Depending on your style, time available, and age of the children, select from the following items.
Underneath the overview are the materials, instructions, presentation and ordering suggestions.

Overview

Gospel: Luke 15:1-7

Story: Rosalie Macgeorge, the first missionary sent out from NZ Baptist Missionary Society (1886).

Discussions & reflections:

  1. Making friends
  2. Best story

Games:

  1. Pass the message
  2. Find the sheep

Art and Craft:

  1. Group hand prints
  2. The lost sheep

Puzzles:

  1. Maze
  2. Word find

Gospel

Luke 15 Many tax collectors and sinners came to listen to Jesus. Then the Pharisees and the teachers of the law began to complain, “Look, this man[a] welcomes sinners and even eats with them!”Then Jesus told them this story: “Suppose one of you has 100 sheep, but one of them gets lost. What will you do? You will leave the other 99 sheep there in the field and go out and look for the lost sheep. You will continue to search for it until you find it. And when you find it, you will be very happy. You will carry it home, go to your friends and neighbours and say to them, ‘Be happy with me because I found my lost sheep!’ In the same way, I tell you, heaven is a happy place when one sinner decides to change. There is more joy for that one sinner than for 99 good people who don’t need to change.

Notes for telling this story:

  1. Pharisees and teachers of the law were like church pastors and church teachers nowadays – they were people that others thought were good and important.
  2. Tax collectors enforced the rules of the government but were often disliked because they were like ‘teacher’s pets’ who behind the teacher’s back were mean to the other kids. They could take extra money off people who couldn’t afford it.
  3. Some people have jobs where they look after sheep. Sheep are farmed so that their wool can be cut off each year and the wool is woven to make clothing. Each sheep is valuable, and they are not safe by themselves, because they are stupid and wild animals like to eat them.
  4. Act out the story with a volunteer sheep.

The narrator begins by reading vv1-3.  Then say, “now I’m going to be a sheep farmer and act out Jesus’ story”, and put on some identifying bandanna or hold a staff.  Then get one child to be a lamb, and they can baa whenever they want.  Then invite other children to [quietly] make other animal and country side noises.

Shepherd:

“Well that was a hard day out looking after all you sheep!  Right, let’s count you safely into your shed. [Pause while counting]. Oh no, there may be one missing!  Let’s count again.  No, there is definitely one missing.  I’m going to have to go find it.

[Louder] “Hey mate, I’ve lost one of my sheep, I’ve got to find it.

[Start walking around] “Is it under this bush? No.

“Is it … [Make responses appropriate to what noises the other children are making…]

“Maybe I can hear the sheep? [Listen out for the baa]

“I can hear it! I’ll go get it and bring it safely back. [Walk around to collect the sheep and usher it back to the start position]

[Calling out loudly] “Everyone, I’m back, with my sheep! Hooray, she’s back safe.”

Narrator: verse 7.

Suggest follow up this story with Game 2, Find the sheep.

Then bridge to the story of Rosalie, by saying that we are now going to tell the story about the first New Zealander who left home and New Zealand to teach other people about how much they are loved by God, because they didn’t know.  She was like the Shepherd leaving behind her own safety to find the lost sheep, to bring it to safety.

Story, Rosalie Macgeorge

Download and save the pictures separately (right-click the image, and choose save-as) so that they can be shown to the children during the story.

Quite a long time ago, when people who had signed the treaty of Waitangi were still alive, some NZ Christians became concerned because they heard that some people in the world did not know that God loved them.  Some people were living hard or sad lives, not knowing that they could talk to God and ask for strength to get through the day.  Those people didn’t know how to live in ways that brought happiness to the people around them.

Rosalie was one of those people who were concerned.  She lived in Dunedin and had 7 sisters and a brother.

She heard that there was a country, India, where even though some people had the chance to hear about God (because of street preachers), there were lots of women who were not allowed on the street.  Instead, they were confined together into a part of their family home, a part called the Zenana.

Mehrangarh-fort-Jodhpur-Rajasthan-Barrier to women’s section

While sometimes the Zenana was lovely, such as in a palace, normally they were very small and not nice. Only other women could visit the women who were confined to the Zenana.

Rosalie decided to travel to India with other women, learn an Indian language, and try to visit the women confined in the Zenana, and tell them about God’s love for them.  So when she was 27 years old, she travelled to India and spent two years learning the Bengali language, and getting to know people and the local customs.  As soon as she could tell stories about God in their language, she was able to start visiting the women. The men let her speak to the women because she offered to teach English to their sons.

Rosalie did not find the experience easy. She often felt lonely because everyone was different to her. At times she worked too hard and got sick. She was upset by how poor and sick many people were, how dirty their homes were, how badly the women were treated.  Very often, girls around 8-years-old were forced to get married and were confined in the Zenana, doing household work for the family.

But she made friends with lots of people, and they learned about her.  They asked her lots of questions like “Why don’t you get married?’ ‘What soap do you use?’ ‘Will you have a smoke?’ ‘What did you eat for breakfast?’ ‘How much money does the government pay you?’ ‘How do you twist your hair up?’ ‘Let us see the colour of your feet.’ People found out how kind and gentle she was, and they noticed how she cared about them and listened to them.

Rosalie was a good friend who loved people, and because of this, she showed them that God loved them and thought they were important, even the smallest child.

Suggest follow this story with reflection questions 1 and 2.

Discussions & reflections

Divide into groups of about four children.

  • Making friends:

Brainstorm the questions you could ask someone to get to know them, so that you could start making friends with them.

Everyone in the group tell the answer to one of the questions to the others in the group.

  • Best story:

If you only had the time to hear one story from the Bible, and you didn’t know of any other stories from the Bible, which story do you think you’d like to know?

If your friend only had time to hear one story from you, what story would you tell them? It can be from the Bible, but it could instead be something from your life, or something else you’ve heard or know.

Suggest following this by game 1, pass the message.

Games

  • Pass the message

Requires:

  • At least 6 children
  • A spongy ball or small bean bag or small cushion.  Nice to have all three in a range of sizes.

Setup: Divide into two groups. Have one group hold hands in a ring facing outward (inside the ring is the Zenana).  Have half the other group enter the ring, and the other half (the missionaries) on the outside.

Goal: The ‘missionaries’ on the outside try to pass or toss the objects to the rest of the team inside the ring.  The children of the ring try to prevent the objects getting inside the ‘Zenana’ by heading / batting / kicking the objects away.

Swap groups around so children have turns in various roles. Consider – which are the easiest items to pass in? What is the best way of getting them in?

  • Find the sheep

This game requires only two children in the roles of shepherd and sheep, but would be better having lots of other children in it such as dogs, cats, birds, and the safe flock at home.

Setup:  Assign a child to a shepherd role, and blindfold them.  Assign a child to a sheep role.  Assign other children distractor roles such as dog, cat, bird.  Assign a group of children to be a flock of sheep safe at home.

Goal: The shepherd must locate the sheep from its baaing, while being distracted by the other animal noises.  The lost sheep and the other animals can walk around, but the flock must stay in one place, though they can baa loudly.

Swap groups around so children have turns in various roles.

Suggest Arts and Crafts follow game 1, pass the message.  Suggest game 2 be played after the Gospel.

Art and Craft

  • Group hand prints

In groups of 4-6 children, on a large poster, each child makes a handprint with paint, or outlines their hand with a felt. Within their handprint, they write their birthdate.  Then they write one thing that they think makes them unique, or that they want other people to know about them.

  • The lost sheep

Construct a woolly sheep to take home.

Materials: For each child: two pipe cleaners, a couple of handfuls of polyester stuffing
optional: a tiny pompom and a pair of beads or googly eye stickers.

One each of the pipe cleaners must be cut in half.  So either do this in advance or supply strong scissors.

Process:

  1. Twist a loop at the end of one pipe cleaner, about 2cm in diameter.  This will form the head section, the rest is the ‘spine’.
  2. Cut the second pipe cleaner in half.
  3. For each half, bend into a V.  At the V, twist the pipe cleaner around the ‘spine’. These form the four legs.
  4. Separate out the stuffing into a 1x2cm piece and shape the rest into a long skinny rectangle.
  5. Starting at the head end, wrap the rectangle firmly around the head loop twice,
  6. Place separate piece sticking up as ears, wrapping the rectangle over the middle of the ears
  7. Continue wrapping the stuffing the rest of the way down and around the spine loosely, leaving the legs uncovered.
  8. Stick the eyes onto the head, and stick the pompom as a nose underneath.

Completed sheep:

Image of sheep craft

Puzzles

Maze:

Wordfind:

Wordfind
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