GROWING IN GOD'S GARDEN
LESSON SIX - GROWING FRUIT
Theme: The next six weeks will be spent on a farm, learning about growing in God's garden.
The Set: decorate the puppet stage like a barn. Add props like wheel barrows, shovels, rakes, a ride on toy tractor, etc. Workers can dress in bib overalls and straw hats.
Farmer Al Falfa (grumpy old farmer), Sprout (the farmers son), Sweet pea (the farmers daughter), Petunia (the farmers other daughter), leader, and a cast of farm animal puppets.
This week: We will discover that gardens need to produce fruit.
To teach the kids that:
Consistently enforcing the rules helps the service to run more smoothly. It is crucial to lovingly and consistently enforce the rules. Try to foresee problems so that they can be avoided before they occur. Work with your pod and interact with them before service and encourage them to pay close attention and really worship God today. Remember you are more than a teacher, you are a mentor!
Remind the kids of the rules. It helps the kids to respond if they know what is expected of them.
Begin by having the kids spend about 2 minutes kneeling at their chairs praying for the service.
Once the kids are done open in prayer asking for God's presence in our service. Kids need to know that God wants to move in their lives and that he will if they seek him. This time of prayer sets the tone of the remainder of the service.
It is important to review with the kids the reasons that we worship and explain the how's and whys. Encourage them to really worship God. The kids watch everything leaders do. Let them see you in active worship. Let them hear you worshiping God. If we want the spirit to move in our service we have to first allow the spirit to move in us.
The leader should introduce the kids to the theme.
Opening Skit: Leader: Here we are at the farm again. I wonder if farmer Al falfa has anything left to teach us. I don't see him anywhere around today. I wonder where he could be. (Peeks in the barn and around the farm)
There he is! I see him back in the tool shed. Hello farmer Al falfa.
Farmer: (comes out of the shed looking very sad and unhappy with an axe in his hand.)
Leader: What's wrong farmer Al? You look really sad.
Farmer: It's a terrible day here on the farm. I'm on my way to do a terrible chore....
Leader: Let me guess. You must be on your way to pooper scooper the barn huh?
Farmer: No, wish it was that...this is much worse...
Leader: Wow! What could be worse than pooper scooping the barn???
Farmer: Well, I have to go chop down my apple tree.
Leader: Why do you have to do that? Don't you like apples?
Farmer: Oh I love apples, but this apple tree isn't producing any fruit. I have worked with it and taken care of it and done everything I could to save it but it is still not producing fruit so the time has come to cut it down. You see a fruit tree that doesn't grow fruit is no good.
Leader: Oh I see. You mean that if it doesn't produce fruit like God intended it to then it is useless. That sounds like what happens to people who don't produce fruit.
Farmer: Now come, people don't grow fruit. Do you take me for a fool or something?
Leader: OH but people do grow fruit, not like apples and oranges but they are supposed to grow the fruit of the spirit in their lives.
Farmer: Well, I ‘ve never heard of that kind of fruit before.
Leader: The Bible tells us that the fruit of the spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. These are the traits that God wants us to grow in our lives.
Farmer: I see and so if a Christian doesn't grow these things in their lives then they are useless to God?
Leader: Right. Other people tell what we are like by the way we act. By having the fruit of the spirit in our lives other people can see that we are Christians and that being a Christian is a good thing.
Farmer: What do ya know...you came here to find out about gardening and I ended up learning all about growing in God's garden. I sure have learned a lot from you.
Leader: I'm glad to hear that. And thank you for teaching us all about gardening.
Farmer: I have some cool games that I thought I'd teach the kids today as a way of saying thank you for spending the last few weeks here on my farm.
You will need an assortment of fruit and two boxes. Place the fruit in the boxes. Cut a round hole in the side of each box large enough to fit a hand into. Allow volunteers to come forward, call out a fruit name. The contestants reach in and try to be the first to find the fruit by touch and pull it out. The winner wins a chance to spin the wacko wheel for a prize. Then call up two new contestants.
You will need bananas for this game. Have kids pair up with someone similar in height. Each pair must put an end of the banana in their mouth and race to the finish line. The first team to the finish line wins. You can play two teams at a time or the whole group at a time.
The gardener has been growing some unusual turnips in his garden. They have the names of the fruit of the spirit on them. We need to "turn up" goodness in our lives, we need to "turnup" kindness, etc... The farmer can show the kids the turnips and spend a few minutes telling the kids about the importance of the fruit in our lives.
PETUNIA, SWEET PEA, AND SPROUT SKIT
Sprout comes out bragging about the wonderful fruit he has grown on his tree, but it is really artificial fruit. He teases his sister that his fruit is bigger, better and more juicy than theirs. The leader volunteers to settle the dispute by tasting the fruit to decide who has the best tasting fruit. The leader tastes sweet peas and petunias fruit first. Then she tries to taste sprouts and discovers that it is fake. She can scold Sprout for trying to trick us into believing he had grown this fake fruit. This offers a good lead in into the next object lesson.
Phoney fruit???? You will need a basket of real looking artificial fruit.
Mix the real fruit with the artificial fruit and place it in a basket. Some people try to fake the fruit of the spirit in their lives. They try to pretend that they are loving, kind people, but they are really angry bitter people on the inside. Some people try to pretend that they have joy because of material things, but really they are unhappy miserable people. Some people try to pretend that they are good but secretly they are doing really bad stuff.
Artificial fruit is not good for eating. It is fake, not real. Artificial fruit of the spirit in our lives in not good for God. It is fake and not real inside of us, so all it is good for is looks. What you look like on the outside is not what is important to God. What your heart and life look like on the inside is what is important to God. What kind of fruit do you have in your life?
Acts 9:36-43 Have a person lay down on a table and cover them with a white sheet as Dorcas. Others can mourn her death as you tell the story. Have some visual things there like needle and thread and cloth to help tell the story. Be sure to emphasize the fruit of the spirit in the life of Dorcas.
Galations 5:22 or Matt. 12:33
For each team write each word of the memory verse on a different piece of real fruit and a piece of paper fruit. Place the real fruit in a bag. Glue the paper fruit on a poster board in order. Call a volunteer to come forward. They must reach in the bag and try to pick out the corresponding fruit. For example if the apple is the first fruit of the memory verse they must reach in and feel the fruit and come out with the apple. If they don't come out with the right one they return to the line and the next person comes forward and tries to pick out the correct fruit. Play continues until one team completes the verse.
Good fruit sampler: You will have a plate with a sampling of fruit on it for the children to share. Hold up several of the pieces of fruit and ask the kids what kind of a tree it came from. (The point here is that you can tell a tree by it's fruit.) Ask the kids some questions about what kinds of trees give good fruit and which give yucky fruit. ( explain that good words and deeds come out of good hearts but bad words and bad deeds come out of a bad heart..a Christian is identified by the fruit of the spirit in their lives) Spend some time talking about the fruit of the spirit with the kids and then share the fruit with them. Close your time together with a time of prayer.
You will need some fruit like bananas that look pretty good on the outside but that may have bad spots on the inside and some that you know is not good. Talk about how you can't always tell a fruit by it's outside. Hold up a very ripe black banana. Explain that you can tell that this banana is bad on the inside. Hold up a yellow banana. It looks good, but it is possible that it isn't all good on the inside. How do we know if a banana is good? First we look at what we can see. Then we open it up and look at the inside. How do we know if a person is a Christian? We look at their lives that we can see, but that doesn't always tell us accurately. As Christians we should not only have good outsides, but we should have good insides. People we are around look at what they can see so we need to be sure we are acting the way Jesus wants us to. God looks at the inside so we need to make sure that we are acting the way Jesus wants us to!
Copyright 1998, Sheryl Coats