Focus Passage: Hebrews 11:29 – 12:2
Memory Verse: “…we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses…”
Items for Preparation:
- Have ready a copy of your church directory that’s current, filled with photos of people they are likely to recognize. Try to get some old, former directories so that you can have a couple of photos at different times in the life a some of your families – one when kids were babies, one when they were primary schoolers, and another as older teens. You get the idea. You might want to get permission from these folks ahead of time to show their photos in this manner. It could get embarrassing! Be careful!
- Try to have some of the earliest photos of your church founders, 50 – 100 years old if possible. Go as far back as you can. Your wonderful church office administrator can help you out! Call him/her early.
- Alternatively you can pull up an online version of your directory on your tablet and display those photos. Be ready to show kids some of the people who are very faithful in your own church family.
Background: Read the adult lesson in the print edition of Nurturing Faith and additional material online. We have heard the “parade” of faithful folks from Biblical times, and we can bring that list of faithful people into the present day, all the way up to the kids in front of you.
[Display your photo collection. Explain to kids who is in the photos, and show the progression from older ones to more recent ones.]
Say: In the letter to the Hebrews, Paul wrote about a cloud of witnesses – what do you think that means? [Allow for answers.]
Say: I’ve got some pictures of witnesses here. Maybe you recognize some of these folks – they are people who, just like you and me, have been part of our church and have loved God. They have followed Jesus, and been faithful to God who called them to do good things right here in our church. Some of them lived a long time ago – and some of them were good Jesus-followers just a few years ago and are STILL following Jesus in our church today. Do you see some faithful witnesses you know? [Allow for responses.]
Say: Paul listed a whole long string of people who had been faithful that he knew the Hebrews would recognize. He listed people we have read about in the Old Testament. So what Paul wrote also helps us understand: we are in a good group! There are hundreds, thousands, millions, even hundreds of millions of Jesus-followers, who were faithful, and who have witnessed about Jesus.
Say: What does it mean for us to “witness” about Jesus? [Allow for answers.] It means that we are always willing to tell the truth to other people about how good it is to belong to Jesus and follow him. It means we will be like all these folks who have gone before us – we will not skip any chances to show other people who we believe Jesus is, and to try very hard to do what Jesus would want us to do. So, we are witnesses, just like all these folks, a “whole cloud” of witnesses – you can close your eyes an imagine seeing all of them up above us, smiling at us, glad that we are witnesses, too. I wonder what your faith in God, and your strong witnessing as a Jesus-follower, will lead you to do? I wonder – in 100 years, how will people remember us, and what will we do that makes them want to become witnesses like us? Hmmm…
Prayer: Say these words after I say them.
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O Mighty God,
We are not by ourselves,
But you have set us
Among many loving people.
Let us find good ways
To be witnesses of Jesus
Just as all this cloud of witnesses,
In Jesus’ name, Amen.