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GIS VBS Day 1 Elementary: The Good Soil Bible Lesson

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In A Nutshell

Jesus used The Parable of the Sower to teach us that we must open our hearts to God’s word. Farmer Paul uses hands-on teaching with a garden to convey the message that we want to have a good heart, so God’s love will grow in us. This lesson is part of the Growing In The Son VBS, but it can be easily adapted and used as a stand alone Bible Lesson.

GIS VBS Day 1 Elementary: The Good Soil Bible Lesson

Ages

Elementary, Tweens

Scripture

Luke 8:4-8, Luke 8:11-15

Memory Verse

“Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.” Mark 4:20

What You Will Need

  • Garden plot, children’s wading pool or heart-shaped garden (See Related Activities).
  • Tarp to go under the wading pool if inside
  • Bible
  • Trowel
  • Packed down dirt to make hard crusty soil for 1/4 of the garden (If you have clay soil, wet it and the top will harden)
  • Rocks
  • Weeds with roots (the easiest way is to dig some up with a shovel and transplant with the dirt and roots)
  • Soft, fertile soil like potting soil
  • Bucket for teacher and each child
  • Peanuts in the shell to represent seeds
  • Hand wipes or some sort of hand washing station
  • 3-4 silk flowers standing up in small cups (use a bit of clay in the bottom to hold them in place)
  • Completed Day 1 Seed Packet

Station Preparation

  • For the garden, you can use a plot of ground outside, or create an indoor or outdoor garden using a children’s wading pool or our heart-shaped pool filled with dirt. To create the heart-shaped pool from pool noodles, see Garden Instructions in Related Activities. If you elect to go outside, be sure you have a tent or some sort of cover in case of bad weather. If you are able to create a plot of ground outside, go the extra mile and make it in the shape of a heart. Plan to use it as a flower garden after VBS. Children will do all the planting and you will have a visible reminder of Bible school all summer long.

  • Garden soil prep: Divide your garden plot into 4 areas.

    • Hard soil: (If you have clay soil, wet it and the top will harden)
    • Stony ground: put a thin layer of soil on top of a layer of rocks
    • Weedy ground: put a lot of weeds in the soil
    • Soft, fertile soil
  • Buckets: Add a handful of peanuts to each bucket

Prayer

Begin your lesson with a group or silent prayer.

Bible Lesson

(Have children enter and sit around the garden). Welcome to Son Garden. I am Farmer Paul. This week we will be planting God’s garden and I will need your help.

Bible Story - The Parable of the Sower Just like today, there were farmers back in Biblical times. In the New Testament, Jesus told a story about a farmer planting seeds, just like we are going to do this week. (Hold up the Bible). In the story, the farmer took his seed and threw it out over the ground. (Give each child a bucket full of peanuts and have them throw their seed over all four sections of your garden). But the farmer’s soil, like our soil here, was not all the same.

Hard Soil: In one section, the farmer had really hard soil. It had been used as a path. Many people had walked the path and packed the soil down until it was hard. (Go to the hard soil and use your trowel to carve out a piece of dirt. Put it in the bucket. Hand the bucket to someone in the group and encourage them to feel it and pass it around.) The soil was very hard. What do plants need to grow? (They need nutrients (food) from the soil, water and sunlight.) What do you think happened to the seeds that landed on the hard soil? Did they go down into the soil? (No. They sat on top and did not sink into the soil). Do you think they got nutrients from the soil if they were laying on top? (No). Before long, birds came and gobbled up the farmer’s seeds. (Pick up all the seeds). So is hard ground a good place to plant seeds? (No).

Rocks: Let’s look at another section of the garden. (Go to the rocky soil. Dig beneath the thin layer of soil and reveal the rock below. Pick up a rock. Dump the hard soil out of the bucket and put the rock in the bucket. Pass this around to the children). In the second part of the farmer’s garden, the ground had a bit of soil on the top so the seeds got down in the soil, but below the soil was all rock. Can anyone tell me what a plant needs to grow? (They need nutrients (food) from the soil, water and sunlight). What happened to the farmer’s seeds in this part of the garden? In this case, there was enough soil for the seeds to start to grow, but once the roots got so big, they ran out of soil and couldn’t grow any deeper to reach the water. When the hot sun came out, they withered and died. (Pick up all the seeds). Is rocky ground a good place for plant seeds? (No).

Weeds: Let’s look at the next section of the farmer’s garden. (Empty the bucket. Go to the weedy soil. Pick up a clump and put it in the bucket to pass around). There were already weeds growing in the soil, so it must be pretty good. But what does a plant need to grow? (Soil for nutrients (food), water and sunlight). The seeds that fell among the weeds had plenty of soil so they could get their nutrients, if it rained or the farmer watered them, they got water, but when the little seedling came up in the middle of all those roots and tall weeds, did they get much sunlight? No. The weeds choked them out. (Pick up all the seeds). So, is weedy ground a good place to plant seeds? (No).

Good Soil: The last section of the garden had good soil. (Empty the bucket. Pick up a handful of soil and put it in a bucket to pass around to the group to let them touch). The farmer’s seeds that landed here settled softly into the soft rich dirt where the birds could not reach them. Their roots had plenty of soil, and they grew deep to reach the water. There were no weeds to block out the sun so their stems grew straight and tall. The plants that landed in the good soil grew tall and strong and multiplied many times over.

Then Jesus explained the meaning of the story. God’s words are like the farmer’s seeds. The soil is like people’s hearts. Some people’s hearts are hardened, like the hard soil. They hear God’s words but their hearts are on other things. What would be some examples of a hardened heart? What if you got mad at someone and didn’t forgive them? We know that God forgives us no matter what we do and that we are to forgive others, but what if sometimes we are so mad that we don’t. Is that what God wants us to do? (No). If we don’t forgive are we keeping the anger inside and God out of our hearts? That is how it is when people have hard hearts. Their hearts may be so hardened that the devil, like the birds, scoop up God’s words and the people don’t even hear them.

Some people have hearts like the rocky soil. They hear God’s words and get excited, but they don’t have deep roots. As soon as things get hard, and the sun gets too hot, they wither away. When you come to Bible school, it is easy to get excited about God. After the week is over, and you go back to your normal routine, you have to be careful not to lose that excitement and forget about God.

Some people’s hearts are like the weedy soil. They have so many other things going on in their life, that they don’t have time for God’s love. Maybe they play sports, text their friends or play video games. These other things take up all their time and, like the weeds, they crowd God out.

The good soil is like people with good hearts. They love God. When they hear his words they stop to listen and open their hearts to the message. God’s word takes root in their heart and grows. The more they take God’s word into their heart, the more his love grows in them. (Put in fake flowers that stand up and push the dirt up around them to cover the cup).

Summarize

So what is really God’s garden? (Our hearts). And what kind of heart do we want for our garden? (A good heart). Why? (So God’s love will grow). Each day at Growing In the Son Vacation Bible School, you will get a special seed packet. This is today’s packet. (Show decorated seed packet for day 1). Since today’s lesson is about having a good heart, what do you think we have inside? (3 hearts and today’s Bible memory verse). I would like for you to share these three hearts and the message with at least two people in your life before you come back to Bible school tomorrow. You will get your own seed packet and get to decorate it during Cornfield Crafts.

Prayer

End your lesson with a group or silent prayer.

Extras

If you want to download the whole weeks lessons for younger and older elementary, see downloads below.

Downloads

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