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Reply to "The Great Feast Lesson/Ideas Set"

The Great Banquet

Game Workshop

Summary of Lesson Activities:

Kids will play a game that excludes, and then hear the parable Jesus told of the great feast where all are included by playing a Bingo game. The original game will then be changed so all are included rather than excluded.

See here for scripture, key Bible verse and objectives.

Leader Preparation:

  • Read the story in the Bible. Be able to retell the story from memory.
  • Read the "Story" at the end of this lesson (for the appropriate age group) and practice reading it without the words that are capitalized.
  • Create Bingo cards - blank squares of either 5x5 (for readers) or 3x3 for younger kids. Consider whether you want to create ahead of time, the cards for younger kids with pictures OR allow the children to draw the pictures of the words in their squares. (See the list at the end of the lesson with 8 words. The center square will be a free space)
  • For older students - write the list of words at the end of this lesson on the chalkboard. (The older kids will write their own Bingo cards.)
  • Gather the materials.
    • Carpet Squares (one per student)
    • CD player and a peppy-sounding music CD of your choice
    • Bibles
    • Chalkboard/Chalk (or whiteboard or easel with appropriate marker)
    • Bingo sheets (created ahead of time)
    • Pencils (one per student)
    • Clipboards, or other writing surface (one per student)
    • Cups of Skittles or other markers to play Bingo ~ 9 in each cup for younger students (readers), about 20 in cup for older students
    • Hula hoops (one per student)

Lesson Plan

Opening - Welcome and Lesson Introduction:

Welcome the kids warmly to your workshop. Introduce yourself. Ask them if they know what the words “exclusive” and “inclusive” mean – or “exclude” and “include.”
If needed, give a brief explanation.

Play “Musical Carpet Squares”
Using the carpet squares, have kids each take one and form a large circle. Have the kids stand outside of the carpet squares making a circle. Tell the shepherd to play and to put in a square, so there will be one more person than there are carpet squares.

Play the song on the CD player and have the kids play “musical carpet squares” as you would “musical chairs.” They will stand on a square (not sit) when you stop the music. Each time one of the kids will be “out” until one is left. Make a big deal of it – “That’s too bad that you won’t get to keep playing.” “Sorry that you can’t be included.” Remove a square each time, until finally there is 1 square and 2 people and then finally 1 person left.

Dig - Main Content and Reflection:

Have kids sit and ask:  When you had to be out of the game, excluded, how did that feel?
How does it feel to be excluded in other things in life?
Has that ever happened to you?

TELL the story  in your own words to the kids.
After the first week, have the kids help you tell the story.

For Younger Age Groups: we used Teddy Graham cookies to have them help tell the story. Each of the kids got 3 teddy cookies – 1 was the servant, 1 was a person who said no, 1 was a person who said yes.

Play a game of Bingo as you tell the story

For Younger Age Groups:
Distribute their Bingo cards - a smaller grid just 3 x 3 for a total of 9 squares with the one in the center a free space. On the list of words at the end of the story there are the 8 words they can draw a simple picture of.
For Older Age Groups:
Show the kids the word list on the chalkboard or whiteboard. (The words follow at the end of the lesson). These words come from our story!

Distribute a blank Bingo sheet (a 5 square x 5 square blank grid with the center one marked “free" to each of the kids along with a pencil and clipboard.

Tell them to write one word from the list in each square, in a random order on their Bingo card. Use all 24 words, but mix them up.

Make sure that everyone knows how to play Bingo. Pass out a small cup of Skittles candies to each student. Tell them they are not to eat them until you say so, because they will be their Bingo markers. Have them put one on the free space now.

Tell them that you will be reading the story that Jesus told of the Great Feast. When you pause (i.e., leave a “blank” for a word) they need to decide what the correct word is on their Bingo card and cover it with a Skittle.

Let them know that if they get a Bingo (5 across, 5 down or 5 diagonal for older kids; 3 in a row for younger kids) they can call out “Bingo!” but should keep everything on their sheet and everyone should keep playing until you finish the story. The idea of the game is to have everyone included and able to win a Bingo!

Read the attached story. Pause for the CAPITALIZED words which will be the words they are to fill in. Stop when everyone has completed a Bingo. Tell kids they can eat their Skittles and ask:

What does this parable teach about the kingdom of God/kingdom of heaven?
What keeps people out?
What enables them to get in?

Play the “musical chairs” game again
, except this time instead of using the carpet squares, use hula hoops. Explain that when the music stops, they are to stand inside a hula hoop. No one will be ever be “out”. To include everyone, each time you’ll remove a hula hoop many people will have to crowd into the hoops. Until there’s one hula hoop left – be sure to have them figure out a solution as to how to have everyone included!

Reflection Time:

Have kids sit down and choose a partner. Tell them to share with their partner:

Name one family member in their life they need to be a better family member to.
Name one person in their life that others put down and they promise to reach out to.
Name somebody they should invite to come to their church.  Can both of your invite that same person?


Invite the shepherd to lead a group prayer asking God for help in being inclusive with the ideas the kids shared.

The Story: (for older students)

Pause and don't say the words that are CAPITALIZED!

Jesus said to his host, "When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not INVITE your FRIENDS, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid.

But when you give a BANQUET, invite the POOR, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot REPAY you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous."

When one of those at the TABLE with him heard this, he said to Jesus, "BLESSED is the man who will eat at the feast in the KINGDOM of God."

Jesus replied: "A certain MAN was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. At the TIME of the banquet he sent his SERVANT to tell those who had been invited, `Come, for everything is now READY.'

"But they all alike began to make EXCUSES. The first said, `I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.'

"Another said, `I have just bought five yoke of OXEN, and I'm on my WAY to try them out. Please excuse me.'

"Still another said, `I just got MARRIED, so I can't come.'

"The servant came back and reported this to his MASTER. Then the owner of the house became ANGRY and ordered his servant, `Go out quickly into the STREETS and alleys of the town and BRING in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.'

"Sir," the servant said, "what you ordered has been done, but there is still ROOM."

"Then the master told his servant, `Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them COME in, so that my house will be FULL. I tell you, not one of those men who were invited will get a TASTE of my banquet.' "

24 WORDS for the older groups (readers/writers):


The Story: (for younger students)

Pause and don't say the words that are CAPITALIZED!

Jesus said to the man who had invited him, "When you give a banquet, don’t invite only your  relatives, your rich neighbors and your FRIENDS. Because they will likely invite you to eat with them, and it won't be like you will have done something nice, just for them.
Instead, when you give a PARTY, invite the poor, and those who are down on their luck."

This caused one of the other guests to say, "The one who gets to EAT dinner in God’s kingdom is very fortunate!”

Then JESUS told a story. He wanted everyone there to understand who would be allowed in, at God's party. He said,  “A man gave a big banquet and sent INVITATIONS to many people. When it was time to eat, the man sent his helper to tell the guests, ‘Come! Everything is ready!’

But all the guests said they could not come. Each person made an excuse!  The helper had to go back and tell the man what had happened.

The man was very SAD and told his helper, "Go quickly into the STREETS of town and invite everyone who is poor or lonely or hungry!"

The helper went and did this and then came back and reported to him, "I did what you told me to do, but we still have room for more people."

The man said to the helper, "Go look further. Tell all the people to come. I want my TABLES to be full!

Younger group’s words to draw for Bingo cards:


A lesson posted by Jan Hanson from: First Presbyterian Church, Napa, CA
with editing by Carol Hulbert

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