olympic sunday school lesson

On Friday, July 27th, the 2012 Summer Olympics began. The Olympics has special significance to Christians, as many aspects of the training, preparation, and hope for future glory are parts of our walk with Christ. The following Sunday school lesson and Bible activity uses a race with bouncy balls to help students get stoked for the Olympics and to help them get excited about receiving rewards from Christ someday.

olympic sunday school lessonBible Activity Materials

– 4 large bouncy balls
– 2 sheets of paper
– Markers
– Tape

Bible Activity Preparation

1. Write each of the scriptures below on two separate pieces of paper:
– Hebrews 12:1– Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
– 1 Corinthians 9:24– Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.
2. Since you’re going to have a race, clear a path in the room for two teams to run from one end to the other.
3. Have everyone sit down first for the lesson to start.

Bible Activity Lesson

The summer Olympic Games have begun. One reason it’s fun for Christians to watch the Olympics is that the races remind us of our lives and our hopes for our future in Christ. Here’s one very famous passage of scripture (read Hebrews 12:1 aloud to the children and tape the scripture on the wall at the end of the room, where you have cleared the path to and from).

Here is another (read 1 Corinthians 9:24 to your students and tape that scripture above the first scripture).

A wise man once said that walking the Christian walk is simple – but it’s not easy. It can get a little like running an Olympic marathon. As Christians, we need to always remember to follow Jesus. The longer we listen for his voice, the more loud and distinct it will become to us. When Jesus asks us to make a right choice or to make a sacrifice for somebody else, we want to hear him as clearly as when he’s telling us something fun and enjoyable.

Obeying Jesus sounds pretty simple. After all, he loves us like our moms and dads do and is looking to make us happy, not sad. It’s a little like bouncing a ball. (Take one of your bouncy balls and bounce it a few times.)

But we also have places to go in life and people to be with who don’t believe in Jesus and don’t want to hear anything about that. There’s school. Someday there will be your office. Even in your homes, you may have to keep silent about a big part of yourself – Jesus – in order to get along with others, earn good grades, and earn a living. That’s called “the things of this world.” We have to live in this world and try to get along with everyone. Bounce the first ball. We’re listening for Jesus’s will.

(Bounce the second ball while bouncing the first ball.) We’re trying to juggle the things of this world. (Keep bouncing both balls, even if it’s awkward or you have to have someone throw you back the ball. Stop bouncing the ball.) In Matthew 25:21, Jesus used these words to describe how God will talk to a person who lives a good Christian life: “˜Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

Let’s see if we can finish a really fun but difficult race. It’s sort of like the Olympics – and very much like our walk with Christ.

1. Have students form two lines, facing the two sets of scriptures on the opposite walls.
2. Give the first person on each team two balls.
3. Have the person dribble both balls simultaneously down toward the scriptures.
4. Once there, they must place one ball between their knees.
5. Read one of the two scripture verses loudly, whichever they choose, even if the opponent is also reading! Finish the entire verse in all the noise.
6. They should dribble one ball back to the starting line with the other between their knees, so they have to hop.
7. Once they return to the starting line, they give both balls to the next person in line, who repeats the whole thing.

How did that feel? What was the hardest part? What was your favorite part? How did it feel, trying to read a scripture with everything that was going on? (Take answers.)

That’s like when, in life, we’re supposed to focus and learn about Jesus. We often have a lot of “pressure” distracting us. But in slowing us down to reflect on him, he can actually prevent us from making mistakes. The good news is that a race is over in a flash. If you ran it well, you can win. The same is true with life. In comparison to how long eternity is, life is over in a flash. If we run the race of the faith well, we get to be champions of heaven forever and ever.

If you enjoyed this lesson and would like to see more topical monthly lessons to use in Sunday School, check out our KidMin Power Pack!

What do you think about this Sunday school lesson? Do you think it’ll get your students excited about the Olympics and (more importantly) for walking with Jesus?