Lessons, Ideas, Activities, and Resources for the Good Shepherd and the Lost Sheep
Post your Sunday School lessons, ideas, activities, and resources for the Good Shepherd and the Lost Sheep.
- Please include a scripture reference, supply lists, sources, suggested age range. age modification, etc.
- Photos are much appreciated! Click "attachments" and upload to your post.
- Please be careful not to post copyrighted materials. Excerpting and paraphrasing is okay. Include attribution.
Jesus the Good Shepherd, John 10:1-18.
Our Lesson Exchange doesn't have a lot of content on "Good Shepherd" because "The Good Shepherd" is typically not taught as a full four or five week Rotation in many Rotation churches. This is primarily due to it being a one-liner kind of verse, and also because the image of God as Shepherd is taught in greater detail in Psalm 23, which is usually taught in Rotation churches.
AND PLEASE NOTE: We have ANOTHER LESSON THREAD that deals with the Parables of the Lost Coin and Lost Sheep.
Misc Sheep and Shepherd Ideas
Games: What does our Good Shepherd, Jesus, do for us?
Cooking: Do you think that Jesus rejoices when we choose to follow him?
Puppets: Have you ever been lost? What did it feel like? Did you find your way back, or did someone find you?
Games: Caring for Sheep Is Not Easy
Herding Sheep Game (from Surprising Stories from People Jesus Met.)
Let's practice being shepherds. First we need some sheep. Let's pretend these are sheep. [Put some balloons on the floor.] Here is your shepherd's staff [hand each child a dowel].
Take your staff and herd your sheep into the pen (the empty box turned on its side). Hold your staff pointing down so no one gets poked, and be careful you don't hurt your sheep. Guide it gently! [Encourage children as they guide their sheep.]
- Was it easy to make the balloons go where you wanted them to go?
- Do you think it's easy for shepherds to get sheep to go where the shepherds want them to go? Why or why not?
- It's hard to make balloons go where we want them to go, and it's even harder to take care of sheep because they sometimes run away or get lost. Jesus is our good shepherd, so we will follow him. That way, we won't ever get lost.
- What does a shepherd do for his sheep?
- What does our Good Shepherd, Jesus, do for us?
Gates and Wolves (from Surprising Stories from People Jesus Met.)
[Set up some chairs in a circle or square to make a sheep fold.] Do you know how the shepherd prevents sheep from getting lost in the night? He puts them in a walled area and then sleeps stretched across the doorway. Sheep can't wander out without waking him up. Let's find out how well that works.
[Divide into two groups: wolves and sheep. The sheep should stand behind the chairs in the fold and the wolves are outside. Stretch across the entrance. Lay your dowel "staff" across the chairs so no one can jump over you.] I'll just close my eyes and pretend I am asleep. You wolves send someone to sneak in and steal my sheep. Let's see if you can do it without waking me up.
[Let several wolves try and then let the sheep try to get out. You'll "wake up" each time and the children will discover why this was such an effective way to keep sheep safely contained.]
- What do shepherds do to protect their sheep at night?
- What does our Good Shepherd, Jesus, do for us?
Sheep in the Fold Game (from Pray and Play Bible)
Give everyone some cotton ball "sheep" and explain that they will try to "shepherd" their sheep into the jar (or "fold"). Take turns dropping the sheep from chin height into the fold (smaller children have a height advantage in this game!). Talk about how a shepherd takes care of the sheep and gives them a safe place to stay.
Cooking: Make a Sheep to Eat (from Surprising Stories from People Jesus Met.)
Have the children wipe their hands and spread a napkin as a clean work surface. Give each child some large and small marshmallows and toothpicks or pretzel sticks and ask them to use them to make a sheep.
As the children put together their sheep:
retell parable of the lost sheep: (adapted from Storykeepers Teacher's Guide) (have your Bible open to Luke 15 so that it is clear that this story is from the Bible)
Suppose you have one hundred sheep.
One gets lost.
Wouldn't you leave the 99 and go after the one who is lost until you find it?
And when you find it,
you joyfully put it on your shoulders and go home.
Then you call your friends and neighbors together and say,
"Rejoice with me!
I have found my sheep who was lost!"
- Ask, "Have you ever lost anything? (A pet, a toy, money, a library book....?) How did you feel when you lost it? Did you find it again? How did you rejoice?"
- Say, "We are all like sheep. There are so many things in the world that can ‘eat us up' if we get lost and if we don't have a good shepherd watching over us. Jesus is our good shepherd, so we will follow him."
- Do you think that Jesus rejoices when we choose to follow him
Allow the children to eat their sheep or give them a "baggie" so they can take it home.
Puppets: Parable of the Lost Sheep Impromptu Puppet Show
Assign parts: Shepherd, sheep, friends. (If there are more than 4 who wish to participate, explain that they can have the very important audience job and be the puppeteers in a moment for the next performance.)
Read the narrator's script (follows at end of document). (Hold the script in your Bible so that it is clear that this is a story from the Bible. Pause in appropriate places and encourage children to improvise dialog and movement. Make suggestions or allow the audience to make suggestions as needed.)
Discuss some of these questions (as interest permits):
- Why was the shepherd happy when he found the sheep?
- Why might he have been angry with the sheep for running away?
- Which is the more human reaction?
- Have you ever been lost? What did it feel like? Did you find your way back, or did someone find you?
Impromptu Puppet Show Narrator's Script: The Parable of the Lost Sheep
(Adapted from the New Living Translation)
Read slowly and pause as appropriate so children can improvise actions.
This story is from the fifteenth chapter of the Gospel of Luke.
Tax collectors and other well-known sinners often came to listen to Jesus teach.
The Pharisees and other teachers of religious law complained that Jesus was associating with such awful people — even eating with them! So Jesus told this story:
There was a shepherd who had one hundred sheep. [If necessary, tell the children to pretend there are a lot of sheep puppets.]
(Sheep and shepherd enter)
One of the sheep strayed away and was lost in the wilderness.
As was his habit, the shepherd counted the sheep.
(He counts and says one is missing.)
What does he do?
(He starts looking for it.)
He leaves the other ninety-nine sheep in the pasture and goes looking for the one who got lost.
(He looks all over the stage and finally finds it.)
When he finds it, he joyfully carries it home on his shoulders.
Then he calls together his friends and neighbors
(he call friends)
and they celebrate.
In the same way, heaven will be happier over one lost sinner who returns to God than over ninety-nine respectable people who have not strayed away!