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Welcome in! — Weekly Christian ed lesson

In this lesson, children will explore the concept of welcome in Matthew 10:40-42, and they will consider how they can extend welcome to demonstrate Christ’s love and care to others.

Photo by Belinda Fewings on Unsplash

Lesson background

A wave. A smile. Even a quick “hello.” These small gestures signal to us that we are welcome into a space. Being welcomed not only makes us feel good, but it also fulfills the basic human need to be in relationship with others. The image of God in us seeks connection with the image of God in others. And each of these connections begins with welcome. Jesus reminds us of the importance of hospitality throughout the Bible, including in the short lectionary reading for this week. In this lesson, children will explore the concept of welcome in Matthew 10:40-42, and they will consider how they can extend welcome to demonstrate Christ’s love and care to others.

You will need:

Starting out

Greet the children as they arrive. Make a point of using body language as well as spoken language to show each child they are welcome.

After the children are settled, ask:

  • Did you feel welcome in the group? Why or why not?
  • What did I do to show you welcome?
  • What did other kids in the group do that made you feel welcome?

Exploring the passage

Say a prayer.

Provide context for the lectionary reading (Matthew 10:40-42):

  • This passage comes from the New Testament Gospel of Matthew.
  • This very short reading is part of a larger section of Matthew’s gospel where Jesus is teaching his disciples. Prior to the passage, Jesus shares hard news — the disciples will face difficulty and discrimination for following him.
  • Hospitality – welcoming people and making them feel comfortable – is an important idea to Jesus. It comes up several times in the Gospels and will be explored in this reading.

Read aloud Matthew 10:40-42.

After reading, ask:

  • According to Jesus, when we welcome someone, who else are we welcoming?
  • How can giving someone a cold cup of water show them welcome?
  • Why is welcoming others so important to Jesus?

Relating the passage to our lives

Help the children connect the scripture reading to their own lives through one or more of these activities.

  • Welcome to the congregation: Gather the materials you’ll need for this activity: blank copy paper or blank greeting cards, crayons or markers, and stickers or rubber stamps and stamp pads. Ask the children to brainstorm times when the congregation welcomes someone. Note that one of the ways we officially welcome someone into the life of the church is through membership. Hand out materials for making cards. Ask the children to make welcome cards for new members. Encourage them to use colors and images that demonstrate a sense of belonging. Depending on how your congregation recognizes new members, you can hold on to the cards to send yourself or give them to the committee that welcomes new members.
  • Welcome to the community: Gather the materials you’ll need for this activity: a computer with Internet access connected to a data projector or television, “Kids Meet a Refugee” video, Welcoming Refugees Project postcard-making guide, and copies of the postcard template included in the guide printed on card stock and crayons or markers. Show the video and discuss what the children learned about the experiences of refugees. Re-read Matthew 10:40. Ask the children how welcoming refugees also welcomes Christ. Complete the postcard making activity following the instructions in the guide. Before sending off the postcards, offer a prayer for the individuals receiving them.

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