Having become rather bored with the format of telling the story and make the point for the parable of the good shepherd, this morning I did something a little different to get the children to interact with the point before it was made.


Game show format, with the ‘audience’ voting (by shouting loudly) for the winning answer. One point is given to that team

Points to note: you don’t have to get the kids shouting. If you do, manage carefully. Warn teachers you will be having the kids get excited. I’ve structured this assembly to calm it down at the end.


You’ll need

99p in change, and a pound coin (or equivalent). Something of value like a mobile phone. You can omit this part.Two teams of 3, probably year 6. Avoid girls vs boys (I didn’t…and it ended up girls winning because girls scream for girls and boys shout for the boys…you get the idea. Learn from my mistake!!)

I adopted a fake American accent throughout (stateside readers, it’s a thing. Don’t worry about it. Probably as bad as Dick Van Dyke saying ‘Mary Poppins’….) apart from the last question.

What to do

Introduce the game show as ‘it really doesn’t matter’. Get the teams up, ask them for a team name (team  sausage and team mango bean penguin this morning….)  and explain that you will give them a question. They must answer as to whether or not it matters, and have a reason for their answer. The studio audience 😉 will vote on the best answer or if they agree with them. They will have ten seconds to discuss the answer as a team

Note: in reality, the kids in the audience without me asking them too started discussing the answer as well! Cool huh?

As an after-thought, ahem, give each team the ‘pound’ of change (99p) and a pound coin. Say they are both a pound and to just hang on tightly to it. Make sure they don’t count the change.

Note: so the format is: you ask the question, give the teams 10 seconds to discuss their answer, feedback the answer to you and the audience, the audience votes on the answer by shouting or raising hands, the team with the most votes wins the point for that round.

Question 1. You have ten pairs of black socks, all identical. They are dirty, you put them in the wash, you dry them, but when you come to pair them up there is one missing. Does it matter, or not?

Question 2. A tree in your garden has ten branches. There is a huge storm and one of the branches is struck, and it falls off. Does it matter or not?

Question 3. One penny…does it matter or not?

COMMERCIAL BREAK – perform this like a commercial break

‘Would you like to own for a phone for just £1? Yes, you can have this unique state of the art phone….’ etc!!

Now offer the phone to the team with 99p. Have them count out the money. Of course, they are a penny short. Apologise, say you have no idea how that happened. And sell to the other team. (I hope you get your phone back later….).  Make the side comment that you guess a penny was important after all.

Note: if, like this morning, the kids say the penny matters because it might be all the money you have in the world…or make the point similar as to you would above, just leave the commercial break bit out.

Question 4. (welcome back?). Imagine you live many years ago and you owned 10,000* sheep. There’s a storm coming, you live in a hill country, and suddenly you hear the howling of many wolves. Wolves who like to eat you. Wolves who love to eat sheep. And the countryside is dangerous when it is raining as you might fall down a cliff. Then you discover a single sheep is missing. What do you do? Does it matter? (There’s s subtle shift here from just does it matter to what do you do…which is important for the next bit)

Question 5. Take this one more seriously. Imagine that you were Jesus. The whole world (millions of people) all believe in you apart from just one person. What would you do?

I recommend this last one not getting the crowd to vote on the answer although still get the answers from the two teams. Bring the excitement level down.

Make the point.

The parable of the good shepherd is about Jesus, you’ve probably heard it. All about how the good shepherd went to find the lost sheep. A great shepherd in those days would risk giving his life up for the sheep.

I asked you what you would do if you were Jesus. Jesus, you see, is the good shepherd and the world is his. And he cares for it. If even one person in the whole world didn’t believe in Jesus, he would still die for that person. Because each one of us, even though we might not think we are important, is very important. Just like the penny. Just like the sheep.

Finish with a suitable prayer.

Please do leave a comment if you have any ways of improving on this assembly. And don’t forget to subscribe.

added…submitted ideas

You could link in the short story: For the want of a nail. For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the message was lost.
For want of a message the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

*(this is not a typo, the point of the parable was to show the importance of the individual to Jesus.  The children may not quite grasp how worthless the hired hand would regard the sheep he cared for and wouldn’t risk his life for. So you need to up the numbers a bit to decrease the perceived value of the sheep for a modern audience. Hope that makes sense)

“sheep breeding at 2100m” by Oliver Kurmis is licensed under CC BY 2.0