Scripture: Acts 9: 1-20
Memory Verse: “Anyone who belongs to Christ is a new person. The past is forgotten, and everything is new.” -- II Corinthians 5:17 (CEV)
· Jesus changes people who accept him.
· When Jesus changes us, he calls us to do God’s work.
· Once Jesus changes us, the church teaches us how to be disciples.
1. Older children will locate the story of Paul’s conversion in their Bibles. Younger children will learn that the story is in Acts.
2. The children will learn the story and play a game that reinforces their knowledge of the details.
3. The children will discuss and think about the concepts above, with emphasis on how the church teaches us to be disciples.
Welcome and Introductions:
1. Greet the children and introduce yourself. Wear your name-tag.
2. Open with a brief prayer
3. Explain the purpose of this workshop. Today we’re going to play a game called “The Road to Damascus.” First, let’s hear the story of what happened to Saul on his way to Damascus. Pay attention, because you have to know this story really well to play the game.
1. Grades 1-2 will not use Bibles, but do open yours to show them where the story is. For grades 3-5, make sure everybody has a Bible. The shepherds will have extra Bibles. Help the students to find the book of Acts.. (Get the shepherds to go around the room and help with this.)
2. If necessary, review the organization of the Bible: The Bible is divided into two big parts, the Old and New Testaments. Each part is made up of books, which are divided into chapters and verses. Have them figure out whether Acts is in the Old or New Testament (happened after Jesus so it’s in NEW Testament). Show them that if they open their Bible in the middle, they’ll usually land in the book of Psalms in the OT. Point out that the book name is at the top of each page. After finding Psalms, if they then take the pages on the right side and divide them in half, they’ll land somewhere near the beginning of the New Testament. Tell them that Acts is the fifth book of the NT, right after the four Gospels.
After they’ve found Acts, help them find chapter 9. Some of the children will confuse chapters and verses. Show them that chapter numbers are the big ones, and also are at the top of every page.
Explain that Acts is short for Acts of the Apostles. The stories here tell about what happened to Jesus’ followers after his death and resurrection. It tells the story of the early church. Acts is a book of history -- the only history book in the New Testament.
Review the story, using the “science experiment” described below to illustrate. With older kids, you might let them help with the demonstration. Unless this is the first Sunday of the rotation, let the children help you tell the story. This will give you an idea of how much they already know. Include all the details, as they will need to know them for the game.
For props, use a bottle of iodine and three clear glass jars:
#1 is filled with water.
#2 looks empty but has spray starch coating the inside.
#3 has a couple of tablespoons of bleach at the bottom.
(See notes on this presentation in Teacher Preparation section.)
Show jar #1 to the class and say: This jar of water represents a man named Saul. Saul was from the city of Tarsus, (point out on a map-) in what is now the country of Turkey. He lived in the early days of the church, when followers of Jesus were spreading the good news and the church was growing. Saul was a very devout Jew who loved God and tried very hard to follow the Jewish law. But somewhere along the way, he became what we might call a fanatic. Drop some iodine into the first jar to turn the water yellow.
Saul decided his religion was the only way. He decided that Christians must go to prison or die. Saul went to Jerusalem (show on map), where he went around the city arresting Christians and putting them in jail. Then he went to the high priest and got permission to go to Damascus (show on map, 135 miles from Jerusalem), to arrest Christians there and bring them to Jerusalem.
But as Saul was going along the road to Damascus, an amazing thing happened. A bright light flashed around him, and he fell to the ground. He heard a voice saying, “Saul, Saul, why are you so cruel to me? Slowly pour yellow water into jar #2. It will turn black as you pour and talk.
“Who are you?” Saul asked.
“I am Jesus,” the voice answered. “I am the one you are so cruel to. Now get up and go into the city, where you will be told what to do.”
There were some men traveling with Saul, and they just stood there speechless. They had heard the voice but could not see anyone. Saul got up from the ground, and when he opened his eyes, he could not see a thing. Hold up the jar of black water. He was blind.
Somebody took Saul by the hand and led him to Damascus. For three days he could not see anything and did not eat or drink.
A follower of Jesus named Ananias lived in Damascus. Ananias had a vision where Jesus spoke to him and said, “Get up and go to the house of Judas on Straight Street. When you get there, you will find a man named Saul from the the city of Tarsus. Saul is praying, and he has seen a vision. He saw a man named Ananias coming to him and putting his hands on him, so that he could see again.”
Well, Ananias had heard of Saul, so he said, “Lord, I’ve heard about terrible things this man has done to your followers in Jerusalem. Now he’s come here to Damascus to arrest anybody who worships you.”
But Jesus said, “Go! I have chosen h im to tell foreigners, kings, and the people of Israel about me.”
So Ananias left and went into the house where Saul was staying. He put his hands on Saul and said, “Saul, the Lord Jesus has sent me. He is the same one who appeared to you along the road. He wants you to be able to see and to be filled with the Holy Spirit. “
Suddenly something like fish scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see. Quickly pour water into jar #3, where it will turn clear again. Saul got up and was baptized. Then he ate and felt better.
And Saul went on to spend his life spreading the good news of Jesus to others. He came to be known as Paul because he traveled throughout the Roman empire, and the Roman form of his name is Paul.
Now let’s play “Road to Damascus!”
See end of workshop plan for details on game materials. The game pieces should be laid out on the floor like stepping stones to make a winding path (like Candyland). The first stone is “Jerusalem” and the last stone is “Damascus.”
the class into teams of 3 or 4 children, with a total of no more than 4 teams.
The more teams you have, the longer it will take to finish the game. For Grades
3-5, give each child a Bible.
2. To play, kids move through the path as a team. When it’s a team’s turn, one member rolls a large die and the whole team moves the number of steps rolled.
Grades 3-5: When they land on a “scripture” stepping stone, have one member draw a scripture card. Using the timer in the supply bin, give the team one minute to find the passage in the Bibles they’re holding. The first to find it reads it out loud. If somebody finds it before time runs out, the team moves ahead one space; if not, back one space. (If one minute seems too short for the class’s general ability, make it longer.)
Grades 1-2: Have the shepherd hold a Bible open to Acts 9. Let one member draw a scripture card and hand it to you. Have the shepherd read the verse out loud, then ask the team the question on the card. Correct answer, move forward one space. Incorrect, back one space.
When a team lands on a “question” stepping stone, one member picks a question card and hands it to you without reading it. (the answers are on the card). Ask the question, and offer the multiple choices only if the team is stumped. Correct answer: forward one space. Incorrect: back one space.
Surprise cards: The team draws a card, does what it says, then moves forward one space.
The object of the game is to reach the end of the path. Keep playing until all
teams have finished or you run out of time. If the teams are progressing too
slowly, remove some of the stones to make the path shorter. You can also remove
some of the question and scripture cards, but leave in the ones referring to
the last half of the story (from Ananias’ vision to the end).
5. During the early weeks of the rotation, put the scripture and question cards in chronological order to help connect story details with the sequence of events. (This also allows you to skip some cards if you’re getting bogged down in the early events.) In later weeks, if the kids seem familiar with the sequence and most of the details of each event, you can mix the cards up.
Gather the children in a circle and recite the Bible memory verse learned in the Great Hall. “Anyone who belongs to Christ is a new person. The past is forgotten, and everything is new.” -- II Corinthians 5:17 (CEV)
Who was the new person in this story? (Saul.)
What made him a new person? (Jesus changed him.).
I wonder what was so special about Saul that Jesus chose him? (Saul wasn’t so different – Most people don’t have such dramatic experiences as Saul, but Jesus changes anyone who accepts him Remember – “anyone who belongs to Christ is a new person.”)
When Jesus made Saul a new person, did that mean Saul always did the right thing from then on, or never had any more problems? (No – he just faced his problems knowing that Jesus was with him, and he tried to do the right things but knew Jesus loved him even when he did the wrong thing.)
What did Jesus choose Paul to do? (To tell a lot of people -- foreigners, kings and Jews -- about Jesus. When Jesus changed Saul, he called him to do God’s work. And when Jesus changes US, he calls US to do God’s work.)
I wonder how Paul knew what to do? Who did Jesus use to help Paul change? (Ananias, other Christians in the church.)
Who do you think Jesus uses to teach us? (The church teaches us how to be disciples, just like the church helped Paul learn how to be a disciple. Other Christians help us, like our parents and friends.)
Let’s think of some ways the church teaches us to be disciples: through baptism and becoming part of God’s family, through the things we learn in Sunday school, through worship, through the opportunities the church gives us for service to the church and for helping other people outside the church, etc.
I wonder how you can tell whether the change is something God wants? (Pray to God and ask God if it is right. If the change makes you a better person, it is probably something God would want)
JOURNALS: Pass out the Antioch Arcade journal pages (age appropriate) and ask the shepherds to pass out pencils/markers. Optional: Give the children a sticker or some other memento to paste in their journal as a reminder of the workshop. If the children have trouble following the instructions, help them think of things to write or draw.
Encourage the children to bring an offering next week. Remind them that the offering from this rotation will go to Wake Interfaith Hospitality Network. This organization organizes churches to provide a place for homeless families to stay. The Kirk hosts homeless families four times a year through WIHN. This is one of the ways in which the church teaches us how to be disciples by helping other people.
Prayer: Close with a brief prayer. Suggestion: Thank you, Jesus for loving us and helping us to change, and giving us the church to teach us how to be your disciples. Show us the ways that we need to change, and show us how we can help other people to change.
Tidy and Dismissal: Ask children to help collect pencils, game pieces, and other supplies. When the room is tidy, dismiss the class.
Teacher preparation in advance:
1. Read the scripture passages and attend the Faith Quest Leaders Bible Study
2. In your bin of supplies are two books of maps. Find a map that shows the locations of Tarsus, Jerusalem, and Damascus, and post it on the wall.
3. Write the scripture verse on the white board or display it in the room some other way.
4. Prepare the
three jars with water, starch and bleach. Have iodine on hand. Practice the
demonstration at home to make sure it works.
Alternatives: Instead of spray starch, you can try using liquid starch and dry it in the jar. Also, instead of liquid bleach, you can use powdered bleach or Oxy Clean, which would be less messy, but you have to use warm water with it (keep the water warm in a Thermos). You can also try red food coloring instead of iodine. I HAVE NOT TESTED ANY OF THESE ALTERNATIVES, SO TRY THEM AT HOME FIRST.)
5. Prepare game cards and have them in order. Lay out game pieces on the floor, beginning with Jerusalem, mixing up question, scripture, and surprise pieces, and ending with Damascus. If the weather is good, set up the game on the sidewalk outside.
Pencils (in supply bin; the shepherds also have pencils)
Dry-erase marker (in supply bin)
Bibles – Contemporary English Version
Three glass jars
Stepping stones (directions below)
Game cards (below) pasted onto index cards
Bowl of clean water (for “baptism” in game)
Crackers or other small pieces of food (for game)
Paul’s Conversion - A Blinding Light! Bible Quest Workshop from State Street United Methodist
Church, Bristol, Va, <http://rotation.infopop.cc/6/ubb.x?a=tpc&s=
“Science experiment”: Brenda Klusmeyer, Wendy B., and Neal McQueen,
Workshop Rotation Ideas and Lesson Exchange, <http://rotation.infopop.cc/6/ubb.x?a=
1. Make 22 “stepping stones,” each large enough for several children to crowd onto. One method: Use a box cutter to cut leftover vinyl flooring into rectangles and label them with acrylic paint. (If the vinyl is warped, it will flatten out after a few hours of kids standing on it.) There are probably many other materials that will work equally well for the stepping-stones – try whatever is available!
Draw a firecracker or an explosion of some sort on the four “surprise” stones.
Label eight stepping-stones “Scripture” or draw a Bible on them.
Label eight stepping-stones with a question mark.
Label one stone “Jerusalem” and one stone “Damascus.”
2. Make or purchase a giant die. To make your own: Find a cubic or nearly cubic cardboard box -- 10 or 12 inches on each side is probably ideal. For strength, you can fill it with Styrofoam scraps or some other lightweight material. Tape tightly shut. Paint white (it might take several coats), then paint on the dots. A soup can, open on both ends, makes a good stencil for the dots. Cover with clear contact paper to protect the paint and make the die more slippery and sturdy.
3. Cut out cards below and paste them to index cards. Keep scripture, question, and surprise cards in separate piles.
Today’s story about Saul’s turnabout takes place in what book of the Bible?
B. Acts or Acts of the Apostles
C. 1 Samuel
True or False: The book of Acts is in the Old Testament
What was Saul’s religion?
A. He was a Jew.
B. He was a Christian.
C. He worshiped the Roman gods.
What was Saul’s hometown?
What did Saul think about Jesus’ followers?
What did Saul do to Jesus’ followers?
A. Argued with them to convince them they were wrong
B. Arrested them, jailed them, killed them
C. Helped them escape from the soldiers.
Why was Saul traveling to Damascus?
When Saul was on the road, what did he see?
B. A bright light
C. An angel
When the bright light flashed around Saul he fell to the ground and heard a voice. Who was speaking?
B. His traveling companions
What was the first thing Jesus said to Saul?
A. Saul, Saul, Why are you being so cruel to me?
B. Saul, Saul, don’t be afraid.
C. Saul, Saul, turn around and go back to Jerusalem.
What did Saul say to Jesus?
A. What do you want me to do?
B. I’m sorry I was so cruel to you.
C. Who are you?
What did Jesus tell Saul to do?
A. Go back to Jerusalem and let the Christians out of jail.
B. Go to Damascus and wait to be told what to do
C. Go to see Ananias
What happened to Saul’s eyes after he saw the bright light?
A. They changed from brown to blue
B. He opened them but could not see a thing
C. He opened them and everything was blurry
How did Saul get to Damascus?
A. He rode on a donkey
B. He was led by the hand
C. He was carried by his traveling companions
What did Saul do for three days in Damascus
A. Fasted and prayed
B. Sang and worshiped Jesus
C. Talked to Christians
Whom did Jesus send to heal Saul in Damascus?
Why was Ananias worried about doing what Jesus asked?
a. He was afraid of Saul because of the things Saul had done.
b. He was mad at Saul and didn’t want to help him.
c. He thought the other Christians wouldn’t like it
What did Jesus tell Ananias about Saul?
A. I have chosen him to be the new king of Israel.
B. I have chosen him to be my favorite disciple.
C. I have chosen him to tell people about me.
What did Ananias do?
A. Went to Saul, touched his eyes so he could see again.
B. Ran and hid.
C. Had Saul arrested and put in jail.
What did Saul do after he could see again?
a. He went out to arrest Christians.
b. He went out to apologize to Christians for the things he had done.
c. He was baptized.
Why did Saul have two names?
A. Jesus changed his name from Saul to Paul.
B. Saul was his first name and Paul was his middle name.
C. He had a Jewish name, Saul and a Roman name, Paul
When Saul saw the bright light, he fell to the ground. Fall down!
Ananias put his hands on Saul to heal him. Put your hands on a team member.
The men traveling with Saul heard Jesus’s voice but didn’t see anything. Do what they did while Paul was talking to Jesus. (Stand there speechless.)
Saul was baptized. Baptize each other (Let them dip their hands in clean water and sprinkle each other.)
Someone led Saul by the hand to Damascus. Get a partner on your team. One of you close your eyes and let the other lead you to the wall and back.
After Saul was baptized, he ate for the first time in three days. Eat this. (Hand each team a cracker, a bite of bread, or some other small piece of food.)
Acts 9: 3-4
Who was speaking to Saul?
Acts 9: 1-2
Acts 9: 10
Who is speaking and who is listening?
Acts 9: 3-4
Acts 9: 11-12
Acts 9: 7
Where are they?
Acts 9: 5
Acts 9: 13-14
Acts 9: 9
Who is this talking about and where was he?
Acts 9: 6
Acts 9: 15-16
Acts 9: 13-14
Who is Ananias talking about?
Acts 9: 7
Acts 9: 17
Acts 9: 15
Who is the Lord talking about?
Acts 9: 8-9
Acts 9: 18-19