Bible Skills and Games Lessons, Ideas, Activities, and Resources for the Lost Coin, Lost Sheep

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Including: the 99 sheep, lost sheep, shepherd, woman, lost coin, rejoice, Matthew 18:12–14, Luke 15:3–7, Luke 15:8–10

Bible lessons and ideas about the Lost Coin, Lost Sheep -with Games, Bible memory, Games that teach the Bible, Bible Activities, Bible Books, etc




The Lost Sheep / The Lost Coin / The Prodigal Son 

Bible Skills and Games 

Summary of Lesson Activity: 
The students will be able to discuss what it feels like to be lost and what it feels like to be searching for something as they traverse a "Lost Sheep Maze/Labyrinth." 


Scripture Reference: 
Luke 15: 3-33 



"Wormy" (our lesson editor) suggests an advanced version of this workshop: 

This is a great example of an awesome game workshop setup that you would never do for just one or two weeks, but in the Rotation model you can leave it up for several weeks in a row and have different groups go through it. 

Your kids will be helping to construct a large maze made out of cardboard boxes, tables, tarps, furniture....anything you can get your hands on to fill the room with a "LOST MAZE".   Constructing the maze will give you many opportunities to talk about being lost. Then they will 'play' being lost as they go through it.  

You can set up the "bones" of the maze using folding chairs. Then tape tarps, blankets, cardboard, tables and such to the chairs to form the walls of the maze. The maze has no top, so the kids CRAWL through the maze, or can scoot on skateboards you have collected for this workshop. 

The maze will have "stations" that the "sheep" stop at to meet with a Shepherd (teen or teacher). They advance through the maze at the sound of a whistle and stop when they get to a station. 

The walls of the maze can be decorated with SIGNS encouraging kids to Look for God, and stay out of trouble. Listen for God. Read the Bible for Directions, One Way....etc etc.   

Depending on your circumstances, you could make this maze quite elaborate.  Use teens and older kids to construct it one week, and then have younger children go through it on subsequent weeks.  

Alternately, you could make a simple maze or 'lost trek' simply by blindfolding the sheep/kids and leading them around some obstacles to certain stations where part of the story is shared, a question asked, a demonstration made. In one location, for example, they could be tasked with finding something in the room that has been hidden.  


Material List: 

  • Bibles
  • 20 - 30 large cardboard boxes( at least 3'x3' but can certainly be larger),
  • duct tape
  • material to hang over windows to make the classroom dark
  • one coin or small toy sheep for each child
  • a small, low powered flashlight (optional)

Leader Preparation:

  • Read the scripture ahead of time.
  • Gather the materials.
  • Well before the Rotation begins, assemble the maze by using the large cardboard boxes and taping them together end to end. Be as creative as you want. Be sure the entrance and the exit to the maze are both at the door to the classroom. Then cover the door so that the maze cannot be seen by the students. Then have a young person who is not going through the workshop, hide the coins or the sheep or both throughout the maze.


Lesson Plan 

Opening - Welcome and Lesson Introduction:
Meet the students outside of the classroom and welcome them. Be sure to introduce yourself and take the time to hear every child's name.  

Open with a prayer. 

Dig - Main Content and Reflection:
Ask a child to read the parable of the Lost Coin (Luke 15: 8-12) and the parable of the "Lost Sheep." Explain to them that they are going to get the chance to experience what it feels like to be lost and what it feels like to be looking for something not easily found.

Allow each child the chance to navigate through the maze on his /her own. While they are looking for the exit, tell them they also need to find a hidden coin or sheep that is somewhere in the maze. Remind them to move cautiously through the maze as it is delicate and will come apart fairly easily. If time allows you may want to let them go through the maze again, this time with the flashlight.

Discussion:
When all the students have had a chance to go through the maze, ask:

  • What did it feel like to crawl through the maze not knowing which way to go? (Scary, hard, kept bumping into things, etc.)
  • What would it have been like if you had a flashlight? (Easier, could have seen where you are going)

Explain that sometimes when we hide from God, it can be difficult to find our way, to find out where God wants us to go. But if we count on God, God helps us to find our way. God leads us and makes it much easier and keeps us from going into dead ends, just like the flashlight could help show the way to the exit of the maze. 

Ask:

  • What was it like to try to find the coin/sheep in the maze. (Difficult, hard, etc.)
  • How did you feel when you did find it? (Happy, joyful, etc.)

Tell the students that God feels the same way when we are lost and then found. When God finds us, God feels much like you did when you found the coin/sheep. God is always looking for us so that we can be together, because God loves us that much. Each of you is very important to God. God will always care for you and look for you no matter what happens or how lost you are. God will always be there.


Closing:
End the session with prayer thanking God for being a light unto our path and for always looking for us.


Workshop Tips: 

  • It will be dark inside the maze. If any children do not want to participate, offer them a small, low powered flashlight to use inside the maze. However, don't force a child to go through the maze.
  • Hide the coins in corners, on the sides, and the ceilings of the maze.
  • For your younger children you may want to punch small holes in the walls of the maze to let a little bit of light into the maze.
  • Another way to do it is to have the young person hide just one coin/sheep to be found. Then each time after it is found have the young person hide it again. This method will take more time.
  • A good place to find boxes for the workshop are the cardboard bins located behind many retails stores, particularly furniture and appliance stores. 
  • Take the boxes and tape them together using duct tape. You can make the maze more stable by inserting the top and bottom flaps into the adjoining boxes (similar to tongue and grove but more overlapping).
  • Be sure to create some dead ends as well as opportunities to crawl up, over, and down (use a smaller table as the support for this). You can also use various sizes to create more obstacles or places to look for the items. If you are joining two boxes of different sizes, then cut a whole in the side to crawl through. This is helpful in making a "T". Use your imagination and be creative. If you want to create a large maze use your fellowship hall or other large gathering space.

  

"St. Elmo's Choir" is a group of educators and pastors who graduated from The Presbyterian School of Christian Education at about the same time. Members of their group use the Rotation model in their individual ministries. Some of them wrote lesson together.

Original Post

The Lost Sheep Parable

A Sheep Herding Game and Video-Making Workshop

Summary of Lesson Activities:

A sheep herding game with balloons will open the lesson, followed by making a "point of view" video from the point of view of a Lost Balloon, and from the point of view of a "Shepherd."

Bible memory verse:

“We had to celebrate this happy day … he was lost but now he is found” Luke 15:32

Scripture Reference:

Luke 15:1-7

Focus:

Through the story of the lost sheep, children will learn that they are valuable to God and that God rejoices when we follow Jesus.\

By becoming Shepherds, they will learn that being a Good Shepherd isn't easy. They will consider HOW GOD FEELS about his sheep, and how we as sheep can respond to our Good Shepherd.


Leader Preparation:

  • Read the scripture ahead of time. 
  • Gather the materials.

Supplies List:

  • Balloons (one bigger and a different colour- we used blue)
  • Large Box
  • Permanent Marker
  • Video camera
  • Yardstick
  • tripod
  • scissors, butter knives, pencils


Presentation

Opening - Welcome and Lesson Introduction:
Opening activity: Herding sheep game

Have the kids forms lines of 3 or more students.

Place an empty box on its side at the opposite end of the room.

Give each team a yardstick or similar stick.

Place balloons all around the room, at least one per child. Have a few extras in case in any pop.

The Game:  One at a time kids try to herd a balloon into the box.  When they get their balloon into the box, they run back and hand the yardstick to the next player.

After doing this once:  Read the Parable of the Lost Sheep while standing in line. Take a balloon and draw on it using a permanent marker to make it look like a sheep ...as you talk about sheep.

What are sheep like? Are they smart? (no)  Are they easy to herd? (no)  Can they get in trouble? (yes).  The Bible says that we are like God's sheep. God wants us to stay with him, but sheep tend to wander away unaware of the danger they can get themselves into if they stray from the Shepherd.

Let's play the game again, and this time you are the Good Shepherd trying to find the lost sheep and trying to get him into the pen (the box).

After playing a second time, make observations and ask questions.  Why didn't you just pick up the sheep/balloon and MAKE him come with you? Why doesn't God do that with us?  That's right, God gives his sheep the right to wander away. It's called "Free Will". We can choose not to obey God. Why would God allow free will from his sheep?  (If God forces us to obey him, then our worship and love for him is also forced.  Can you love someone you are FORCED to love?  No.

How does God guide us?  What is God's yardstick?  What is the box/pen that God wants us to get into?   (his Kingdom, his safety, his fellowship, obedience, goodness). 

How hard is it for God to guide us?  Do you think God gets frustrated and disappointed with us?  Do you WANT to disappoint God? That would make God AND you sad, wouldn't.

What about a balloon/sheep that DOESN'T WANT TO GO WITH GOD?  What can God do? 

What happens if God beats the sheep?  (do this and pop a balloon). Is this what God wants? No. God is gentle, loving, and can wait a very very long time for the sheep to realize sheep need God!

(As you're having this talk, you're demonstrating your words with the balloons and sticks.)

Dig - Main Content and Reflection:

Point of view Movie Making:

We did this and it was awesome. The balloon on the stick (representing the lost balloon) attached to the video camera an idea from one of our teens, and it made the whole movie experience.

For this video, you need to rig up a balloon on a stick, and that stick needs to be physically attached to the video camera.  This way, the balloon will appear to be stationary in front of the video as the camera moves around to a couple of scenes acted out by the kids.

How you fix the balloon on the stick to the camera will depend on the kind of camera you have. Here's how we did it:  We put the video camera on a TRIPOD and taped the yardstick to the tripod so that it stuck out in front of the camera lense about 2 feet. Very effective. Very funny. And very memorable!

You will set up 3 scenes in the room to travel to with the balloon-on-a-stick-camera.

  1. The Balloon Pen with lots of other balloons.  
  2. A scary scene with sharp objects held by the kids (scissors, butter knives, pencils will do) and some balloons with scary faces drawn on them.
  3. A large "Good Shepherd" Balloon on a stick (we used a large blue balloon).

The Lost Balloon Script with directions...

Scene 1: The Party Pen

[Kids sit on floor holding balloons over their heads in one hand.

In another hand they hold a section of fence they have made out of cardboard. One of the children holds the God balloon, which is a blue balloon, slightly larger than the sheep balloons. This is the PARTY PEN where God wants the Sheep to stay. As the narrator reads the script for this scene, the camera walks up to the party pen ONLY showing the balloons and props. The kids do not appear in the video.]

Narrator: Jesus said, There once was a balloon who thought he knew best, who thought he knew how to live his balloon life without the guidance and protection of the Good Balloon.  And so he left and wandered off.  (Camera moves off).

Pause the recording and set up the next scene.

Scene 2:  The Land of the Lost

[Students form two lines for the camera/balloon to pass between. The kids will stick out their sharp objects and pretend to jab at the balloon on the stick as it passes through them. Kids are not seen on camera, but of course, their hands/arms are. A few kids will stick out balloons with scary faces.]

Narrator:  On his own without the Good Balloon to guide him, the Lost Balloon got lost. He started to do bad things. He got into trouble. His life seemed meaningless and unfulfilling. He became selfish. And he started to sin really bad. And finally, he thought he was so bad that he would never be rescued from sin and trouble. He felt lost and worthless.

Pause the recording and set up the next scene.

Scene 3:  God Balloon comes looking for the Lost Balloon

[In this quick scene, the Lost Balloon is replaced by a large Blue God Balloon on the end of the camera's stick. The kids sit on the ground FROZEN like craggy rocks making scary looking faces. The video operator simply wanders around the kids "LOOKING" for the lost balloon.

Then finally, buried beneath one of the craggy kid rocks, the God Balloon sees the Lost Balloon and starts to dance.]

Narrator:  But the Good Balloon is a GREAT Balloon, and AWESOME Balloon who cares about every single balloon everywhere, even the Lost balloons. So the Good Balloon made sure the other balloons were safe, and went out to find the Lost Balloon.  He looked everywhere, in bad places, in places of trouble, and there finally, he spotted the Lost Balloon all alone.

Pause the recording.

Scene 4:   Return to the Party Pen

[Tape BOTH the Lost Balloon and the God Balloon at the end of the camera stick.  The camera operator now 'walks' God and the Found Balloon back to the Party Pen. When they arrive, the other balloons rejoice and there's a party.  One or two of the kids can throw some confetti. All cheer!]

Narrator:  The Lost Balloon RAN to the Good Balloon and apologized. He asked to be taken back and forgiven his sins. And of course, the Good Balloon said yes, because the Good Balloon was very very good. He loved even the lost balloons.

And the two of them came back to the balloon pen and the balloons rejoiced and had a party!

So if you ever feel like a lost balloon, just remember: the Good Balloon is looking for you, and will always be looking for you and ready to be with you.

Closing:

End with a prayer.


 

Originally posted by member Jan of First Presbyterian Church in Napa, CA.
Video-making idea and content added and improved by Neil MacQueen.
Herding Sheep game idea from the resource: Surprising Stories from People Jesus Met.

What do the words "lost" and "found" really mean?

The Synonym and Situation (Life Application) Game

For grades 3 to 12

Learning about "synonyms" and "metaphors" is an important Bible Skill

A synonym is a word that's similar in meaning to another word.   "Lost and Wandering," for example. A metaphor is very similar, but points to something deeper. "Sheep" is not a synonym for "person," rather, it is a metaphor for a person.  Put them together and you can interpet what Jesus was talking about:  A Lost Sheep = A Person who has gone Astray. The Bible is full of such synonyms and metaphors. "Lost" and "sheep" are two of Jesus' favorites. So is "blindness."  

Playing with the synonyms for LOST and the metaphors for SHEEP help to unlock the verse's rich meanings and points of life application. These are skills most adult Christians have learned, and can be a little dry for kids. This is why the Workshop Rotation Model created the Bible Skills and Games Workshop --to teach the skills of "interpretation," using games. 




The Game:

1) Ahead of time, write up two sets of cards or slips of paper, one stack of "synonyms" and one for "situation." Put them in hats or baskets. See the synonym and situation lists below.

2) Explain the game by writing the starter phrase on the board, and drawing one synonym and one situation card and creating a sentence with them. Explain the scoring.



3) Play the game by splitting into two teams. Each team sends a player up to draw a card --ONE FROM EACH HAT. They then have ten seconds to use the starter phrase, synonym, and situation together in a sentence. 

Each sentence is to begin with this phrase:  "I'm lost when...."   (write that on the board).

  • They can modify the grammar or order of words if they want.
  • They can "invite a friend" from their team to help, or they can "ask for a hint" from the teacher, or they can ask to pick another synonym or situation card, but that causes a 1 pt reduction in their score.

SCORING:  Award 3 pts for their combining of the starter phrase + synonym + situation in a meaningful sentence. ADD bonus points for a "Good" (2 pts) or "Great" (3 pts) answer. Deduct a point if they needed help.

The game leader should hold on to the "used" cards until all the cards have been used, then they can put the used cards back in the hat to keep playing.

You can and probably should! adapt or adjust anything in this game to suit your needs.

♦ See the bottom of this post for examples showing how to combine the synonym with the metaphor into a new sentence.

Synonyms for "Lost" they can choose from.



  • absent (not there, checked out)
  • adrift (without direction)
  • confused
  • blind, in the dark about, refuse to see
  • invisible, shrink from, withdraw from
  • vanish, vanished
  • disappear, disappearing
  • lack of, lacking
  • miss, missed, miss out
  • stray, strayed
  • wander, wandering
  • cast away, toss, throwing away
  • down the drain, wasted, slip away
  • gone astray, take the wrong path


Situations Sheep-people can be "lost" in or about 

  • Follow, Following Jesus' command to love one another
  • Forgive, Forgiving those who wrong me
  • Attitude about going to church
  • Time spent praying to God
  • Obeying the Ten Commandments
  • Believing in God with my whole heart
  • Don't care
  • My sins
  • Being selfish
  • My search for faith
  • Worship
  • Helping Others
  • Sunday School
  • Compassion
  • Humble, Humility
  • Jesus


Examples:  

  • I'm lost when I LACK COMPASSION for others.
  • I'm lost when my heart is ABSENT in WORSHIP.
  • I'm lost when I'm INVISIBLE in SUNDAY SCHOOL.
  • I'm lost when STRAY from FOLLOWING (Jesus, Ten C's)
  • I'm lost when I CAST AWAY BELIEVING in GOD
  • I'm lost when I REFUSE TO SEE MY SINS


I once was lost, but now I'm found, Was blind, but now I see.

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