Jesus was a gifted storyteller.
He spoke in parables people could understand because they were relatable to their everyday lives.
As youth leaders, we still do this today – take biblical principles and make them engaging and understandable for our students.
The Parable of the Mustard Seed gives you an amazing opportunity to share one of these parables with your students.
Use this youth group lesson to teach students that God can turn something small into something HUGE.
– Nick Diliberto, Ministry to Youth
YOUTH GROUP LESSON ON PARABLES
Written by Eric Mendoza
Bible: Matthew 13:31-32; 2 Corinthians 4:7-8
Bottom line: God can turn something small into something HUGE.
- Balloons (optional)
- Mustard seeds
OPENING GAME: SMALL TO HUGE
Have students form pairs and sit back to back.
Each student should pull their knees to their chest and have their feet flat on the floor with their arms linked from behind.
Next, have everyone stand up.
With a little bit of work, the students should be able to figure out how to stand up.
Give everyone a few opportunities to try this out.
Then have the students form groups of four, sit back to back, and then try to stand up.
See how many different people you can add to the chain to see how big the group can be.
Do this until you have a giant group of students, who are unable to stand up.
It will be fun to watch them struggle.
Option: Blow up a few balloons to have on hand – filled to capacity right before they burst.
After students understand how to play the game, have them return to their groups of two and attempt to stand up with a balloon placed behind their backs.
The first team to stand up without popping their balloon – wins!
Say: That game was easy at first, and then got quite a bit more challenging.
Even though we started small, eventually, our groups were too big to do anything.
In life, we all start small – literally, and eventually, we get bigger, older, and wiser.
There’s a parable in the Bible that helps us understand how God can take something that’s small and into turning it into something huge.
You see, Jesus was a gifted storyteller.
He spoke in “parables” people could understand because they were relatable to their everyday lives.
Let’s take a look at one of Jesus’ shorter parables found in Matthew 13.
The Bible says Jesus was sitting by a lake and such large crowds gathered that He got in a boat and sat in it while the people stood on the shore.
Read Matthew 13:31-32.
He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field.
It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown, it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”
In this passage, Jesus is sharing how this smallest of seeds can blossom into something big.
Think about this… Jesus spent a small amount of time on earth, but the results were tremendous.
When you look at a tiny mustard seed, it is barely even visible.
Give each student a mustard seed.
The small mustard seed you are holding in your hand can grow to be a large tree between 6 to 20-feet tall, depending on the variety of mustard seed.
That might not seem like a big deal to you but look at how small it is.
At the time Jesus shared this He was about to start his earthly ministry.
Although it was small in numbers, it would have an impact on all of mankind.
The effects would be so huge, that throughout history everyone would see it.
Jesus took a group of disciples, just a few people, and changed the world… and our lives here today.
You may have times that you feel insignificant or very small.
Sometimes you may feel like there is not much you can do, but that couldn’t be further from the truth!
God can use you to accomplish great things for His kingdom and only He knows your full potential.
In this parable, He was trying to show how something so small could grow significantly large.
God can take the smallest thing and make it huge; He can use you to grow the kingdom if you allow Him to work through your life.
Let’s look at another passage that shows how He makes that happen.
Read 2 Corinthians 4:7-8.
…but we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.
We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair.
God is doing the work in us – it’s not us, it’s Him.
When you surrender your life to Christ, you don’t have to feel small like a mustard seed.
Because God is actually living inside of you – and He’s not small.
God will use you to multiply His kingdom as you share His Gospel with those around you.
Sometimes that happens just by how you live around other people because you’re different.
Other times you need to share what God puts in your heart with others.
You might face difficulties or circumstances that make you feel small, but remember that God knows who you are, what’s going on, and He will never leave you.
When you think you are too small, remind yourself that you belong to an AWESOME HUGE GOD who will take something that appears small (YOU) and grow His kingdom.
Close in prayer.
SMALL GROUP DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
- Why did Jesus talk in parables?
- Do you ever feel like you are a mustard seed in this big world? If so, how?
- What is the “kingdom” Jesus is talking about in the passage of scripture we read?
- Who will be in this kingdom?
- How can God use your life in His great plan?
- Why do you think Jesus uses people to grow His kingdom?
- What are some things that get in the way of you making an impact for the kingdom of God?
- Did God equip you with everything you need to accomplish His work?
- Where do we get our strength to help grow the kingdom?
- What are some ways you can make an impact for the kingdom?
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