Use this Sunday school lesson with kids to help them stand up to their friends’ negative influences and resist peer pressure.
1. Opener-With two balls of clay, have two children each form a pot. Assign the following words to four different volunteers: cheating, lying, arguing and complaining. Have your volunteers each come forward, tell their word and poke only one of the pots. Ask: “Which pot looks better? Which pot is shaped the way it was meant to be? Explain.”
2. The Potter and the Clay–Say: The Bible says God is the potter and we are the clay.
Hold up a poster with Isaiah 64:8 written on it. Read aloud the verse, and have the class repeat it after you. Then ask: What does this verse mean?
Say: If we allow others to mold us instead of letting God mold us, we may end up looking like this pot. (Hold up the poked pot.) We won’t become who God wants us to be. The Bible warns us to stay away from doing wrong things. Friends sometimes want you to do wrong things such as disobeying your parents or cheating. You can learn to say no, so you can do what’s right.
Give children each a piece of clay and let them form their own creation. Remind them as they’re working that, as the creator, they can make the clay into something they like, just as God makes us into something he likes. Afterward, have kids wash their hands.
3. Human Sculpture-Form groups of no more than five. Ask for a volunteer in each group to sit on the floor. Have group members in that group “sculpt” the person into a position that shows something Christians do. For example, kids may sculpt a child praying or reading a Bible.
After kids are finished, have them reveal their human sculpture. Tell the sculpture to remain in position.
Then have the other group’s members tell wrong things that friends can pressure kids to do. As they say each thing, have group members move the child’s body parts into other positions.
Say: Each of you is God’s beautiful sculpture, but choosing to do the wrong thing can change that sculpture. People who pressure you to choose wrong things are helping you ruin God’s beautiful work in your life. You can cooperate with God by choosing the right things.
Have the human sculpture yell “no” and return to his or her original sculpted position.
4. Made to Order-Give kids edible “play” dough (mix 1 cup of powdered milk, 2 tablespoons of honey and 2 cups of peanut butter) and napkins. Have children shape their dough into the word “no.” As kids eat their words, remind them that God has given them the power to say no to friends who pressure them to do wrong things.
5. Single-Minded–Say: Let’s discover how we have the choice to stand up for what’s right, but sometimes friends try to get us to do what’s wrong. When friends try to get us to do something we don’t want to do, that’s called peer pressure.
Form pairs. If you have an uneven number, form one group of three. Using string, tie partners together side by side. Tell children they can’t talk during this game.
Then call out the following commands and give children time to follow the commands: run to the side; hop up and down; lie on your side; go around in a circle.
Afterward, read aloud James 1:5-8. Then ask: “How difficult was it to work together? What does it mean to be “double-minded”? How was this game like being double-minded? Is a double-minded person more or less likely to give in to peer pressure? Explain. According to James, how can we be “single-minded”?
Say: Having two brains working together is like being double-minded. There are two minds thinking two different things. Let’s play the game again where you can talk and see what it’s like to be single-minded.
Play the game again and allow children to talk.
Then ask: Was the game easier or more difficult when you could talk? Explain. Was this more like being double-minded or single-minded?” Explain. “How can talking to God help us be single-minded? How can we stand up for what’s right if we’re single-minded?
6. Stand-Up Poster-Lead children in brainstorming times they didn’t stand up when they should have and times they’ve seen others pressured to do something they shouldn’t have. List these on a sheet of newsprint.
Form groups of no more than four. Give each group a sheet of posterboard, construction paper, scissors, markers and transparent tape. Have groups each choose and create a stand-up scene that depicts one of the situations on the newsprint list. Children can make their scenes 3-D by bending and taping the bottoms of cut-out figures to the posterboard.
When groups are finished with their stand-up posters, have them each explain their poster and tell what would’ve been a good choice in that situation.
7. Taking a Stand-Serve children Oreo cookies. Encourage them to twist the cookies apart and eat each side separately so they’ll remember to be single-minded instead of double-minded in making future choices.
Have children each name one area to be single-minded in. Then close in prayer.