The Good Shepherd

Primary Pals for Teachers
Unit 06 - Teachings of Jesus

TEXT: John 10:11-15; Psalm 23


The students will be able to rehearse Jesus' characteristics as a Good Shepherd and will understand that He is the One who will take care of us.


Introduction: Open your class time by showing a picture of Jesus as the Good Shepherd.

Progression of Events:

  1. Jesus tells us that He is the Good Shepherd.
  2. He knows all His sheep by name.
  3. He cares for them and tends to their needs.
  4. He seeks for the lost sheep.

Climax: The Good Shepherd is willing to even give His life for His sheep.

Conclusion: Jesus cares so much for us that He gave His life for us. He cares for us just as the shepherd cares for his sheep.

Response: Your students will be able to tell you several ways Jesus is like a good shepherd.


In John, chapter 9, the man born blind and then healed was abused by the Pharisees because it had been Jesus who healed him. The parable of the Good Shepherd that follows was primarily addressed to these Pharisees who, in a sense, were trying to pluck this man from Christ's hand (John 10:28). They had harassed him and his parents, hurled insults upon him and tried to get him to reject Jesus, but the healed man had heard the Voice of the Good Shepherd, become one of His sheep and nothing would stop him from following.

The symbol of a shepherd is a familiar one in Scripture. It is a reference to the Lord who leads His people like sheep, or to one who has the responsibility of leading God's people (Psalm 23:1; Isaiah 40:11; John 10:11; Hebrews 13:20). In Jeremiah 23, Ezekiel 34 and Zechariah 11 the Lord denounces the leaders of the people for being unworthy shepherds who care only for themselves, and promised to send a true Shepherd who would care for the flock of God. These promises were fulfilled in Jesus who was willing to lay down His life for the sheep.


  • Print words or phrases of the memory verse on separate pieces of paper. Then hide them under chairs, etc., and have the students find them. Compare to the Good Shepherd's searching for us, the lost sheep.
  • Make sheep from spools (see Patterns), to use in telling the lesson, or as a hands-on activity with your class. Gather medium-sized spools which have held sewing thread. Cut two body shapes from cardboard and let children color them appropriately. Then paste them to the ends of a spool, making sure both pairs of feet rest squarely on the table. Trace animal head from colored construction paper, cut out, and paste onto animal. You may add a tail if you desire. Your pupils may want to experiment with their own designs for the heads.
  • Make a stand-up figure of the Good Shepherd (see Patterns). To the back of the figure paste a stand (a strip of folded paper) that allows it to stand as well as be moved around as it is held from the rear. The Shepherd is best if mounted on lightweight cardboard for stability.
  • Use a picture appropriate to the lesson. Cut it across in strips and mix them up. Let the children glue the pieces on construction paper to make the picture as it should be (see Patterns).
  • Make a sheep and sheepfold (see Patterns) from heavy construction paper. Color rocks and grass, etc. Cut out the sheepfold and around the door. Fold on dotted lines and glue as directed. Cut out stand-up sheep. Use to tell the story of the Lost Sheep. You may put cotton on sheep, set sheepfold in a sand pan. Each child could make his own.
  • Give each child a paper sheep (see Patterns). Let each child name his sheep. Place a picture of a shepherd on the board. When you call the sheep's name let the child pin it on the board. Point out that the shepherd knows his sheep by name and forgets none of them. Put a picture of Jesus on the board and tell how Jesus knows His own sheep by name and they know His voice and - follow Him.
  • Make each child a white heart out of construction paper. Explain that only those who let Jesus come into their hearts can be His sheep. They could write, "I love Jesus," or the memory verse on their hearts.
  • Trace shepherd's staff (see Memory Verse Visualized) onto poster board. On it print the memory verse. Let children cut out and take home as a reminder of the verse. Same idea could be used with a stand-up lamb (see Patterns). Used as a chart, cut staff (or sheep) from brown construction paper and glue onto sheet of blue or green. Add Jesus sticker. Each week child adds a lamb sticker. For stand-up lamb, trace pattern onto white construction paper and cut out. Add features with black marker, color grass green. Glue bits of cotton to lamb. Fold stand and paste behind lamb.
  • Make a paper bag mask and cover with cotton balls or cotton batting, for each child to wear.
  • Bring some pictures of puppies and kittens. Ask the children to help you list some of the things that must be done to keep the puppy or kitten happy and comfortable. Relate the care of a shepherd for his sheep to the care the child gives to a pet.
  • Give each child a sheet of paper with a boy or girl drawn in the center. Ask them to write around the center figure some of the things God can protect the child from and things He provides for us as our Good Shepherd.
  • Pack a Blessing Basket with items representing the things God provides for us as a Good Shepherd. Include in the basket: Bible, picture of church, article of clothing, a picture or small cardboard house, food, a jar of water, a picture of a family or an adult and child representing love, etc.


  1. Who is the Good Shepherd?
  2. Are all people Jesus' sheep?
  3. How does one become one of Jesus' sheep?
  4. Do we follow because we have to, or because we love Him?
  5. How do we let Him know we love Him?
  6. How do we get His love into our hearts?
  7. Will Jesus lead us to bad or good places?
  8. Name some ways Jesus is a Good Shepherd to you.


  • Children may cut out lamb (see Patterns) and glue it to paper of a contrasting color. Children glue cotton balls on lamb for wool. The following poem may be on a small card which the children glue to the background paper:
      Jesus is the Shepherd
      Do you know who I am?
      It's such a lovely secret ...
      I'm His little lamb!
  • Let your children glue cotton to the picture of the lamb. Or glue the lamb to a piece of construction paper and let them glue on a strip of green for grass, and blue for water, as you talk about how the shepherd provides these things for his sheep.
  • Bring stuffed toy lambs for your children to hold.
  • Bring to class a lamb on wheels. (If you don't have a lamb, draw shape of a lamb on two sheets of construction paper, cut out, and glue to the sides of a wooden car or any other toy that rolls easily.) Roll the lamb back and forth on your table in class, letting the children be the "Shepherd" and watch to make sure the lamb does not roll to the floor.


Although we cannot see Jesus with our natural eyes, He is always near to help us each day in everything we do. If we are having trouble in school we can whisper a prayer and He'll help us remember or understand; if we have trouble with friends, we can ask Jesus to help us to love them more.

Blindfold one teacher (Teacher A). Teacher B must give Teacher A explicit step-by-step instructions to walk around the room without bumping into anything. Jesus gives us instructions in the Bible to help us live happily. If we pray and read the Bible Jesus will help us be happy and go to Heaven.

Use the overhead projector to present the story of the Good Shepherd. Cut out the figure of the Shepherd from a transparency and move the figure into each scene.


  • "The Little Lost Lamb" — Ruth Odor book, Standard Publishing
  • "Jesus Loves Us" — Coloring book, 8 each of 6 pictures, Warner Press
  • "The Lost Sheep" — Palm Tree Bible Series book, Concordia
  • "Parables of Jesus" — Pict-o-graph, Standard Publishing
  • Snowflake — "Little Lost Lamb"
  • Books on the 23rd Psalm