This is all going to relate back to the Parable of the Sower in just a sec.
Ages and ages ago when I was in high school I went to another Texas town and worked with a church group serving people living in government housing. About 30 teens from my church went down excited to teach vacation Bible school to the kids there. We brought puppets, crafts, candy, and a sound system so we could be heard by the big crowd. Instead what happened a storm came through and we had to cut it short. The kids stole the puppets and used them to say words several of the kids from my church had never heard before, another group of kids stole the microphone, and our candy stash was raided so we left with bags of trash. We all left immensely discouraged, we came back on the bus at the end of the week 30 discouraged teens. We needed to hear the Bible lesson I’m about to tell you.
The Parable of the Sower
Jesus told this story to the crowds and everyone listened, and had no clue what Jesus was talking about. Afterwards Jesus talked to his disciples talking about what the Parable of the Sower meant.
A few years ago our church used this parable as part of our Kids Clubs lessons. They were using it as an evangelism tool, but I think it’s rather discouraging for evangelism. Hearing it for the first time as a kid with no prior church experience you’re left wondering, am I one of the seeds that is doomed?
This parable is explained to the disciples. It’s a great song for when you’re feeling discouraged like we were at the end of the week. Jesus is telling us, everyone can hear, but not everyone can respond. We are responsible for planting the seeds.
We can’t make the plants grow.
This is certainly true in my experience with gardening. It’s the same when we teach the Bible and share the Gospel. I am only responsible for sharing what the Bible says. What the person does with the information is their responsibility.
What happened after our bus got to the church parking lot
We rode back for two hours and at the end our youth pastor asked us, “Who shared the Gospel?”
We all looked around at each other and only one hand went up. She was the one girl who kept her cool in the midst of it all and sat down with a young boy and went through the wordless book with him. The rest of us all hung our heads in disappointment and maybe a bit of shame.
“Wrong, all of you did, the minute you got on that bus to share what you believed. When you left Austin and went to share God’s love, that’s when you became missionaries and started to share the Gospel.”
We all left and went home and for some of us it changed how we looked at the world. Just as we weren’t responsible for what people did with our message, neither was the pastor. I took that lesson and looked at how my life can show God’s love.
Taking the Parable of the Sower down to a kid’s level
All right, so that message offered great hope to 16 year old me. It encouraged the 12 year olds as well, but how do we teach this to 4 year olds?
We teach them they can’t control how others respond to their actions. They may be nice to everyone, but only one person is nice back to them. They are responsible for obeying God and doing what they have been called to do.
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Of course I had a craft for the Parable of the Sower
Way back when I taught this at the kids club in the park to the preschoolers we took little plastic cups and glued tissue paper squares on them. It’s the perfect level of project for a park. I’ll confess I used tissue paper squares and glue sticks for almost every craft project that week.
Now a few weeks ago a member of our homneschool co-op asked if anyone wanted 30 egg cartons. I immediately volunteered to take them, and have been brainstorming all the ways to use them. One I used to re-do our Very Hungry Caterpillar project from 8 years ago to actually have a good picture of it.
Then Princess and I made several seed starters to go with the Parable of the Sowers. We sat there coloring with our cake markers and happily talked about the project. You know what, sharing the Gospel with someone works much better if you have a relationship with them and you’ve nurtured them. So we made seed pots that can be planted right in the ground to remind us.
Then I went through and created pipe cleaner versions of each of the soils in the story. We’ve got the birds that ate it all, the plant that sprang up and was burned by the sun, the plant-choked out by weeds, and finally the plant that landed in good soil.
Of course, this project could be made with the plastic cups I did in the park, but I like the idea of the recycled cardboard version.
Resources for the Parable of the Sower
- Parable of the Sower paper bag craft
- Parable of the Sower craft suggestions
- Parable of the Sower small world play