Welcome to ROOTS at home for families
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© ROOTS for Churches Ltd (www.rootsontheweb.com) 2002-2020.
Reproduced with permission.
Read our article ROOTS at home - support for nurturing faith at home (www.rootsontheweb.com/faithathome)
What a reassuring message to have from Jesus as this time. This passage has a promise of care, protection, the knowledge which the shepherd has about each of us and the full and happy life he offers us. These are comforting words, even when that full and happy life seems to have been curtailed. See what abundance you have experienced even now and thank God for it as you worship him.
See Bible notes for more information on the passages for today.
Use this prayer as you begin your time of worship together. Nominate a leader or all join in together.
you gathered the disciples of Jesus,
and you gather us, here and now.
Just like the disciples, we pray:
fill us with your Holy Spirit
until we are overflowing.
Share the Bible story using the idea below to help you explore it together.
Open the Bible at John 10.1-10: Jesus tells us he is like a shepherd: he loves and protects us, so we can live a full and happy life.
Pen them in
Use objects to make your space look like a sheep pen, surrounded on every side, except for one open space for the entrance. You could invite someone/everyone to help set the area up.
Ask everyone to walk through the entrance and find a space to sit down. Once everybody is inside the ‘pen’, ask someone to lie down across the entrance to block it. Explain that this was how shepherds looked after their sheep: they became the ‘gate’, looking after their sheep.
Read the passage while inside the ‘pen’ together.
Stu McLellan, www.stumclellan.co.uk
Jesus said, ‘I am just like a good shepherd who takes care of his flock of sheep. He knows the names of all his sheep. When he calls them, they follow him into the safety of the sheepfold. And when he calls them out, they follow him wherever he goes, because they know and trust him. But if a stranger gets into the sheepfold and calls to the sheep, they refuse to follow, because they do not know the stranger’s voice. The gatekeeper only opens the gate for the good shepherd. Thieves and robbers try to break into the fold to steal the sheep, but the shepherd protects them from danger.’
The people listening to Jesus still did not understand what he was saying, so he said to them, ‘I am just like the gate of the sheepfold. All those who went before me were thieves and robbers who wanted to lead the sheep astray, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am not like a thief who comes to steal and kill and destroy. I am the gate: whoever enters by me will be saved and will come in and go out and find pasture. I came that the sheep might have a full and happy life.’
sheepfold an enclosure in a field to keep sheep safe from wild animals and thieves; firstcentury Middle Eastern sheepfolds were made of stone.
Spend time reflecting on the Bible passage, using the questions below as appropriate.
Talk together with children
- What things do you think Jesus is promising in a ‘full and happy life’?
- What things in your life make you feel full and happy?
- If abundance is having enough, with enough to share, how could we help our friends and our families live a full and happy life in abundance?
Talk together with young people
- What do you think it means to live life abundantly?
- Do your friends know that you have this life in abundance that Jesus gives?
- Are there any ways in which you can share that abundance?
Activities, songs and prayers
Choose from the activities below and do any or all of them in any order you wish. Some are designed for younger children and some for young people. However we hope using a mix will work for any ages in your household.
Divide the group into pairs and give each pair some paper, a pencil and a blindfold. Explain that one of each pair will now be blindfolded and guided, in word only, by their partner to draw something simple, e.g. a house. Then ask the pair to swap roles. How did it feel to have to listen to someone else leading you? How often do we listen for God leading us?
Retell the story
Give the children a selection of building blocks and invite them to build sheepfolds and gates. Provide toy sheep and some green cloth and encourage the children to retell the story.
Make an edible reminder of abundance
You will need: plain biscuits, paper plates, green icing, spoons, long sweets, e.g. cola strips, liquorice laces, and mini marshmallows.
- Give each child a plate and two biscuits. Ask everyone to cover the top of the biscuits with green icing using a spoon.
- Then encourage the children to place long sweets around the outside edge of the biscuits to make a fence (leaving a gap for the gate) and add a few marshmallows to the centre of each biscuit to represent sheep.
- Keep the biscuits to use in Prayer and share (below), or allow the children to eat one and give the other to someone.
Spend some quiet time reflecting on the passage, as well as what you have been doing in the activities you chose.
Bring in a selection of newspapers and magazines or access to particular posts on social media. Invite the young people to look through them for people who are trying to:
- be like shepherds
- get more followers
- persuade people to their point of view.
Discuss what they find, and then ask: how do they feel if someone clicks ‘like’ on one of their posts? Who do they follow?
Reflect on what we have and how we can share it
You will need: a piece of paper (or several glued together) big enough for a person to be drawn around; pens.
- Ask for a volunteer to lie down on top of the paper and another to draw round them so that you have a person outline on the paper.
- Encourage the group to gather round the paper person and to write down or draw inside the shape as many things they can think of that we may have in abundance, e.g. smiles, friends, clothes, food.
- Then ask the children to think about how we could share our abundant life with those in our homes, schools, church and elsewhere. Ask them to write down these ideas on the paper around the outside of the person shape.
Finish your time of worship by praying together in any way you choose (there are more prayers on our prayers page.
Power in pairs
Split the group into pairs and, if they are comfortable doing so, ask them to share with each other some of the things they are worried about, and want to find peace about. Then encourage them to pray for one another about those things, and to read Psalm 23 together.
Finish by singing and then praying together:
Jesus shepherd (Tune: Baa baa black sheep), words by Emily Hoe-Crook)
Jesus shepherd, helping me to grow,
follow, follow, show me where to go.
If I turn away from him, Jesus loves me back again.
Jesus shepherd, helping me to grow,
follow, follow, show me where to go.
fill us up this week.
When we are worried or happy,
when we are with others or alone,
when we feel tired, and
when we feel most alive.
Guide us home to you.
Sing and listen
Preview songs on YouTube, buy online and download.
Key to abbreviations for hymn book titles
The baa baa song (He’s the good shepherd), Kevin Bueltmann, Sibling Harmony
Wandering like lost sheep, Andy Silver (CJP 482)
This is living, Hillsong kids on Can you believe it?
You never let go, Matt Redman on Essential worship
The Lord’s my shepherd, Stuart Townend on Stuart Townend ultimate collection
New man, Charles Dada, on New man
Let there be light, Third Day on Revival
Into the deep (live), Citipointe live on Into the deep
See also Same Boat @ HOME
Live your faith
Give away something this week to someone who may need it more than you, as a sign of our abundant life.
Share the message of hope and abundant life that Jesus gives with one of your friends on social media using the hashtag #livingmybestlife.
(Links to the PDFs for these can also be found at the end of the page.)
Notes on the Bible story for parents and carers
- Penning the sheep in for the night back in Jesus’ time was very different from farming today. Although the sheep would be securely hemmed in by stone walls or some other kind of barrier, there would be a space where, instead of a gate, the shepherd would lie down: to watch his sheep, to keep them secure in the pen, and to be alert should an enemy seek to attack.
- Once again, the disciples don’t seem to understand the message that Jesus was sharing about being a shepherd, and ask him what he means. Jesus refers back to Mark 4 that not everyone will understand, but we need ears to hear. Listening to Jesus’ voice is key to this analogy of Jesus as a shepherd, as he says that the sheep will not follow a stranger, but they recognise the voice of the shepherd and will follow him to abundance.
- What does abundance look like to you? In the Early Church, described in Acts, abundance meant having enough to share and being generous to one another, ensuring that no one goes without. Abundance meant being with, sharing with and worshipping alongside each other, and it was in the midst of all this that many were added to their number daily, and numerous wonders and signs appeared. Abundance is this picture of having enough, with enough to share.
I wonder how often we live in that kind of abundance: sharing all things in common.