John the Baptist introduced us all to the concept of baptism. Kids should understand that baptism is a symbol of becoming “clean” spiritually. When parents have their children baptized, it is a way of them saying that they want their children to grow up in Christ. Today’s childrens church activity will help you teach and ensure that they fully understand the concept of baptism.
“John the Baptist Baptized- Why?” Childrens Church Activity
SCRIPTURE REFERENCE: MATTHEW 3
THEME: JOHN THE BAPTIST
Bag of potting soil
Four bowls–three fairly small, one fairly large
Lots of cold or warm water
Bar of Soap
Note: This is a messy “muddy” lesson, and you’d rather, you can substitute a couple cups of dry oatmeal for the potting soil, which is less messy but will still get the point across.
Sheets of paper cut in half (one of the halves for each child).
Write across the top of each half sheet: “It bothered me last week when…”
Place some potting soil in each of the three bowls. Mix in a little water to make mud. The fourth bowl should be the larger one. Fill it ¾ with warm or cold water. Place the soap and hand towels beside it.
1 In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea 2 and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” 3 This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah:
“A voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.’”
4 John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. 5 People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. 6 Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.
(TEACHER’S WORDS IN BOLD)
Read scripture passage.
Last week, we learned that the New Testament tells us about Jesus and His wonderful messages.
This week, we’ll see the first of those messages, which has to do with baptism.
Before Jesus spoke to the crowds, John the Baptist was already hard at work. He was telling people that in preparation for Jesus, they needed to prepare their hearts. They needed to want to be good! They needed to want to stop doing nasty things like…
Pick up one of the bowls full of mud and put it on the table in front of the children.
Not sharing! When a neighbor asked for something, Jesus would want people to share gladly, knowing that he can reward them for being generous…
Pick up a second bowl full of mud and put it on the table.
And like saying mean things! There’s a great saying in Proverbs: “A kind answer turns away meanness.” Jesus wanted us to be kind, even if someone was mean first. So certainly, he didn’t want us to tease or gossip or make others feel bad.
Pick up the third bowl full of mud and put it on the table.
And like cheating! When we play a game, we should play fairly. If we don’t, we’re keeping somebody else from experiencing the joy of winning. We’re also not really winning if we cheat. Many of us have heard our moms and dads say, “It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game!”
No one is perfect, and every time we mess up, Jesus is willing to forgive us if we are sorry. The important thing is that we want to be like Him…then He will help us to be “spiritually clean.”
Because nobody is perfect, we need Jesus to help us. Agreeing to be baptized or to have our children baptized is our sign that we want that help. It’s like this…
Bring three children up to the table with the muddy bowls and stand one in front of each bowl.
Note: Try to pick kids with dark clothing or whose parents won’t mind if they splatter a bit during class.
Take the first child’s hands and put them in the mud. Let him roll his hands around in it.
This is kind of what our hearts look like when we’re selfish and don’t want to share. They look like [child’s name]’s hands right now! Ew! Look at all that mud!
Take the second child’s hands and put them in the mud.
And people who say mean things! And call names! Their hearts get all nasty like these hands!
Take the last child’s hands and put them in the mud.
And when we cheat at a game? We’ve made the person who should have won sad and disappointed. We’re fake winners, not real winners, and our hearts look like this.
John the Baptist wanted Jesus’ followers to get their hearts clean. Then they could hear Jesus better and understand Him better and follow him better.
Bring the children to the larger, empty bowl. Using the bottled water, spray their hands and let them use the soap until all the mud comes off.
Baptism is a way of saying we want to be like Jesus. We want to follow him. We want to stop getting dirty with our behavior and try to do things the right way.
As they clean up, continue explaining.
One of the greatest things about Christianity is this: It simply starts with wanting to. That is what baptism is. It’s a start in the Christian life. It’s a sign that you and your parents wanted to.
Wanting to be like Jesus brings Jesus to you. He helps you to do the right thing. And when you mess up, He wants only to forgive you when you ask.
Hold up the clean hands.
These hands are now ready for good works! They would make John the Baptist very happy!
Asking Jesus To Wash Away Harsh Feelings
Baptism happens at or near the beginning of your walk with Jesus. You only need to be baptized once. However, during your lifelong relationship with Jesus, you will often want to ask him to “wash away” a bad feeling.
Three feelings that are hard to live with are hurt, fear, and shame. They make us feel bad about ourselves, and Jesus wants us to feel like children of the king—after all, we are His!
Let’s use all this water and ask Jesus to “wash away” any bad feelings we might have.
Pass out the sheets that say, “This week, it bothered me when…”
This is a very general start to fit a lot of kids’ recent pasts. But you can ask trigger questions that will help them think of something that has bothered them, such as:
Did somebody hurt your feelings? (Call a name, say something mean, ignore or be selfish, etc.)
Were you so afraid of something that you couldn’t enjoy yourself? (Fear of the dark, fear of being alone, fear of animals, etc.)
Did you do something that made you embarrassed afterward? (Shame, feelings of not measuring up, feelings like you’re not good enough)
If you provide trigger questions without pushing, kids should think of just the right thing. Have them write it down, and have older ones help the younger ones. They don’t need to show it to anyone and can fold it in half so no one can see if they don’t want to share. If they want to share, they can read their feeling.
Bring each child up to a bowl of fresh water. Have them put the paper in the water until it grows soggy and dissolves.
Pray with each child: “Lord, take this awful feeling of [hurt, fear, shame] and wash it away. Turn it to slop and replace it with Your love. Help me really feel that love and like I am Your child. Help me see that no bad feeling can ever be stronger than Your love for me. Amen.”
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