What is Church lesson plan

How do you relate the true meaning of ‘what is church according to the Bible’ to your class of children – without spending hours researching it? The answer is to follow this lesson plan with two worksheets.

What the church is, can be taught easily by following this ready-made lesson plan.

It gives a clear definition of the church in one ‘off the shelf’ lesson plan.

A large group worshipping with arms raised. What is church lesson plan.
What is Church lesson plan. Image by J F from Pixabay

This teacher’s copy of the ‘What is Church’ lesson plan is printer-friendly.

1. Resources for this What is Church lesson plan:

Optional: Can visit Church Websites, see:

(1) An Anglican Church: https://www.htb.org/ (opens in a new tab).
(2) A Baptist Church that meets in a Chapel: https://westminsterchapel.org.uk/ (opens in a new tab).
(3) A Baptist Church that meets in a school: http://rock-baptist.org/ (opens in a new tab).
(4) A charismatic community church: http://www.wearehopechurch.net/ (opens in a new tab).
(5) A Methodist Church: https://www.methodist.org.uk/ (opens in a new tab).
(6) A Roman Catholic Church: https://www.stmarybatley.co.uk/ (opens in a new tab).

(Teacher’s interest: See the church in the New Testament: A Return To Early Church Worship opens in a new tab).

2. Starter for the What is Church lesson plan:

a) How to choose what car to buy:

Q. Do you choose the red, blue, green or yellow car?

Q. What about when you’ve got to choose which car can go the fastest?

Answer: You cannot make the correct choice by just choosing a colour; It is the size of the engine, the weight of the car, etc, that is important.

b) How to choose which church to go to:

Q. What makes one Church different from another?

(Possible answers: Stained glass windows, ministers dressing differently, no candles, big old building, etc)

But these things are not important!
So whether a Church has got a spire, or hasn’t got a spire, etc, is irrelevant.

Draw or describe a Church near you, or a Church that you know of.
(Teacher’s note: Try to bring in the different types: Anglican Parish Church, Baptist or Methodist Chapel, a Community Church that meets in a school or hall, etc.)

Optional: You can display some Church Websites.

It’s the people who go to the Church that give that Church its ‘character’.

  • Some Churches will have modern lively music, others will have quieter traditional hymns and many will have a mixture of both.
  • Some will have carved wooden pews and others will have modern comfortable chairs (which can be moved around for different seating layouts).
  • Some leaders will be dressed in a cassock and surplus, others will wear just a ‘dog collar’, and some will wear everyday clothes. (Teachers note: see Should A Minister Of Religion Wear A Uniform? to see how this has evolved).
  • Some Churches will have a Vicar, some a Minister, some a Pastor.

None of these things are vitally important, remember it’s the people that make the Church.

3. Main teaching for What is Church lesson plan:

Q. So what is Church?

(Remember it’s nothing to do with spires, etc.)
The word ‘church’ has got 2 meanings:

  • It often means a building.
  • It also means a group of people.

So a group of Christians meeting together can correctly be called a Church.

(Teacher’s note: Not all Churches are Christian, eg: Spiritualist Church, The Church of the Latter Day Saints, the Mormon Church, etc.
All Christians have the Bible as their authority, these other Churches have either altered the Bible to suit their beliefs, or they have got something else as their authority).

But that is not all:
Because the Church is made up of people, then the Christian Church consists of every believer in the whole world.
The Church is a community of Christians from all races and nationalities.

What is Church lesson plan. Hands raised in front of a sunset.
What is Church lesson plan. Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

a) So many different churches

Q. So why are there different Churches?

To answer that question we could ask this question:

Q. What did you have for breakfast?

Q. Does that make the ‘Coco Pops family’ better than the ‘Shreddies family’?

Of course not! They are still a family, whatever the breakfast.
It’s not that important.
Which breakfast you decide to have is a matter of personal taste:
You prefer Weetabix, you’re not so keen on Corn Flakes.

It’s the same for different Churches. It’s really a matter of personal taste.
One person prefers a quieter service, and someone else likes a noisy, energetic service.
One is not better than the other. It’s all to do with styles and personal taste.
(Teacher’s note: Obviously it depends on how good the leader or leaders are, whether it is a ‘good’ church to attend.)

b) The reason why Christians go to church

Q. Why do Christians go to Church?

(Possible answers: to sing songs and hymns, to pray, to get married, to be christened, to hear a sermon.)

One big answer is that it is good to have so many friends and to feel like one big family.

c) Christians go to church to worship

Christians will worship on their own at home, or wherever they are.
The church is not the only place where they can worship.
But it is good for Christians to experience worship together as a group.
(Teachers note: The subject of worship will be dealt with in another Lesson Plan).

d) Christians go to church to pray.

Q. What is prayer?

(Possible answers: You pray when you’re in trouble, it’s asking God for things… )

Praying is talking to God.
People can pray anywhere, it does not have to be within a church, but it is good to pray together as a group.

e) Christians go to church to hear from God.

Q. How do Christians hear from God?

(Possible answers: They listen very hard!)

God speaks to them through the Bible – not in a voice that can be heard.
Some sentences or a story from the Bible may impress them.
Perhaps the story in the Bible is similar to a situation they find themselves in, so they trust that God is speaking to them.

The talk given in Church is sometimes known as a ‘sermon’ or ‘the message’.
It should be based on a portion of the Bible.

f) The importance of going to church:

Going to Church is important for Christians.
It is a big commitment to go regularly, but Christians enjoy doing it.

Q. What sort of influence would this have on Christians?

(Possible answers: they would have many friends there, they would be encouraged to obey the 10 Commandments, etc.)

Christians would make friends there.
They would all have a similar purpose and morals in their lives.
The British culture sometimes disagrees with what the Bible says, so a Christian can at times find it difficult to live a ‘Christian life’.
So by spending time with other Christians, they can encourage one another to behave correctly.

Q. Who, or what influences your actions and behaviour?

(Possible answers: certain TV programmes, a parent, a relative, friends,)

Here is something from the Bible, it says:

bad company corrupts good character.”

1 Corinthians 15:33 NLT

Q. How can bad company do that?

Here is something else from the Bible, it says:

let us outdo each other in being helpful and kind to each other and in doing good.”

Hebrews 10:24 Living Bible

Q. What does being helpful and kind mean?

Christians choose to spend some of their time with people who try to live good lives so that it is then easier not to get led astray by others.

Q. Are you happy with your mates?

Q. Do they encourage you to live a ‘good’ life, or do they lead you astray?

4. Plenary for What is Church lesson plan:

End the lesson by asking the children this question:

Q. How important is it to have good influences in your life?

Either take a short time to discuss it, or leave it with them.

Teacher’s note: There are two worksheets to worksheets to accompany this lesson plan:
What is Church worksheet 1
What is Church worksheet 2
Also see: What is the Church RE resources

This completes the What is Church lesson plan.

5. Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

What is the purpose of the church?

The church, as followers of Jesus Christ, lives to give God glory and to show the kingdom of heaven upon this Earth.
The church should be a place to learn from God’s Word (the Bible) and to encourage one another in the faith.
The church should also be a source of light and truth to the fallen world around them.

What is the church and why is it important?

In Matthew 16:18 Jesus said to Simon Peter, one of his disciples, who had just had a revelation on who Jesus is – the Son of God: “I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
Jesus’ church is built upon the truth of Jesus, the Son of God, which comes by faith.
It is a group, or groups of believers, who meet together to pray, worship, hear teaching from God’s Word (the Bible) and who relate together.

What is considered a church? Why is it called a church?

The word ‘church’ in the New Testament is ‘ekklēsia’ in Greek, which means an ‘assembly, a group of people gathered together’.
Its main meaning is a group of those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. This group can meet in any building, or even in the open air, and they could be called a church.
A church can be just a few believers meeting in someone’s home (Colossians 4:15), or it can mean many groups of Christians meeting in a geographical area (Ephesians 3:10).
Nowadays the word ‘church’ refers to a type of building, but we should not be limited by this thought.