DiscipleTown Kids Church Unit #9: How to Build Character

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
Children grow up being told what to do and what not to do, learning behaviors that keep them out of trouble and earn them rewards. In this short-sighted approach, their walk with Christ becomes limited to seeking to please the adults in their lives. Remove those adults, and the kids' pursuit of Jesus evaporates as well. Teach children to build solid Christian character, however, and you have disciples who can live victoriously, independent of adult supervision yet dependent on God. Isn't that our ultimate goal? This unit trains children to evaluate and take ownership of their spiritual growth, following the model of Jesus' growth in the short but powerful verse, Luke 2:52. In this verse we discover a comprehensive formula for Christian character in young people — wisdom, character, integrity, and reputation. Children can intentionally develop in these same areas, if we are willing to guide them!

Lesson Summaries
Lesson 1: My True Character
It has been said, "Character is the person you are when no one is looking." Character is who you really are. It is the set of qualities that describe what you believe, what is important to you, and how you make your decisions. Because humans are sinful, our character is damaged. When we become Christians, the Holy Spirit comes to repair our character and to inform us when our character is flawed — the process of changing to become more like Jesus begins. God becomes the center of our character, the Bible shapes our character, and prayer empowers the development of our character. It is a slow, daily, and difficult process, but with God's help and our constant effort, we can do it!

Lesson 2: My Inner Character
We can put on a good outward show of character for others to see, but we can't fool God. He sees our hearts — He knows our thoughts, intentions, and motives. The most difficult part of building character is forming good inner character—having integrity. "Integrity" is originally a pottery term. It means literally "to have no cracks." Pottery with cracks can be disguised with paint, but in time the cracks grow until the piece is useless and broken. So pottery "with integrity" is highly valued. Christians need to have lives "without cracks" also, because while we can "paint over" cracks so others don't see them, in time they grow and our ruin our lives. Inner character produces a spiritual life without cracks that avoids breakage in our walk with Jesus. The better our inner character, the better a vessel we can be for Him!

Lesson 3: My Outer Character
It's one thing to say the right thing — quite another to do the right thing. The apostle James says that if we know the good we ought to do, and don't do it, we sin (James 4:17)! Knowledge that isn't followed up with action is empty. Our actions define our "outer" character. God has given each of us a universal mission — to make disciples — as well as a unique, individual calling. Outer character involves fulfilling that mission and living out what God calls us to do. Sitting idly by while we see unmet needs around us dismantles our outer character. To build it up, we must stand for what is right and, as God leads us, fight against our enemy.

Lesson 4: My Reputation
One of the most valuable things you possess is your reputation. And as God's ambassador, you carry His reputation as well. Luke 2:52 shows that Jesus possessed a good reputation ("favor with man"). He must have kept His promises, or been polite, or worked hard. Kids need to be challenged to consider their reputations — how other children and adults view them. When they realize that they can develop their reputations, they'll be motivated to improve them. A reputation of good character will take them far and open many doors of opportunity — and it honors God! Kids should begin right away to build and improve upon their reputations. It's never too early to represent God in the best possible light.

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