Reading Luke with the Good Book Club
This Lent, many churches will be reading the Gospel of Luke. This is part an initiative called the Good Book Club, and it is so exciting!
But what about children? The Gospel of Luke has so many stories and elements which are formative for children. Churches have an opportunity to make the Lenten Luke study an exciting journey for all ages.
A Seven Week Godly Play Series for the Gospel of Luke
The Godly Play curriculum includes many stories from the Gospel of Luke. Below is one way you might use Godly Play stories to create a children’s program alongside The Good Book Club Lenten study.
Use of special materials: For each week we suggest special materials to offer during the Godly Play response time. Rather than offering a specific craft, we suggest materials that encourage children’s curiosity and personal exploration of the story. We recommend leaving the materials from previous weeks in the room, as some children connect strongly with particular stories/materials and enjoy returning to them week after week.
Week One – Luke 1:1-4:13
The first week of Good Book Club readings for Lent begins with the foretelling of John the Baptist’s birth, includes the birth of Jesus, and concludes with the temptation of Jesus in the desert.
Godly Play Story: The Holy Family
Description: The Holy Family describes the story of Jesus’s birth. It emphasizes those who were present at the birth and those who arrived soon after the birth. This story provides an opportunity to discuss how God became human, why God was born as a baby, and why this matters.
Special materials for response time: Markers, and/or paint, wooden dolls. Children might use these materials to create their own nativity scene.
Week Two – Luke 4:14-7:50
The second week of readings covers the beginning of Jesus’ ministry in Galilee. Jesus teaches, preaches, and calls the disciples. This week’s readings include many instances of healing, as well as Jesus teaching on loving your enemies.
Godly Play Story: Parable of the Good Samaritan
Description: This parable describes a Samaritan man caring for a man who has been beaten, robbed, and left for dead. This story provides an opportunity to discuss loving those who are different, including our enemies.
Week Three – Luke 8:1-11:13
This week’s readings include multiple parables, such as the Parable of the Sower. There is also the feeding of the five thousand and the Transfiguration.
Godly Play Story: Parable of the Sower
Description: This parable describes a sower scattering seeds on different types of ground: the path, among the thorns, and on the rocky ground, and finally in good, rich soil.
Special materials for response time: trays (or bowls) with seeds, birds, rocks, weeds, and soil. These materials allow children to explore the parable withe multiple senses.
Week Four – Luke 11:14-14:35
In this week’s Good Book Club readings, Jesus continues his ministry of healing, preaching, and teaching. The parable of the mustard seed is one of the parables in this weeks readings.
Godly Play Story: Parable of the Mustard Seed
Description: This parable describes a small seed growing into a huge shrub. The shrub provides shelter for birds. This story shows how, with God, something tiny can become something extraordinary.
Special materials for response time: Glue, paper plates, and a variety of seeds including mustard seeds – different seeds could be labeled. Children use these materials to compare different size seeds and/or create seed medallions.
Week Five – Luke 15:1-18:17
This week’s readings are filled with parables, including the parable of the lost sheep. In addition, Jesus blesses the little children.
Godly Play Story: Parable of the Good Shepherd
Description: The Good Shepherd shows deep loving care for the sheep. The shepherd knows them by name, leads them, provides for them, and keeps them safe. The shepherd searches for them when they are lost and is even willing to give his own life for theirs.
Special materials for response time: cotton balls, construction paper, googly eyes. Children might use these materials to create sheep.
Week Six – Luke 18:18-22:46
Readings this week include Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem and the institution of the last supper. The readings conclude with Jesus praying on the Mount of Olives.
Godly Play Story: The Synagogue and the Upper Room
Description: This story describes Jesus’ last week in Jerusalem, with particular emphasis on the Last Supper.
Special materials for response time: pita bread, kitchen scissors, plastic baggies. Children might tear or cut (with help) wedges of pita bread and put them in a baggie to bring home to share.
Week Seven – Luke 22:47-24:53
This week’s readings begin with Jesus’ betrayal and arrest and include the crucifixion,
Godly Play Story: Faces of Easter
Description: This story describes Jesus’s life – from birth through resurrection – in a series of seven drawings. Through this story leaders can help children to synthesize the entire Gospel narrative.
Special materials for response time: clay, play dough, or salt-dough. Children might use these materials to create a cross or an empty tomb.
Sarah Bentley Allred is an MDiv. student at Virginia Theological Seminary. Previously, Sarah served for four years as Director of Children’s and Youth Ministries at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in High Point, North Carolina. She loves local coffee shops, board games, the beach, and exploring new places with her husband, Richard, and their dog, Grace.