Friendships are extremely important to children. Some children seem to make friendships everywhere they go. As they become older, their friendships tend to be tied to common interests or locations. If two kids like the same things and are in the same spaces, they’ll often be friends. Friday, May 5, is May Friendship Day, a celebration of unity and wholeness in communities that come from intentional friendships born of and reflecting God’s love. In this lesson, children will hear about May Friendship Day and explore what it means to be a friend in Christ.
You will need:
- Chart paper or a whiteboard and a marker
- Printouts of Friendship_Scripture_Activity
- Crayons or markers
Greet the children as they arrive.
Write friend in the center of the chart paper or whiteboard. Ask the children to share words or phrases that they associate with friend. Write their responses around the word friend. Then, ask them which of the words or phrases is most important in a friendship. Circle their responses.
Share that May 5 was May Friendship Day. This is an annual celebration started by Church Women United. The women in this group are different from one another. They worship in different churches in different denominations. They are of different ages and live different lifestyles. What unites them is that they are all Jesus’ followers. May Friendship Day celebrates this unity and community. (If you’d like to read more about May Friendship Day, visit the Church Women United events page: https://www.churchwomenunited.net/cwucelebrations.) In the spirit of May Friendship Day, we’re going to look at what it means to be a friend in Christ.
Say a prayer.
Divide the children into small groups. If your group is already small, you may choose to keep the children in a single group and move through each of the following readings together.
Hand each group one of the four Scripture readings that are part of the Friendship Scripture Activity.
Provide context for the Scripture verses:
- These verses are from the New Testament.
- As the resurrected Jesus prepared to ascend to live with the Creator, he tells his followers to share his teachings and to help others follow him. His disciples formed communities of believers. These communities were churches. As the churches worked to figure out how they should worship, learn and live together, they encountered moments of difficulty. In these moments, they reached out to trusted leaders to ask for advice. Sometimes the leaders would hear about difficulties churches were experiencing and they would send letters offering advice or encouragement. These verses come from four of these letters.
- Each of these verses says something about friendship and the way that followers of Christ love one another.
Ask each group to read the Scripture verse on the left side of the paper and then ask them to write or draw a picture showing what this verse says about friendships in the blank space on the right side.
When all groups have completed the activity, ask them to share their writing/drawings.
After all groups have shared, ask the children:
- Why is each of these verses important in friendships?
- Which of these ideas seems most important to you? Why is it important?
- Which of these ideas is most difficult? Why?
- Is there anything else that is important for a friendship to be strong and joyful? If so, what and why is it important?
- What do you think Jesus or the early church leaders writing these letters would suggest friends do when they are not getting along?
- What do you think they would say people should do when they find it hard to be friends with someone?
Conclude your time together by offering a prayer for the children’s current friendship and for those that have not yet formed.
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