Prodigal Son Software
Sunday Software's Prodigal Software is now available for free to the supporting members of Rotation.org. Below is the lesson plan which is included in the update Teacher's Guide to the program. Learn more
Prodigal Son Software Lesson Outline
“Who forgives? Who to forgive? When to forgive? and How to forgive?”
Three Observations for Teachers:
1) The Father acts in unexpected and unusual ways.
- Giving the inheritance generously when asked.
- Hiking up his robe and running to greet his lost son in full view of his kin and workers (which demonstrates the personality of the father (God) in a way that would not have been expected.
- Giving warm welcome instead of punishment and throwing a party.
- Dealing kindly with the older son.
2) The older brother could be understood as ISRAEL or the CHURCH, or unwelcoming CHRISTIANS, or jealous siblings — depending on who you think Jesus or Luke is speaking to. The “prodigal” could be you, me, Gentiles (non-Jews), Jews, Christians, outcasts, or anyone who thinks they don’t need God. Imagining “who’s who” presents some interesting revelations and discussion opportunities.
3) The story also works on a personal level. Who are we in the story? What do we learn when we think of ourselves as the son, or the brother, or the father?
–Are you the P.Son thinking you can make your own rules? What do you have to confess? Are you surprised by your Father’s grace? How can you change what people think of you after you’ve done something bad?
–Are you the father who is ready to welcome the sinner home, and not hold their past against them? How might our church be acting like the older brother to those new to the faith?
–Are you the Older Sibling who thinking you are BETTER than someone else, deserve more, more loved by your parent, more loved by God than other people or groups?
–Are you someone who doesn’t forgives sins or forget wrongs? Are you the son who has made some bad decisions and needs forgiveness?
The Lesson Plan
1. Gather the kids and have them tell you the story of the Prodigal Son. Fill in what they have forgotten. Have a race to see who can find the passage in a printed Bible. As they try to find it, give them clues, such as, “Luke”, then, “it’s in the same chapter as the parable of the Lost Sheep and Lost Coin”, then “chapter 15”.
2. Write out the Question of the Day: “Who forgives? Who to forgive? When to forgive? Why forgive? and How to forgive?” At the end of the lesson, you will ask them to answer those questions.
3. Dive into the Prodigal Son software
a. First do the Luke 15 Story. Work through select study notes on each page. Pause at the end of the story to highlight key ideas before moving on.
b. Go to SonTV “Channel 1” and view the music video “Ballad of the Prodigal Son”.This will knit together the whole story, and has a snappy song.
c. Channel 3’s second section is a set of graphically presented Questions about the Prodigal Parable. These can be answered by readers at the computer in a small group discussion, or presented by the teacher to the entire class. The questions are listed in the printable guide. Question Examples: What people might be Prodigals coming back to your church? Who do YOU need to forgive and welcome back in your life?
OPTIONS: Note: Channels 2 and 3 can be used with older students –or those with more time or for another lesson period.
Channel 2 presents the related stories in Matthew of “The Two Sons in the Vineyard” and “The Workers in the Vineyard” with additional study questions. These are good for older classes with extra time, or for another lesson time using the program.
Channel 3 has two sections: The first is a song by Christian recording artist Steve Lindsley. The lyrics are in the guide and have discussion questions with them.
d. Go into “Letters”
Assign various letter options to your workstations. The program's guide has a list of all the letter options. Help them think through how to express themselves in writing. Have them read their letter out loud to the class. Comment on the language of forgiveness…. how certain words and actions can come from the heart or sound fake. What really is forgiveness? What does God require?
Non-readers will need help, and the activity can be revised as something the non-readers might want to color on a page, –a situation in their life or at school that needs forgiven. You will need to stoke the discussion with examples.
OPTION: Hand students a blank sheet of paper and a letter envelope. On that paper they are to write either the name of someone they need to forgive, the sin that needs forgiven, how you hope it will turn out, and why it’s important to forgive that person, then have them seal that letter in the envelope and put their name on it. Collect the letters and tell them that “in a month I’m going to give you back your letter so you can see how you’ve done forgiving someone”.
Tell the kids that after this closing they’ll get to play the Prodigal Fun game.
- Look at the opening questions and ask the kids to answer them out loud:
“Who forgives? Who to forgive? When to forgive? Why forgive? and How to forgive?”
- Pile their letters on a table, have everyone place their hands on the pile and close their eyes and repeat the teacher’s prayer:
(Repeating after the teacher…)
Dear God | I’m sorry for my sins. | It hurts me when people sin against me, | so I know that my sins must make you feel bad too. | Please help me keep from doing wrong, | teach me to do what’s right. | Remind me that you are always looking for me | and will always throw your arms around me even when I have done wrong, | And that I should do the same with others who sin. | Amen.