(1.) Children will describe themselves as part of the household of God.
(2.) Children will understand baptism as entry into life in God’s household. Older children will reflect on the implications of membership in God’s household.
Gather and Open in Prayer:
Hear the Word: Matthew 3:16-17
Younger kids may want to read this story from the Children of God Storybook Bible.
We also have a Godly Play tile illustrating this story, which I will set out in the Christian Education commons for a class to use.
Respond to the Word: Choose an activity or two that suits your class.
(1.) Group Juggle: Open with an introduction game. One option is “Group Juggle”: Group stands in a circle. The object is to “juggle” beanbags as a group. One person starts with a beanbag and lobs it to another person in the circle and says their name. The object may not be thrown to your immediate neighbor. The second person chooses a third person to lob to and so on. This continues until everyone has touched the object and it returns to the original person. Make sure that everyone remembers the pattern. As the juggling continues, add a second (third, fourth, fifth…) beanbag to the juggling rotation. [To continue the water imagery, this game could be played outside with water balloons. Let me know if you would like those to be provided.]
(2.) Draw: Draw a picture, draw symbols, or write whatever you know about your own baptism. Then, invite children to share their baptism story (in 3 minutes or less) with the group. If you haven’t been baptized, tell about the baptism of someone you have witnessed. What made it memorable? What was strange about it? Keep baptism pictures to post in your classroom.
(3.) Water, water (this activity, intended for older kids, could be adapted for little ones): Water as a symbol: Split up into two groups. Give each group 2 minutes to think of as many uses/experiences with water as possible (waterpark, bath, washing hands, etc.). Compare lists and give each team a point for each item, subtracting a point for those items on the other team’s list.) Then, in 2 minutes, make a list of as many Bible Stories as you can with water included. List on wipeboard. What does water mean to you as a person? What particular symbolism does water carry for the household of God?
(4.) Discussion (older children): When we are baptized, the congregation says to us, “We receive you into the household of God…” What does it mean to belong in God’s household? What does it mean that we, in this class, belong together to God’s household? What do we share? What don’t we share? What are challenges and gifts of living in your family household? How does that compare to life in the household of God? How could we live more fully into our membership in God’s household this year in Sunday School? Write down answers and return them to me, please!
(5.) Scavenger Hunt: See Scavenger Hunt template here. I am happy to pull these items together for your class to use.
(6.) Baptizing: Younger children may enjoy baptizing dolls in a plastic basin. Let me know if you’d like materials for this activity in your classroom.
Enjoy a feast: On the first day of Sunday School, enjoy the special snacks provided in your classrooms.
Conclude in prayer: Think about how your class may want to end in prayer each week. Some classes end with The Lord’s Prayer, or offer up “joys” and “concerns” and pray for one another. Make this regular devotional act a part of your class’s weekly rhythm.
Consider closing with some version of this “baptismal remembrance.”
[On this first day of Sunday School, we will end at 10:50 and dismiss from classrooms. Next week (and the weeks following), we’ll have music in the CE Commons from 10:40 – 10:50.]