Saturday, February 14, 2015

Jesus is My Shepherd

The parables of the Good Shepherd and the Lost Sheep are such vivid, loving pictures of Jesus' care for us as His sheep.  The imagery Jesus uses in these stories is perfect for showing children the love of Jesus, which leads to the desire to follow and obey Him.  I set about on a way to make this lesson tangible and interactive, and I am so excited to share it with you!  As usual, I used items that  I found around my house and classroom.  I am sure that with a little digging and creativity, you can come up with similar items to tell this story in the same way.

Bible Truth: Jesus is my Shepherd
Bible Story: The parable of the lost sheep.
Bible Study: Luke 15:1-7; John 10:1-15, Psalms 23



teach

 


 Here is a list of the items that I am using:
  • green cloth
  • blocks
  • blue ribbon
  • rocks
  • cotton balls
  • shepherd (from Little People Nativity Set) 
Gather with the children around a table, or in a circle on the floor, with the green cloth laid in front of you. Open your Bible and tell the children that today you are going to tell them a parable, a story that Jesus told to teach us something He wants us to know.  As you describe the good shepherd, and his care for his sheep, setup the rest of the objects to set the scene for the story.

To make the story more personal, give each child a cotton ball with their initials on it.  The Bible says that the Good Shepherd knows his sheep by name.  Throughout the story, use the names of the children as the names of the sheep, and direct the children move their sheep around the scene.

Here is a visual outline of the story with captions.

The Good Shepherd takes good care of his sheep.  He watches over them and knows each one by name.

The sheep follow the Good Shepherd and they know His voice.

The Good Shepherd leads His sheep to green pastures to eat and play, and beside still water to drink.

The Good Shepherd leads His sheep through the door, into the sheepfold, where they are safe.

If there is a sheep missing, the Good Shepherd leaves the others to search for it until he finds it.

When the Shepherd finds his lost sheep, He carries it home on his shoulders, and calls His family and friends to celebrate.

Jesus is the Good Shepherd and we are His sheep.  We follow Him and he takes good care of us.
He rejoices when even one of His lost sheep is found!



Find a picture in a children's Bible story book of the shepherd with the sheep on his shoulders to show to the children.  Jesus said that heaven rejoices when a sinner repents.  Conclude the story by celebrating like the shepherd.  Give the children party blowers or noise makers, or have a special snack in celebration!


sing


  • The Lord is My Shepherd is a traditional song to help seal this truth in the hearts of your students.  Here are the lyrics & actions that I recommend for this song.
  • Skip Behind the Shepherd is another really good song by The Donut Man (remember him?!)  It's fun for little ones to skip around the room to this song, and then end by lying in green pastures.


play

 

hide and go sheep

Hide sheep (cotton balls) around the room.  Send the children to be good shepherds, and find the lost sheep.  Rejoice when they do!


shepherd, shepherd where's your sheep?

This game is a modified version of "Doggie, Doggie Where's Your Bone?" in case you are already familiar with that.  For this game you will need a sheep of some sort.  Possibly a stuffed animal, sheep figurine, or one from the craft below.  The children sit in a circle.  Choose one child to be the shepherd.  The shepherd goes to "sleep" (closing and covering their eyes) in the middle of the circle with the sheep next to them.  Tap a child on the shoulder, indicating that they may go take the sheep from the shepherd, and hide it behind their back.  Everyone puts their hands behind their back, pretending that they are the one who took the sheep, and "wakes up" the shepherd with this rhyme:

Shepherd, shepherd where's you sheep?
Somebody took it while you were asleep.
Guess who, it might be you,
Or maybe wolf howling, "Ow-oooo!"

The shepherd has three chances to guess who took their sheep.  The child who took the sheep then has a turn as the shepherd.  Continue playing the game until everyone has a turn to be the shepherd, and take the sheep.


craft


A simple search for "sheep mask template" or "paper bag sheep puppet" will point you to lots of cute sheep craft ideas.  I have opted to share a craft with you specifically for this parable.
  
I really wanted a craft depicting the shepherd rescuing the lost sheep, and laying it on his shoulders.  I used this coloring sheet from sermons4kids.com as my starting point.  I did some digital magic to remove the sheep from the original to make it work the way I was visualizing.  It took a bit of reworking, but here it is!


You will need:
  • these printouts (I suggest printing the lambs on card stock for greater durability)
  • an Exacto knife
  • scissors
  • cotton balls
  • brown paper
  • glue 
To prepare, use the Exacto knife to cut around the shepherd's head, from shoulder to shoulder.  Cut out the lambs.  (For this to work as shown, you must cut out the spaces between the lamb's legs.)  Cut brown paper to resemble a rock, and crumple it for texture.

In class, have the children color the page.  Help them glue a small bottom section of the rock to the coloring page.  Give each child half of a cotton ball.  Help them spread the cotton apart and glue it to the lamb.  Review and retell the story together as children move the lamb from behind the rock, to the shepherd's shoulders.


 

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