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)
This is the very end of Matthew’s Gospel. It might be interesting to explore together how this Gospel sends us all out to live as witnesses and how we can worship, live and learn in the light of the last words which Jesus speaks. In your worship together reflect on Jesus’ promise that he is always with us. 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.
present in creation;
risen and ascended;
inspiring and transforming;
be present among us,
as we worship you today.
Share the Bible story using the idea below to help you explore it together.
Matthew 28.16-20 Jesus sends his disciples out to live for him and help others to live for him too.
Let’s draw the story
Give the group paper and pens (flipchart paper and marker pens would be ideal) and suggest everyone helps you to draw the story as you tell it. Encourage the group to use words and pictures. Think about: who was present, where they went, how they felt, what was said and what happened next. See if the group can write and draw the ‘next chapter’.
Joanna Kerr, www.joannakerr.com
Jesus’ eleven disciples were on their way to Galilee.* Jesus had told them to meet him on a mountain there and that is where they were heading.* As they approached the mountain, they saw the risen Jesus standing there and many of them worshipped him. But others doubted – they weren’t sure it was Jesus.*
Jesus came to them all and said, ‘I have been given all power in heaven and on earth.* So go from here. Tell people about God. Make disciples all over the world.* Baptize people in the name of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.* Share with them all that I have taught you and help them to obey my commandments. And remember, I will always be with you, until the very end of time.’*
commandments: a set of rules to follow in life, given by God.
Spend time reflecting on the Bible passage, using the questions below as appropriate.
Talk together with children
- What kind of feelings did Jesus’ disciples have in the story?
- How did you first hear about Jesus?
- Is it easy to tell people about Jesus? Why or why not?
Talk together with young people
- What does this tell us about Jesus?
- How does Jesus involve the disciples in the life of God?
- What challenges you about Jesus’ final message?
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.
Place a bottle of cola in a space (ideally outside – this will be messy!) and gather everyone round. Drop a mint (Mentos™ work well – one is enough but add more for more effect!) into the bottle and watch as the liquid bursts out and overflows. Explore together how this illustrates the way that Jesus’ story flowed into the world as he sent his disciples out.
Living the life
Make a journal to record your walk with Jesus
You will need: A5 pieces of coloured card, decorations, pens, A5 pieces of plain paper, ribbon.
- Talk to everyone about how we can reflect on our life with Jesus. One way is to spend a few minutes at the end of the day thinking back over the day and writing down what was good, what was difficult and where God was.
- Invite everyone to make journals for writing these reflections in. Ask them to first fold a piece of card in half like a book cover and decorate it in any way they choose. Help them fold eight plain pieces of paper in half and stack them inside each other to make the pages.
- Then ask everyone to fix their journal pages inside their cover by tying a piece of ribbon around the fold.
- If you have time during the session, encourage everyone to start writing in their new journals; or to take them home to fill in.
Play dough people
Lay out play dough in different colours and people-shaped cookie cutters. Encourage everyone to make lots of different people to represent all those wanting to find out more about Jesus.
Play dough recipe
Spend some quiet time reflecting on the passage, as well as what you have been doing in the activities you chose.
Share some stories of missionaries living today who share the gospel of Jesus. You may have examples linked to your church that you can share, or you could share some of the stories of the Eden workers, working for The Message Trust. A number of stories can be printed from the website, including Nathan’s story.
Finish your time of worship by praying together in any way you choose (there are more prayers on our Prayers page).
Paper doll prayers
Distribute paper, pens and scissors and invite everyone to make a set of paper dolls (where they are joined at the hands and feet). On each of their paper dolls, ask everyone to write the name of a friend who they hope to share the good news of Jesus with. Gather the paper dolls together and pray over each of these names. Ask everyone to swap paper dolls so that they can pray for all their friends in the coming weeks.
Use this song as you do the following activity: Let it be known, Worship central on Let it be known
Give each person an inflated balloon. Encourage everyone to pat the balloons around the room to each other as you shout out this praise: Thank you, God, that we can all know you. Thank you, God, that we can help others to know more about you.
You may wish to use the additional resources below to worship together and/or the activity sheets for children.
Sing and listen
Preview songs on YouTube, buy online and download.
Key to abbreviations for hymn book titles
I’m gonna jump up and down (be happy) (CJP 559)
Every move I make, Hillsong kids on Totally kids worship everyday
Tell the world, Hillsong kids on Tell the world
We’re following Jesus (CJP 487)
Jesus, all for Jesus
I will follow, Chris Tomlin on And if our God is for us
Mistakes, Unspoken on Just give me Jesus
Go light your world, Chris Rice on Short term memories
See also Same Boat @ HOME
Live your faith
Think about who you might share news about Jesus with this week and then do it – using words or action.
(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
- Matthew 28.16-20 are the concluding words of Matthew’s Gospel. Jesus gathers his disciples together on the mountain to speak his last words over them, before he ascends to heaven. The details of the ascension are not explored here, as Matthew chooses to place his emphasis on Jesus’ final instructions.
- In verse 17, Matthew explores how all the disciples worshipped him, though some doubted. Even here, in this community of worship, there is room for doubters, those who have questions to ask. The Greek words are actually both participles, ‘worshipping’ and ‘doubting’, so it could be that the same disciples are doing both actions.
- The words of Jesus’ closing command over his followers, in verse 19, ‘Go…and make disciples…’ often loses its emphasis in translation: ‘Go’ was not the instruction, but rather, ‘As you are going…make disciples.’ The understanding is that Jesus’ disciples will move out from this place, and as they do so, their instruction is to make more disciples.
- These readings for today all share a focus on the importance of words – in creation, in reconciliation, in making new disciples. But these words are not to be empty; they become life-giving for the world when they derive their power from the very character of God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This final commission is our commission too. Wherever we are going, we are to make disciples, passing on the story and bringing others into our family of faith.