How to Teach the Sermon on the Mount to Children
29 SEP 2017
The Sermon on the Mount, found in the New Testament Book of Matthew, chapters 5-7, teaches people how to approach God and how to treat others. The Sermon on the Mount answers the popular question, “What Would Jesus Do?” Teaching the Sermon on the Mount to children in Sunday school, Bible club or other small group, can be done over the course of a few weeks. Teaching the Sermon on the Mount piece by piece gives children a chance to understand what they are learning before moving on to the next element of the story.
1 Divide and Conquer
The Sermon on the Mount can be divided into seven distinct sections: the Beatitudes (Matthew 5: 3-12), anger and revenge (Matthew 5: 21-26, 38-48), marriage (Matthew 5: 27-32), the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6: 9-13), money (6:1-4, 6:19-21, 6:24), the golden rule (Matthew 7:1-5, 7:12), and not to worry but put your trust in God (Matthew 6:25-34, 7:7-11). Teach one section each week, but consider combining the sections on marriage and money, depending on the age group of the children you are teaching, since younger children’s level of experience with those two topics will be more limited.
2 A Be-Attitude Adjustment
The Beatitudes portion of the Sermon on the Mount deals with blessings for certain responses or ways of living. Children are especially intrigued by Jesus’s words in this section, since they often go against the norms of societal expectations. For example: when children think of this verse, “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven,” they often think a person must be physically poor to go to Heaven. What is really being taught is that when a person is poor in spirit, she realizes every good thing comes from God. Illustrate the difference between being poor in spirit and physically poor by bringing in a bank filled with coins. Give each child a handful of coins until none are left. Talk about how good it makes you feel to give the money away; that giving of yourself is the greatest reward.
3 Anger Management
Teaching kids about anger and revenge from the Sermon on the Mount can help them learn about appropriate emotional responses in different situations. Being angry is a natural human response, but acting out in anger is never a good idea. Create a worksheet with two columns: one with feelings and one with angry actions. Have the students label the words in each column with the letter, "F" for “feeling” and the letter "A" for “action.” Discuss the differences between the words in the two columns, any responses that were incorrect and why.
4 Sermon Word Search
Word search puzzles are a great way to reinforce the concepts learned in the Sermon on the Mount. Choose puzzles that are appropriate for your age groups that include grade-level word lists to prevent frustration. Use word search puzzles at the end of the lesson as a wrap-up activity or at the beginning of the lesson for a quiet seat activity while students are coming in to the classroom.