Materials: craft sticks, seeds, and four small pots—each filled with one of the following: sand (to represent the path with birds), rocks, sticks (to represent the weeds and thorns), or garden soil
Warm up: Get group members talking about gardening. You might ask:
What do you grow in your garden?
Do you always plant the same things, or does it vary? Why?
What gardening mistakes have you made?
Lesson: With the four pots displayed, read Matthew 13:3-9. Then put labeled craft sticks into your pots to show which one represents the birds, rocks, thorns, and good soil from the parable. Plant seeds in each of the pots. Discuss the parable of the four soils, using Jesus' explanation in Matthew 13:18-23.
Use these questions to apply the parable:
When has your heart been like the different soils Jesus describes?
Which soil is your heart most like currently? Why do you identify with that soil?
What would it look like for you to thrive? What is holding you back?
How can the group pray for you and help you to thrive?