What’s in a Name

Tell me your full name. Allow a child to answer. Do you have any other names that people call you like a nickname? Allow child to answer. Continue on with several children (all if possible). Your name is important! It’s a part of who you are! When I hear the name ________ (name a person in the congregation…perhaps the pastor) I automatically think of someone who is _________ (name some attributes of that person).

Your parents thought carefully about what they would name you. Did you know that some names mean something? If your name has a meaning, use that as an example or choose the name of someone else in your congregation that is well known to the children. Nowadays not everyone’s name means something, but in the time of the Bible parents thought very carefully about what a name meant before giving their child that name. Today we are going to listen to a story about a baby named laughter! That’s a funny name, isn’t it! Let’s read to find out more about this story. Read Genesis 17:1-8, 15-19 from Ralph Milton’s Lectionary Story Bible Year B.

People connect your name to who you are. Just like my example earlier, when I hear the name _______ I think of someone who is _________. In this story God changed Abram and Sarai’s names to something different. God gave their lives a new meaning by giving them new names. God even gave them an idea of what to name their baby! Isaac, which means laughter. That name reminded Abraham and Sarah to always keep laughter in their lives.

You don’t have to change your name to do something special in your life. It’s how you choose to act and what you do that give your name meaning. People connect your name to who you are. When people hear the name ___________ (name a child in the group) they think of someone who is…? have the child answer what people think of when they hear his/her name. Go around and ask several more children to answer (all children if time allows).

Your name is important! It’s a special part of who you are! Your actions give your name meaning!


Every Wednesday I share a lesson based on the lectionary. These lessons are meant to be used for a children’s moment (aka children’s sermon, children’s liturgy, children’s church, etc), sunday school, or even as a family devotion in your own home.

I have taken the lesson above and written it into a lesson plan format. I have also added a Respond and Extend section to the downloadable lesson. These are additional ideas for the children to respond to the main lesson and then an extension activity for them to do at a later time. The extension activity includes a handout to send home with directions.

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