GOSPEL PROJECT: Unit 1, Session 2: God Created People (Pre-School – Gr.4)
This upcoming week in The Gospel Project® for Kids, your kids will learn that God create people in a unique way. Human beings were set apart as different from the rest of God’s creation. God did not breathe into the animals. He skillfully formed man out of dust as a potter forms a pot out of clay. (See Isa. 64:8.) God breathed into the man’s nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. (Gen. 2:7) Then God made woman from the man’s rib. She was a suitable helper for him. Both man and woman were created in God’s image. The first man, Adam, and the first woman, Eve, lived in the garden and enjoyed God’s friendship.
Help your children understand that being made in God’s image means we are made like Him, or patterned after Him. God does not have a physical body; He is Spirit, and He has given each of us a spirit. God gives people the ability to think and to feel emotions and to make choices. He gives us the ability to understand right and wrong. God created people in His own image (Gen. 1:26) and for His glory (Isa. 43:7).
Family starting points:
Babies and Toddlers
● God made people, and God loves people.
● God made people in His likeness.
● God is in charge of everything He made.
● Why did God create the world? God created the world for His glory.
● God created people in His own image.
● Why did God create the world? God created the world and everything in it for His glory.
● God created people in His own image; God created them male and female.
Check out the Gospel Project for Kids Family App for ways to interact with the Bible content each week!
FLYTE: Unit 1, Session 2: How Do I Get to Heaven? (Pre-Teens– Gr.5/6)
This week our Pre-Teens will continue their study of Heaven by discussing what it takes to get into Heaven. Remember that the Kingdom of Heaven and Eternity begins for Christians as soon as they accept Christ as their Lord. But what about the eternity that starts after our physical body dies? Parents consider the following article for your own reflection, and let it be an inspiration for talking to your pre-teens/teens:
by Scott Stevens
According to a recent study released by LifeWay Research, American teenagers are confused about heaven and seem unsure of the requirements that will ensure their admittance into heaven once they die. Additional information from the study indicates that teen involvement in religious activities, beyond attendance at a religious service, is in decline. Anyone out there concerned about the future of the church?!
How Far Is Heaven? An overwhelming majority of teens (69 percent) strongly agree that heaven exists. It’s encouraging to think that students believe there is something beyond the life experienced on this earth, perhaps a greater purpose for their existence. While this is encouraging, it also represents a drop of 6 percent in the percentage of teens who are sure of their belief in heaven compared to a similar study conducted in 2005. How have personal, national, and world events affected their view? It would also be interesting to know how this belief affects the choices they make living in the here and now.
When it comes to how one gets to go to heaven, a large majority of teens agree with the traditional Christian belief in Jesus Christ’s death for their sins as the reason they will get to heaven. However, a majority of teens who agree with this reason also believe they will go to heaven because they are kind and religious. In fact, approximately 25 percent of those surveyed strongly agree that they will go to heaven because of their kindness to others or because of their religiosity, while only 28 percent are trusting only in Jesus’ sacrifice for their sin to assure them of heaven.
Starting to smell a problem? This is where confusion and perhaps a bit of self-made salvation have crept in. The additional beliefs that being kind and religious are part of attaining entry into heaven point to a theology of Jesus + __________ . Why would teenagers feel the need to add anything to Jesus’ work on the cross? Maybe it’s because so many of them are fully engulfed in a performance-based existence where they are constantly striving to earn the favor and acceptance of those around them, especially those in positions of authority. How often do these teens experience unconditional love at home, school, or even in their church?
How about the teenagers at your church? Do they feel valued as long as they show up, keep quiet, and don’t break anything? When they have to earn the favor of others based on something they do, it’s not hard to understand how this theology of Jesus + my good works = heaven could seep into their belief system, not to mention the accompanying spiritual doubt they experience when their behavior fails to meet the established standard.
In addition, it may be that living in an uncertain world (with the threats of war, terrorism, school violence, divorce of parents, economic uncertainty, or broken friendships) has teens unsure of reaching heaven when they die. A little more than 25 percent of the teenagers surveyed don’t know if heaven is in their future. It may be hard for them to believe in the permanence of a relationship with God through Jesus Christ and a secure home in heaven when everything they experience on a daily basis seems so fragile. Instruction and encouragement on this important topic (in both the home and the church) is sorely needed.
Tuned In or Dropping Out? When it comes to the religious activities of teens, there is a good news/bad news story. The good news is that the majority of teenagers surveyed had attended a church or religious service in the past 30 days. The bad news is that involvement in other church activities is much less common than attending a service. But think about it, mere attendance at a service, (more than likely a corporate worship gathering) requires the lowest level of commitment of the attendees. Someone can show up, punch their religious requirement time card for the week, and check out.
Here’s a test. Do your best to put yourself in the shoes (or flip flops) of a teenager in your community, and answer the following questions:
• What do teenagers experience during the worship services at our church?
• What is their motive for attendance? (Parental expectation, to see friends, or some other reason?)
• When it comes to the religious activities at our church, do teens see themselves as spectators or participants? (Do we minister to teens or with teens?)
• What opportunities do teenagers have to lead or contribute to the services at our church? (Do we help them identify and use their gifts and talents in the church?)
• What are we teaching teenagers (and adults) about the true nature of worship and a lifestyle of worship?
Beyond attendance at religious services, fewer teenagers are attending Sunday School and small-group Bible studies compared to the 2005 study. Again, looking through the lens of your church, consider these questions:
• What biblical content is being taught to our teenagers? Is there a balanced/systematic plan in place?
• Do our teens believe that the Bible is applicable to their lives? Are they seeing biblical truth lived out in our church and in their homes?
• How are they being taught in our church? (lecture only, video, or active participation)
• What kind of relationship do our teens have with their Bible study teachers? Is the atmosphere in their class and our church that of a caring community?
• Do our teens have opportunities to go deep into Scripture, moving them to an ownership of their faith?
With declining involvement in religious activities, perhaps it’s not surprising that fewer teenagers are discussing their religious beliefs with friends or inviting people to church. This would certainly align with the falling number of baptisms in this age group among Southern Baptist churches. Also, the percentages of participation in these activities are lowest among 18 to 19 year olds, which points to the continuing challenge of ministering effectively to students as they move from high school to college.
A Warning Signal to the Church? These observations should send out a warning signal to the church: INFLUENCE IS BEING LOST WITH THE FUTURE OF THE CHURCH. At a time when there are growing numbers of teenagers in America and growing numbers of churches who are ministering specifically to teens, spiritual results with this age group are lacking. While resources for ministry to teenagers abound, it’s time for churches to focus on the spiritual development of students rather than providing more “stuff” for student ministry, and to fully engage teens in the life and ministry of the church. A significant part of such a change would be a focus (or re-focus) on the role of parents as the primary spiritual developers in the lives of their children—even as they mature through their teenage years.
How can we help equip you as spiritual developers?