Editor’s note: Secular Halloween celebrations can be scary for small children. Even so, they often struggle to describe what they’re feeling. Fear is a difficult feeling for all of us—children and adults! With this Ministry Message, you can teach children to counteract their fears with the love of Jesus. For more products aimed at helping children manage their fears, browse through the resources at www.CTAinc.com.
You will need a large, paper grocery bag. Tape a sign on one side of the bag that reads: FEAR. On the opposite side, glue or tape a large cross fashioned from a piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil.
Place a Bible inside the bag, along with 8 to 10 sheets of blank paper and a marker or crayon.
As you begin, invite the children to sit down near you so that everyone can easily see. Position the paper bag so that only the FEAR side is visible to the children.
As you begin, ask these three questions:
- Who can read this sign?
- What do you think might be inside the bag?
- Who can show us how people look when they feel afraid?
(Remove the paper and marker from the bag. Then say:)
Children are sometimes afraid. What things are children sometimes afraid of?
(Write each suggestion the group makes on a separate sheet of paper and place it inside the bag. Note that many children will not feel comfortable revealing their own personal fears. Guide the conversation by mentioning a few of your own childhood fears—thunderstorms, the dark, monsters under the bed, and the like.)
Older children sometimes feel afraid, too. They might be afraid they will get a bad grade on a math test. They might worry about troubles with their friends.
(As you mention the fears of older children, write each fear on its own sheet of paper and place it in the bag.)
Do grown-ups ever feel afraid? What might frighten an adult?
(Let volunteers suggest some fears, but note that very young children may not realize that adults are sometimes afraid.)
Grown-ups might be afraid they won’t have enough money to pay the bills. They might be afraid they’ll get sick or lose their job.
(As grown-up fears are named, write each on its own sheet of paper and place it in the bag.)
Do you think we could keep naming things that people fear? Could we think of enough fears to fill up this bag? Yes, I think we could. People fear many, many things. We aren’t all afraid of everything, but we each fear some things, perhaps many things.
All this thinking about fears makes me a little afraid! Maybe you feel afraid, too. Let’s see what God tells us about our fears.
(Remove the Bible from the bag. Open to Isaiah 41:10 and read it.)
Did you hear that? God promises to be with us all the time. He will make us strong. He will help us. We don’t have to be afraid! I needed to hear that, didn’t you? Listen as I read it again. (Do so.)
God gives us this great promise because he knows that sometimes we do feel afraid. Some of the things we fear are real and dangerous. Some of them are just imaginary. But God will help us no matter what. He is our powerful, mighty God. Trusting in him, we are strong!
God makes these promises because he loves us. Do you know how much God loves you? He loves you so much that he sent Jesus to be your Savior. When Jesus lived on earth, he obeyed every one of God’s commands in our place. Then he died for our sins on the cross.
Jesus died, but Jesus didn’t stay dead. On the first Easter Sunday, God brought Jesus back to life. That means we know for sure all our sins are forgiven. One day, we will live with Jesus in heaven. We don’t even have to be afraid to die because we know one day we will live with Jesus and with one another. What a wonderful future God has in store for us!
(Read Isaiah 41:10 again. Then use the marker to write the word NO above the word FEAR on the paper bag, so that now it reads: NO FEAR. Then turn the paper bag around to reveal the cross.)
Jesus’ power and love shine brighter than any fear. Whenever we’re afraid, we can trust in him.
Let’s pray: Dear heavenly Father, sometimes we feel afraid. Thank you for promising to be with us always. Help us trust your power and love to protect, comfort, and help us. We ask this in Jesus’ holy and powerful name. Amen.
You are welcome to copy this article for one-time use when you include this credit line and receive no monetary benefit from it: © 2011 CTA, Inc. Used with permission.