What does the word ‘church’ mean to you? Is it a building with stained glass windows, a steeple and a cross? Is it a service in which you worship God? Or is it something more?
Let’s look at the early church as described in the Bible. In Acts chapter 2, the early church is described. Jesus had been taken up into heaven and believers had received the Holy Spirit. Many more people believed in Jesus every day.
This is an exercise for preschool children but I think that we adults may benefit from the reminder.
Read Acts 2:42-47 in the Bible.
The passage says that the Christians devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching - they were eager to learn and continued to faithfully meet together to learn more about Jesus and His teaching.
And to fellowship – they met with each other for friendship. They ‘hung out’ together and encouraged each other.
And to the breaking of bread – They celebrated communion in remembrance of Jesus. This was patterned after the last supper and probably included enjoying a meal together.
And to prayer – They prayed together for each other and for a common purpose.
The believers cared about one another so much that they shared everything so that no one was in need.
The passage says nothing about a beautiful building. The early Christians didn’t have a building where they met to worship. They met in homes or outside. The church is not a building, even though many of us have been taught that the church is a structure of wood or brick. The church is the fellowship of believers.
To teach about sharing
- Prepare a snack together, making sure that there is enough to share with others.
- Treat idea:
- Ingredients: one box of graham crackers, one can of prepared frosting.
- Break each graham cracker in quarters.
- Spread half of the pieces with frosting.
- Top with another piece.
- Wrap each with plastic wrap and put them away for later.
To teach about the “church”
- Use blocks to create the outline of a church building on the floor.
- Say, “This is a lovely building, but it really isn’t the church. The church is made up of people.”
- “Let’s make a church using our bodies as the walls and roof of the church.” Have two children lie on the floor facing each other with their arms stretched up to form the peak of the roof.
- If your church building has a cross on its roof, have a child lay on the floor at the top of the “roof peak” with his arms outstretched to form the cross.
- Another child can sit in the middle of the two and be the door.
The church is made up of people. We are the church.
Take a walk around the church building, stopping occasionally to pray together and thank God for friends in the church and for the rooms and facilities that He has provided. Take along the snack you have made so that the children can share with people that they meet on their walk or with another class. After the walk, ask the children to tell how they felt about sharing their treat and how they feel about the other people in the church building.
How do you feel about the church? Would it still be church without the building? Are you always happy to share with everyone who is in need?
Parenting With Scripture: A Topical Guide for Teachable Moments