Overview of our "Names of Jesus" Lessons

Games - giant crossword puzzle and making sculptures with bread clay.

Art - vine and grape leaf rubbings. Then they will work together on a 3D group mural of the vine, branches, and fruit.

Cooking - stained glass window cookies.

Note:

We created different sets of workshop lesson plans to teach "The Names of Jesus".  The first rotation was in December where we learned Isaiah 6: Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace, etc.   Then during the month of Easter we focused on the “I am’s” of Jesus (this lesson set below). We did a separate lesson set on "I am the Way, Truth and the Life." (not included here).




Jesus said, “I am the Bread of Life”

Games Workshop

Summary of Lesson Activities:
Kids will be learning the 7 “I am’s”, names of Jesus, found in John through a giant crossword puzzle and using Bibles for reference. They’ll also focus on Jesus as the “bread of life” by making sculptures with bread clay.

Bible Verse:

John 6: 28 Then they said to him, “What must we do to perform the works of God?”29 Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” 30 So they said to him, “What sign are you going to give us then, so that we may see it and believe you? What work are you performing? 31 Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” 32 Then Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” 34 They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.”

35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

Suggestion: Many lessons on "I am the Bread of Life" don't include verses 28-35 where the leaders are asking for a sign. Jesus talks about the sign of manna given during the Exodus, and  thus very clearly is sets himself above Moses. He isn't the distributor of manna, he IS the Manna!

 

Important Note About Time:

If you're short on time, you'll have a hard time squeezing in the "bread clay" activity.  Plan accordingly.


Leader Preparation:

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

Supplies List:

  • Sticky notes.
  • Pencils
  • Clue sheets
  • 1 slice of white bread
  • 1 teaspoon of white glue
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • Food coloring (optional)


Presentation

Opening-Welcome and Lesson Introduction:

Welcome kids warmly. Introduce yourself.

Tell the kids that you’re going to play a name game. Tell them how to play by saying your name and a word that describes you that begins with the same letter as your first name, such as “Silly Sally” or “Mighty Mike”, etc. Go around the circle and have the kids give their name and description, too.

Follow with another game called “Who am I?”
Play "20 Questions" with kids asking yes or no questions only. Whisper to the Shepherd a name they will be trying to guess. Tell the kids the category, like: "cartoon character," "historical person," etc. (Example, if your name was Fred Flintstone: Are you an animal? [no] Are you a person? [yes] Are you a male? [yes] Do you live in present times? [no] etc.) You will need to help and guide them. Keep track of the 20 questions for time’s sake. Play once. Tell them they can play again at the end if extra time.

After this game, say:

We all have a lot of different names or titles --- here are some of mine: (before each name, say “I am").   (NOTE: Place the corresponding name tag sticker on yourself as you say each title. You will prepare these in advance)

I am … (your first name)
I am … Mr. Or Mrs. ____
I am a …Mom/Dad
I am a …. Husband/Wife
I am a … Sister/Brother
I am a … Member of _____ church, club, organization
Other names/titles you can think of that apply to yourself

Say: It’s your turn – what are your titles? Make a sticker for each title you have. Remind them they can include nicknames, grade they’re in, etc.

Editor's Note:

You might also have several books of "Baby Names" from the library so the kids can look up the MEANING of their name.


Dig-Main Content and Reflection:

Say: Has anyone ever asked you what you believe about Jesus?
Often people will claim that Jesus was just a good man or maybe a great teacher … but he is so much more! Jesus is the son of God! It’s important to know exactly what Jesus taught about himself. So that people would understand who he was, Jesus called himself many different names. Each name tells them something important about who he is and what he does.

Say:  Today...We’re going to work a giant crossword puzzle that has the names that Jesus called himself in it. We’ll have to have Bibles turned to the book of John. If the story is about Jesus, would we find it in the Old Testament part of the Bible or the New Testament? (new)

Have kids get in teams of 3 (Shepherd can be with a group if need be). Have each group get a Bible. Make sure they all find John.

Give each group a pad of sticky notes and a pencil. Ask if any of them have ever done a crossword puzzle before. Explain how each square holds only one letter and point out that some are “down” and some “across”. Show where some letters share the same space where they cross.

Pass out a clue sheet to each group of kids.

Explain how to find the chapter and verses: Look up 2 Across together – John 18:37, look for the large 18 and the small 37. Read the verse, then read the clue of 2 across. Check the number of spaces of the answer to make sure it will fit, then write each letter separately on a sticky note and attach to the correct squares on the puzzle.

Assign each group 1 or 2 clues to find then begin. When the puzzle is completed, read through each clue and have the group that did it tell the answer they put up.

VARIATION FOR KINDERGARTEN/1ST GRADE GROUP:
Rather than passing out Bibles and clue sheets, work on the puzzle as a group. You will read the clue, then read the Bible verse, then ask for their answer. Have the kids help write the letters on the sticky notes and guide them where to put them.

After Finishing the Puzzle:

Have each group share their question and answer.

Ask: Which of these “I am’s” that Jesus called himself have you heard of before? Which are new to you?

Say: We’re going to look at one of these name of Jesus a little more closely.

Pass around the small round loaf of bread and have them each tear off a small piece to eat. Ask them if they can guess which name you’ll be learning more about.

While eating, ask: I wonder …. why would Jesus call himself the bread of life? Allow time for wondering without looking for answers.

Ask: I wonder …. what’s so important about bread?
You can bring out that bread is eaten all over the world in some form. Even when people have little or no money, bread is one of the things they’re usually able to get/have and it’s healthy to help them survive.

Ask: So why would Jesus call himself the bread of life?

DO: We’re going to make clay out of bread, and then I’d like you to choose one of the “I am” names of Jesus and shape your bread clay into one of them to make a Christmas ornament. You will take it home and if you leave it sit overnight it will harden. Then if you want to, you can paint it.

Note: The bread can also be painted before it hardens by using a very light dab of food coloring applied with a brush. Don't oversoak the bread.  Place in a plastic container for the ride home so that the food coloring doesn't get on anything.

Put down the plastic tablecloths on the floor. Have the kids sit around or on them like a table as they work. It’s messy – there will be pop up wipes there to wash hands when done.

Ingredients/Materials:
1 slice of white bread
1 teaspoon of white glue
1 teaspoon water
Food coloring (optional)

Directions:
1. Cut off the bread crusts.
2. Put on plastic gloves
3. Pour the glue, water and one drop of food coloring into the center of the bread.
4. Knead until it forms a ball, will take about five minutes.
5. Shape the clay and when finished, use a straw to poke a hole in it for hanging.
6. Place in a plastic sandwich bag to take home, but remind kids to take it out of the bag to dry and harden overnight when they get home.
7. Use a sharpie marker and write their names on their bag.

Allow the last 5-10 minutes of classtime for the shepherd to reflect and pray with the kids.

If extra time:
Take all the sticky note letters off the crossword puzzle, pass out all the letters to the kids and have them take turns trying to remember the names and where they go. Use the clues if necessary.
Additional extra time activity: Let them play the 20 Questions/Who Am I game again.

Closing:

End with a prayer.

Crossword Puzzle found at http://www.christiananswers.net/kids/crswd-2.html I did revise it somewhat.

 




Jesus said, “I am the vine”

Art Workshop

Summary of Lesson Activities:

Children will learn that Jesus called himself the true vine, God is the gardener, and we are the branches. The fruit we produce is the love we show others through our words and actions. While listening to the words Jesus used to explain this illustration, they will do vine and grape leaf rubbings. Then they will work together on a 3D group mural of the vine, branches, and fruit.

(Fun side note: This lesson was taught by a woman whose family owns a winery ... she was able to give extra insight to vines and branches!)

Bible Memory Verse:

John 15:1-9

The Vine and the Branches

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. ...

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 


 Leader Preparation:

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

Supplies List:

  • White paper.
  • Leaves
  • Peeled crayons
  • Brown craft paper
  • Construction paper
  • tissue paper
  • glue


Presentation

Opening-Welcome and Lesson Introduction:

Welcome children to your workshop. Introduce yourself and tell them one thing about yourself that will make them say “wow!”. Sticker their attendance cards – the Shepherd will help.

Show the vines, branches, leaves and grapes. Let the kids handle them as you explain what they look like growing in the vineyard. Let them taste the grapes. Explain that there were many vineyards in Jesus time and so he used the vines and branches to explain to his disciples what it meant to live a life connect to him.

Dig-Main Content and Reflection:

Read John 15:1-9

This long verse is a bit complicated but has strong "connectional" imagery.  You could continue after verse 10, but it starts to move into another concept.

As you read slowly, manipulate the vine you have brought in to illustrate some of the word and phrases, such as, "cut off" and "remain in me."   For older children especially, you might also have a set of pruning sheers to illustrate how people "cut themselves off" from God.

K/1st you will read the story to them from the Bible. Have the 2nd/3rd and 4th/5th grades form pairs and using the Bibles in the workshop, read it together. You can have boys read odd and girls read even lines together or one person in each pair be odds and one be evens and read through the verses or whatever other way you choose.

After the Reading.... distribute a white paper to each child.
Explain that they will be doing rubbings of the leaves and branches you have. Show them how to place a leaf and vine under their paper and using the SIDE of a peeled crayon, press lightly and rub. Encourage them to use a variety of colors, overlap designs and cover most of the paper. Have them add the words, “I am the vine, you are the branches – John 15:5”.

As they work... talk about gardening, vineyards, pruning, etc. Ask questions as you go along to check for their understanding. Make comparisons to the verses you read and what Jesus compared himself, God and us to. You may want to go verse-by-verse and use a vineyard comparison such as:

If God is the “gardener” what does that mean for us?
If we, as the branches, are to stay connected to the Jesus, the vine, how do we do that?
As branches, we are to bear fruit – what does this mean? (doing good things for other people)

  • As branches, we are to glorify God – what does this mean? (make God happy with what we do, not ashamed)
  • As branches, we are to abide in God’s love – what does this mean? (live life according to His word and commandments)
  • As branches, we are full of God’s joy – what does this mean? (we can be happy and safe with God’s love)
  • What do you think would happen if we weren’t a branch of Jesus?
  • What are some ideas in which we show God that we are His branches (coming to Sunday School, singing, praying, helping someone who needs help, obeying his commandments, remembering what we’ve learned in Sunday School, etc.)


Finish by Making a "Group Mural" of the Verse.

After a while, when it seems they’ve all finished or are close to finishing, explain that together you’re going to make a group mural depicting verse 1.

Using brown craft paper, colored construction paper and tissue paper, have them tear and form pieces to represent the vine, branches and fruit. They can make it 3D by crumpling and/or rolling the paper. They will glue it to a poster board (use the poster board that matches the color of their group).

Help them to write the verse “I am the vine and you are the branches. John 15:5” on the poster. Have each of the kids include their names on the poster on a branch.

Be sure that all of the kids participate and get a chance to work on a part of the project.

After it’s finished, display it downstairs in the courtyard.

Be sure they take home their individual rubbing and remind them to show their family the group mural.

Closing:

End with a prayer.




 

Jesus said, “I am the Light of the world.”

Cooking Workshop

Summary of Lesson Activities:

Focus for this workshop: To learn that Jesus called himself “the Light” and know what he meant.  Children will understand that just as light is essential to all living things, so too the Light that God sent to us in the form of His Son is absolutely essential to our living spirits. That light is God's love, God's grace, God's guidance (Word), and God's promise. As children of God, we receive this Light and pass it on to others.

They’ll make stained glass window cookies that help them remember this verse.

Scripture Reference:

John 1:5-9

Jesus the Light of the World 

12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.”


Leader Preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 375
  • Read the scripture ahead of time.
  • Gather the materials.

Supplies List:

  • Sugar Cookie dough (Note: we found that the “break apart” dough rather than the tubes worked better for this project.)
  • Lifesavers
  • Spoons
  • Small zip-lock sandwich bags
  • Foil
  • Cooking supplies
  • plastic tablecloth(s)
  • lanterns, lamps, candles, flashlights, Christmas lights, etc.


Presentation

Opening-Welcome and Lesson Introduction:
As children enter your workshop, greet them warmly. Ask them to sit on the rug. Introduce yourself and tell them one thing about yourself that will make them say “Wow!”.

Show the various lights that will be provided -- lanterns, lamps, candles, flashlights, Christmas lights, etc. In the center of these, display one prominent lit white candle. Let them touch and explore all the objects. Elicit from the kids comments about what they think that all the objects have in common. (light)

Ask: How do we get these lights to work?

Ask: What are things you can only do in the light, not in the dark?

Make a list of all the things people do with different types of light, and afterwards, have the kids RELATE each type of light to something about our faith.

Examples:

Reading lamp  ...God's light helps us see and understand the Bible
Flashlight ...Jesus helps us find what's important
Searchlight  ...Jesus helps us find the lost and be safe
Police car light  ...Jesus warns us against wrong doing.
Street light  ...Jesus illuminates the dangers
Xmas lights  ...Jesus helps us celebrate
Night Light (to not be afraid)

Dig-Main Content and Reflection:

Stained glass cookie project:

Explain that they will be making “stained glass cookies”. Ask if they know what stained glass windows look like. If you think there will be enough time, you can take them to any one of a number of places that have stained glass. Point out that it’s not the window that shines, it’s the light shining through it.

Remind them when they go into the sanctuary to look at the stained glass windows.

Have kids either wash in the kitchen or use a squirt of antibiotic hand wash to wash their hands. While they wash, put the plastic tablecloths on each table.

Have them stand around the 2 tables. Give each of the kids 2 squares of sugar cookie dough. (NOTE: We found that the “break apart” dough rather than the tubes worked better for this project.)

Give each of them 1 piece of aluminum foil – large enough to hold 2 cookies.

They will each make 2 cookies. Have them flatten each piece into a pancake shape. Make it pretty thin. Then using their finger, poke 4 holes into the cookie dough, right through to the foil. Make the holes rather large. Basically the shape you want is a circle/ring on the outside, with a cross on the inside.

After they get their dough completed, they’ll choose 4 colors of Lifesavers. They’ll put 1-2 of one color in a baggie, seal it, use the back of a spoon and crush it into tiny pieces. They may need to use the spoon like a hammer. Then have them use their 2 fingers and put a “pinch” of the crushed Lifesaver into one of the “hole” in the cookie, making a thin layer, not thick. Repeat for the other holes.

Leave the cookies on the foil pieces and place on cookie sheets.
Bake for 8-10 minutes. (Keep eye on them as they can burn easily.)

Reflect:

While cookies are baking (ask the shepherd to watch so they don’t get too browned), ASSIGN the following verses to students and have them read them to the class with discussion.

Read John 1:5-9.
Tell the children that God uses light to help us understand His plan for us.

Read John 8:12.
Tell them that Jesus came into the world to help us understand God’s plan for us.

Read John 1:10-13 and Matthew 5:14.
Tell the children that we become God’s children when we accept that Jesus was His son. Tell them that once we accept Christ we become God’s lights in the world.

Remind them about the stained glass windows – it’s not the window that shines, it’s the light that shines through it.

It’s not US that shines, it’s Jesus’ love shining through us.

Ask: In what ways can we let God’s love in our hearts shine? How can we be a light for someone else’s path?

Brainstorm ways to be God’s light in the world. Ask them ways that we can show God’s love, strength, truth and presence.

Cool cookies completely, then peel off foil. If the cookies are still too warm and you run out of time, have the kids take both cookies home with them. If they’re cool enough, they may eat ONE cookie each, and then they are each to take a second cookie home to share with someone and explain the idea of Jesus being the Light of the world.

Closing:

Allow the last 5 minutes or so at the end of class time for the shepherd to do wrap up, sharing and prayer. Depending on how long the cookie cooling takes, shepherd could do this before the kids eat the cookies.

Adaptations

Church Cookie CuttersFor cookies you could use cookie cutters. 

Use a larger cookie cutter for the cookie and a smaller cookie cutter to cut out the inside where you will place your filling (the crushed Life-Savers.) 

Example pictured are church cookie cutters, with smaller church cookies to cut out center.  You could use small crosses or doves inside the larger church cookie cutters.  Just search on-line for cookie cutter shapes.


A lesson written by Jan Hanson from First Presbyterian Church, Napa, CA<br/ >
Volunteer moderators and Wormy have added improvements to this lesson.

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