Green Church - Caretakers of God's Creation


Green Church: Caretakers of God's Creation will help children experience what it means to be good stewards of God's Creation.

Each lesson includes:

  • introductory activities that children will select based on their interest
  • a large group time where the children will come together to hear and interact with ...
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Green Church: Caretakers of God's Creation

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Green Church: Caretakers of God's Creation will help children experience what it means to be good stewards of God's Creation.

Each lesson includes:

  • introductory activities that children will select based on their interest
  • a large group time where the children will come together to hear and interact with the Bible Story
  • a small group time where the children will discuss ways to take action for God's creation

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781426707704
  • Publisher: Abingdon Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/2010
  • Pages: 64

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Green Church

Caretakers of God's Creation

By Daphna Flegal, Suzann Wade

Abingdon Press

Copyright © 2010 Abingdon Press
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4267-0770-4


In the Beginning

Be Green • Think Green


The children will

• hear the biblical story of Creation;

• recognize that God wants us to be good stewards of creation;

• learn that being a good steward means to take personal responsibility for taking care of the earth;

• experience ways to take care of creation.

Bible Story

Genesis 1:1-28, 31a: the story of Creation, including human beings' responsibility for taking care of what God has created.

Bible Verse

Psalm 8:6, CEV: You let us rule over everything your hands have made.

Focus for the Teacher

God Is the Creator of All

Many of us have heard the Creation story many times. Because we know it so well, we are at risk of overlooking one of the most profound statements of faith in the entire Bible: "In the beginning, God created" (Genesis 1:1a).

The Bible begins with God and the simple, but astonishing, fact that God is the Creator.

Genesis 1 teaches the following:

• God is the Creator of all;

• All life comes from God and depends on God;

• People are in charge of creation;

• God rested.

All comes from God. God created the far reaches of the universe and the ground just outside your door. God created the largest stars and the smallest amoeba. In creation, we glimpse the magnitude of God.

All Life Comes From God

Life is a gift, a part of God's plan in creation. From the beginning of time, life originates from God and depends on God. God is the source and sustainer of everything.

People Are in Charge of Creation

In Genesis 1:26 and 1:28, God gives people "dominion" over creation. The Hebrew word radah used here means to rule. The word is used in other Scriptures to refer to the rule of a king or of God. Rulers can be self-serving or rulers can be benevolent. Which type of ruler applies here? Some say this verse gives people permission to use creation any way they choose. However, most scholars say that the dominion being given here is intended to reflect God's rule over us. God is not self-serving. God is generous and cares for us. So we are to be generous to creation and care for it.

The command given to humans in the second telling of the Creation story echoes this. "The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it" (Genesis 2:15). The word used as keep in this verse is the Hebrew word, shamar. Shamar means to keep, guard, or provide for. God tells Noah to shamar, or keep the animals on his ark (Genesis 6:19).

From the beginning, God asked humans to care for one another and for all creation. Some have said the purpose of humanity was to act as caretakers or stewards of creation. The basis of all stewardship can be traced back to our creation.

God Sees Creation as Very Good

At the end of each stage of Creation, God says it is good. After charging humans with the care of creation, God looks at all creation and says it is VERY good. God is pleased with creation and the way it is designed to work.

Creation is interdependent. Humans depend on creation for nourishment, and creation depends on us to keep and protect God's created order.

God Rested

God's rest serves as the basis for two central elements of faith. First, rest is a necessary and sacred part of life. God's day of rest established the practice of the sabbath, a weekly sacred day of rest. As Christians, we remember the sabbath and teach our children how this rest helps us serve and honor God.

Second, many scholars say God's day of rest demonstrates the faith God has in creation. God is an ever-present part of creation, but God chooses not to keep tinkering with it. God has faith creation will work. (Even in the story of the flood, found later in Genesis, God shows faith in creation by saving Noah's family and the animals.)

The tendency, when discussing our need to care for the earth, is to focus on negative facts. When people focus on negative statistics, reality seems grim. People feel frustrated and overwhelmed.

However, when we focus on Genesis 1, we see a very different reality. We discover our potential, and we find hope. The world is full of new ideas and solutions. We show our children that God and the church both have faith in their abilities to improve the world through acts of stewardship, and we help them claim their call to be caretakers of creation.

The Bible in These Lessons

Psalm 8:6, CEV The Bible verse for these six weeks is from Psalm 8: "You let us rule everything your hands have made."

The New Revised Standard Version translates "rule over" as "dominion." Either translation will need to be explained. Neither "rule over" nor "dominion" means being given unlimited control and a freedom to use God's creation in ways that serve selfish needs rather than serving the needs of the created world and the needs of people. These words include a sense of responsibility and care.

Another word we want to teach the children is the word steward. A steward takes personal responsibility for something in his or her care. One synonym for steward is keeper. A steward of God's creation is a keeper of the earth.

Genesis 1:1-28, 31a According to Genesis 1 God made creation in seven stages. On the first day God created light and dark. On the second day God created the sky and the waters. On the third day God created the moon, the sun, and the stars. On the fourth day God created the land and the seas, as well as vegetation. On the fifth day God created the living creatures in the oceans and in the air. On the sixth day God created all the living creatures on the land including humans.

After God created all else, God created humans. God made man and woman in the image of God. God breathed into humans and gave them life. God showed humans the majesty of creation and gave them the responsibility of caring for it. Then God called creation very good. On the final day of the Creation story, God rested.

About the Children

Children are concrete thinkers. They may wonder why you are painting the church green. Help them understand that you are not talking about the color green. Instead the word green is used to help us remember a special way we can take care of the earth. When we feed wild birds, pick up trash, recycle, or plant a tree, we are being green. Being green is one way we show love for God and say thank you for God's awesome creation.

First Week: Be Green

Explore Interest Groups

Be sure that adult leaders are waiting when the first child arrives. Greet and welcome each child. Get the child involved in an activity that interests him or her and introduces the theme for the day's activities. Help nonreaders go to the activity designated for younger children.

Dish Gardens (For Younger Children)

• Give each child a plastic tub. (You may reuse clean, empty butter tubs.)

• Encourage the children to decorate the tubs with stickers.

• Fill a shallow dish with water.

• Fill a second shallow dish with alfalfa or grass seeds.

• Soak the sponge pieces in water.

• Show the children how to roll the wet sponges in the seeds.

• Help each child spread gravel on the bottom of the butter dish. Make sure the children keep the gravel away from ears, noses, and mouths.

• Have the children put a layer of sand on top of the gravel.

• Then instruct the children to put a layer of soil on top of the sand.

• Say: God created the rocks, sand, and soil we are using in our dish gardens.

• Ask: God created soils in different colors. They can be black, red, yellow, white, brown, and gray. What color soil are we using in our dish gardens?

• Show the children how to plant flower seeds or plants in the soil.

• Let the children place the seed-soaked sponges around the outer edges of the flowers.

• Say: God also created the seeds and plants we are using in our gardens. When we grow plants and grass, we are helping the soil. The plants and grass hold the soil down and keep it from eroding. Eroding means that the soil is washing or blowing away from the earth.

• Lightly water the dish garden. The grass seeds will sprout in a few days.

• Say: Our Bible verse is from the book of Psalms. The person who wrote the psalm is talking to God and saying, "You let us rule everything your hands have made" (Psalm 8:6, CEV). God wants us to rule over the earth. A good ruler, like a good king or queen, takes care of everyone and everything in his or her kingdom. When we grow plants we are being good rulers; we are taking care of the earth. We call a good ruler over the earth a good steward.


[check] Provide: old newspapers; shallow plastic tubs; shallow dish; alfalfa or grass seed; flower seeds or small flower plants such as astrium or marigold; pea gravel; sand; soil; old sponges; scissors; stickers (left over from previously used curriculum); and water.

[check] Cover the table with old newspapers.

[check] Clean the old sponges by running them through a dishwasher without detergent. Cut the sponges into small pieces.

Make a Terrarium (For Elementary Children)

• Give each child 2 two-liter bottle bottoms.

• Have each child place pebbles in one of the bottoms.

• Add a layer of sand on top of the pebbles.

• Give each child a paper bag with a charcoal briquette in it. Let the child use a hammer to smash the briquette inside the bag.

• Pour the crushed briquettes on top of the sand.

• Put a layer of soil on top of the briquettes.

• Ask: God created soils in different colors. They can be black, red, yellow, white, brown, and gray. What color soil are we using in our terrariums?

• Say: It is important for us to keep soil clean and healthy. I wonder what we can do to keep soil clean and healthy.

• Plant small plants such as ivies, mosses, and ferns.

• Say: One thing we can do to help soil be clean and healthy is to grow plants. Plants hold the soil down and keep it from eroding. Eroding means that the soil is washing or blowing away.

• Water the plants lightly.

• Place the other bottle bottom on top to close the terrarium.

• Say: Our Bible verse is from the book of Psalms. The person who wrote the psalm is talking to God and saying, "You let us rule everything your hands have made" (Psalm 8:6, CEV). God wants us to rule over the earth. A good ruler, like a good king or queen, takes care of everyone and everything in his or her kingdom. When we grow plants we are being good rulers; we are taking care of the earth. We call a good ruler over the earth a good steward.


[check] Provide: 2 two-liter bottles per child, craft knife, pebbles, sand, potting soil, charcoal briquettes (not quick lighting), small brown paper bags, hammer, mosses, ferns, ivies, and water.

[check] Adults only: Cut all the two-liter bottles in half with a craft knife.

Terrarium Tips

[check] Place the terrarium in indirect sunlight.

[check] If water droplets form on the outside of the terrarium there is too much water. Leave the top off for a day or two.

[check] Every few weeks check the soil in the terrarium to see if it is dry. If dry, add a small amount of water.

Tree Prints (For All Ages)

• Have the children wear smocks to protect their clothing.

• Give each child a piece of paper that has already been printed on one side. Show the children the printed side.

• Say:Today we will be using paper we have already used before. This side is printed, but if we turn it over there is a blank side we can use for painting. We are recycling our paper. That means we are using it again.

• Have the children turn their paper to the blank side.

• Show the children the natural items you have provided.

• Show the children how to make nature prints by pressing an item gently into the paint, then pressing the object onto the paper.

• Say: God created all these things to grow on trees. Trees help people live on the earth. Trees clean the air we breathe and help keep us cool. They provide food for us and for animals. They also provide homes for many different kinds of wildlife.

• Ask: What can we do to help trees? (Plant more trees.)

• Say: Isn't it amazing how God planned for trees? When we plant trees and take care of trees we are being good rulers; we are taking care of the earth. We call a good ruler over the earth a good steward. Being a good steward means that we are taking responsibility to care for the earth.


[check] Cover the table with old newspapers.

[check] Provide: old newspapers; smocks; shallow pans; sponges; tempera paint; previously used paper; tree leaves, twigs, pine needles, and pine cones.

[check] Place a sponge in the shallow tray.

[check] Pour a small amount of paint on the sponge. Spread the paint out.

Earth Ball (For All Ages)

• Play this game with two or more players.

• Use masking tape to mark lines on the floor beginning about two feet from the basket. Place another line about one foot beyond the first line. Continue until you have a total of five lines, with the farthest about six feet from the basket. Each line represents a letter in the word EARTH.

• Let each child stand on the first line and try to make a basket. If the child makes the basket, he or she earns the letter E and draws a "Green Earth Fact." Help the child read the fact to the other children. Then instruct the child to go to the end of the line. On this child's next turn, he or she moves to the second line and tries to make a basket to earn the letter A.

• If the child does not make the basket, he or she does not get a letter or read an "Earth Fact." He or she moves to the back of the line and tries again to earn the letter E.

• Continue the game, moving farther away from the basket with each letter, until someone earns all the letters in the word EARTH.


[check] Set up an empty box, trash can, or bucket in an open area of the room to be the basket.

[check] Provide: soft, squishy balls; masking tape; clean, empty can; and scissors.

[check] Photocopy and cut apart "Green Earth Facts" (page 24). Place the facts in a clean, empty can.

Play Practice (For All Ages)

• Invite children who enjoy participating in dramas to be part of "Creation Comes to Life."

• Assign roles to the children. Give the nonspeaking roles that represent each day of Creation to children who do not enjoy reading out loud. Assign one child or many children to be the voice of God. Assign an older child or an adult the narrator role.

• Children will enter the stage area before the beginning of their assigned day and kneel on the floor until their cues are read. The narrator and the voice of God can be off stage and out of sight.

• Practice reading the story and going through the motions. The children will present the play during large group time.

• You may want to videotape the children acting out the Creation story and then have everyone watch the video during large group time.


[check] Photocopy "Creation Comes to Life" (pages 21-22) for the narrator and the voice of God.

[check] Cut the following props out of posterboard: one yellow circle (sun); one white circle (moon); and four yellow stars.

[check] Provide: flashlight; blue tablecloth; brown tablecloth; basket; silk flowers; silk leaves; and double-stick tape.

[check] Put double-stick tape on the back of each cutout.

Large Group

Bring all the children together to experience the Bible story. Blow a soda bottle shofar (see page 55) to alert the children that it is large group time. Use the transition activity to move the children from the interest groups to the large group area.

Earth Tag (Transition Activity)

• Signal large group time. Have the children stop what they are doing in their interest groups. Instruct the interest group leader to give the directions for Earth Tag.

• Say: We're going to play a game to move to our large group time. You will need to know today's Bible verse for the game. Let's say the Bible verse together: "You let us rule everything your hands have made" (Psalm 8:6, CEV). To play the game, everyone will wander around the room. Wandering with us will be someone holding an earth ball. If you are tagged with the ball, you must say today's Bible verse, then pick up a Bible, and finally sit down in front of the stage (or whatever you call your large group area).

• Play Earth Tag with the children until everyone is seated.

• Say: Our Bible story is from the first book in the Bible, Genesis.

• Help the children find the first chapter of Genesis in their Bibles. Be sure to have older children or adults ready to help nonreaders.

• Say: Find the large 1. That's chapter one. What are the first three words right after the one? (In the beginning) Genesis means beginning. Chapter one tells us about the beginning of the world.

• Have the children place their Bibles on the floor beside them.


[check] Recruit one or more leaders to hold an earth ball and tag the children.

[check] Provide an earth ball.

[check] Provide CEV Bibles. Place the Bibles where the children can easily access them.

Earth balls are available at Oriental Trading Co. 1-800-875-8480 or

Hear, See, and Act the Story of Creation

• Lead the children in singing one or more of the recycle songs (pages 4-5).

• Say: Our God created an awesome universe. Let's see how it all began.

• Present "Creation Comes to life."

• Say: God created every living thing. And that includes us. When God created humans, God gave us a big responsibility. We can find out what that was by looking in our Bibles.

• Have the children pick up their NRSV Bibles.


Excerpted from Green Church by Daphna Flegal, Suzann Wade. Copyright © 2010 Abingdon Press. Excerpted by permission of Abingdon Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents


Recycle Songs,
Lesson 1 : In the Beginning,
First Week: Be Green,
Second Week: Think Green,
Lesson 2: In the Garden,
Third Week: Act Green,
Fourth Week: Live Green,
Lesson 3: In God's Name,
Fifth Week: Turn Green,
Sixth Week: Celebrate Green,

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