This object lesson is an engaging way to talk about heaven and hell. It uses unsophisticated language and imagery to communicate some simple points. However, you may want to modify the language some so that you don’t leave kids thinking that the main point is that Christians are “good” and non-Christians are “bad.”
A blank sheet of paper.
Fold the paper airplane as shown.
(Tell the story as you pretend to fly the plane.)
“I heard the story one day about an airplane full of people. Some were good people who loved the Lord, and some were bad people who knew about the Lord but wanted to live their lives their own ways.
“The plane flew into a terrible storm, and even though the pilots did everything they could, the plane crashed!” (Pretend to crash plane.)
“The force of the crash folded the plane in half and then ripped it into two pieces.” (Fold wings down so that the plane looks like Figure F above. Then fold it in half so that it still looks like Figure F but only half as wide. This last fold was just to make a crease. Undo the last fold and rip the plane down the crease. Scatter the pieces. Try to drop the largest, longest piece behind something so that it is concealed.)
“Everyone on board died, and their souls went to stand before God, who would judge them for the lives they lived on earth.
“All the people, especially the bad people, were anxious to find out who God would let into heaven. They were surprised when God said,
‘I know you are all interested in knowing who will join Me in heaven. This is not the typical way I do things, but here’s what I would like for you do to. Everyone return to the earth and bring back a piece of the plane in which you crashed. I will use the pieces to show you who gets to come in.’
“Everyone went back to the earth as fast as they could. They all started searching for the parts of the plane, and while they did, an interesting thing happened.” (Begin picking up pieces – all except for the largest, longest one that you concealed.)
“The bad people began pushing and shoving everyone else just so that they could get to the pieces first. Two actually yanked pieces out of the good peoples’ hands. Several grabbed more than one piece, so that there weren’t enough pieces to go around. As soon as all the pieces had been gathered, all the bad people ran back to God to show Him what they had found.
“The good people were left behind without even one piece among them. Some began to cry. It didn’t seem fair for God to let all the bad people get all the pieces. Why didn’t He do something to stop them?
“Just then, one of the good people looked up and saw something shiny nearby, hidden so that they could hardly see it. He went over, picked it up and realized that it was a piece of the plane.” (Pick up hidden piece.)
“He showed it to everyone, and they all agreed that they should share it, since it was the last piece. They weren’t sure how God would react to them sharing the piece. They also didn’t know if it would be enough for one of them or two of them or even more (it was a pretty big piece). But they decided God would do what was best, and they quickly carried the piece back to Him.
“When they arrived, God was talking to the bad people.” (Unfold the pieces slowly and arrange them to form the word “Hell” as you tell this part. Use the double-sided tape to stick them to a wall or board where all the kids can see them. Save the last letter until your last sentence.)
‘You were wrong to act as you did! Pushing and shoving! Stealing from others! Taking more than your share! But even this I could forgive if you had ever acknowledged My Son as Lord and Savior. You had the chance, but you preferred to deny that He is Lord. I won’t force you to accept what He did, so I have prepared a place for you where you will not have to serve Him.’ (Reveal the last letter – “L.”)
“All the bad people wept when they realized that it was too late to accept Jesus as their Savior.
“The good people, holding their single piece of the plane, waited nervously for God’s judgment. He turned to them and said,
‘Why are you so nervous, my children? Are you worried that your one piece will not be enough to satisfy Me? Actually, you brought the only thing that will.’ (Open up last piece to reveal the cross.)
‘And be assured, my children, it’s more than enough!’
“In God’s eyes, the only thing that makes us ‘good’ is when we believe that Jesus is Lord and that He died on the cross for our sins. When we ask Him to be our savior, that’s the only thing we have to do to go to heaven.”