Each year, more than one billion people celebrate Earth Day events and bring awareness to caring for the environment.
What began as a protest against pollution, has now become a movement for protecting the Earth.
It’s important that we take care about this planet, because God made it and has trusted us to take care of it.
Use this lesson on Earth Day (Sunday, April 22) to remind students that God values all of His creation. Encourage them to appreciate our planet, and the One who created it.
– Nick Diliberto, Ministry to Youth
YOUTH GROUP LESSON ON EARTH DAY
Written by Alex Doriot
Bible: Genesis 1
Bottom Line: Earth Day is a reminder that God values all of His creation. Take time to appreciate our planet and the One who created it.
OPENING GAME: EARTH DAY TRUE/FALSE TRIVIA
Ask your group stand up.
Say: Today we’re going to see how well you know the planet you live on!
I’m going to ask you several trivia questions.
If you think the answer is TRUE, hold out your fist and give it a thumbs-up.
If you think the answer is FALSE, hold out your fist and give a thumbs-down.
If you get it right, stay standing and keep playing.
If you get it wrong, have a seat.
We’ll keep playing until we get a winner… or I’m finished asking questions!
- True or False: The Earth moves around the sun at approximately 67,000 miles per hour. (TRUE)
- True or False: The Earth is 193 million miles from the sun. (FALSE – it’s only 93 million.
- True or False: The world’s longest mountain range is actually underwater. (TRUE)
- True or False: The lowest recorded temperature on Earth was minus 128.6 degrees Fahrenheit in Antarctica. (TRUE)
- True or False: The highest reported temperature was 138 degrees Fahrenheit in the country of Brazil. (FALSE – it was in Libya.)
- True or False: Earth is the only planet not named after a Roman god. (TRUE)
- True or False: 80% of the Earth’s surface is covered with water. (FALSE – 70%)
- True or False: The highest point on Earth is Mount Kilimanjaro. (FALSE – Mount Everest)
- True or False: It takes about 15 minutes for light from the sun to reach the Earth. (FALSE – it’s closer to 8 minutes.
- True or False: The Amazon rainforest is home to nearly one third of the Earth’s land species. (TRUE)
- True or False: You would weigh more if you lived at the North Pole than you did if you lived at the Equator. (TRUE – a person who weighs 150.8 lbs at the North Pole would only weigh 150 lbs at the Equator because of the gravitation pull at the Earth’s poles.)
- True or False: Lightning strikes somewhere on the Earth 5.2 million times per day. (FALSE – it’s actually 8.6 million times.)
- True or False: The first photo from the Earth taken from space was in 1958. (FALSE – 1968)
- True or False: The Nile River, the longest on Earth, is 4,160 miles in length. (TRUE)
- True or False: The Earth is round. (FALSE – it’s actually flattened at the poles!)
Great job everyone!
I know some of those questions were pretty hard.
Turns out even though we’ve lived here our entire lives, we may not actually know a lot about or fully appreciate our home planet.
Maybe that’s because we tend to take the earth for granted.
Today’s lesson is all about appreciating our planet and the One who created it.
Raise your hand is you have a pet dog.
Do your dogs go crazy when they see you get the leash to take them outside?
Most dogs truly love being outdoors.
They get so excited when they get a chance to roam the earth – I don’t think they ever take it for granted.
What are some things in life we experience or take advantage of everyday that we tend to take for granted?
Let your students throw out some random answers.
They might say things like family, friends, money, homes, food, etc.
All of those are great answers.
But the Earth itself might be the gift from God we take for granted the most.
Be honest… when was the last time you simply gave thanks to God for the planet we live on?
For most of us, living on planet Earth is something we simply consider a birthright.
After all, it’s the only world we’ve ever known.
We really have nothing else to compare it with.
But when you think about the facts we learned in our game earlier, and when you really look into the detail and creativity on display on our planet…it might help you gain an appreciation for the Earth.
Now, Earth Day isn’t typically celebrated as much as other holidays.
Your family probably doesn’t have a big Earth Day cookout or get-together.
For many, you may be hearing about Earth Day for the first time today.
Your awareness of the holiday is probably related to what area of the country (or world) you live in.
So, does anyone here actually know what – or when – Earth Day is?
According to EarthDay.org, Earth Day is celebrated annually on April 22nd.
It began in 1970 and the celebration “marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement.”
Founders of the Earth Day celebration say it was a response to anti-war protests as a way to shift the power of that movement toward environmentalism.
You might think Earth Day to be an odd holiday to celebrate.
But, there is something to be said for giving thanks and celebrating the Earth.
After all, the Earth is the first of God’s creations we learn about in the Bible, mentioned in the very first verse of the very first book (Genesis 1:1).
In fact, let’s take a look at that first chapter of Genesis.
It might have been a while since you’ve looked through it.
Have several students volunteer to read through the first chapter of Genesis aloud.
Break it off into sections and have each student stand to read.
Separate the verses like this: 1-5, 6-8, 9-13, 14-19, 20-23, 24-26, 27-31.
When we dig into the first chapter of Genesis, we’re reminded of how all this got here.
We see the importance of giving thanks for God’s creation… for the light… and the water… and the sky… and the land… and the animals.
Also…there’s a certain line of thinking where people wonder if taking care of the Earth matters at all.
Well it does. God gives us the job of taking care of the earth.
In Genesis 1:26, God commands human beings to “reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.”
It’s our job to be good stewards of what He has given us. Including the earth.
After all, we want a healthy Earth for ourselves and for generations to come.
So, on Earth Day remember that God values all of His creation. Take time to appreciate our planet, and the One who created it.
SMALL GROUP DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
- What are some random things about planet Earth that you’re thankful for?
- How do you sometimes take God’s creation for granted?
- How can you appreciate God’s creation more in your everyday life?
Alex Doriot is a youth pastor, writer, speaker and performer out of Atlanta, GA. He has been involved in youth ministry for over 13 years and has a passion for seeing students discover the life to the full that Jesus speaks of in John 10:10. Alex lives with his lovely wife Kate and their two wonderful dogs.
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