Use this devotion at a volunteer training meeting to help
volunteer teachers get in touch with the fun of being a child and
to challenge them to be learners as well as teachers in their
classrooms. Allow approximately fifteen minutes.
Prepare for This Session
· Read Matthew 18:2-5, and think about what it means to be like a
· Gather your supplies: one Bible, one piece of paper, one pencil,
and one pair of children's scissors for each participant.
· Arrange to hold this session in a preschool classroom with
smaller tables and chairs (or move smaller furniture into your
meeting room) to help your volunteer teachers "become like little
children." Keep some larger chairs handy for people who need them.
Have chairs pre-set around the tables to automatically form groups
of four or five as everyone arrives and finds a seat.
· Decorate your room by hanging large pictures of children on the
walls. Consider investing in pictures of children from around the
world that can be used later in a missions education program. Place
stuffed animals and children's toys throughout the room.
· For a snack, place bowls of Hershey's Hugs and Kisses chocolate
candies on each table, and allow everyone to help themselves. Serve
fresh-baked cookies and glasses of ice-cold milk. You might even
have a milk-mustache contest!
A Biblical Challenge
Say: To get started, I'd like everyone to look up Matthew 18:2-5
and read it silently to yourselves.
After all the volunteers have done this, say: As you came in,
you all sat down in groups of four or five. Now I will give you two
to three minutes to decide how your group will silently act out
these verses as I read them aloud. You can mime the verses or do
whatever you want to do to demonstrate the words.
After two or three minutes, have two groups at a time come
forward-one on your right and one on your left-to act out their
scenes while you read the verses. Repeat this until every group has
had a turn.
Say: The Scripture you've just acted out makes an important point.
Jesus wants us to become like a child…a child of God!
Give each volunteer teacher or helper a piece of paper, a pencil,
and a pair of child-sized scissors. Say: Do you remember making
paper doll chains when you were a child? Let's do it now. Fold your
paper at least four times accordion-style, then draw a simple
outline of half of a doll, with the middle of the doll on one side
with the folds and the hand and foot reaching to the other fold.
Then cut it out, making sure you don't cut through the fold!
After teachers and helpers have finished cutting, have them open
their chains and appreciate their work. Then have them turn to
their partners and discuss their answers to these questions (a
person without a partner can join another pair):
· How did it feel being a little child again-making paper dolls
and using small scissors?
· How is this like or unlike what Jesus meant about becoming like
a child to enter the kingdom of heaven?
· What qualities have you seen in your students (or your kids at
home) that you can incorporate into your life and walk with
Say: Become like a child…a child of God!
The Student Becomes the Teacher
Say: One thing that always seems to surprise us as teachers is how
much we can learn from our students. Sometimes kids have profound
insight into God's Word that we miss if we're not paying
Read this story:
A church in southern Arizona sent its fifth- and sixth-grade
students on a missions trip to Mexico. Thirty kids and six adults
spent the day at an orphanage washing lice out of the children's
hair, making dinner with flies buzzing everywhere, and continually
smelling the raw sewage backed up in the buildings that housed 120
children from birth to 17.
Later, the leaders asked the kids to tell why they thought God had
allowed the people in the orphanage to be so poor.
One girl answered: "Maybe we are the ones who are poor because of
all we have and that we take it for granted."
There was a long silence as the adults, as much as the kids, tried
to process the depth of what this fifth-grader had shared.
Say: Learning can be a two-way street. Think back to a time when
you were a child and you learned something from a teacher. Write
what you learned on one side of your paper doll chain. Pause for a
minute as they do this.
Say: Now think about something you, as an adult, learned from a
child. Write that on the other side of your dolls.
After a minute, ask teachers to turn back to their partners and
share their answers to these questions:
· How did it make you feel to learn something from that teacher?
from that child?
· Which experience was more humbling to you? Why?
· How can we make sure that our children know that we value and
welcome their suggestions,
opinions, and questions in our classrooms? (By allowing them to
talk; by listening; by incorporating their ideas when
Say: Become like a child…a child of God!
Talking With `Dad'
Say: We're going to play a game of Simon Says. Simon says, "Stand
up." Everyone should rise.
Say: Simon says, "Put your hands on your heads." Simon says, "Pray
silently for your own faith-not for big theological ideas, but for
simple, childlike faith in your own mind." Give time for everyone
Say: Simon says, "Stretch your hands out to your sides." Simon
says, "Pray that you can welcome all the children into your
classroom, even the ones who may give you trouble sometimes."
After a moment, say: Simon says, "Put your hands over your
hearts." Simon says, "Pray that God will help you love each child
in your classroom unconditionally, just as he loves us."
After another pause, say: Simon says, "Kneel," or if that's too
uncomfortable, Simon says, "Sit down in your chair." Simon says,
"Pray for humility in your life-that you can bow before God and
serve his children." Pause; then say: Amen.