Discipleship Activities for the Family

Family faith-sharing tip:

Help your children to grow spiritually by noticing, appreciating, and nurturing the fruits of the Spirit in their lives. Don’t just notice them when they are misbehaving or struggling. Whenever you see their love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, humility, gentleness, faithfulness, or self-control, encourage them by letting them know that you have noticed them growing more and more like Jesus.

Focus:

  • John 3:16; 14:6
  • However hard we try, we can’t get ourselves from earth to heaven on our own. The harder we try, the more we miss the point that eternal life is a gift from God, through Jesus. We just need to learn how to depend completely on Jesus to be the bridge between our lives and heaven.

Gather together:

  • Lots of scrap paper—a pile of old newspapers or junk typing paper will do
  • Adhesive tape
  • Toy car or small stone
  • Two towels or pieces of cloth—one black and one white
  • One small treat per child
  • Large sheet of paper
  • Marker pens (felt tips)

What you do:

  • Find a suitable place in your house or yard where you can do the following activity.
  • The walls must be at least 10 feet (3m) apart and have a surface that won’t be damaged by the activity. Make the distance narrower if you have younger children. You can use the adhesive tape and as much paper as you like, but you can only attach supports, etc., onto the wall, not up from the ground or down from the ceiling. If you’re outside, you could use trees or posts instead of walls, but you must only attach things to the vertical trunks or posts.
  • In teams of two or three, or as a whole family, try to build a bridge from one wall to another other. When the bridge is finished you must be able to support a toy car or stone on the center of the bridge.
  • You only have 20 minutes to do this. It should be quite hard to do.
  • After 20 minutes, stop and look at what you have made. What went well? What needs improvement? Why was it so difficult?
  • Read John 14:6 aloud.
  • How is building the paper bridge like trying to get to heaven without Jesus helping us? (It’s difficult/impossible; we don’t have the right materials or skills; even if we made a bridge, it would just break if we tried to walk along it, etc.)
  • Now lay one white cloth or towel at one end of your room and a black cloth or towel at the other end. The distance between the two needs to be at least 3- to 4 times further than your child could jump. Place a treat on the white towel.
  • Ask your child to stand on the black towel. Tell them that the black towel represents earth and the white towel represents heaven. Ask them to try to jump from the black towel to the white towel to get their treat, without touching the floor or any of the furniture.
  • They won’t be able to do it on their own. Ask if you can help them.
  • Then pick up your child and carry them across the floor to the white towel, so they can have their treat.
  • Let every child have a turn. Be careful carrying children who are too heavy for you to carry safely alone. Invite another adult to help you if necessary.
  • Discuss:
    • Who did the parent/adult represent?
    • How did it feel when someone came to help you reach the treat?
    • What did you like best about this activity?
    • What do you think is the most important lesson this activity illustrates?
  • Talk about how wonderful it is that Jesus came to make the way for us to go to heaven. All we have to do is trust completely in His strength and love for us. That’s wonderful!

Prayer/reflection activity:

  • Draw a large bridge on a sheet of paper.
  • Think of the different ways Jesus helps us on our journey to heaven and write them on the bridge.
  • Then praise and thank Him for being the Bridge, Gate, and Road to heaven for us.