Here's an easy-to-do object lesson that takes very little in the way of supplies or preparation. [Even though I said that, you will want to practice this first.] The effect is this: your audience helps you come up with nine things that influence our lives. You write them on a sheet of paper, then tear the paper into nine pieces. Drop the pieces of paper into a container and mix them up. Put the container behind your back. Reach behind your back and pull out only one piece of paper. The one piece of paper you pull out has 'JESUS' written on it. He is the focus of our lives. He is the King of Kings, and therefore, the greatest influence we could ever have. None of the other items mentioned can compare or even come close.
How is it done? Simple. Obtain a sheet of paper and a dark marker. Now, fold the paper length-wise into thirds. Next, fold the top third down, and the bottom third up. Crease well, then unfold your paper. You now have nine similar-sized blocks on your paper, marked by the creases.
Ask your audience for help. Tell them that you need them to call out several things, people, events, etc., that hold sway over their lives, or the lives of people in general. Use your dark marker and write one-word descriptions of these, one in each block on your paper. As you are writing the different influences on the paper, someone will most likely say, 'Jesus.' Write 'JESUS' in the center block of the paper. Make sure all nine blocks are filled in. Once your nine blocks are full, show the paper to your audience. You might want to read the nine words on the paper, calling attention to each one.
Now, tear the paper into nine blocks, using the fold lines as a guide. DO NOT USE SCISSORS TO CUT THE PAPER. Tear it, instead.
Call up a volunteer from the audience to hold the container for you as you drop in the nine paper pieces. Ask him or her to mix the pieces up well. Direct your volunteer to hold the container behind you, so you cannot possibly see into it, making your selection entirely random.
Tell your audience that, even though many of the things that are mentioned are important, there is only ONE that is best. Ask, "Do you want to settle for second place or third, or even last in your life?" and "Do you want the BEST in your life?" Reach into the container and pull out the piece of paper marked 'JESUS.' Hold it high, showing it to your delighted audience. Explain that Jesus is more than an influence. He is our Savior. He is our Master. He is our Lord. Nothing else is as important as accepting Jesus as Savior and obeying His Word. Choosing Jesus is the BEST choice.
Other than 'Jesus,' here are some influences you might want to be prepared with, in case your audience gets stuck. Finances/money, Education/knowledge, Other People/great leaders, Critics/gossip, Satan/sin, Peer pressure/friends, Ego/pride, Parents/family. It is likely that you might also hear 'Church,' 'The Bible,' or 'God' as suggestions. Use your discretion to either list them separately or lump them together under 'JESUS.' For example, if you want to make the point that a person cannot be saved just by going to church, then list 'CHURCH' in it's own box, separate from 'JESUS.' On the other hand, if you are at a Sidewalk Sunday School or Neighborhood Bible Club and want to promote church attendance to your audience, you would probably include 'Church' with 'JESUS.'
You will pick up several of the pieces of paper from the container, but will only show the 'JESUS' one to the audience. Since the container is behind your back, how will you choose the correct piece? You will have to feel the edges of each piece of paper until you find the correct one. All of the pieces of paper have at least ONE EDGE that is smooth, with the exception of the piece labeled 'JESUS.' That is because 'JESUS' was written on the center piece, the only piece that has all four sides torn. Just carefully feel for the piece that has no smooth edges at all (yes, you really CAN tell by feel)! While you are feeling the edges of each piece of paper, you can take the time to mention a couple of the influences listed, and tell why they are good things, but not as important to us as is Jesus. Then, when you're ready, show the 'JESUS' paper and tell about Him.
As you are feeling the edges of the paper pieces, hold onto the ones you do not want until you find the correct one. This way, you won't run the risk of picking up the same piece of paper more than once. Just hold the incorrect pieces in one hand until you have the 'JESUS' piece, then drop all the others back in the container.
OTHER APPLICATION IDEAS:
If you are teaching on the Fruit of the Spirit, you could write them all on your paper, with the particular fruit that is the subject of the day written in the center block. Reach into your container and pull forth the correct piece of paper, showing what the day's lesson will be about.
For a lesson on Choices, have on hand a box locked with a padlock, and nine keys (put some sort of 'treasure' in the box to give away). Label the keys with different colors: white, red, black, yellow, green, orange, pink, purple, and blue. The object is to select the correct key to unlock the padlock and open the box. Display the keys and write the color of each key in one of the nine boxes on your paper. Be sure to write the color of the correct key in the center box. Proceed as per the instructions above, producing the center piece of paper with the correct color choice.
Use your imagination, and you'll have a very visual object lesson that is easy to do - one that will make a great impact on your audience!
If you like this object lesson and use it, I'd sure like to hear from you! Just send me a quick email using the Comment link. Tell me how you used this and how your audience reacted. Thanks!
children's church, childrens church, sunday school, teacher, teach, child, puppet, ministry, kid's ministry, kids ministry, teacher training, devotions, devotional, preacher, pastor, children's pastor, puppet script, mentor, mentoring, vacation bible school, vbs, puppetry, puppet stage, bible