Jesus Looks for the Lost –
The Parable of the Lost Sheep
Use this children’s Sunday School lesson to teach kids about how Jesus cares for them.
Intro Game: Following the Shepherd – Have students get down on all fours and close their eyes. They are the Sheep. The leader is the Shepherd. The Shepherd moves around the room, calling the Sheep, and they must do their best to follow. The Shepherd can also give instructions like “spin around in a circle,” “baa like sheep,” “go faster,” “come to me slowly,” etc.
After a while, pick someone else to be the Shepherd. If you have time, give everyone a chance to be the Shepherd.
Then, remind students that we’re supposed to follow Jesus and do what He says, just like real sheep follow their shepherds.
Lesson: Read Luke 15:1-7, or summarize it with the following story.)
Summary Story: The Pharisees noticed that Jesus was always talking to sinners, bad people, and they thought that Jesus shouldn’t talk to those bad people. But then, Jesus told them a story. Before I tell you the story, though, I want everyone to get down on your hands and knees and do your very best to pretend that you’re a sheep. Crawl and “baa”…Good.
Jesus said that people were like sheep and He was like a shepherd. A lot of sheep are good, and they stay where they’re supposed to, but sometimes, one of the sheep goes off by itself and gets lost. (Pick one of the students and tell them to crawl away from the group.)
Jesus said that when the shepherd sees that one of his sheep is missing, he goes to find it. (Pretend to look for your lost sheep.)
And when the shepherd finds the lost sheep, he’s very happy that he found it, and he brings it back home.
(Walk with your sheep back to the group.)
Jesus said that’s why He always talked to bad people.
They were like sheep that had gone off on their own and gotten lost by doing bad things, but He wanted to bring them back to God. Jesus told them about God so that they could believe in Him and go back to Him.
When someone comes back to God and stops doing their wrong things, that makes God very happy.
Why did Jesus talk to sinners, bad people? (He wanted to give them a chance to come back to God and stop doing their wrong things.)
And how does God feel when someone comes back to Him and stops doing their wrong things? (Happy.)
Game: Hide and Go Sheep – Pick one person to be It. They are the Shepherd. Everyone else is the Sheep. They go and hide while the Shepherd counts. The Shepherd then tries to find the Sheep. When he or she finds one, that Sheep helps them look for the others. The last Sheep found becomes the new Shepherd for the next round. Play as long as time allows or until everyone has had a chance to be the Shepherd.
Remind students that just like the Shepherd goes to look for his lost sheep, so Jesus will always come and look for people who have gone away from God.
Closing Prayer: Jesus, we thank You for coming to find us when we’re lost. Help us stay close to You now and to follow You as our good shepherd. Amen.
The Lost Sheep – free coloring and activity pages
This lesson is included in my book, The Parables and Teachings of Jesus: Volume 2.