For younger kids
Play follow the leader! To start, form a line with you in the lead and walk/dance/skip around the house, asking the kids to follow exactly what you are doing. Let each kid be leader for a little while.
When you are done, find some place comfortable to sit in a circle. Tell the kids: “Jesus said, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’ We follow Jesus because it is how we come to know and be close to God. Let’s play follow the leader again, but this time, let’s follow Jesus.”
Everyone stand up in a circle. Tell kids to follow what you are doing.
“We follow Jesus when we are friendly.” (Shake your own hand.)
“We follow Jesus when we are kind.” (Pat your own shoulder.)
“We follow Jesus when we give to others.” (Hold out your hand like you are giving something to another person.)
“We follow Jesus when we praise God.” (Say “God is good!”)
“We follow Jesus when we are honest.” (Put your hand up like you are saying an oath.)
“We follow Jesus when we love everyone.” (Put your arms around yourself like you are giving the world a big hug.)
Sit back down and ask kids, “What are other ways we can follow Jesus?” [Give them plenty of time to answer.] Say, “I try to follow Jesus everyday in every way. What is one thing you can do this week to follow Jesus?”
For older kids
Start by saying, “Let’s play a game. I am going to set my timer for one minute. Let’s see how many leaders we can think of before the timer runs out. Just call them out, and I’ll tally it up. Ready? Go!” [Let the kids come up with as many leaders as they can.]
It is likely most of the “leaders” kids come up with are political leaders. When the minute is up, if one of the kids has called out someone who influences trends or what’s cool, point that out. You can say, “I think it is really interesting that you said [So-and-so]. Why did you include him/her?” Or, if no one brings up a trend or cultural leader, ask “What about [Ariana Grande, Selena Gomez, whoever it is your kids think are cool]”? Guide kids toward understanding that there are also people who lead trends and what’s cool, not just political leaders. “Who do you think influences how you act day-to-day more, [a political leader that kids named] or [cultural icon]?” There are no right answers here. Just let the kids explore the idea that there are leaders or other people that influence the way they look/act/feel.
When you are done, you can transition to Jesus by saying something like, “What about Jesus? How does Jesus influence what we do day-to-day? What does Jesus lead us to do?” Spend time exploring/discussing how Jesus leads us. Jesus might lead us to be kind, giving, prayerful, honest, loving.
Jesus said, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’ We follow Jesus because it is how we come to know and be close to God. What are ways you find easy to follow Jesus? What ways are hard? [It is important that you as an adult share too.]