Grades 1-6: Watch Out! Session 5 – Loving the Unlovable

Scripture: Luke 19:1-10

Grades 1-3

Introductory Activity – Confetti Toss

  • Gather a large amount of paper confetti and paper bags.

Allow each child to get a handful of confetti. When you say “Go,” kids can toss the confetti. Encourage them to continue to pick up confetti and toss it. Hand out more confetti as available. After a minute or so, call for kids to stop. Give each child a paper bag and ask him to pick up the confetti and put it in the bag. Clean up as much confetti as you can.

Tell kids: “It was easy to scatter and toss the confetti. It was harder to pick up the confetti. Sometimes it is easy to treat people in a mean or unkind way, especially if they are unkind to us. However, we cannot easily fix it when we are mean. It is better to act in a loving way in the first place.” Tell kids that you will be talking about showing love to all people.

Note: Sweep or vacuum the area to clean up all the confetti before moving to next activity. Get kids to help!

Live It Out – Rhythm Reading

  • Gather large pieces of paper and markers.

Tell the children to find Life Verse in their Bibles. Talk about showing love to one another. Note that sometimes people are difficult to love. Guide the children to talk about ways they can show love, especially to people hard to love. Post a large piece of paper and print the words and phrases that children suggest. Encourage the girls and boys to talk about situations they may have encountered. Ask how the children were able to resolve those problems.

Read through the list you have made. Children may think of other words or phrases to add to the list. Tell children they can use the words and phrases to write several sentences for a rhythm reading. They may want paper and pencils to experiment with sentences before creating final versions. Tell kids that the final reading should have about six or seven short sentences. Listen to ideas and lead kids to choose what they want in the reading. They may want to begin and end with the same sentence. Allow them to lead the process. Print the sentences on a clean piece of paper and post it on the wall.

Guide the kids to read the sentences aloud together. Lead the group to read the words again. This time, help them to clap a rhythm or rhythmic pattern as they read the words. Try two or three different rhythms. If time remains, allow the children to decorate or illustrate the reading they have written.

Teaching Tip: You may want to make a video of kids doing the rhythm reading. You could send a copy of the video to each child or post the video on an appropriate social media site (with parent permission).

Grades 4-6

Introductory Activity – Tabletop Golf

  • Gather paper cups, pompoms, craft sticks, and index cards.
  • Print these words on index cards, one word per card: Jericho, crowd, tax collector, tree, short, Jesus.
  • Cut a three-sided notch down into the cup. Place the cup upside down on a table, so the notch makes an opening like a tunnel or cave.

Give a child a pompom and a craft stick. He should lay the pompom on the table opposite from the cup and use the craft stick to hit the pompom, trying to get the pompom in “hole” in the cup. If the pompom goes in, give the group one of the cards with a story word. If the ball misses, another child gets a turn. When all the story words are revealed, challenge the children to name the person in the Bible story. Tell them that they will talk about how to show love to people who are hard to love.

Teaching Tip: Create several sets so teams or groups of children can play at once.

Live It Out – Reversal Role Plays

  • Gather pencils and paper.

Guide children to list people whom are difficult to show love to or times it may be difficult to show love to someone else. (Answers could include bully, coach who isn’t fair, cafeteria server, grouchy neighbor, rude fan at a ball game, kid on another sports team, teacher who seems to dislike me.) Write the ideas on paper. Then lead kids to write out some scenarios. (For example, The coach always chooses Katie to be the pitcher.) Write at least five scenarios.

Choose a scenario and ask a child to help you play it out. The child will play the “hard to love” person and you will play the person showing love. Pause as you role-play and ask for input from those watching. Do this a couple of times. (If the teacher plays this role, children may feel less self-conscious and more active in developing solutions.) Play out a few of the scenarios as time allows.

Give children an opportunity to think about one specific situation that could occur this week in which they will need to choose to love others. Pray, asking God to help boys and girls show love to others throughout this week.



  1. I have taught Sunday school for many years now (approching 20). I never really liked the old format/activities for Lifeway products. I was really excited for the changes in the literature. Sadly, I have been more disappointed than I ever was with the “old” material. I tried the new material for 1 month. Now, I have ordered from a different company. Sadly, the only thing I liked about the new material was the pictures…and that is not enough to warrant the purchase of lifeway. I found it hard to “connect” the life application or theme to the selected scripture. For instance, the children and Jesus to “speak kind words”. I feel like this whole unit has been repetative…love everyone, love the hard to love, speak in love to everyone…all pretty much the same concept. I did not like having only 2 verses. I think we are truly dumbing down things when we begin to think 5/6th graders can not learn more than 1 verse a month…and truly hide the word in their hearts. Many things suggest using a DVD or computer activity. I have neither of those that can be accessed on Sunday mornings. Not only teach at church but also at school. I feel I am able to adapt and change pretty easily but this new format and material is not for me.

    • Hi CJ,

      I’m so disappointed that you are unhappy with the changes. As an educator yourself, I am sure that you will understand our reasoning for using two verses every unit. We wanted the kids to learn the verse in the same way they learn how to do math. Through repetition. We wanted them to KNOW the verse with their heads and their hearts and internalize it like one would internalize a grammatical rule. We didn’t intend to dumb down the Scripture but to enhance it to a place where kids would truly KNOW it. As you noticed, we are very thematic in our approach to learning. We want to cover the entire concept from loving those who God loves and we don’t want to, to those that we find easy to love. I would love to discuss what curriculum you have changed to. I also wonder if you looked at the Gospel Project? I think your preteens might enjoy it.

    • Charrae Freeman says:

      I agree with CJ. I have given the new material one month also. I,too, am disappointed. It has less to offer than the old material. Please bring it back. The quality for this series is less appealing — seems rather cheap. The children I have taught were really picking up the scriptures and the concepts each month using the old material. They enjoyed the activities which seem to have less options now. Did you really think this change would offer a better curriculum? I enhance each lesson with ideas from the old material. I do like the parent connection page which goes home each week. (I did use the newletters provided in the old material which helped enforce the scriptures each week at home.)

      C Freeman

      • Hi Charrae,

        I’m sorry to hear of your disappointment. I’m not sure what you are finding less to offer as their are the same number of pages and the exact same outline as BTFK. We did change the titles of the sections which I explained to CJ, but the only other things are that we added the DVD as a option. If you could be specific about what you are finding missing it would be helpful for us as we plan future issues. As far as it being cheap, we definitely tried to make thing feel like better quality. Intensified design. Better music, more choices, and even much greater paper quality. I’m very sorry that you have been disappointed in our improvements. I’d love to hear more about your specific issues withs the curriculum. (Forgive typos! I’m typing on my iPad!)

    • I too agree with CJ’s comment. The message is so repetitive and very simplified. CJ, which curriculum did you switch to?

      • I’m sorry that you are finding the message repetitive. Can you give me an example of the sessions you are finding repetitive?

  2. Just in response to the posts above – I appreciate there are only two verses. The reality is (at least in our church) that most of our kids do not learn scripture at home. I would love it but it just doesn’t happen. So throwing so many verses at our students…their eyes just glaze over. The thought of dumbing it down did cross my mind. But these lessons are separate concepts…our students are dealing with tough stuff at home and at school. I think these lessons brought up different discussion each Sunday to further enforce truely loving everyone.

    We do struggle with using DVD’s just because we don’t have the equipment. I know from experience LifeWay takes out comments into consideration and appreciate that. I’ve talked with our teachers and encouraged them to post comments and suggestions. This has been an adjustment for me because like CJ I had used the “old” material for several years. However, what I find is that using new material makes me really plan and think about our lesson.

    • Hey Sandra,

      We don’t expect every church to use the DVDs. They are a great option for many churches, but it is quite costly to have the equipment in every class, so we never intended for you to feel like it was a “must have.” I hope that you find plenty of material otherwise.

  3. Brenda Shupert says:

    This material is very usable without the DVD or CD. It requires SS teachers and helpers to be more creative in the ways they teach and get the message of the material across to the kids. I have always found the school teachers make very poor SS teachers. The same “rules” that apply at school should not apply in the church setting and when kids come to church they should not feel like they are “in school”. SS teachers and children workers have to be creative and think outside the box. Lifeway has merely put together material to guide us. We have to think about and plan SS lessons through out the week not on Saturday night or Sunday when we are already at church! There is nothing wrong with repeating things over and over in lessons while at church. Kids are only at church maybe 3 hours in a week’s time! They only get tired and bored if the material is communicated poorly and in a boring manner.
    Children workers in churches need to get into the modern world of how our kids learn now a days and not keep hanging on to the older traditional methods of teaching Sunday School.
    Thanks to Lifeway they allow us to do it if we set our minds to it!

    • Hi Brenda,

      Thanks for embracing change. I appreciate your open mind. If you get a chance, do be sure to check out the DVDs. People have really loved the addition and they only take about 5 minutes of class time. Check back with us often. We want to know how things are going.

    • Wow, what a judgemental comment. Just because the material does not work for my particular class does not mean I am ill prepared, run the classroom like a school class or am doing a poor job conveying the message. I will hold tongue on my other comments.

  4. It was not easy to get familiar to the new look, new material, and new everything. HaHa!
    But I am getting pretty good feed backs from my sunday school teachers.
    For younger children, teachers say that material is more focused on the theme and easier to understand, so they can teach better.
    For older children, teachers say that activities are too simple to make a connection between the theme and reality. Overall, we are happy to use this material.
    Thank you!

    • Hi,

      Thanks for the positive feedback. We are happy it is working for your church. We’ll work on improving the material for your older children’s area.

  5. I totally agree with Charrae Freeman. I have been teaching fourth grade level for many years. There have been changes over the years which have been creative and positive. The current material is the biggest disappointment. Session 4 was a total loss! Sorry to be so blunt, but the material for all the sessions are poorly presented. What is wrong with having the lessons dated? I am not supportive of the two verses for 5 weeks. Curriculum material presented previously suggested games, etc. to help students learn the weekly verses. I am not a school teacher! Technology has not reached the individual classrooms in the local church therefore information presented in the present curriculum is not adaptable.

    • Hi M.,

      I’m sorry that you are disappointed in the curriculum. As I pointed out to Cherrae, the format hasn’t changed, just the look and the titles of the different sections. Leader Bible Study (Personal Bible Study), Practice Bible Skills (Preview), Introductory Activity (Power Up), Study the Bible (Plug In), and Live It Out (Personalize). As you know there are 9 different Bible Studies for Life: Kids age groups, so I’m not sure how to address your concerns for session 4 without knowing which grade level you teach. Also, please let me know specifically what you found to be lacking in those sessions. Knowing specifics are the only way we can really take corrective action towards making things better. Also, I am going to look into your concern of no activities to learn the verses. I read all of the leader guides and I don’t recall every session not having an activity with the verse. The key behind the 2 verses per 6-week unit is that we want the kids to really learn the verses and not just quickly memorize them. We want to enforce longterm memorization in the same way teachers in school teach grammatical rules. By lots of practice and review. We do refer to the CD and DVD, but is absolutely possible to use the curriculum without the benefit of those resources. They are strictly optional.

  6. CChenoweth says:

    I am concerned about the quality and direction of the new SS literature. As children’s SS director, I have received independent comments from all three levels in our children’s SS area: Grades 1/2, 3/4, 5/6. All comments have a common theme: the literature is not good. The teachers say the lessons are very shallow and not presented in a way that keeps the interest of the children. The lessons also do not have a clear direction to them. One teacher commented, “Today’s lesson is all over the place. I’m not sure what I’m supposed to be teaching this morning.” Even the supporting materials are not the quality we have been receiving. I have reviewed some of the take-home material and have found it to not be very challening at all. I also noticed a lack of color. I know color doesn’t “teach” but it certainly makes learning more fun. Does Lifeway have another series of literature we could order for the upcoming quarter while this gets corrected? I really do NOT want to go outside Lifeway to order as I would be concerned about “truth without error”.

    • Hi,

      I’m sorry that you are hearing negative comments from your teachers. We really didn’t change any of the content or even the outlines for that matter. Just the titles of the sections to try to make them clearer. In order to address specific concerns about the curriculum being shallow, I would need to hear specific examples. We haven’t heard from others complaining the lessons were shallow, so I’m not exactly sure which ones you are referring to. As to the lack of color, we were trying to keep the look of the entire brand, but are realizing that was too far from what Kids Leaders are looking for. You will see more color in the future. Check out this blog post:

      I hope this helps. I would really love to hear specifics about what your teachers are finding shallow and all over the place.

      • C Chenoweth says:

        The specific feedback I received today was that that the literature tries to fit a story into a theme–rather than teaching the true meaning of the story. The stories from Sunday to Sunday have no continuity and they don’t really fit into a common theme. The teachers would like a better flow from week to week. Another example given was that It was felt that the teaching suggestion for girls to make a bracelet of something they wanted to remember was not a good teaching tool for the Lord’s Supper. The Lord’s Supper and the Cross should teach about our salvation rather than bracelets. Again the feedback was given that the lessons are not challenging enough in that there is no challenge to memorize even one verse a week. Thank you for listening. We hope to see improvement in the literature going forward.

        • Hi,

          Thanks so much for the specific feedback. That is helpful. This was our first issue and we were showing the range of Bible Studies for Life from Old and New Testament. I think that your teachers will like seeing the more specific continuity in the future issues where we do person studies, specific book studies, etc. Please continue to keep us up to date with how things are going.

  7. 4 out of 5 lessons are on how to treat people. It is repetitive. I have run out of different illustrations on how to treat people, especially with children. I praise the Lord for your efforts. I am going over this weeks lesson and it feels like that I taught it last week, accept without using Zaccheus. We are on lesson 5

    • Hi Jo,

      I’m sorry you are finding repetition. That wasn’t our intent. Please hang in there with us and let us know if you think it gets better.


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