BIBLE: Acts 6:2 4, Romans 12:10, Romans 12:10a THEME: God gave Jesus followers the power to carry on the work Jesus had begun. They gathered together to hear the good news of the story of Jesus. They established churches wherever they went. Those people were called Christians and still today there are Christians who have fellowship, worship God and witness to the Good News. PREPARING FOR THE LESSON MAIN IDEA: The followers of Christ who were a part of the early church and those who follow Jesus today are active in showing love for others. All of us can serve others in some way. MEMORY VERSE: love one another Romans 12:10a NRSV KEY WORDS AND CONCEPTS TO BE LEARNED: a. Mutual affection to show love and concern for one another. b. Honor be honest and fair in ones actions. c. Zeal enthusiasm, eagerness. d. Ardent with passion, intense feeling. e. Service an act of helpful activity. BIBLE BACKGROUND: We continue to read from the Book of Acts that gives us the story of the beginning of the church. It also helps us to know about the behavior of the first followers of Jesus and what was expected of them by the disciples. The beginning chapters of the book help us to see how the faith spread. In today s scriptures, we see that the disciples could not keep up with the demands placed on them by organizing and keeping records for the growing sect. In order to meet the needs of those persons who were being neglected because they could not be everywhere and do everything, they suggested that seven persons be selected from among the believers to be those who made sure that everyone was cared for. This would then free the disciples to be about the business of prayer and the converting of others to the faith. The verses from the letter of Paul to the Romans are words that help us to know that it is the task of the followers of Jesus to take care and serve others. This letter was written by Paul to the church in Rome before he had gone to be with him. He was trying to help the people know more about God and what it means to be a follower of Jesus. It is a book that is very inspirational and filled with the power and grace of God.

2 UNDERSTANDING YOUR STUDENTS: This lesson in some ways is a follow-up to the one last week. The children who were present should be able to remember the conversations and the story about how the followers of Jesus shared with one another. The lesson today will take a different look at how we are to do more than share. We are to serve one another. This may be a hard concept for the children to understand. Give them plenty of time to ask questions during the lesson. Remember that children have a tendency to be selfish and sometimes have an unwillingness to share what they have. They have had very few opportunities to understand what it means to be in service to someone outside of their family. They may even be unable to describe ways in which others have served them. The important thing is to help them see that they are followers of Jesus and, therefore, are expected to serve others in some way. DEVELOPING YOUR FAITH: Read Acts 6 this week in preparation for teaching the lesson. Pay particular attention to the first seven verses, as this is the basis for the lesson. Think about what the people are saying about the widows not being cared for. Read also the story of the arrest of Stephen, one of the seven chosen leaders in this chapter. You will not be using this story with the children, but it is important for you to understand that there were risks in serving God. If you have time, read Acts 7 which will include Stephen s speech to the council that recalls the history of the people and the stoning incident that ended his life. Read Romans 12, beginning with verse 9. This section of that chapter gives us what Paul considered being the marks of a true Christian or follower of Christ. As you read these references, reflect on these questions: How is my church like the early church? How do I measure up to the marks of a true Christian? What must I do to be a servant to others? 1. INTRODUCTION TEACHING THE LESSON If possible, when each child arrives at the entrance to your teaching space, ask them a question like, How may I help you this morning? Is there anything you need? After they answer, if they do, let them gather in the room with the other children. When all have arrived and are settled, begin by asking them if they remember what you said when they came into the room. Help them by repeating the questions. Then ask: "Now why would I say something like that?" They may have no answer to that question so you will tell them that you did it in order to be a servant to them. Ask if anyone knows what a servant is. Let them give their answers out of their experience. Tell them that a servant is one who does a helpful activity. You may then give them examples of how people are servants in your community such as those who work in the stores where they buy groceries, those who work to keep order in the

3 community like the police or trash collectors, those who teach them how to do things, and those who help others by giving clothing or food. Team: You might want to add some or change some of the examples to be more in context with the communities in which the lessons will be taught. SAY: Today we will be thinking about what it means to be a servant because that is what the followers of Jesus are expected to be. We are called to serve or be helpful to one another. 2. EXPLORE THE BIBLE MESSAGE Tell the story in this way: Long ago, before you and I were alive on this earth, there were people who followed Jesus known as the disciples. You know about those people because we have been talking about them before. They were followers of Jesus. The followers of Jesus began to tell other people about Jesus and those people told others until there were many people who called themselves followers of Jesus. They began to meet together and to take care of one another. It was not long until the disciples had so many people to take care of and so many groups to help that they had to say that they needed help. So they called together the people and everyone decided that they should select some people to help. They decided to choose seven people whose job it would be to make certain that those who were in need were given what they needed. They would oversee the care of people while the disciples continued to pray and preach to others. So seven were chosen, they were all men. And the work of the church could continue. The news of Jesus Christ continued to be told to others and the church continued to grow. This story was taken from the Bible but I told it rather than read it. You will remember that we have been reading from the Book of Acts, and that is where this account of the first people chosen to be the servants of all is told; Acts, Chapter 6. Also in the Bible, in the Book of Romans, we find these words: love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, and serve the Lord. This means that we who follow Jesus are to love one another with enthusiasm and excitement, always looking for places that we can serve another person. That is what the Bible calls us to do. We can even shorten the verse and simply say Love one another. SAY "love one another" several times with the children repeating these words after you so that they will learn the verse.

4 3. RESPOND TO THE BIBLE MESSAGE ACTIVITY 1: Story in Motion Have the children stand. Tell them that you will be teaching them some words that have action with them. They are to repeat the words while doing the action: I have hands that can help. Hold up both hands in front of face. I have eyes to see need. Hold right hand above eyes as if searching. I have a heart that cares about others. Hold both hands over your heart. Jesus showed his followers how to love. Cross your arms over your chest as in an embrace. I can show you that I can care. Shake hands with someone near you. The Bible tells us that it is good to care. Place your arm around someone s shoulder. And it is good to have a caring heart. Place your hands over your heart. I will use my eyes to look for those who need help. Right hand above the eyes as if searching. I will use my hands to be a servant to others. Hold up hands. You can be a servant, too! Point to the others in the room. You may want to repeat the words and actions one more time in order for the children to understand what you are saying and doing. ACTIVITY 2: Secret Friend Story TELL this story: (Team: Please insert a familiar name for a girl.) was so excited that

5 she was giggling and smiling real big. She watched from around the corner as the older woman who lived in her neighborhood opened her door and reached down to pick up the package that was there. The old woman looked around to see who had brought the gift, but no one was there. She knew someone brought it because she had heard a knock on her door. What a nice surprise to find something that she did not expect. She looked around again and then went back into her house. The next day, the same thing happened. (girl s name) waited while the neighbor picked up the bag of cookies that she had left at her door, and again the old woman did not see her. The next day, (girl s name) watched as the woman was leaving her house. This time, she spoke to the old woman and walked along with her to the store, helping her cross the street and watch for bicycles and people riding by. Every day for a week, (girl's name) did something nice for this woman. Sometimes the woman knew that it was (girl's name), sometimes she did not. (girl's name) felt very good that she was able to help her neighbor, even when she did it secretly. (girl's name) called herself a secret friend. The next week (girl's name) chose one of her brothers as the one she would be a secret friend for. She began doing things that were helpful without her brother knowing it. He was real surprised to find his shirt picked up off the floor. He was puzzled when he saw (girl's name) open the door for him. She did many little things that were helpful for him without his knowing it. Again, (girl's name) felt good that she could be a secret friend. Then one day, small surprises started happening to (girl's name). She had no idea who had become her secret friend but it was fun to know that she had started something that others would want to do also. ASK: Have you ever had a secret friend? Encourage the children to think about a time when someone did something for them without their asking. Ask them to think about their mother, their sister or brother, their grandmother, their neighbor,and their friend. Let anyone who will tell you about a time they were helped by someone. SAY: This is what it means to be a servant. To take care of the needs of someone else. Sometimes it means doing so when you want someone to do something for you. 4. CLOSE IN PRAYER Reread the Bible verse from Romans 12:10. ASK: What are some things that you have done to help someone else? Let the children respond. ASK: What are some ways that you show love in your family? In your neighborhood? SAY: As we come to the end of this time today, we want to pause and give God our thanks for all the ways we have been cared for.

6 Mention some of those things the children have said. SAY: We are also thankful to God that we can help others and provide for someone else's needs. Listen carefully to my instructions. In just a minute, I am going to ask you to close your eyes and to think very quietly, without talking at all, about the one thing for which you are most thankful for this morning. Then tell them that you are going to say a few words like God, thank you for, and as you have said that, everyone all at the same time is to say out loud the one thing they are thankful for this morning. ASK the children to close their eyes and to think very quietly about one thing they are thankful for. Give them a moment and then say, God, thank you for ". (If the children do not respond, you may gently remind them that now is the time to say out loud what they are thankful for.) After they have spoken aloud, continue to pray: Dear God, we are thankful for so many things. We are most thankful that we can help others. As we leave this place today, help us to do something kind or helpful everyday for at least one other person. Help us to be the kind of son or daughter, brother or sister, friend that you would want us to be. Thank you that we have this time together to learn more about you and about Jesus. Thank you for all the people who began the church so that we might be a part of a church family also. AMEN.

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