When Jesus commanded His followers to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19), He was not referring to countries. “Ethne,” the Greek word for “nations,” means ethnic groups. An ethnic group who shares the same language, history, traditions, beliefs, and way of life is called a people group. God’s desire and plan is for families from every people group on earth to have a relationship with Him (Revelation 7:9). Although every country has some followers of Jesus, certain people groups within those countries are still waiting to hear about Jesus for the first time.
Teaching Time: 15 minutes
Materials: chalk or yarn/string; signs that say “A” and “B”; mixed pile of 15-20 pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters
Create outlines of two pretend countries using chalk or yarn/string. Label the country shapes with the letters “A” and “B”. Have the children sort the pile of coins into groups of pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters. How are all the pennies the same? How are nickels different from pennies? Discuss characteristics like color, size, material, decorations, value, etc.
People can also be grouped by ways they are alike and different. When families speak the same language, live in the same kinds of homes, enjoy the same kinds of stories and games, cook and eat similar foods, have the same kinds of families, share a similar history, celebrate the same holidays, and believe the same things about God, they are part of the same people group. Have the children repeat the words “people group.”
Show children the two pretend countries. Have a child place some pennies inside Country A and some inside Country B. Then ask, “When we put these pennies in different places, do they stop being pennies?” It is the same with people. Being part of the same people group depends on who you are, not the country where you live. Families from the same people group can live in many different countries in the world.
Have the children put all the coins inside Country A. When we put all the coins in the same country, do they look the same or can you still tell them apart? It is the same with people. Families from different people groups, each with their own way of life, can live in the same country.
- Can you think of people in your neighborhood or school who may be from a distinct people group? If so, what are some of their unique characteristics?
- Read Revelation 5:9,7:9, and 15:4. How will the people in heaven be alike? Different? Why is it important for our family to learn about people groups? (see John 3:16a, Matthew 28:19)*
Pray that every people group, each bearing God’s image, would know Jesus, the Savior of the world.
*#2. God created each people group to reflect Him, worship Him, and give Him glory. Jesus died for people from every tribe, language, people, and nation. Jesus asked His followers to make disciples of every ethne (nation) or people group. Every people group will be represented in heaven.