Turning Up the Wattage (Sunday School Lesson for Kids)

Small Group Study / Produced by partner of TOW

This lesson is part of God's Story of Work for Kids, a 12-week curriculum that teaches children to see work through God's perspective.

MAIN IDEA: God's light in us shines brighter in our world as we grow in our relationships with him.


  • box filled with random items including loose sheets of paper to make a mess
  • unplugged lamp with a power outlet nearby


Leader: (Tip over the box full of papers, as if by accident.) I don't know about you, but when there's a mess, I'd rather walk away to something new rather than do the hard work of cleaning it up. Thankfully God is not like me.

In the beginning, God created a beautiful world full of live and joy. It was broken by sin when Adam and Eve chose to go against God's command. Today we see the mess that resulted as we look around us. There are big issues like poverty that affect millions and we also see brokenness in everyday life - unkindness, mean words, jealousy, selfishness, and people being left out. People often use their abilities and power to hurt other people instead of doing good.

But the good news is that God did not turn his back on us or the messy state of things. God sent his only son Jesus to enter this mess, pay for our sin, and make a way to restore the world to God's original design. Through Jesus we get to know God. And through Jesus we get God's authority to heal other people and fill all the dark areas of the world with light and joy.

If every person on this planet knew God and tried to follow Jesus' example, the world would be very different. Cliques and bullying would not exist in schools. Schools would be welcoming and exciting places to learn. There would be no trash in our streets. Everyone would have a home to live in and food to eat. Not a single animal or person would be abused or alone. People would listen to each other, see the value of each person and all of God's creation, and partner with God in their work.

God is actively moving through girls and boys, women and men all over the world who are looking to partner in all of life with him. But there's something very important to remember when we look to be God's partner.

Take a look at this lamp. It's not working? Why not? That's right, it's not plugged in.

It's the same way with us. God has given us a lot of power and ability to light up the world and restore things to his original design. But the key is we must be plugged in to God.

Think of the people you are most close with. To become close to someone takes time. you have to get to know them. When you spend time together you might share things with each other, laugh together, share something hard you're going through, help each other, encourage and challenge each other. With a good friend, you spend time enjoying each other. The same is true with God.

It takes time to know God and the more you come to know God, the more plugged in you become.

Here's 3 simple ways to grow in knowing God:

1. Include God. God is everywhere but he doesn't force himself to become your friend. In whatever you do, you can pause, talk to God and invite him into what you're doing - whether that's homework, playing sports or music, dancing or cleaning.

2. Be Honest. True relationships grow stronger out of honesty. It's funny how often people who know God pray only what they think God wants to hear. With God we don't need to try to look good or be on our best behavior. God knows our hearts and he loves to share life with us. We can be completely honest with what we say or ask. If we're sad or angry, we can tell him that. If we don't want to do something, we can tell him that too. Talk to God and see how he responds.

3. Listen for God. One of the best ways to grow in knowing someone is asking them questions about themselves and listening. Often when people pray, they are busy telling God things. A friendship takes two-way conversation. If only one person talks all the time and never listens, it's not a friendship. You can find out more about who God is by reading the Bible. If there's things you don't understand, ask God to help you understand. Ask God your questions throughout the day. Listen for what he might show you. God might speak directly to your heart or answer you through someone or something else. God loves having a relationship with us.


Read aloud or ask a child to stand and read for the group.

David is one of the most well-known kings of all time. But before he became famous, he was just a little lightbulb. As he got more and more plugged in with God, his light grew and grew. His light grew so big that it affected the entire nation of Israel.

Long before David became king, he was just a young boy. Like other youngest children in Israelite homes, David had the smelly job of taking care of the family sheep. Even at that young age, David knew God and included God in his work of being a shepherd. David would sing songs to God while out with the sheep and asked God to help him when a bear or lion attached the sheep. A lot of other children would have run off but David stood to fight the predators and protect his sheep. Here is one of the songs that David wrote to God:

Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters;
he restores my soul.
He leads me in right paths
for his name's sake.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley
I fear no evil;
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff - they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
my whole life long.

Starting from when he was little, David included God in his celebrations and in times when things were scary or hard. David was honest. His songs to God are full of feelings: anger, sadness, joy and questions. When David made a big mistake, he talked to God about what he did wrong. King David had a two way relationship with God. He would listen for what God wanted again and again. And over time, David's light grew.

David when from shining God's light in the fields with the sheep, to shining God's light while fighting the giant Goliath, and finally as king of Israel.

Sometimes it may not be easy to plug in to God. If you haven't ever experienced God speaking to you, it may seem hard to sit still and listen. It can be hard at the beginning. But God promises that we will find him when we look for him with all our heart. (Jeremiah 29:13)

As you include God in all you do and if you are honest with him and listen for him, you'll shine brighter for God every day. God's light shining through you will touch lives all around you.


Leader: God, thank you for being the eternal light that shines in our darkness. Nothing can put out your light. Thank you for shining your light through us. Help us grow in our relationship with you, so we can shine brightly and bring hope to everyone around us. In Jesus' name, amen.

Turning Up the Wattage (Classroom Activity for Grades 2-5)

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This lesson is part of God's Story of Work for Kids, a 12-week curriculum that teaches children to see work through God's perspective.


  • paper and pencil for each student or team
  • poster board, post-it notes, markers, and pens for each team
  • psalm-23-worksheet.pdf

OPENING ACTIVITY: Electrical impact (7 MINUTES)

Pair up students or have them work on their own. Give each person or team a paper and pencil. Tell them to jot down, in 2 minutes, as many things as they can think of that would be affected if they couldn't be plugged in.

Review - We're so used to having electricity today that we pretty much take it for granted. If we had a blackout for 2 hours, we would miss some of the things we're used to using. What happens when people are not plugged in to God? What happens when they are plugged in to God?

WORKSHEET: Psalm 23 study (15 MINUTES)

Read through Psalm 23 together.

  • Have students circle key word that stand out to them.
  • Ask students to write down 5 things about who God is and what he is like, based on how David describes God in this psalm.
  • Ask if they share David's view of God? Why or why not?

Review- How do we know someone is trustworthy or loving? It's usually because we've experienced someone as trustworthy or loving in the past. David experienced God as trustworthy and loving, when David was fighting lions and bears to protect his father's sheep, and when David fought the giant to save Israel. David also experienced God through prayer and writing songs. God was there for David whether David was singing or fighting.

plugging in (10 MINUTES)

Break the class into 3 teams.

  • One team will brainstorm ways to include God in their everyday life.
  • The second team will brainstorm what it means to be honest with God in everyday life. What else is there besides telling God about something you did wrong?
  • The third team will brainstorm about how to listen for God. What are ways they've heard from God? What would help someone hear from God?

Give each team 8 minutes to work on a poster board with their ideas. Then invite each team to share with the group.

Review- What is one new thing from these lists that you would like to try this week?


Ask for prayer requests. Pray and bless the students, asking God to reveal more of himself to them in everyday life.

Turning Up the Wattage (Take-Home Activity for Parents and Kids)

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This lesson is part of God's Story of Work for Kids, a 12-week curriculum that teaches children to see work through God's perspective.

THIS WEEK'S FOCUS: God is in our everyday work

We learned today that our source of power for partnering with God is... God! We are like a lightbulb that can only light up when plugged into a power source, and God is the power source for us. As we grow in relationship with God, we are able to be more fully ourselves, and more fully aligned with God's desires for our work. Growing in relationship with God is like any relationship - it takes a commitment of spending time together where we include God in what we're doing, be honest with God, and listen for God.


Pick an activity to do with your family this week:

option 1 - PRAy the examen individually and share

  • As a family, dedicate 15 to 20 minutes of each weekday evening to gather and pray silently.
  • Print the examen-guide.pdf for each family member.
  • Once the quiet time is over, gather together and share 1 sentence each of something you sensed from God.

option 2 - talk over these questions at the dinner table

  • What moment today made you most happy or thankful? (Initially you may need to name a few things in a young child's day to help them catch on.)
  • What moment today made you the most unhappy or least grateful?
  • How did you show love today? (For very young children, you may offer suggestions to clarify how someone shows love: Who did you share with today? Who did you help today?)
  • What was one time your actions or behavior were negative or you withheld showing kindness? (Again, for young children you might ask: Was there a time you did not share today? Was there a time you said a hurtful word or did not help?)
  • Briefly give thanks for this time of reflection and for God teaching each of you to be more loving.