This past year, we’ve enjoyed taking kids through a contextual look at God’s One Big Story. We’ve traveled through the Bible covering the familiar stories of Abraham and Joseph, Moses and King David. We made it all the way to Jesus, Paul, and the start of the early church.
As the church started, no longer were these just a handful of disciples. These were growing congregations filled with people from all walks of life. And needless to say, they didn’t always get along. They disagreed and argued. They had a hard time forgiving and serving each other.
Several of the apostles began writing about how to live together as believers. These writings are not presented in the form of a story. They are letters. They are sermons. Delivered by people and for people, they are historic, but they are not really a story. But we think it’s important that kids experience those letters and sermons too. So to help illustrate these important truths, we’ve wrapped them in a summer-long story about friendship. We’re taking the summer to look at what the New Testament letters have to say about friendship.
Friendship is treating others the way you want to be treated. Each week, we’ll take a look at a “one another” principle that gives us a framework for loving others the way God loved us. Because these verses are short, we suggest that you take this summer to memorize each one.
In Week 1, we take a look at what John says about loving each other in 1 John 4:10-12. Kids will learn that because God loved us first, we should also love one another. Our Bottom Line is: Friends love each other.
In Week 2, kids learn from Peter’s teaching on hospitality found in 1 Peter 4:9. When it comes to welcoming others, we need to do so without complaining. Our Bottom Line is: Friends welcome each other.
In Week 3, kids will start talking about what they know that they could teach others. InRomans 15:14, Paul tells the church that they have what it takes to share Jesus with others. Our Bottom Line is: Friends teach each other.
In Week 4, we take a look at an important principle about patience. It’s hard to be a good friend when people can be frustrating. Paul reminds us in Ephesians 4:2 that we should put up with one another. Our Bottom Line is: Friends are patient with each other.
Finally, in Week 5, kids talk about an important part of friendship: service. Life isn’t all about us. Paul shares with us in Galatians 5:13b that relationships aren’t all about us. Our Bottom Line is: Friends serve each other.
Our summer widget, the Friend Pix Chain, was created to help kids memorize the verses each week. This simple chain comes with nine guitar-style picks, each one listing a Bible verse reference to go with the nine weeks of our summer Friendship series. Kids can add a new pick each week as they memorize the verse and wear the chain to remind them to treat others as they want to be treated.
We’ve also created a nine-week devotional book called Over the Fence: Adventures in Friendship. The book details the summer adventures of four unlikely friends through nine episodes. Each stand-alone story is followed by four days of devotional thoughts and activities to spark kids’ imaginations with God’s design for friendship. This book will be available for purchase at The Orange Conference or in our online Orange Store in May.
We pray this will be a fun start to the summer for kids to learn more about how they can show friendship to everyone.
By Dan Scott ©2014 The reThink Group. All rights reserved. www.ThinkOrange.com *Used by permission.