Body of Christ
Summary of Lesson Activities:
After experiencing the passage as a "Godly Play" style story, children will explore how people in a church work together, as they work in groups to create a poster of a human body.
Objectives for this workshop:
- Experience the passage as "Godly Play" storytelling.
- Work together to make a poster of a body
- Discuss what it is like to work together
- Prepare the Godly play story (first time only)
- Gather supplies and be familiar with the activity
- Markers (1 set for every 2 children)
- Large poster board (1 for every 4 children)
- Construction paper
- Children’s Bible book marked at 1 Corinthians 12
Greet the children and introduce yourself. (Remember, you are interacting with a different group of students each week who may not know you.) Explain the purpose of this workshop: After we see and hear the story, we will work together on posters.
Introduce the Memory verse: 1 Corinthians 12:27: All of you together are the body of Christ. Each one of you is a part of that body.
Do the Scripture Story
(This is a "Godly Play" -style story, developed by the author of this lesson plan. See Stewart, Sonja M and Berryman, Jerome W., Young Children and Worship. Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville. 1989.)
I used a red felt underlay. I constructed a felt body (clothed) with removable parts as described in the story. For the bodies made only of one part, I used clip art body parts arranged in the shape of a body. For the cross at the end I used photos of the children and worked them into the shape of a cross using Adobe Photoshop.
(Show children where the passage is in the Bible)
The story we are going to hear today comes from the Bible, from 1 Corinthians 12
(Unfold the underlay in front of you. Place the large human figure on top of the overlay as you feel the story forming inside you. Begin placing body parts on the figure as you speak)
A person’s body is only one thing, but it has many parts….
Feet and legs and knees…
Hands and arms and elbows…
Eyes, ears, nose mouth…
There are many parts to a body, but all those parts make only one body.
(Sit back and think about it)
Christ’s Church is like that too. We are all different, but we are all baptized into one body through one Spirit, the Holy Spirit.
The parts of a person’s body are all different, but they all work together in ONE body.
The foot might say, “I am not a hand. So I am not part of the body.”
(Remove the foot.)
But saying this would not stop the foot from being a part of the body.
(Bring the foot back)
The ear might say, “I am not an eye. So I am not part of the body.”
(Remove the ear)
But saying this would not make the ear stop being a part of the body.
(Bring the ear back. Bring out the picture of the eye and place beside the head.)
If the whole body were an eye, the body would not be able to hear.
(Bring out the picture of the ear and place it on the other side of the head)
If the whole body were an ear, the body would not be able to smell anything.
(Bring out the pictures of the bodies made up only of noses and hold them up for the children to see.)
If each part of the body were the same part, there would be no body.
(Remove the last 4 pictures.)
Enjoy the body as God designed it. But truly God put the parts in the body, as he wanted them.
Touch different body parts as you speak He made a place for each one of them. And so there are many parts, but only one body.
(Take out the picture of the children in the shape of a cross.)
All of you together are the body of Christ, the church.
(Place the cross in the center of the body.)
Each one of you is a part of Christ’s Body
- Remember that you do not have to use all the “I wonder” statements—gage your use of these discussion starters according to your students’ needs.
- Remember that silence is an appropriate response to an “I wonder” statement and to allow silent time for children to wonder with you before answering.
- Feel free to wonder out loud with the children, but resist the impulse to give the “right” answers. We are all in conversation with scripture. Sometimes the answer is the conversation
I wonder what it feels like to be a part of the body of Christ…
I wonder how I am a part of the body of Christ…
I wonder how it feels to be a foot or an eye or a knee-cap…
I wonder what part of the body you are…
I wonder how our church is like a body…
I wonder if any parts are missing…
- Divide the children into groups of no more than 4
- Explain that they will be drawing a body & that they will have to work together to decide who will draw which parts of the body.
- Give each group poster board and plenty of good markers
- Tell the children they have up to 2 minutes to plan their work. Give them 30 and 15 second warnings.
- At the end of two minutes (less if they get it worked out before then) tell them to start drawing. They will have 10 minutes (Give 2 and 1 minute warnings).
- At the end of 10 minutes, have them put away their markers, and gather for discussion.
Possible discussion questions
(Keep your responses open-ended and non-judging. Some of us work better in groups than others.):
- Did you finish your poster? What is missing? Why?
- What else would you add? Why?
- What was it like to work together to draw one picture? Did you have any arguments?
- Which body parts did you draw? Why?
- Do you like working together, or would you rather draw a picture by yourself? Why?
- I wonder how people work together in the church?
- I wonder how Jesus helps us work together in the church?
Yes, some little innocent or imp may draw “private parts,” and the rest of the children may giggle. How do we handle it? Here are some suggestions:
Don’t be surprised, angered, or entertained. Instead, Read to the children 1 Corinthians 12:22-26 (left out to achieve simplicity, not to avoid dealing with private parts) Paul says we take extra care with our “personal parts,” covering them to honor them. Ask how we can take extra care with the private parts. The obvious answer is to put clothes on the part of the body that is exposed (but the children may come up with something more creative). Help cut out a piece of clothing from construction paper to glue on the poster. There is no need to try to explain what the “personal parts” are in the context of the church. This is one of those layers of meaning that will come later (I am still puzzling over it).
Pass out journals pages. Before giving the children their markers or crayons talk about the journal activity. Think of some things you like to do as group. Who do you like to work with? Why?
Help children who are struggling, if they want help.
Closing Prayer–led by the SHEPHERD:
“Dear Jesus, thank you for helping us work together in the church. ...Amen
A lesson by Tanja Rouintree, Faith Village Coordinator, First Presbyterian Church,
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