Archive for the ‘Ministry To Children’ Category

The following object lesson can be used in a children’s church setting, an elementary chapel, an Awana message, or a Sunday School.  It is designed for students from kindergarten through sixth grade.  The premise of the message is that we should live our lives as “Thank You Cards” written to God.

How many of you have ever written a thank you note before?  How many of you had your parents make you write that thank you note?  (Good for them!)

Do you remember what kind of things you were thankful for?  Was it crazy socks you got from your birthday party or a ten dollar bill you got from your Great Aunt Wilma for Christmas or a book from your teacher?  Did you ever write a thank you note for something special that you did with someone, like go out for pizza or ice skating or to an amusement park?

Does anyone know what you say in a thank you note, besides thank you?  Invite responses. Usually, most thank you notes sound like this:

Dear Heather,

Thank you for taking me camping with your family.  I had so much fun!  It’s hard for me to decide what my favorite part of the weekend was.  It could have been eating s’mores or swimming in the lake or giggling over your dad’s snoring.  Wasn’t it funny when that raccoon scared us or when the tent fell on our heads?  I laughed so hard.  Thanks for taking me.  I can’t wait till we go again!

Your friend, Me

So besides just saying thank you, you tell the person why you loved something and what it meant to you.  If you got a gift, you may say how you’re going to use it.

Okay, next question.  How many of you have ever gotten a thank you note?  How did that thank you note make you feel?  I don’t know about you, but I love thank you notes!  It’s kind of cool to know that someone notices a gift that you got them.

Or maybe, someone says thank you for just being you.  It might be something as simple as a note on a napkin that says, “Thank you for making me smile!”  If I got that note on a napkin – even if there was ketchup or hot fudge on it or something out of your nose (don’t get any ideas now!), I think I would keep that napkin forever.  That thank you napkin would make me happy every time I saw it.

Now let’s turn this talk over to God.  What can we be thankful to God for today?  Let’s think about all that God has done for us.  In Psalm 126:3, it says, “The Lord has done great things for us and we are filled with joy.”  Let’s shout out some of those great things He has done.  I’ll begin.  I thank God for __________, ___________, and _____________.  Invite student responses for as long as you can.  Let this time be an anthem of thanks.  Continue to supply your own thanks also.

As we just heard, God has done great things for us and we can be filled with joy!  God has been so good to us.  Most of all, He has given us our Savior Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for our sins.  He has given us incredible life in Him and because of Him.  But He has also given us so much more.  He’s given us ice cream, tree frogs, patience, and thumbs. Have you ever tried to do anything without your thumbs?  Try it today.  It’s nearly impossible!  He’s given us our legs to run, a painted sky, and the ability to forgive others.  Substitute your own random thanks. Don’t you kind of wish we could write Him a thank you note for all He has done?  Here’s the thing.

We can.

Hold up a card and envelope. Now it’s not the kind of thank you note that gets stuffed in an envelope, licked, stamped, and addressed.  It’s not the kind where you even need to take out a pen.  It is the kind of thank you note that looks just like you though.  And you, and you, and you, and you, and all of us and me.

We can be a thank you note.

Why should we obey God’s word?  Why should we do what He says?  Why should we love Him?  It’s not just to keep us out of trouble.  It’s not just because it’s what is best for us.  It’s not just because our parents have said so. It’s certainly not so that everyone can see how good we are.

We obey God so that our lives can be a thank you note back to Him.  It’s our way of saying thanks.  What would our lives look like as thank you notes?  If we are saying thanks, can we at the same time be complaining?  If we are really saying thanks for all that He has done, will we always want more stuff or will we be content?  If we are living lives of thanks, can we keep hurting others, whom He has made?

If we are really thankful for what He has done, how does that make us different?  Invite responses. How can we be a thank you note to God this week?  In your life, what needs to change?  If I am to be a thank you note this week, I’ll be honest with you.  I’m going to need to work on _____________.

Think about what you need to work on this week.  What sin in your life do you need to get rid of?  In the quietness of prayer, let’s go to God and ask for forgiveness.  Let’s also ask the Holy Spirit to help us to change us from the inside out.

How cool would it be to bombard heaven with our thank you notes this week; the thank you notes of us.  Let’s do just that!  I think I’m already seeing God smile now.  Ready.  Set.  Go!

The idea of Christ followers living lives as “Thank You Notes” was first generated by Dr. Kara Powell.  I loved the illustration so much that I expanded it into this lesson.

One of my biggest frustrations is when kids know right & wrong but choose to do wrong anyway. This drives me crazy, especially when it’s just a small temptation that wins them over. So, I began to brainstorm a way to teach about the practical effects of sin even when they don’t get caught.

Watch the video below to see a demonstration featuring my son David. You can also click here to add your own thoughts or suggestions for this object lesson.

Supplies Needed: One child to volunteer (preferably a kid who plays basketball) and a basketball.

Gospel Connection: Don’t let this object lesson come down to only behavior. This tenancy for all of us to choose sin shows us the need for Jesus. We are all born sinners and practice doing wrong all our lives. It takes the power of the Gospel to remove our guilt and change our inward desires. Then we can begin to practice right living.

Scripture Connection: This can be used with any Bible lesson about doing right or growing in God’s ways. Here are a few Bible verses that come to mind when I think of these truths.

Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. (1 John 3:7 ESV)

For the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish. (Psalm 1:6)


I recently took my two boys to see the movie, The Avengers. We loved it! In the movie Thor, Black Widow, the Hulk, Hawkeye, Captain America and Iron Man team up to stop the evil Loki from destroying the world. The Avengers is #1 at box office right now and you can bet that many of the preteens in your group will be going to see it. Why not use it as an opportunity to point kids to Jesus?

Here are some ideas and themes from the movie that you can use to teach preteens about God and Jesus. Use as a guide, insert into an upcoming lesson or as inspiration to write your own lesson.


The Avengers all are given special powers. The Hulk & Captain America are strong & powerful; Iron Man can fly and Hawkeye can shoot arrows that blow up things.

When it comes to following Jesus, we need power beyond ourselves. Like superheroes, we are given a special power from God. We may not be able to fly or have super human strength. But God does give us boldness to follow Jesus. Jesus calls us to forgive and forget rather than getting revenge. He wants us to invite our friends to church who aren’t Christ followers. Jesus wants us to do the right thing even when everyone around us isn’t. Living our lives the way Jesus teaches in the Bible takes boldness. And we can’t just choose to be bold. We can’t muster up courage on our own. But we can rely on God’s power to give us boldness.


The Avengers took risks in order to serve the human race. They risked their lives time and time again, with nothing to gain for themselves. They also served each other. Black Widow was looking out for Hawkeye when he turned evil. As a result, he had the opportunity to help defeat Loki and his Alien team. Thor was looking out for his brother Loki, trying to convince him to stop his evil plot.

We might not be superheroes, but we do have opportunities everyday to serve others. Maybe the new kid at school needs a friend or the bully needs some compassion extended to him. If we pay attention, God will show us ways to serve others in our everyday lives. As we do this, we can even imagine that we are a superhero serving mankind!


At first, The Avengers had a difficult time working together. They were arguing and fighting each other. But eventually they pulled together, therefore being more effective fighting evil. In one scene, Iron Man & Captain America helped repair the engine of a flying aircraft carrier. They needed each other, not being able to accomplish the task alone.

In life, teamwork is important. When playing baseball, basketball, football or any other sport – teamwork is the key to success. In the church, teamwork is necessary as well. God gives everyone special talents, gifts and abilities that work together to reach the world and point people to Jesus.

Nick Diliberto is the creator of, which provides creative curriculum and resources for preteen ministry. He is also the preteen columnist for Children’s Ministry Magazine and Children’s Pastor at Seven San Diego Church.