Luke 15:1-7, Splash- More about Bible cards for group leaders, Splash- My child the Bible and me
Parable of the lost sheep, Rescue
to remember that each individual is valuable to God
13 sheep outlines printed on A4 paper or card using the 'Interactive Bible story' sheep outlines, SU Bible Timeline (optional)
Draw 13 sheep outlines, or use the 'Interactive Bible story' sheep outlines. Write one of these words on or near each sheep: Bartholomew, barn, bargained, Barbour, Barney, Barbara, bar, rhubarb, barley, barking, barmy, baa, barbed wire and cut out the sheep outlines.
2 Listen and join in
Explain that as you tell the story, the children should join in by saying ‘baa’ like a sheep every time you hold up a ‘baa’ word. To demonstrate, hold up ‘Bartholomew’ but pronounce it as ‘Baa-tholomew.’
Read the following story, holding up the sheep for each word in bold type. (Note that ‘Barbara’ has two ‘baas’!)
‘Once upon a time, there was a shepherd, whose name was Bartholomew. Every night, Bartholomew would go into his barn to check on his 100 sheep before he went to bed. But one particular night, he got to bed much later than he’d bargained for, because one of his sheep was missing. He counted again, but still there were only 99 sheep in the barn. He had to go and look for the missing sheep.
‘He put on his warm Barbour jacket, and whistled for his trusty sheepdog, Barney. Then he told his wife, Barbara, not to wait up for him, and set off into the night.
‘“Wait!” shouted Barbara. “Take this chocolate bar for energy!” ‘Bartholomew ate some of the chocolate bar, and gave the rest to Barney. Then they set off, past the rhubarb patch, past the barn where the other 99 sheep were safely sleeping, through the barley field, and then out through the five-bar gate which led out of his farm and into the woods beyond.
‘Then Bartholomew started calling out, while Barney ran between the trees, barking furiously. ‘They had been searching for a few hours when suddenly Barney started barking excitedly! He had picked up a scent! Barney went barmy, and dashed off, sniffing wildly. Bartholomew had to run to keep up. Soon Bartholomew heard a faint ‘baa’ in the distance. They ran on, Barney following the scent, and Bartholomew following the sound, until they found the lost sheep – cold and frightened, tangled up in a barbed wire fence.
‘Bartholomew was overjoyed! He took the sheep back to its barn in his farmyard. ‘“You silly sheep,” he said, “why didn’t you stay with the others?” ‘And you know what the sheep said, don’t you? ‘“Baa!”’
3 Read the Bible
Challenge the children to find the names of as many shepherds as possible on the Bible Timeline (for example: Moses, David, Jacob). Ask them: ‘Who spoke about being “the Good Shepherd”?’ (The same person, Jesus.) Make sure they can find him on the Timeline, if they haven’t already. Invite one or more confident readers to read Luke 15:1–7. (They could read half each or alternate verses.)
4 Talk about the story
Challenge the children to think why Jesus told this story. Ask: ‘If Jesus is the “Good Shepherd”, who are you like?’ Help them to see that each of them is important and valuable to Jesus. This is true, especially if they don’t feel that they are good enough for him. Emphasise that Jesus loves and cares for them, just like a good shepherd loves and cares for his sheep. Allow a few minutes for quiet reflection and encourage the children to praise and thank God that they are valuable to him.
Sheep outlines for 'Interactive Bible story'
This activity is from the Xstream programme for children aged 8 to 11. Each Xstream session is Bible-based and uses games, drama, quizzes, craft and discussion to help the children in their relationship with God.