Please remember to include life application in your content, and in your drama/scripts in particular!
If posting storytelling scripts, please include suggestions for making them interactive for the participants.
Road to Damascus
posted by member CathyW, St. John Lutheran Church
• Realize the impact that Paul had on other people’s lives
• Recognize the role of Ananias in Paul’s experience
• Consider what it means to be a new creation / new person in Christ
1. Review Background notes.
2. Materials List:
• Bibles (supplied in teaching box)
• Children’s Bible for PreK class
• Bible time costumes (optional)
• Hand-held Microphones
• Big Sign that says “This is Your Life!”
• Sheet of paper with memory verse written on it
• Slips of paper
3. Advance Preparation:
• Refer to schedule and decide how you will make adjustments for the different ages.
• Set the classroom up as follows. Have 3 chairs up at the front of the room—one for you as the host and one for Saul and one for the character you are talking to at the moment. The other chairs in the class are for the other characters. Tape the sign to the wall.
1. Make sure you have your nametag on. Introduce yourself to the students.
2. Open with a prayer .
3. Introduction & Bible Story:
Please make sure that the students hear and “get” the Bible story as well as the application of that story to their lives. The Bible story is the MOST important part of the lesson—it is much more important than the activity associated with this station!
(For the first part of the month, go ahead and read the story from the Bible. For the latter part of the month—when the children should be familiar with the story—have them tell you the story)
This week, we are going to be thinking and talking about Saul. We are going to be looking at his life through the eyes of other people. As we read about Saul—sometimes he is referred to as Saul (which is his Jewish name). At other times, he is called Paul—which is his Roman or gentile name. We may hear the name Paul more often, since he was sent to preach to the Gentiles. A Gentile is someone who is not Jewish.
Our activity today is to put on a version of “This is Your Life, Paul”. There used to be a TV show where a famous person came on. The TV people brought in people from their past to talk about their life. We are going to put on this show about Saul. Each of you will play the part of someone in Paul’s life. One of you will also be Saul/Paul. During the “show”, you will have a chance to answer some questions about Paul. I’m going to assign your part now, so that when we read the story, you can really focus on your part.
Go ahead and assign the parts. Depending on class size, you may not need all the parts. If the class is really large, you might assign more than 1 child to each part:
You must assign these parts, as they are the most crucial: Saul, Stephen, one of Saul’s friends who is on the road to Damascus, Ananias, Jesus, a modern-day person who has read of Paul
Other parts to be assigned if class size permits: a Christian (besides Stephen) who was persecuted by Saul, the high priest, Judas (the owner of the house that Saul stayed in while blind), a Christian who heard Paul preach in the synagogue after his conversion
Have the students open their Bibles to the book of Acts. As you and the class read the story, you will need to stop frequently and talk about these various characters with the students.
Part One: Persecution
Stephen is someone who believed that Jesus was the Savior. Many of the Jewish leaders did not believe this, and put Stephen on trial. They were so angry at what he had to say that they stoned him to death. Read Acts 7: 54 to 8: 3.
What was Saul doing while Stephen was being stoned? How did Stephen react to the terrible thing that was happening to him? What do you think his opinion of Saul was?
According to v. 3—what was Saul doing to the early church? How do you think these early Christians felt about Saul? Do you think they would believe that Paul would become such a great Christian?
Why do you think God used a cruel persecutor like Paul to be one of his greatest preachers, instead of using someone who believed all along?
Part Two: Conversion
Saul really wanted to go after the Christians, so he talked to the high priest. Read Acts 9: 1-2. Did the high priest approve of what Saul was doing? What do you think he thought about Saul?
Read Acts 9: 3-9. The trip that Paul was taking was about 150 miles—which would take 5 or 6 days. What happened to Saul along the road? He was traveling with some other men. What do you think they thought about Saul and his job to persecute Christians? Could they hear Jesus talking to Saul? (no—just heard a sound). What do you think they thought was happening, especially since Saul was now blind?
Read Acts 9: 10-19a. Where was Saul staying at in the town of Damascus? (house of Judas—not Judas the disciple). What do you think Judas knew about what was going on when Saul arrived? And when Saul was healed?
Who did God give a mission to and what was that mission? (Ananias) What was Ananias’ first reaction to God’s mission? Why didn’t he want to go to Saul? What did he end up doing and why? Would you be brave enough to do this? How do you think he felt after Saul was healed?
What was God’s message to Saul? What do you think it means? What happened after the scales fell off Saul’s eyes and he could see again? (filled with the Holy Spirit). Was Saul filled with the Spirit when he was persecuting Christians?
Part Three: Preaching
Read Acts 9: 19b – 22. What was Saul doing now? What was the reaction of the Christians to Paul’s preaching? (be sure to bring in that these Christians knew what kind of person Saul had been). Do you think they believed Saul was converted, or did they think it was a trick? Did their reactions—good or bad—stop Saul from preaching?
Now we are going to get ready for the show. Have the children spend 5 or so minutes thinking about their character and what that person would have thought about Saul. They should consider if these people knew Saul only when he was the persecuter or just when he was the preacher. Or did they know him both before and after. The teacher and guide should circle around the room and help the children focus their thoughts on their character.
Now it is time for the show. You are the TV host. Have the various characters sitting in chairs. Start the show by saying: “Welcome to This is Your Life”. Our special guest today is Saul of Tarsus. (student playing Saul should sit down to the applause of the audience). He started out by being a terrible persecuter of the early Church, but after a miraculous transformation he became one of the church’s greatest preachers and writers. How did this happen. Let’s talk to some of the people in Paul’s life and try to answer this question? Remind the students to stay in character and answer the questions like they think the character would.
Introduce a character and have them come up to the empty chair. Hand out the microphones to the characters as they come up front. Depending on the size of the class, you may not have a chance to talk to each one of them. This lesson plan gives you some ideas for questions for each character, but you will need to improvise quite a bit depending on where the conversation goes. Make sure that you occasionally ask Saul for his reactions or perhaps for an explanation. Keep an eye on the time so that you have time for all the characters. After each character is done, they should return to their seat and make way for the next person.
Introduce Stephen as an early believer in Christ who was stoned to death for his beliefs. What thoughts were going through your head as you were being stoned? Were you aware that Saul was there—what did you think of him? ….Saul, you were there at Stephen’s stoning and did nothing to stop it. Now that you are a Christian, what do you think of what happened then and the part that you played? Why should people believe you are a man of God after the terrible things that you did.
Introduce another early Christian (make up a name). Saul had this person arrested and put into jail because they were a Christian. What did you think about what Saul was doing to you and your family and friends? Did you learn later that Saul became one of the great leaders in the early church? How do you think this was possible?...
Introduce the high priest (make up a name). This person gave written letters to Saul allowing him to take Christians as prisoner. What was your opinion of Saul? Were you happy with the work he did persecuting the Christians? What did you think when you heard that Saul actually became a Christian?....
Introduce one of Saul’s friends (make up a name). He was with Saul as he traveled to Damascus. What happened as you traveled with Saul? Saul was now blind—what did you think was going on and why? Did you stay with Saul at the house in Damascus? What did you think when Saul became a believer in Christ? Ask Saul what his reaction is to his friends story.
This is Judas of Damascus. He let Saul stay at his home while he was still blind. What did you know about what was going on? Were you a Christian or did you believe that Saul was doing the right thing in persecuting the Christians? Why did you help him?...
This in Ananias, who had a very important job from God. He had to go to Saul and give him a message from God. Ananias, what did you think about this mission from God? Why did you go speak to Saul even though you didn’t want to—after all, you could have ended up in prison or even dead!? Did you really think that Saul would be a changed man?....Saul, what would you like to say to Ananias—especially about the role he played in your miraculous transformation?
This is ________(make up name), who heard Saul preaching in the synagogue about Jesus. You were aware of Saul’s missions to put Christians in jail, and now Saul was preaching about Jesus. Did you think he was truly a Christian or was he playing a trick? What did you think about Paul’s teachings?
Introduce Jesus. What did you say to Saul alongside the road to Damascus? Saul was doing some pretty nasty things to the people who believed in you. Why in the world did you use him to become a great preacher and writer? How did you change Saul’s heart and actions? ….Saul, how did God change your life?
Introduce a student by his/her real name—a present day Christian who has read about Paul in the Bible. What do you think about Saul, given his history—good and bad? What do you think about God using “Bad” people?
Read the memory verse. Hand each student a slip of paper and a pencil. Ask them to rewrite the memory verse in their own words—give them a few minutes. Ask them to share the version of the verse.
Saul’s actions showed where his heart was at—both when he was putting Christians in jail and when he was preaching the good news of Jesus. How do other people in your life know where your heart is at—that you are a believer in Christ? What evidence do they see in your life?
6. Closing Prayer:
1. Older students: Use more difficult and thoughtful questions with them.
2. Younger students: You might not want to use the more “obscure” characters like the Christian put into jail, or Judas. Use simpler questions.
3. PreSchool students: “This is your Life” is too difficult a concept for them. Read them the story from the Children’s Bible. Assign parts and have them act it out several times. Ask them some very simple questions about the story. You can use the last paragraph in the Reflect section.