Baptist lay leaders Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter of Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, Ga., greet participants at a January summit of the New Baptist Covenant that began with a reception at the Carter Center in Atlanta

Baptist lay leaders Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter of Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, Ga., greet participants at a January summit of the New Baptist Covenant that began with a reception at the Carter Center in Atlanta

Focus Passage: John 17: 20-26

Memory Verse: “I made your name known to them, so your love may be in them.”

Items for Preparation

-Have 2 or 3 photos loaded onto your mobile device that you can display for kids. The photos can depict people very familiar to them who they love very much, or who are famous in your church or community and would elicit a feeling of love from children. You will display the photo to one child, who will get to use one-word clues to help other kids guess who is in the photo. Pick 2 or 3, or 4 or 5 if you have more time. Give several kids a chance to be the clue-givers.

-Also include one photo of an adult who is important in the world, but not known to children. Select someone and just google them for a photo, such as the head of the UN or NATO, the Dalai Lama, an old movie star like John Wayne or Elizabeth Taylor, or a senator from a state other than yours. The idea is that these are good people, but not known and not loved by your group of kids.

-You will spend a minute teaching kids how to play this Word Charade guessing game at the start of your sermon. For example, if you have a photo of the children’s minister, your clue-giver will have three chances to say one word which will lead other kids to guess who is in the picture. The three word clues could be things like “minister,” “kids,” “Bible school,” “Sunday school,” “leader,” etc. You get the idea. Select your photos carefully, making sure all kids will know and love the persons in them.

Our goal is to demonstrate how one person can help other people know the hidden identity, because the thing they all have in common is that they are loved by children.

Give instructions to clue-givers like this:

Say: I have a picture of somebody you love, and [name of clue-giving kid] is going to have three chances to say one word (or phrase) that will help you guess who this is.


Read the adult lesson in the print edition of Nurturing Faith and additional material online. John’s message contains complex theological ideas even for adults. We will focus on the idea that Jesus’ love is the way we know the identity of God.

Children’s Sermon

[Select a clue-giver for every photo you’ve got. Line them up and allow the remaining kids to be the guessers. Give instructions to the clue-givers as noted above.]

Say: Are we ready to play Word Charade? Alriiiiiight! Guessers, please listen to the clue-giver and see if you can guess who is in the hidden photo.

[Now display photo #1 to your clue-giver only. Make sure kids can’t see who it is. Ascertain that your clue-giver does indeed know this person. For goodness sakes.]

Say: Clue-giver, help our guessers know who is in this photo. What is your clue number 1? [Allow clue-giver to offer a clue.]

Say: Guessers, who do you think is in the photo? [Allow for answers. If they guess, great! If not, repeat the clue-giving process 2 more times for a total of three chances. If they haven’t guessed, whisper a slam-dunk clue to your clue-giver to use to make sure guessers will be successful. One of your photos will be of the unknown important person, be un-guessable to the guessers, and also probably unknown to the clue-giver. Make sure you select a confident clue-giver for this photo so you won’t create a problem of sadness or failure when guessers don’t guess successfully.]

Say: Yea! Correct! You guessed this person is [name of your beloved-by-children person here.]

Say: Alriiiiiiight! Next clue-giver – here is your photo. What is your clue number 1? [And repeat this game as many times as you have photos. Or for as long as you’ve got time to play. It’s going to be a long worship service, after all…]

Say: Now, guessers, you were able to tell the identity of the hidden photo for all these people….except for one. So tell me, how did you know all these people in these pictures? Why do you know who they are? Why are they important to you? [Allow for answers.]

Say: And how come you did not guess the identity of [name your un-guessable photo person now] even though [name your clue-giver for that one] did a great job of trying to tell you who it was? [Allow for answers.]

Say: You were able to guess the identity of the people in pictures who you actually know, and who you love. You know these people love you, don’t you? So it is their love that you recognized. And this is was Jesus was saying in the prayer he prayed, asking God to give love to us, because Jesus is the one who helped us know who God is. It is Jesus’ love, and God’s love that Jesus shows us, that makes us know them.

Prayer: Say these words after I say them.

O loving God,
We see your love in Jesus
In the ways he acted and spoke
In the love he showed to people.
Thank you for your love for us
And let us show your love to others
In Jesus’ name, Amen.