My family loves going to the beach. Have you ever noticed how much work it is to get there? We must remember to pack snacks, chairs, towels, clothes, a tent for shade, a boogieboard, and about a million other little things. We need to pack everything for the trip. Once we get there, we need help carrying our supplies across the sand to our destination.
It’s usually at that point that I tell my family, “Okay, all hands on deck!” Then everyone grabs something they can carry. (My 9-year-old son usually offers to carry the bag of chips and sand toys.) With everyone carrying what their age and strength allow, we can work together. We can get everything to the beach without making several trips to the car.
God Makes Room
Like our beach trip, everyone in the family of God has a role to play. Families can sometimes be complicated, but our role in God’s family is pretty simple. God has given each person unique strengths and gifts that are to be used to help strengthen and grow our family.
It’s possible that your biological family was healthy, but a lot of people have experienced heartache, disappointment, and loneliness. God has made room in His family for each of us no matter our background.
He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn—not with physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.John 1:10-13 (NLT)
Part of God’s Family
One Sunday, I was teaching the Bible story. I shared with the kids that we get to be a part of God’s family. A little boy raised his hand and said, “I already have a family. I don’t need another one.” He had a good point. Why would he want to be a part of God’s family since he already has a family?
I shared with the boy that even though he has a family that loves him, God has invited us to be a part of His family too. It’s hard to imagine the amount of love and good things that God has in store for us as His children. If you choose to be part of God’s family, it doesn’t mean that you must give up your physical family but does mean that you gain God’s family.
Ways to Engage Kids
To help kids get an idea of God’s family and their role in it, try some of these fun activities to get your kids talking:
- Find a small puzzle with 24 pieces. Give everyone at least one puzzle piece. At your signal, invite the group to solve the puzzle. When the puzzle is complete, talk about how the puzzle wouldn’t be complete unless everyone contributed their unique piece.
- Print out a large coloring page. Give each person one color marker that is different than everyone else’s. Work together to complete the picture using the colors each person has been given. God has given everyone unique talents that create a beautiful picture of God’s family when they’re used together.
- Set up a tag-team relay with several different challenges that need to be completed. Write the activity challenges on sticky notes and pass them out to each of the kids. For example: do five jumping jacks, spin around 10 times, dribble a basketball to the next person, balance a paper plate on your head, walk backward, etc. The first kid reads their note, completes the challenge, and then runs and high-fives the next person on their team. They continue until everyone has completed their listed challenge and has made it across the play area. Talk about how if one person were to try to do all the challenges, it would be too difficult. Even though God might ask us to do different things, when we work together, we are able to accomplish great things.
- Invite kids to draw a self-portrait on a sheet of paper. Glue the portraits onto separate sheets of colored construction paper. Tape the papers onto a large wall or door in the classroom so that it looks like a patchwork quilt. Even though we may look like our biological parents, God’s family looks all different, and yet we are all His children. Each of us is loved and accepted by God our Heavenly Father.
Working Together in God’s Family
Kids might be curious about how they can contribute to God’s family while they are still young. I would encourage you to let them know that they don’t have to wait until they are older to serve.
Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.1 Timothy 4:13 (NLT)
Try some of these conversation starters to get them thinking about how they can contribute to God’s family:
- What do you feel like you are good at? How do you think you could use that talent to help someone else?
- When has someone done something nice to you that you didn’t expect? What if you did something nice for someone else like what that person has done for you?
- Who is a friend that you want to pray for?
Just like when my family went to the beach, each family member was able to help by carrying something that was just right for them. When we work together and spend time together, it not only makes God’s family stronger, but we are able to have more fun too. Every person—no matter if they are older or younger—is a child of God. Together we make one beautiful family.