Activity: Building a Godly Family
Teaching Goal: God is the foundation of our family.
Scripture: Psalm 127:1a Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders
labor in vain.
Materials: Paper and marker
Clear plastic water bottle (12 ounces or less). Cut off the top.
(Will hold 4 ping pong balls but small enough so that a tennis ball will not fit.)
4 ping pong balls or plastic golf balls
1 tennis ball or ball similar in size that will not fit in bottle
I. Play theme song
III. Review last lesson
IV. Lesson and discussion
☺ Words that are written in bold are when you, the parent, are speaking. Feel free to use your
A. Parents want to build a Godly family based on trust, faith, love, respect, learning,
etc. Let’s make a list of things that make our family strong. Children may begin by listing
tangible items: house, car, school, food, money. Help them add intangible items: caring for each
other, love, sharing. Ask your children to explain how the things they list help to build a strong
family. Many children do not think to include spiritual items in their list. That is okay, we will
talk about building Godly families later in this lesson. This list includes many of the things
that make our family strong.
Read together Psalm 127: 1a. Let’s read it again using the word “home” instead of “house.”
Let’s read it a third time and use the word “family” instead of “house.” Did you know God
wants to build our “family,” our “home,” our “house?”
God isn’t just talking about building with bricks and cement. God is also talking about
building a family with values. Values are not things you can touch. Values are things that
are important and make our family healthy. God tells us about His values in the Bible.
God values things like: loving Him more than anything else; parents teaching their
children about Him; children obeying their parents; brothers and sisters loving one
another; honesty; giving to those who are in need, etc. If we were to build a house, we
would use things like bricks and wood to make a strong house. In the same way, God tells
us the right values to use to build a strong, Godly family.
The end of the verse says that if God does not build our house, the “builders labor in vain.”
What does it mean to labor in vain? It means to work hard but not get the results you want.
Can you give an example of a time you labored in vain -- worked hard but did not get the
results you wanted? Parents be prepared to give a personal example. (Ex: Once I dug a deep
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hole for a fence post. I put the hole in the wrong place and had to fill it in and dig another one
in the right place. I labored in vain.)
B. ACTIVITY #1: Start by giving the first child the tennis ball and four ping pong balls. I
want you to stack these balls on top of each other so that they stay stacked without you
holding them. They will not be able to do it but give them two turns. Give each child a turn.
This is what it means to “labor in vain.” No matter how hard you try, the balls won’t stay
stacked. They need something to hold them up. Trying to build a Godly family without
following God’s values is like trying to stack the balls without support.
Repeat the activity. This time add the empty water bottle. Now try stacking the balls again,
but this time let’s use the water bottle to support them. They will be successful in stacking
the ping pong balls with the support of the bottle but the tennis ball will not fit. Look puzzled
that it won’t fit – we’ll deal with that later. How did the bottle help? The bottle provided
support so that the ping pong balls stayed stacked. But the tennis ball does not fit. Just like this
bottle supports these balls, God’s values support us in building our strong family. We don’t
want our family falling down all over the place like these balls, do we? No! We must choose
to follow God’s values so we can be successful in “building” a strong, Godly family!
As we make decisions in all areas of our lives, we need to consider what God would have us
do. For example: Consider how families use money. If a family never asks, “How would
God want us to use our money?” and spends all of it on fun things, it is like trying to stack
the balls without the bottle for support. A family that doesn’t love God or have food and
shelter would fall down just like these balls, wouldn’t they? If a family asks, “How does
God want us to use this money?” and then follows God’s values and uses some of the
money for food, shelter, clothing, medical care, spreading the Gospel and helping others in
need, that is like stacking the balls inside the bottle. When we have the right structure to
our lives, our family is strong and healthy.
But what about this tennis ball? In God’s plan for our lives there are some things that just
don’t fit – like this tennis ball won’t fit in this bottle. Can you think of something that we
might have in our family that would not be of value to God? Ungodly movies, lying, violent
computer games, not making God the most important part of our lives. What do we do with
these things that don’t fit in with God’s values? Let’s get rid of them!
C. ACTIVITY #2: Use a marker and write some of God’s rules for building a strong family on
the side of the bottle.
Examples: Love one another. (John 13:34)
Give to those in need. (Proverbs 28:27)
Obey your parents. (Ephesians 6:1)
Do not frustrate your children. (Ephesians 6:4)
Use a marker and write on the tennis ball some of the things that don’t fit into Gods plan.
Let’s look again at our list of things that we do to build a strong family. What other things
can we add to our list? going to church; Family Time; mission projects; giving; sharing;
The only way to “stack and stay,”
Is to build our family in God’s way.
VI. Close in Prayer