(This children’s address is based on Matthew 25: 14-30, The Parable of the Talents.)
To teach that Christians are disciples of Jesus.
To teach that Christians are a substitute for Jesus.
To teach that Jesus is happy with what ever help is given.
Key Word: Substitute
A pin-up board to hold four or five A4 size pictures.
Pictures: 1. A Man.
4. A Sports Team
5. A Family
(It would be preferable that the first four pictures be in black and white while the fifth picture is in colour. The final picture would provide good visual contrast with the rest. The characters in the pictures need not be perfect models. They would be better if they appeared as somewhat unlikely candidates for their role. All the characters are to portray a sense of imperfection in their role of a substitute.
Two labels, the words substitute on one and Jesus on the other. (Affix the word substitute to the middle of the pin-up board)
Five sheets of A4 size paper. (Glue the pictures onto the A4 size paper to give them greater support and framework.)
1. To help settle the children, begin as quickly as possible.
2. “Look at this word, it’s a long word and says, ‘substitute’. This word has a lot to do with Jesus, it has a lot to do with you and me, and it has lot to do with Pastor Matthew. ”
3. “When Pastor Matthew is away on holidays, who leads the Sunday worship service?”
One clever girl answered, “A substitute pastor”.
“That’s right, sometimes I will lead the service, or Pastor Mark, or a retired pastor will come to help out. They are called a substitute pastor and do the work of Pastor Matthew until he comes back. They do not have to look, sound or behave like Pastor Matthew, they don’t have to be as good as Pastor Matthew, they just need to help out and do their best. I’m sure that would make Pastor Matthew very happy indeed.”
4. Pin-up the picture of the man. “This picture is to remind us that the substitute pastor does not have to be perfect, but able to help out, and that would make pastor happy.”
5. “What happens when your class teacher is away sick? There is a relief teacher or a substitute teacher to look after the class for the day. The substitute teacher doesn’t have to be as good as the class teacher. They just need to help out and look after the class until the class teacher returns. That would make both the headmaster happy and the parents happy that there is someone to look after their children until the class teacher returns.”
6. Pin up the picture of the teacher. “This picture is to remind us that the substitute teacher does not have to be great, but able to help out, and that would make the parents happy.”
7. “What happens when your parents go out at night and leave you at home?” They call in a baby sitter, or sometimes called a substitute parent. The substitute parent may be a neighbour, a friend of the parents, or someone from church, and of course grandparents. They don’t have to be as wonderful as the parents. They just need to help out and look after the children until the parents come home that night. That would make the parents very happy when they find someone to be a substitute parent for the night.
8. Pin up the picture of the grandparents. “This picture is to remind us that the substitute parent does not have to be like mum or dad, but able to help out, and that would make the parents happy.”
9. “Who plays in a team sport?”
“When a player gets injured and is sent off, or a player is sick and can’t play that day, what happens?”
“There is a substitute player ready to take their place. They have been training and waiting to play. The team is happy that there is someone ready and willing to help out.
10. Pin up the picture of the sport team. “This picture is to remind us that the substitute player is playing in the team, and the team is happy that the substitute player can help out.”
11. “There is one more picture to talk about. This picture reminds me of the story Jesus told his disciples of when he was going away. In the story, the Parable of the Talents, Jesus asked his disciples that while he was away that they do the work that he was doing. Jesus wanted all his disciples to look after all the people, to care for one another, and to love each other.”
12. “We are also disciples of Jesus. I’m a disciple of Jesus, you are a disciple of Jesus, mum and dad, and every one here today is a disciple of Jesus. Jesus is asking you to look after, and care for your friends at school, to care and look after your teacher, to care and look after your neighbour, and also to care and look after your parents. Jesus is asking you to be a substitute for him, a substitute Jesus, until he returns. You don’t have to look like Jesus with long hair or a beard, he does not expect you to walk on water, or turn water into wine. Jesus would be very happy if you could just help out and give a little love to the people around you.”
13. Pin up the picture of the family. “This picture of the family reminds us that you and me, and everyone here is a substitute for Jesus. Jesus would be happy if we could help out and give a little bit of love until he returns.”
14. Pin up the final word, Jesus. “These two words (substitute and Jesus) remind us that we are a substitute for Jesus.”
15. Let us pray. “Dear Jesus, thank you for loving us, and thank you for asking us to help out and to share your love with others. Help us to love each other and be your substitute. Amen.”