Parable of the Sower
Summary of Lesson Activities:
This parable is a very "visual" parable. It's meaning is also a little bit "high concept" for younger children, which means you need to keep it simple for them.
The dramatic presentation suggested here should get their full attention!
“But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.” Luke 8:15
- Read the story ahead of time.
- PRIOR to this rotation, you need to assemble some great costumes, and not just a box of props. (For those of you NOT doing rotation, a Rotation Drama Workshop is able to assemble some neat costumes like this because we'll use them for several weeks in a row, not just once.)
The Seed: Two students wrapped in green cloth and stuffed inside a brown sacks up to their neck (elastic top). They'll be sown and have fun wiggling out of their sacks to reveal their green branches.
The Bird that snatches the seed: Make a large pairs of cardboard wings and beak for the bird.
The Weeds: A student wrapped in a long green cloth.
The Thorns: A student wrapped in a long brown cloth and holding two craggy sticks.
Hard Path: A student wearing a "board" suit! Plywood arms and legging tied with straps.
Good Soil: A student wearing a brown fun-fur sack with some bugs and blue water ribbons attached to it.
Opening - Welcome and Lesson Introduction:
Greet the children and their guide, and open the workshop session with prayer. Ask God to reveal to each of you what He has to say to you about your relationship with Him today. The Parable of the Sower is about why some people don't accept the Word, why some people hear it, get excited about it, then fade, and about how bad things can choke off the word in our lives.
Before beginning the lesson, review the memory verse, “But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.” Luke 8:15
Review also the bonus verse, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” James 1:22 If this is the first Sunday of the rotation, it will not be apparent to the children why they are learning these verses to go with this lesson. However, you might ask the children what it means to “deceive yourselves” in the bonus verse. Explain that “to deceive” means “to trick” or “to lie about something”.
Ask them also if they know the word “persevering” in the memory verse. Explain that “to persevere” means to go on and on without giving up, sort of like the “energizer bunny”. So the memory verse is about someone who goes on obediently following Jesus by faith.
Dig - Main Content and Reflection:
Explain that we will be learning a story about a farmer who went out to sow or plant seeds, and about the kinds of soils the seeds landed on and about the abundance of the crops they produced. Share the information from the “background” about how farmers sowed seeds in Jesus’ time. If you want to show the various kinds of soils, jars are available in the resource room so you can prepare samples. Be sure the children understand the meaning of the word, “sower” and “sowing” (as opposed to the other “sewing” that means “stitching”, this “sowing” means “planting”.)
Have the children use their Bibles to find Matthew, the first book in the New Testament, then Mark, the second book, and then Luke the third book. (Grades 4 – 6 should be able to find Matthew 13, Mark 4, and Luke 8.) Once they are able to do this, read the parable from Matthew 13:3-9. Before doing this, explain that a parable is a story that teaches a truth and has a hidden meaning that people must think about to understand. Do not go on to reading the explanation yet; let the children think about the parable as they experience it with their lesson today.
Do ask the children about Matthew 13:9, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” Why would Jesus say that sort of thing? After they’ve shared, explain that Jesus was challenging them to think about the parable and learn its meaning. He was also indicating that this was an important teaching for them, just as it is for us.
Directing the Drama:
1. FIRST, "BLOCK" THE DRAMA ACTION by reading and walking through it. Suggest actions.
2. Then have the students act it out as it is narrated. Videotaping the drama will be a lot of fun, and will provide a sense of structure and accountability since everyone will be watching it.
PAUSE the recording if you need to set up action or change costumes.
3. After recording it once, offer the option to let students switch parts. It's this second version which will probably be more animated.
The Basis Script
Start by reading the scripture, Matthew 13:3, beginning with “A farmer went out to sow his seed…” The “farmer” should be acting out flinging the seed out over the ground.
Matthew 13:4, “…some fell along the path…”: the “seeds” go swirling and dancing out and finally fall down on the hard floor. Some of them say, “Ouch, that hurts!” After they fall, the “birds” swoop down on them and “eat them” as you finish reading verse 4.
Read Matthew 13:5, and the “seeds” should dance out and land on the rocky soil. They will need to say, “Ah, I can grow here for a little while” and then start to stand up, until they are half grown, but then wilt down in the hot sunshine, saying, “Oh, I’m too HOT! I’m too thirsty!” after you read Matthew 13:6.
Read Matthew 13:7, and the students playing “seeds” dance out, land, and say, “Ah, at last, a place to grow!” They start to stand up and grow, but then say, “Ouch, quit that! Move over! That hurts! Get out of my way! I’m thirsty, sooo thirsty! I’m hungry! Oh no, I’m dying!” And finally they fall down again.
Read Matthew 13:8, and the students playing “seeds” dance out and land softly and happily. They say, “Ah, a soft, cozy place to grow at last. I think I’ll put down roots!” Then as they raise their hands and begin to stand up, they can say, “I think I’ll bloom right here!” Lastly, they say, “Look, I’m making fruit; come and pick my fruit!” (If the younger students find the saying the lines too difficult, they could just pantomime the actions.)
You will need to allow time for the reading of Matthew 13:18-23 and time for discussion after the creative movement, but do the creative movement twice if there’s time and if the class enjoys it. Maybe they could even try costumes the second time, just because they think costumes are fun?
1. What can you do if your soil is rocky? (ANS: Pray, ask God for help with your problems, read and believe the Bible, fellowship with other Christians at church and Sunday school and elsewhere, ask God to forgive your bad attitude of self-pity, anger or resentment.)
2. What if your soil is full of thorns; what can you do? (ANS: First, recognize the names of the weeds and thorns. Pray, and ask God for help, and you begin to be more faithful in reading your Bible, praying, and putting God first in your life. You might have to choose God over some other activities, or even over some types of friends.)
3. Again, what are some the things that can be thorns or weeds in your life? (ANS: Too many activities (especially on Saturday night and Sunday), friends who keep you from taking time to pray or read your Bible, games, TV or other things that take all your interest, laziness, fear of what others will say about you or think about you if you faithfully follow Jesus.) For older classes, talk about the fact that when they start to get old enough to hold a job, they will still need to make choices that put God first and allow time for worship, fellowship, prayer and Bible study.
4. Name some good “fruit” that God would be pleased to see in your life. (ANS: The fruit of the Spirit, (Galatians 5:22-23) “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control”. Any answer that includes one of these is “fruit”. Also enjoying prayer and enjoying the Bible are possible answers. Forgiving people who wrong you is another part of the fruit.)
Journal possibility: Write or draw about where you are in your life with regard to the four soils, and then write a prayer asking God to help you be who He wants you to be.
Prior to doing so, remind the kids that in the story of Adam and Eve, the Bible says that humans were formed from the dirt...the earth, and that God BREATHED LIFE into us. As "dirt" it's our job to be ready for the miracle of God's Spirit and Word given to us.
HAND EACH CHILD a small bag of dirt as a reminder of today's lesson, and close with prayer.
A lesson originally posted by member lerner.
With additions by Wormy and our review team.
A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability.