The Lost Son: A Lesson for Families

Today’s lesson focuses on the story that Jesus told of the lost son. This son made a pretty big mess of his life — but his father still welcomed him back and actually CELEBRATED his return. In the same way, God wants us to come to him — no matter how much of a mess we have made of our lives!

Use this lesson to help your kids understand God’s amazing grace!

Have a great week . . . . remember, God loves you and your family!


Opening Activities 

  1. Play a game of hide and seek! The “seeker” has to find those who are hiding (and are “lost”). Take turns hiding and seeking. An alternative to this is to take turns hiding a particular item and the others in the family need to find that item. When you finish the game, say: In this game, we searched and searched until we found the lost person (or item). Today’s lesson is about someone who was lost and there was much rejoicing when he was found. 
  1. Play a game of “Feed the Pigs”. Put some snacks in a bowl at one end of the room and line everyone up on the other end. When you say, “Go”, everyone has to crawl (like a pig) to the bowl and get a snack (make sure you have a different bowl for each pig). Pigs are not allowed to use their hands to pick up the snack. Also, make sure pigs “oink” on the way to get the snack! Have fun! When every “pig” has a snack, say: Today we are going to talk about a person who was so hungry that he wanted to eat the food the pigs were eating! He had made some pretty bad choices and his life was a big mess. But God still loved him and wanted him to be part of his family – just like God loves us and wants us to be part of His family!  

The Lesson 

Show today’s video.


Read Luke 15:11-32. Use the following questions to aid in your discussion:

  1. What did the younger son want his father to do for him?  
  1. What did the younger son do with the inheritance his father gave him? 
  1. What made the younger son decide to go back to his dad? 
  1. What was the Father’s reaction when he saw his son coming? Why? 
  1. What was the older son’s reaction to all this? Do you think his reaction was justified? Discuss. 
  1. Who are you the most like – the younger son or the older son? 
  1. What does this story teach us about grace? 
  1. Have you ever messed things up and experienced grace?  

This story is one of the parables that Jesus told. A parable is “an earthly story with a heavenly meaning”. Jesus was great at telling stories to get a point across. Discuss the point of this story – no matter how much we mess up, God wants us in His family. He loves us so much that He sent Jesus to die on the cross for our sins, and when we turn to God, there is a great celebration in heaven!  

Parents, this is a great time to share with your kids about when you became a Christian or a time when you really messed up and experienced the grace of God in a special way. Don’t be afraid to be open and vulnerable with your kids! They need to hear how God has worked in your life! 

Sing “Amazing Grace” together. Here’s a video you can use: 

Additional Activities 

  1. At his lowest point, the younger son had a dirty, yucky job feeding pigs. He made a real mess of his life! Make some dirt playdough today and have fun playing in the dirt.
  1. Make a dirt pudding snack! Combine oreo cookies and chocolate pudding (you can also use graham crackers instead of oreos). As you eat your snack, talk about how, no matter how much of a mess we make of our lives, God wants us to be part of His family! 
  1. Use empty egg cartons to make your own pig snouts. Then act out the story together!
  1. Have fun making a messy craft while celebrating! All you need is party blowers and paint. Dip the end of a party blower in paint and then let the kids blow the paint out onto a piece of paper. What kind of cool designs will you have when this is finished? We might make a mess of things, but God can turn that mess into something beautiful! (And don’t forget to tie in the celebration that God has when we become Christians!) 
  1. Use the coloring page below to help your kids retell today’s story. They can color them, cut them out, and put them in order . . . or they can simply color them.  


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