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Who is the Greatest?

To explore ideas of value and to understand that we are all valuable in God's sight

by Gill O'Neill

Suitable for Key Stage 2


To explore ideas of value and to understand that we are all valuable in God's sight.

Preparation and materials

  • Copy the following list of categories onto an OHP or flip-chart:
  • You will need two teams of several children sitting at the front of the hall. They should each decide on a team captain before the assembly begins, who will write down their answers.


  1. Explain that you are going to have a quiz to find out who are the best people in the world. The two teams are each to suggest someone who is 'the greatest' in a number of categories. At the end you will then decide who is the ultimate 'Greatest Person on Earth'.
    You may like to choose a volunteer to record the children's suggestions on the OHP/flip-chart.

  2. Begin the quiz by asking both teams to suggest who is the greatest actor on earth. They may have a maximum of one minute to discuss their answer, and when the time is up they must show their suggestion. It is the job of the team captain to decide which answer the team will give.

    Go through the list of categories one at a time, recording the teams' responses as you go.

  3. When the teams have completed the quiz, remind the rest of the assembled children that now you have to decide which of the two people voted for in each category is the greatest, but you will need some help. Ask them to vote (hands up) for one of the two in each case. As they vote, cross out the suggestion with the fewer votes.

  4. Explain that now you need to choose just one person from the whole list who is greater than all the others. Choose one yourself and offer it as a suggestion to the school. Give them reasons for your choice and then ask one or two children for their opinion. Encourage them to give reasons for their choice.

  5. Point out that people have often wanted to know who is 'the greatest'. Even Jesus' friends wanted to know the answer to this sort of question.

    Tell this story (adapted from Matthew 18.1-5, Mark 9.33-37 and Luke 9.46-48).

    Jesus' friends, the disciples, were arguing over the question of which of them was the greatest. Some wanted to know who would be the greatest in heaven. Jesus sat down and called them to him. He said to them, 'Whoever wants to be greatest must make himself as humble as he can, and be a servant to everyone. Whoever wishes to be first must be last.' He then asked a child to stand in front of them to help him explain. 'The greatest in the kingdom of heaven will be those of you who are able to be like this child.'

    Conclude by saying that pride, fame and importance are not the qualities that make us great. The things that make us great are the simple things in life, like friendship, tolerance and caring for one another. Tell the children that each and every one of them has these qualities. This means that they all have the potential to be God's greatest people.

Time for reflection

Dear God,
We may not be famous popstars,
footballers, politicians, actors or supermodels.
You have given us all the simple qualities
of friendship and compassion.
Help us to use these to the full,
that we may truly be great.


'There are hundreds of sparrows' (Come and Praise, 15)
'From the tiny ant' (Come and Praise, 79)

Publication date: March 2004   (Vol.6 No.3)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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