DiscipleTown Kids Church Unit #3: How to Grow Spiritual Fruit

About DiscipleTown
DiscipleTown uses a creative and adaptable town theme to teach practical "Disciple Skills." It is published by the creators of DiscipleLand, the most comprehensive children's Bible curriculum on the market. DiscipleTown teaches DiscipleSkills -— practical skills that every follower of Jesus Christ must develop in order to grow and live victoriously. The children's church format compliments DiscipleLand and/or your other ministries to kids. Learn more about DiscipleLand's Bible Curriculum at DiscipleLand.com.

Rather than providing a rigid plan to follow, you can quickly and easily modify DiscipleTown to fit your ministry needs. There is more than enough material for a full length service, but you can also choose only the elements you'd like to use. By design, DiscipleTown is packed with ideas so you'll never be left needing to supplement the lesson, but its flexibility allows you to add your own unique teaching elements.

Unit Summary
The Fruit of the Spirit may be a familiar topic to children, but the concept of how to grow spiritual fruit is one that is often misunderstood by adults, not just by kids. Many Christians will describe the fruits of the Spirit as characteristics that we ought to be working to develop in our lives. Nothing could be further from the truth! The fruits of the Spirit are just that, of the Spirit. They are the result of the Spirit of God working in our lives; they are not the result of our efforts to be better people.

Unlike many curriculums on the fruits of the Spirit for children, this unit is not an overview of the nine fruits. Rather, it is a 4-week series that will walk children through the process of how to nurture the soil of their soul so that the Spirit of God might produce genuine spiritual fruit in them. Starting with the seed of salvation and being watered with the Living Water, children will discover that their spiritual life is like a plant and God is like a loving gardener. They will learn that it is only by being pruned through loving discipline and abiding in Jesus that spiritual fruit will blossom in their lives. This unit will guide them, not into working harder to be good, but to draw closer to God so that he can make them more like Jesus.

Lesson Summaries
Lesson 1: The Seed of Salvation
We do a disservice to any person when we fail to start with salvation when teaching about anything that God wants to do in their lives. The starting place must always be salvation when it comes to spiritual fruit. Just as a tree starts with a small seed long before there is any fruit, so there must be a spiritual rebirth long before any spiritual fruit can be formed. Hence, the "seed of salvation" begins this series. Children must be invited to first accept God's invitation into a relationship with their Creator before they can accept an invitation to have Him produce spiritual fruit in their lives. The parable of the sower is a perfect introduction to the concept of the Message of Salvation being a seed that must be planted in their heart, accepted, and begin to grow before it can become a strong growing spiritual life that can in time produce spiritual fruit.

Lesson 2: Growing Up Godly
Our culture places a lot of pressure on children to grow up smart, strong, successful and popular. God is more concerned that they grow up to be like Jesus. If we want children to produce spiritual fruit the best strategy is not to get them to work on the nine fruits of the spirit found in Galatians 5. It is to encourage them to seek to be more like Jesus. Why? Because the more they are like Jesus, the more His Spirit will produce the fruit described in Galatians 5! This lesson will compare the nourishment that a plants gets from water to the nourishment Christians receive from the Word of God as well as use young Jesus as a model child in Luke 2:52 who grew in wisdom, in stature, and in favor with God and man as He developed as a child. Children will discover that as they are grounded in the Word, at Church and around good Christian friends, they will be able to stand strong as Christians, just as a plant in good soil can stand strong during the storms it faces in life.

Lesson 3: Abiding in Jesus
Children are constantly being told to "be good." It doesn't take them long to figure out that they can never be good enough to please the adults in their lives, let alone God! What good news to learn that God doesn't expect perfection, he expects direction! God desires us to be ever growing closer to Jesus. He calls this "abiding" in Jesus, and as Jesus begins to be seen more and more in us, the Bible says, Jesus "abides" in us. We call this the "Fruit Formula." As we die to ourselves, and Jesus lives in us, spiritual fruit is produced in our lives. This lesson will show children how God, like a loving gardener, tends to our souls, even through painful pruning at times, to help us grow and produce spiritual fruit. On our own we can't produce fruit that will last, but as we grow closer to Jesus, He can produce in us fruit that will last forever!

Lesson 4: The Fruit God Produces
After looking at the stages necessary to preparing to produce spiritual fruit, it is time to look at what that fruit will look like, and that brings us to the familiar fruits of the Spirit found in Galatians 5. But this lesson will not only give a brief overview of the fruits of the Spirit found in Galatians 5, but also the often overlooked fruits of the flesh found in the same chapter. It will also address why it is that we have so much evil in the world when we have an all loving and all powerful God in charge by looking at the parable of the weeds. This helps explain how God is allowing evil to coexist with goodness until the final harvest when He will finally separate those who love Him and those who have rejected Him. Until then, it is our job to walk in repentance, and His job to produce fruit in those who are remaining in Him.

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