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The Parable of the Lost Sheep and Parable of the Good Shepherd: Lesson Plan and Edible Crafts
The parable of the lost sheep and parable of the Good Shepherd teach an important Bible truth: Jesus loves and cares for each one of us. In this easy to teach lesson, children learn this familiar parable by listening to a story and participating in a variety of multi-sensory activities.
This is an easy lesson to teach, but the message is powerful and important for children to learn. Jesus loves us, cares for us, and will search for us until He finds us.
This lesson is for elementary students who read independently; modify it for older preschoolers by reading the scripture instead of expecting the kids to read. Use a toy lamb as a prop to bring the story to life if reading the story aloud. If the class reads the story, hide the lamb before class, and let them look for it after they finish reading the verses
Many times, adults forget that words that are familiar to them – like parable – are unfamiliar to children, and they do not understand the terminology. Use this simple example to help them understand what a parable is:
Jesus told stories while He was teaching because the stories helped people understand what He was saying. Jesus told a simple story about a shepherd and a lost sheep to explain that God is like a shepherd taking care of his sheep. The shepherd makes sure the sheep have lots of good food and water and protects them from wild animals. Just like a shepherd, God cares for and protects each of us.
The text for this lesson of the parable of the lost sheep and parable of the Good shepherd is found in Luke 15:3-7 and John 10:27. Have the children to get their Bibles and find the scriptures. Be available to help if needed.
It is important to have them read the scriptures to make the connection between the story and the Bible, and to realize that Bible stories are true rather than being made-up stories like fairy tales. Let them take turns reading the verses. Since this is a short story, you may need to let them read it twice to give everyone a turn.
Try these discussion questions to get the kids thinking about the story’s meaning:
- What would you do if your favorite toy were lost?
- How would you feel when you found it?
- The shepherd in the story had 100 sheep. How did he know that one was missing?
- What did it matter that the one little sheep was lost?
- How do you think I feel when one of you is missing from class?
If time allows, let the kids spend a few minutes in pretend play-acting out the story. One child can be the shepherd, while another is the lost sheep, and the rest of the students are the flock. Encourage them to take turns. Alternatively, let them hide the toy lamb and pretend to be Jesus looking for his lost sheep.
Bible Craft Connection
This edible craft reinforces the concept that Jesus loves us and cares for us. You will need:
- One piece of bread for each child
- Kraft Easy Cheese (aerosol can)
- Several heart cookie cutters
- Pretzel sticks
- Wilton FoodWriter Edible Color Markers
- Paper plates
Give each child a napkin and piece of bread. Let them take turns pressing the cookie cutter lightly on the bread to make a heart outline. Invite them to use the other ingredients to draw a cross in the middle of the heart or decorate the heart. Kids are more interested in the final product than the process required to create it, so be prepared for some awesome creations as they express their creativity.
Ask them something like this, “What does the heart remind us of? “ (Jesus cares for us.) “What does the cross represented?” (Jesus loves us and died for us.) Invite them to eat their snack.
Bible Memory Verse
Make learning scripture fun and easy using the piggyback method; sing unfamiliar words, like Bible verses, to the tune of familiar songs. Because the kids already know the music, they need only learn the words. Try the verse found in John 10:27 (My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me) to the tune of “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” The words need some repetition to fit the tune, but it does not change the meaning of the verse.
- My sheep hear my voice, my voice. Hear my voice, hear my voice.
- My sheep hear my voice, I know them, and they follow me.
Sing several times until they feel comfortable with the words and tune, and then invite them to march around the room while singing. This adds a gross motor activity and enriches the learning experience.
Try this quick, inexpensive lesson extension for a take-home project. Parents love take-homes because it helps them know what their children are learning.
You will need:
- Blank index cards
- Markers or colored pencils
- Sheep stickers
Give each child a blank index card. Have them write down two ways they can know that Jesus loves and cares for them (teachers will need to help younger students.) Offer them some sheep stickers and let them decorate the cards. Send the cards home and encourage parents to display the cards on the refrigerator at home, as a visual reminder to the kids that Jesus loves them just as a shepherd loves his sheep.
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References and Source Materials
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, KING JAMES VERSION. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by the International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.
Author’s own experience as a Christian educator and lay children’s minister.