Key Verse: 1 Thessalonians 3:7-8 (NIV)

Therefore, brothers and sisters, in all our distress and persecution we were encouraged about you because of your faith. For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord.


Warm-up:

As children settle into the classroom begin with an icebreaker game:

Game Option 1: Guess a brick

  1. Each child draw a brick from a bag of color bricks without letting the others see it.

  2. They are to describe a person or thing that is of that color.

    • For older kids, you can also do a form of charade where they must act out the person or thing.

  3. The other children will have one guess (per person) on the color of the brick. Go clockwise around the table.

Game Option 2: Tall Tower

  1. Using the set of LEGO in front of them, build the tallest tower within the group of 2s.

  2. They will have 5 min. to build and the winner will be the group with the tallest tower at the end of the build time.

Transition: Clean up game:

  • Give 2 min. to deconstruct their build back into their respective case.

1. Introduction

* Ask children to take out their Bible and keep it open to 1 Thessalonians 2-3

Today our Bible passage comes from a letter that Paul wrote to a church in a city called Thessalonica. Does anyone know who Paul is?

Yes, Paul used to hate Christians, but one day Jesus met him on the road to another town, and after that, He became a Christian himself because he realised he was going against the one true God by hurting and killing Christians. After Paul had become a believer, he travelled everywhere to tell others about Jesus, and one of the towns he visited was Thessalonica. The people who lived there are called Thessalonians, that’s why this book is called Thessalonians, and because Paul wrote to them two times, we have first and second Thessalonians. So why do you think Paul wants to write to the Thessalonians?

* Discuss their guesses and answers

If we read his whole letter, we’ll realise Paul loved and cared for the believers in Thessalonica. Not only did he miss them, but he was not able to visit them. This is why he wrote the letter: to tell them how much he loves them, and also how much he cared for their faith. Paul was afraid that the Thessalonians would give up on their faith, or stop believing in Jesus because there were people in the city that did not like Christians. But Timothy reported back to Paul that the Thessalonians are standing firm in their faith. This is why in today’s key verse Paul say:

Therefore, brothers and sisters, in all our distress and persecution we were encouraged about you because of your faith. For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord.

So what does standing firm mean? Before we answer that let see if you can complete today’s challenge in building something that can stand firm.


2. Challenge Activity

Instructions:

Build a sturdy structure that can withstand a barrage of foam dart/ball projectiles (i.e. Nerf gun).  Provide a worksheet for them to draw/plan on and allow for 15min of build time. At the end of the build, line up all the structures and give each child an opportunity to shoot darts at their structure. Evaluation/points will be given for how high their minifigure is placed (see below). Deduction (-1 point) will be given for every piece that falls off the structure when fired on (Minifigure is considered one piece).

Requirements:

  1. Must be able to uphold/hold a minifigure; Minifigure must be placed above ground. For every one full piece height (or you can use metrics) to the feet of the minifigure is 1 pt.

  2. Must be at least the height of your fist.

  3. Must withstand 3 foam shots/hits; ~10 feet away (adjust as needed).

Transition:

  • Have children sit back down around their table
* Give timed warnings along the way (i.e. 5 min. warning, 1 min, warning). When time is up, have children put all the leftover pieces on the table back into the case before proceeding to the “test range”.
* It is recommended that the teacher do not provide an example of a LEGO structure they build. You may provide photos of real life structures that stand firm as an inspiration, but avoid actual LEGO example if possible. This will allow children to problem-solve as they work out their solution on the worksheet/paper and in the actual building exercise.

3. Application:

It’s not easy to build something that can stand firm, is it?

What do you think will make your structure stand firmer?  

* Discuss their input and ideas

For Paul, he was quite worried about the faith of the Thessalonians because there are many things that might knock down their faith, just like all the darts that tries to knock down your structure.

What are some things or events that can make it very hard for you to stand firm in your faith?

* Discuss their answers

Just like the Thessalonians, when bad things happen to us like distress or afflictions we may wonder if we should keep our faith in God. But Paul, who was also going through persecution and afflictions, said it is very much worth it to stand firm because one day our faith will be proven true when Jesus comes back again.

So how can we stand firm when trouble comes?

* Discuss their answers

Yes, in verse 11-13 Paul prayed that God would establish, or strengthen their hearts for God. A lot of time we may not have the strength to withstand the suffering and persecutions, but God does! He promises He will be faithful and He will strengthen us so we can stand firm in our faith until we see Jesus face to face. You can be sure that God can teach you to stand firm in sad, frustrating, confusing and even embarrassing times. He will be your strong base and protector. Our prayers to God is one of the most important things we can do, so let’s pray!

Key points to pray for:

  • Stand firm in faith when we are tempted to give up.
  • Stand firm when others want us to give up.
  • Stand firm because our God is faithful.
* If you are familiar with the class and the children, ask the children to pray within their groups of twos.

4. Take Home (Optional)

Take a polaroid of each group’s structure and write the verse reference and the theme “Stand Firm!” on it as a take home for each child.


5. Clean-up

Have children deconstruct and sort pieces back into the case.

* The LEGO set #9689 comes with a case with a bottom tub and a 4-slot sorting tray. Sorting and deconstruction can be one of the most unifying social activity as children delegate and organize the pieces.

Materials:

  • LEGO: You may provide your own selected pieces for the activities, but for the lesson plan shown we will be using LEGO Education set #9689 (204 pieces)

  • A non-transparent bag with color bricks (for icebreaker game option #1)

  • Nerf gun (Foam Darts)

  • Bible(s)

  • Worksheet/paper

  • Fujifilm/Polaroid (for optional take-home)

Setup:

  1. Rectangle table with chairs grouped in twos; Two groups per table.

  2. 1 set of LEGO for each group of twos.