Open the Bible at Matthew 10.40-42: Jesus wants us to welcome everyone as we would welcome him.
Welcome and wave
Tell the story, asking the children to listen out for the word ‘welcome’. When they hear this word, they should stand up, wave their arms in the air and cheer.
Jesus said to his disciples, "Wherever you go, if people welcome you, then they are welcoming me, too. And if they welcome me, then they are also welcoming God."
He continued, "If someone welcomes a prophet and welcomes them because they are a prophet, then they will receive the same reward as a prophet. If someone welcomes a good person and welcomes them because they are good, then they will receive the same reward as a good person.
And if someone helps one of these little ones – if they give them only a cup of cold water because they are one of my followers – then they will certainly be rewarded."
Spend time reflecting on the Bible passage, using the questions below as appropriate.
Talk together with children
- What does it mean to welcome someone?
- How do you welcome someone who comes to your home?
- What might you be able to do to offer a welcome to someone
at home, school or church?
Talk together with young people
- How does it feel to be more valuable than sparrows?
- Do the challenges in this passage outweigh the promises Jesus makes?
- What does the passage tell us about being disciples of Jesus?
Activities, songs and prayers
Choose from the activities below and do any or all of them in any order you wish. Some are designed for younger children and some for young people. However we hope using a mix will work for any ages in your household.
Welcome people with words they can understand.
You will need: paper, pencils/pens, access to a translation website or dictionary,
- Ask the group which languages they know. Ask them to write down different words for ‘Hello’, e.g. Bonjour, Hola, Ciao, one word on each sheet of paper.
- Suggest that the group members look up some other languages and write down other translations for ‘Hello’.
- Stick the pieces of paper displaying the words around your space and encourage everyone to practise greeting each other in the different languages.
- Discuss how we could welcome someone who speaks another language if we can’t speak that language e.g. wave, smile.
Write ‘welcome’ in block letters across the middle of a large sheet of paper. Pour paint onto large, flat plates. Ask everyone to use the paint to make handprints around the letters. Provide bowls of water for cleaning up. Display the banner for all to see.
You might then like to learn and sing Everybody’s welcome, Vineyard music on Great big God
Count your blessings book
Keep a record of the reward of blessings
You will need: A4 paper, a hole punch, wool/ribbon, felt tips.
- God’s reward often comes in the form of a blessing.
- Give each person three sheets of paper to hold together and fold in half to make a booklet. Punch two holes along the spine, thread with wool/ribbon and tie in a bow.
- Write ‘Count your blessings’ across the front of the booklet and decorate as desired.
- Encourage everyone to take their booklets home and use them to keep a note of all the good things that happen to them. Remind them that each one is a blessing and encourage them to thank God for them.
Spend some quiet time reflecting on the passage, as well as what you have been doing in the activities you chose.
Be our guest
Watch the clip together from Beauty and the Beast [U], then reflect on the following questions:
- Which characters do we relate to in this clip?
- Do we act similarly to this when welcoming people in our homes, churches, school?
- Can you think of a time when you felt welcomed?
Use a baby names book or search online to find out the meaning of each of the names of those in your group. Reflect on and discuss welcoming and being welcomed ‘in the name of’ Jesus.
- Do you like the meaning of your name?
- How important do you think our names are for identity?
- If you knew a stranger was coming to your home, would it make a difference if you knew their name?
Finish your time of worship by praying together in any way you choose
A prayer to end the session
Let’s share the peace of God
with one another,
with a smile, a handshake or a hug.