Children’s Ministry Resources
Godly Play & Children’s Sermons
What is Godly Play?
According to the Godly Play Foundation, Godly Play is a creative and imaginative approach to Christian nurture.
Godly Play is about understanding how each of the stories of God’s people connects with the child’s own experience and relationship with God.
Godly Play respects the innate spirituality of children and encourages curiosity and imagination in experiencing the mystery and joy of God.
Read more about Godly Play here.
How do we do Godly Play at First Baptist Greenville?
Christians of many different denominations use Godly Play and probably do it differently, even within the same denomination. In this blog, I describe Godly Play by sharing the way our church does it. That doesn’t mean that it’s the best way or the prescribed way, or the only way, of course, but it’s the way that suits us best.
What are we here for?
We meet here to talk about Godly Play, to share what it’s all about and to discuss how to do it better.
The weekly blog posts are designed to help Sunday school teachers prepare for their Godly Play lessons, and the individual pages (see the tabs at the top of this page) share information about how we do Godly Play at First Baptist Church, Greenville, SC.
We’d love to hear from teachers everywhere, not just the ones at our church! We hope you’ll join our circle and share your ideas!
What Godly Play is Not
Godly Play is quite different from the traditional model in which the teacher tells the children what they need to know. Godly Play is not about things that are that simple. It is not just about learning lessons or keeping children entertained. It is about locating each lesson in the whole system of Christian language and involving the creative process to discover the depths of meaning in them.
Welcome to Jesus Meets a Poor Man and a Rich Man, our story for February 23, about Jesus’ encounter with the blind beggar on the side of the road and then with Zacchaeus. These stories can be found in Luke 18:35-19:9.
I wrote this story script to give the children a Godly Play style lesson in which they could see that both poor and rich people were important to Jesus and greatly needed his healing in their lives.
I’ll include the script below, in case teachers from other churches would like to use it. (Just scroll down to the end of this post.) It’s been exciting for me to see our extra stories be used in churches all over the world! I hope this one works well for everyone.
Ideas for Response Time (Our Make a Gift for God Time!
Hopefully children will think about the different ways we need God’s healing touch (in our hearts and bodies) as they respond to the story through art. Here are some ideas for you:
- Explore the blind beggar’s experience with blindfolds. Try to draw the story blind folded. Then take off your blindfold and examine your work. As you work, think about what it might be like to have lived the blind beggar’s life. How did he show his faith? Why do you think Jesus asked him what he wanted him to do for him? What do you think it would be like to be at the mercy of the giving of others?
- Explore Zacchaeus’ experience with Jesus through art. Can you make a tree out of paper towel holders or sticks or clay and put Zacchaeus in it? Can you include Jesus in the art? Or maybe represent Jesus eating with Zacchaeus, as he plans to pay those he cheated 4 times more and give half his money to the poor.
- Make a class mural- half working on the beggar side and half on the Zacchaeus side, both showing Jesus doing healing work.
- In the last line of the story, Jesus says to Zacchaeus, “You are a true part of God’s family. It’s why I’m here, to find people like you who are lost and bring them back to God’s family where you belong.” What can you make that shows God with God’s family? Who is included in this family?
Find more ideas on my Pinterest board, here.
Here’s the script. I hope it works well for you!
While Jesus did his work, healing, preaching, and telling stories, people wanted to meet him. Even as Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem, where he knew that his life would be in danger,
Add the cross to the end of the underlay.
he made time for people. He walked along the road and changed people’s lives.
Add the road, unrolling it on the underlay.
There were two people he met that were very different. One man was poor and one was rich.
First Jesus met the poor man.
Add the poor man.
The man was poor because he was blind. The only way he could have the food he needed to live was by sitting by the side of the road, begging people for money. The blind man heard a crowd going by and asked what was happening. The people around him said that it was Jesus from Nazareth going by. The blind man shouted out, Jesus, son of David, please help me!
The people told him to be quiet. But he didn’t. He shouted out louder, “Jesus, son of David, please help me!”
Jesus heard him and stopped walking. Maybe he noticed that even though the man was blind he could see what the crowd didn’t know, that he was the son of David, the Savior! “Bring the man to me.” When they brought him close to Jesus, Jesus said to the blind man, “What would you like for me to do for you?”
“I want to see again,” the man said.
“Go ahead,” Jesus said, “See! Your eyes are healed because of your faith.”
Add the picture of eyes.
It was true! Right that second, the blind man could see. What did he do? He joined the crowd praising God and following Jesus.
Then Jesus met the rich man.
Add the man with the full money bags.
His name was Zacchaeus and he was rich because he was the chief tax collector. As he collected taxes for the government, he took a lot of people’s money just for himself. Zacchaeus who was really excited about the chance to see Jesus, but he had a problem. Zacchaeus was shorter than most people and couldn’t see over their heads. Nobody wanted to help him get a good look because they knew that he was the chief tax collector, the cheater of cheaters. Jesus was coming close. Would he miss his chance? Zacchaeus had an idea.
Zacchaeus saw a sycamore tree ahead where Jesus was going.
Add the tree.
If he climbed that tree, he’d get a good view of Jesus. But only children climbed trees. Would he be willing to look silly? Jesus ran ahead and climbed the tree and waited for Jesus to walk near.
When Jesus got to the tree, he stopped! “Zacchaeus hurry and get down from there. Today is my day to be a guest in your home.” Zacchaeus scrambled down the tree, so thrilled he thought he might burst with happiness. The crowd wasn’t so happy. “Of all people to stay with!” they grumbled. “Why pick such a bad man?”
Zacchaeus could hardly believe it. Later at his house he said, “Master, I’ll give away half of my money to the poor—and if I’ve cheated anyone, I’ll pay them four times more.
Jesus said, “Today your faith has saved you.” Zacchaeus’s heart was healed because of his faith!
Add the heart.
“You are a true part of God’s family. It’s why I’m here, to find people like you who are lost and bring them back to God’s family where you belong.”