In Matthew 22: 34-40 Jesus is asked what the greatest commandment is. He responds by telling his followers the greatest commandment is to love God. It is important to build this lesson into children's ministry program. In addition to reading the Matthew 22 text, engage children in activities that reinforce the importance of the commandment and illustrates ways that children can show their love for God and for others.
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Give children about a dozen circles of different sizes. Tell children to draw the face or write the name of people that they love on each circle. Explain that they should write those most important to them, such as their mom and dad, on the bigger circles and other people they love, such as their cousins and friends from school, on the smaller circles. When all of the circles are done, have students glue them to an empty paper towel roll, with the smallest circles on the bottom, and the largest circles near the top. Give students a heart, larger than any of the circles, and tell them to glue it to the top of the tube. Explain that we should love those close to us in Christian love, which means putting them second to God. Write on the large heart "Love God Above All Else."
Bend 12 to 15 pipe cleaners of different colours to create hearts. Tie two or three hearts on a length of fishing string. Poke a hole for each fishing string around the edge of a plastic lid and tie the strings in the holes. Put a long piece of fishing string through the centre of the lid and tie it in a loop to make a hanger. Tell children that the mobile is to remind them of how much they should love God.
Have children put on a painting smock, or tear a head hole and arm holes in a trash bag to wear while painting. Slide a piece of cardboard inside a T-shirt for each child. Give the child clothing paint and painting sponges or brushes to paint a heart on the front of his T-shirt. Then write with a permanent or cloth marker inside the circle "I love the Lord God with all my heart."
Have children make a banner to hang in the classroom to help memorise the great commandment. Get a sheet of butcher paper at least nine feet long. Write or have the children stencil the words "Love God with all your heart, soul, and strength." Allow children to use markers, stencils, glitter and other craft supplies to decorate the banner. Hang the banner in the classroom or the church's foyer.
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