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DRAMA, PUPPET and/or STORYTELLING WORKSHOP Lessons and Ideas for Paul's Conversion

This topic is for posting your Drama, Puppet, and/or Storytelling Workshop lessons and ideas for teaching about Paul's Conversion on the Road to Damascus.

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.

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Drama Station
Road to Damascus
posted by member CathyW, St. John Lutheran Church


Workshop-specific Goals
• 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


Preparation
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!”
• Tape
• Sheet of paper with memory verse written on it
• Slips of paper
• Pencils

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.

Presentation
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?

4. Activities:
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?

5. Reflect/Closure:
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:

Additional Suggestions
Age Adaptations
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.
 
Originally posted by member LDM, 2008

SAUL, THE CONFUSED PEPPER GRINDER

An object theatre play on the conversion of the Apostle Paul on the Road to Damascus. © July 2007 LD McKenzie



NARRATOR:

Once there was a confused pepper grinder named Saul.

Saul went around peppering all kinds of forks, spoons, garlic presses, pizza wheels and such that he didn’t like because they were followers of the Way.

Saul thought the only way was the culinary way (or way of good cooking), and that no one knew how to grind pepper properly but him.

People of the way put far too much emphasis on good table manners, Saul thought. So he peppered all the people he thought did it all wrong.

One day as he strutted toward the town of Damascus topped up with fresh pepper, he was flattened by a brilliant shower of salt.

He fell to the ground with such force that it nearly knocked all the pepper out of him and popped his grinding crank off.

He heard a voice say, “Saul, Saul, why are you peppering me?”

Saul asked, “Who are you, Almighty Salt Shaker?”

And the salt shaker answered, “It is I, Jesus, whom you are peppering.”

The Almighty Salt Shaker told Saul to get up and go into town to learn some manners. But when Saul tried to get up, his crank was loose. It wouldn’t turn. He wasn’t himself. He wasn’t as strong as before. He was a crank without a crank. The other shakers and grinders he had traveled with had to lead him into town by the almost popped off crank.

In the meantime the Almighty Salt Shaker appeared to a cheese grater named Andy. He said, “Andy, go and help that pepper grinder named Saul.”

Andy said, “No way. That grinder is bad news. He peppers all my friends. He has no manners.

The Shaker said, “Well too bad. He’s the one. Go teach him some manners, like I said.”

So Andy went and found Saul and told him the Almighty Salt Shaker said to come and teach him a few manners. Then suddenly Saul’s crank moved and he could grind pepper again.

Saul soon learned some manners. He became a new man, even changed his name to something way different – Paul. And he didn’t pester people of the way with pepper any more.

He worked with the people of the way, adding just enough spice to make everything brought to the table truly splendid and savoury.

THE END!


> Other neat ideas in this lesson set include: arts/silhouette portraits; kitchen/rocky road pizzas; writing/ imaginary letter from Paul to friend about the incident; games; music/songs to teach; computer. For more detail, click here (LD's free Rotation curric site).
 
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The Potato Masher Idea
From Creative Carol....


For drama/puppet

I just can't help but see Saul as a potato masher and Ananias as a rubber glove (because of the laying the hands part). But maybe a glove wouldn't be good in object theatre because it doesn't stand up by itself? You might consider just putting out a bunch of different objects and let the kids decide what to use for each character.

In case anyone else is interested, the script I'm asuming your using from Kurt Hunter's book can be found at: http://home.earthlink.net/~hun...n/resources/Paul.htm
(there's a link there to order the book too).
Drama suggestions...

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A Drama Idea posted by Debbie Fisher
May 14, 2004

Here's an idea that is working great for us, based on Ken's suggestion in the May 2004 Newsletter.

We're doing Saul's conversion on the road to Damascus, and we're using a "This Is Your Life" format in our drama workshop. Several important people from Saul's past appear, and we get to know Saul from their stories.

We have Rabbi Gamaliel, Stephen (the first Christian martyr), Ananias, Judas of Damascus (whose house Saul went to on Straight Street, according to Acts 9:11), a witness to his conversion the road, and a Pharisee.

It's been fun, and a different approach for us. Thanks for the tip, Ken!
 
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State Street UMC – G.R.E.A.T. Adventure
Sunday Morning Live – Drama and Puppetry Workshop
Paul’s Conversion - A Blinding Light!


Scripture References: Acts 9:1-27, Page 371-373, Little Kids’ Adventure Bible

Memory Verse: “Anyone who believes in Christ is a new creation. The old is gone! The new has come!” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (page 392 Little Kids’ Adventure Bible)

Theme: God can change anyone!

Objectives and Life Application:
Children will describe Saul’s persecution of Christians.
Children will describe Saul’s conversion experience on the road to Damascus.
Children will define Pharisee, Gentile, synagogue. Persecution.
Children will recognize Ananias’ role in Saul’s experience.
Children will explore God’s use of unusual people to accomplish His purpose.
Children will memorize 2 Corinthians 5:17

Preparation and Room Set Up:
Review the background information sheets and lesson materials.
If you choose to have a group (such as youth) perform this puppet show, be sure to confirm with them.
Optional: You may want to videotape the performance. Video camera and tapes are in SML room.

Start on time! Sunday School begins at 9:30 a.m.

Time Guidelines:
Introductions/Opening Prayer: 8 minutes
Bible Passage/Brief Discussion: 10 minutes
How we treat our guests: 2 minutes
Youth Drama 20 minutes
Snacks for our guests 10 minutes
Journals/Closing Prayer 10 minutes

Supplies and Set up needed:

Turn chairs toward the puppet stage.
Purchase cookies and juice for the children to share with their guests.
Set up the video camera to videotape the puppet show.

Welcome and Introductions: Gather the children together in the chairs with their Bibles. Welcome the children and introduce yourself. Make sure you are wearing your name tag and that the children have picked up their nametags from FastPass. Always begin each class with introductions. Remember that workshop leaders rotate often and the children may not know you.

Tell the children that today you will be learning about Paul’s conversion to Christianity. (Ask if they know what the word “conversion” means.) We will review this Bible story and then the youth will put on a puppet show for us. After the puppet show we will let our guests know how much we appreciated them coming to our class by having cookies and juice with them. (The first Sunday of the rotation you will have to address the Bible story most thoroughly. In subsequent weeks, the children’s recounting of the story will become more a review of the story they have been hearing- see below)

Opening Prayer: Pray something like this: Dear Lord, today is such a special day – we get to share time with our church friends, we get to learn stories that are important to you, and we get to have special guests in our class. Please be with us as we learn more about you. Amen

Bible Study for All Grades: Each workshop begins with the Bible passage! One of our primary goals is to improve the children’s Bible literacy! Always tell the children where in the Bible the story is found. Explain that this story takes place after Jesus’ death and resurrection. It is found in the book of Acts or Acts of the Apostles, the only book of history in the New Testament. Have the children locate the introductory page to Acts in their Bibles (page 362 in Little Kids’ Adventure Bible) Briefly review the information on this page. Then locate the story - Paul’s conversion is found in Acts 9:1-27 (page 371-373 in Little Kids’ Adventure Bible). Shepherds should assist the children in locating stories. (Refer to your teacher handout “Helping Children Use Bibles in the Classroom” )

For younger children: Have the children follow along in their Bibles as you read the story.

Bible Notes: Review the following Bible notes with the children. Please note that Saul’s name was not changed by Jesus – Paul was his Roman name and later on as his ministry increased to the Gentiles, Saul became known as Paul. See background information. However, Saul’s change was so radical that his name change helps us to remember the story and is a good symbol of that change.

People in Bible Times: Saul/Paul, (Page 371)
Let’s LIve It: Power to Change (Page 372)

For older children: Have them locate the story in the Bible. The shepherds can help them find the scripture verses. You may wish to have them read verses of the story as you recount the Bible story in your own words, or read from a story Bible.

People in Bible Times: Saul/Paul, page 1281
Let’s LIve It: Power to Change, page 1282

NOTE: As the rotation progresses, children will become more familiar with the Bible passage. This is a great opportunity to let them tell you what they know. You can then fill in any gaps, add additional details, or take the discussion to deeper levels using the discussion questions below. This is one of the advantages of the rotation model! Just make sure that each week the children locate the story in their Bibles. This will help them become more comfortable with their Bibles.

Discussion:
Words to Know: Make sure the children understand the meaning of the following words:
Pharisee - Jewish leaders who were very careful to follow all of God’s laws and rules that they made up that they thought made them
Gentile - someone who is not Jewish
Synagogue - Jewish places of worship and study in cities and towns
persecution - causing other people to suffer because of what they believe

Discussion: Briefly discuss what you have read with the children using the questions below as a guide. As the rotation progresses, you will have more time for more in depth discussion. (Just remember to follow the time guidelines so you don’t run out of time!)

What is a Pharisee (religious leader who believed everyone must follow the written and oral laws)
What did Saul and many of the Pharisees think about Jesus’ followers? (they disagreed with them, they wanted to stop them)
What did Saul do to Jesus’ followers and the early Christians? (arrested them, jailed them, killed them)
Where do we first hear about Saul in the Bible? (stoning of Stephen)

Why was Saul traveling to Damascus? (to arrest the Christians there and bring them back to Jerusalem)
What happened on his journey? (blinded by light, heard Jesus’ voice, changed - became a Christian)
Where did Saul go after this experience? (to Damascus)
What did he do there? (fasted, prayed)

Who did God speak to about Saul in Damascus? (Ananias)
What did God tell Ananias to do? (go to Saul, heal him, tell him God had plans for him)
Why was Ananias worried about doing what God asked? (Saul persecuted people like him)
What did Ananias do? (obeyed God, went to Saul, touched his eyes, told him God was going to use him)
What happened when Ananias touched Saul’s eyes? (scales fell off, he could see, Saul filled with Holy Spirit)
What did Saul do then? (praised God, was baptized, learned from Jesus’ followers, began preaching)
What did some of the Pharisees try to do to Saul? (wanted to kill him, but Saul escaped)
How do you think some of the Christians felt about having Saul with them now? (worried, didn’t trust him, afraid)
How do you think Saul felt knowing that he had persecuted Christians before?

Memory Verse: Locate and review the memory verse with the children. Our goal is for the children to memorize one memory verse each rotation. Our memory verse this rotation reflects the dramatic change that Saul experienced.

“Anyone who believes in Christ is a new creation. The old is gone! The new has come!” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (page 392 Little Kids’ Adventure Bible)

If you have extra time at the end of the workshop, review the memory verse again.

Proper Manners:
Discuss with the class proper manners when we have guests in the classroom
Be quiet and still in your seats during the puppet show.
Laugh when you think something is funny, clap at the end of the performance or if you think something really good has just happened.
Say thank you to the actors when they are through.
Show the actors how much you appreciate them sharing their time with you by serving them juice and cookies.

Introduce guests: Ask the boys and girls to settle in their seats. Introduce the State Street Youth Puppeteers. They may want to introduce the characters.

Paul – Blinded by the Light, a puppet show
(Written by Cindy Rockett, SSUMC G.R.E.A.T. Adventure Dream Team, March 2002)

Scripture Background: Acts 9:1-27

Props:
artificial campfire (or create your own)
stool or stump for grandmother to sit upon
spotlight
puppets

Characters:
Grandparent (real person)
Grandchild (real person)
Paul
Ananias
Christian Puppet
2nd Christian Puppet
Policeman or Soldier Puppet

Narrators will be a grandmother (or grandfather) and a child sitting by a fire in front of the puppet stage. They should be dressed in Bible-time costumes.

Child: Grandma, I love sitting by the fire with you. Will you tell me a story?

Grandma: Would you like to hear about your grandfather and the time he was on a fishing boat with Jesus? The time they caught enough fish to feed a town? Or the time he was on a boat with Jesus and Jesus made a storm quiet down just by telling it to?

Child: No grandma, I know which story I want to hear.

Grandma: You do? What would you like to hear?

Child: I want to hear the story of Uncle Saul.

Grandma: (Acts as if she is looking back into her memory.) Uncle Saul (pause) you know that most people outside of our community call him Paul, don’t you? That’s because he was also a Roman citizen and that was his Roman name.

Child: Uh-huh.

Grandma: Well, Paul was born into a good Jewish family like yours.

Paul Puppet: Puppet pops up.. Yes, I was born into a Jewish family just like Jesus, too. We had our seder meals and went to Synagogue and even went to the Temple in Jerusalem sometimes.

Grandma: (Stand up next to the stage so she can converse with the puppets) Yes, Paul, you studied scripture and followed the Jewish laws very carefully. You were a Pharisee and made sure that other Jews followed the laws as well.

Paul Puppet: Yes, I wanted to be sure that every Jew followed the laws exactly. And then along came Jesus and his followers!

Christian Puppet: (Pops up along with 2nd Christian Puppet and introduces himself to the audience) Hi, I’m one of Jesus’ followers. We thought that the Pharisees like Paul were making God’s word too complicated. We tried to tell people that God’s word was simple and about love..

2nd Christian Puppet: …and that Jesus was the Messiah sent to die for us so we could be with God forever... Well boy did that make Paul and the Pharisees mad!

Paul Puppet: Yes, it made us so angry! We thought that the Christians were going to wipe out our Jewish faith.

Christian Puppet: Talk about angry! We had a very good friend named Stephen…..

Stephen: (Pop up) Hi, I’m Stephen! I was a Christian in Jerusalem. I was spreading the Good New of Jesus Christ. Then, people like Paul had me arrested.

Police Officer Puppet: Arrest that man! He is saying evil things about the Temple and about our Jewish law.

(Police Officer chases Stephen around a little bit and then catches up to him.)

Puppet Paul: Stephen proclaimed that Jesus brought a new order to the world. He was performing miracles in the name of Jesus! He had to be stopped. So, we had him stoned. He was killed because he believed in Jesus and that made us really mad.

Have someone from behind the stage toss fake rocks (crumpled up paper bag pieces would work) at the Stephen puppet. Stephen will die a dramatic puppet death and fall out of sight.

Puppet Paul: Yeah, that was the kind of thing I did. I wanted to be rid of all the Christians. I even got special permission to go all the way to Damascus and bring Christians back to Jerusalem so they could be punished.

2nd Christian Puppet: We were really scared of Paul. But when we heard that Paul and his buddies were coming to Damascus to have us arrested and taken to Jerusalem, we were doubly scared – even triple-y scared! We never stopped spreading the word about Jesus, but we were really scared!

All puppets go back into the stage.

Grandma: Paul was determined to wipe out these folks who called themselves Christian, so he and a bunch of his buddies set off down the road to Damascus.

Puppet Paul and a few other puppets appear. March from one end of the stage and back again to represent a long journey. They can sing:


Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to Damascus we go
To wipe out Christians everywhere
Hi ho, hi ho, hi ho

One of Paul’s companions: Paul, it has been a long journey, but we are getting very close to Damascus.

Paul: Yes, soon we will be able to capture the Jewish Christians in Damascus and take them back to Jerusalem to be punished.

Suddenly Saul is surrounded by bright light – Use the spot light to illuminate Paul. The light is very bright.

Paul falls to the ground.

Grandma: Paul was surrounded by a blinding light. He fell to the ground and then he heard a voice from heaven….

Voice of Jesus: Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?

Grandma: Paul was blinded by the light. He responded to the voice by asking:

Paul: Who are you Lord?

Voice of Jesus: I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting!

Child: Wow, Grandma, was Paul scared? Did the voice say anything else? Could Paul get up off the ground? Did he go on to Damascus and capture the Christians?

Puppets disappear into the stage.

Grandma: Well, Paul knew for sure that Jesus had spoken to him. He also knew that he had misunderstood what God had wanted from him. God did not want for him to harm the people who loved Jesus. God wanted him to tell everyone about Jesus instead.

Paul (pops back up): I could not see – I had been blinded by the light. I felt helpless, but my friends and I continued on the road to Damascus, just like Jesus told me to do. My plans had changed drastically. When I got to Damascus, I no longer wanted to harm the Christians. Instead, I took time to fast: I didn’t eat or drink anything for three days. I prayed all the time those three days. I needed to know what God wanted me to do! (Disappear again.)

Grandma: While Paul was fasting, God appeared to another man in Damascus. His name was Ananias. (Ananias pops up.) Ananias was a Jewish Christian in Damascas. He was frightened by Paul and the terribly cruel things that Paul did.

Ananias: God told me that I was to go to a house on Straight Street. There I would find Paul. God told me to speak to Paul and put my hands on his blind eyes. When I did this, God said that the power of the Holy Spirit would heal Paul’s eyes.

I was really scared. I knew that Paul came to my town to arrest people just like me. But God told me that he had chosen Paul to work for him. I could not say “no” to something God wanted me to do for him! (Ananias drops away.)

Paul: (Back into sight.) I was sitting alone praying in my friend’s house when he announced that a man of the Lord, Ananias had arrived.

Companian: (Joins Paul) Hey, Paul, there is a guy here to see you. He says God sent him and that his name is Ananias.

Ananias: (Walks toward Paul) Brother Paul, God has sent me here to heal your blindness and baptize you.

Paul: I could feel the Holy Spirit descend upon me. I knew that God had changed me. Even me – a Pharisee who had ordered Christians to be killed! I could not help but praise the Lord! Immediately I began to tell everyone about how Jesus changed my life!

Paul and Ananias disappear

Grandma: Yes, Paul was converted that day. He was completely turned around because of his meeting with the risen Christ on the road to Damascus. Paul helped to build churches and to tell everyone about Jesus Christ, even the people who were not Jews, the Gentiles. God really did choose an unusual man to work for him, didn’t he? Just imagine! If God could change a man like Paul – God can do anything!

Child: I love that story Grandma!

Grandma: I’m glad to tell you the stories of my past, honey. You know, when we have Jesus in our lives, sometimes he changes us in BIG ways like he changed Paul and sometimes he changes us in smaller ways that we can barely see. But God can always change us to be more and more like He wants us to be…. Come on, I’ll tuck you into bed, you can dream about Paul and Ananias.

Goodnight everyone!

All puppets: (Come up for a final bow.) Goodnight!

Deafening applause will follow!

Snacks:
Have the class and actors sit in a ring on the stage or on the floor. Serve up a thank you snack.
Be sure the have the children tell the youth, “thank you.”

Reflection and Journal Time: The last 10 minutes should be reserved for Journal Reflection time. This is an opportunity for processing and reflection about what the children have learned. Ask the shepherds to pass out the journals and pencils/pens and the journal question sticker for the day. Workshop leaders and shepherds should sit down with children in small groups to facilitate discussion and writing in Faith Journals. Adults should write in journals as well. Memory verse stickers are also included for each lesson. Children may copy the memory verse and illustrate it as an alternative to journal questions.

Journal Questions:
Grades 1-2: Saul changed after he saw Jesus on the road to Damascus. When have you changed? Draw a picture of a time when you changed.
Grades 3-6: Saul’s whole life changed after he met Jesus on the road to Damascus. When is a time you have changed? What happened to make you change?

Optional activity
Remind the children that we learn our Bible stories in Sunday Morning Live because we act out the stories. When we act out the stories, we can learn how the characters felt. Let’s stand by our chairs and pretend we are different people in the Bible story about Paul’s conversion. When I call out a person and what this person is doing, make your face and your motions look like you think this person looked.
Paul when he wanted to destroy Christians.
Resurrected Jesus when he could see what Paul was doing to Christians.
Paul when he fell on the road blinded by the light.
Ananias, a Christian, when God told him to go see Paul, a person who killed Christians.
Other Christians when they saw Paul after he loved Jesus.

Watch Video: If you have extra time, allow the children to watch the videotape of the puppet show as they wait for parents to arrive.

Closing Prayer: Encourage the children to come back next week for another workshop, and to invite their friends. Remind them to bring their Bibles. Ask for prayer requests and pray together.

Clean-up: Help the Shepherd collect Journals and nametags and put away. Encourage children to help you clean up.

Release children only to parents, older siblings, or by prior arrangement with parents. Make sure parents sign their children out on class clipboards.
 
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SAUL ON THE ROAD TO DAMASCUS

PUPPET WORKSHOP

SUMMARY: After a “Saul experience,” the children will retell his story using puppets and will explore what it means to be a new person in Christ.

 

A lesson written by Amy Crane for
River Community Church, Prairieville, LA

 

Copyright 2003 Amy Crane. Permission granted to freely distribute and use, provided this copyright message is included.

 

 

Scripture Reference: Acts 9: 1-19

Memory Verse: “What this means is that those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun!” II Corinthians 5:17 (NLT)

 

 

Objectives for the rotation

 

At the end of the rotation, the students will...

  • be able to find Acts and know it is a history of the early Christian church.
  • understand that anyone can be called to do God’s work.
  • know that God can change enemies into friends.
  • know the story of Saul’s persecution of Christians and his conversion on the Road to Damascus.
  • be able to contrast Saul before and after his experience on the road.
  • will be able to repeat the memory verse.


Additional objectives for the Drama Workshop
At the end of the session, the students will

  • have considered how Saul might have felt when he couldn’t see.
  • consider what it means to be a new person in Christ.

 

Teacher preparation in advance:

  • Read the scripture passages and lesson plan and attend the Bible Study, ...
  • Prepare a closing prayer.
  • Learn the memory verse.
  • Make memory verse poster and memory verse cards.
  • Learn the story so you can tell it in your own words.
  • Consider the age level adjustments needed each week (those included in the lesson plan and your own). Confer with the Shepherd on “Stretchers” to use, especially with the youngest children.
  • To our teachers at RCC: The design of this workshop is very intentional. The activities and discussion questions for this workshop were designed to meet the goals of the entire rotation and the educational objectives of the Rotation Model (tm) at River Community Church. While we feel it is important to follow the serendipitous leading of the Holy Spirit, please do not change the lesson plan without consulting a Curriculum Planning and Writing Team member.
  • Check out the room before your first Sunday workshop so that you know where everything is located.
  • The bin with supplies is located in the big Sunday School room. Purchase or request additional supplies from -- by November 1.


Room set-up:
Puppet stage at one side. Large clear area or chairs where children can sit for guided imagery.


Supply List

  • Bible Times puppets
  • flashlight
  • Puppet stage (a table on its side or a table with a tablecloth draped over it will work)
  • memory verse written on some sort of poster hanging in the room
  • sets of memory verse index cards with each word of the memory verse on a separate card (one set for every 4 children).
  • Memento: sunglasses or sun stickers


PRESENTATION:
OPEN:

 

Welcome and Introductions:

 

Greet the children and introduce yourself. Wear your name-tag. (Remember, you are interacting with a different group of students each week who may not know you.) Make sure the children are wearing name-tags.

We had an opening prayer during the gathering time, but you may open with prayer if you feel led to do so.

Explain the purpose of this workshop: Today we will retell Saul’s story using puppets after we consider his experience of meeting Christ on the road to Damascus and what happened to him when he met Jesus.


Scripture/Bible Story:

Today’s story comes from Acts. This is the book of the Bible that follows the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) that contains the history of what Jesus’ followers did after his death and resurrection and the coming of the Holy Spirit. This rotation we are focusing on one of those followers, the Apostle Paul. His parents named him Saul, but when he traveled in Roman countries, he used his Roman name, Paul. Today we will call him Saul, as the scripture does, because he is in Jewish lands and dealing with Jewish people.
Read the scripture: Acts 9: 1-19. (Encourage the children to use their Bibles in looking up verses and ask for volunteers to take turns reading. With younger children, read to them Acts 9: 3-5 and 9: 10-18 and tell the rest of the story in your own words.)


DIG:
Application:


Warm-up exercise: Guided Imagery

 

Have the children sit comfortably (if you have space, they may lie on the floor).

“We are going to imagine what Saul might have felt like. Please sit/lie comfortably and quietly. [Have the children spread out as much as possible.] Close your eyes and see what you see with your mind’s eye as we think about our story. Please do not say anything — we will discuss your impressions when we are done.”

“Think about a long trip you have taken, maybe to visit your grandmother or to go on a vacation to Disney World or to play in a baseball or soccer tournament. Saul is taking a long trip like that. Except he is not traveling by car or airplane but by foot or donkey.

“So imagine you are now Saul. You have been traveling for a long time — for almost a week. It is a long, dry journey. You are looking forward to arriving in Damascus and doing something important — something that you know God approves of. Even though you are tired, you are happy, because you want to spend your life doing God’s work.

“Suddenly, there is a bright light! (Think about how much the sun hurts your eyes when you accidently look towards it, maybe to see a ball in the air or when it is shining on your side of the car. What is happening now is much brighter and more painful than just having the sun in your eyes.) It hurts! It stings! It hurts so much you close your eyes and fall to the ground.

“And then you hear it. A voice. A voice you have never heard before, yet it sounds familiar. And it is someone calling your name. ‘Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting me?’

“You answer, ‘Who are you, sir?’

“And the voice replies, ‘I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting! Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what to do.’

“You lie there, wondering... What should you do? Nothing like this has ever happened to you before. Or to anyone you know.

“But you know what to do. You know you must obey. You open your eyes and get up. But what is wrong? You still can’t see. You stumble and one of your traveling companions comes to assist you.

“You finally make it to Damascus. You can’t see anything. You don’t want to eat or drink anything. What do you do for these three days of fasting (not eating or drinking)?

“Spend a few minutes quietly thinking about how Saul reacted and spent those next three days until the Lord sent Ananias.”


“Let’s talk about what you felt and saw. (Discussion questions from Catherine in the rotation.org lesson plan: FAITH QUEST - Paul on the Road to Damascus - Praising Puppets)

∙ Who appears and speaks to Saul on his trip to Damascus? [Jesus]

∙ Jesus makes Saul blind. I wonder why Jesus did that? [This is a really important concept because it makes people think about how Jesus/God accomplishes God’s purposes. If the children don’t have any ideas, you can get them thinking by saying, “I wonder whether Jesus was trying to:
∙ show Saul how bad blindness is,
∙ get Saul’s attention,
∙ keep Saul from going after Christians,
∙ give Saul a few days to think about what Jesus had said to him,
∙ show Saul Jesus’ power,
∙ show Saul that he was ‘blind’ to the truth about Jesus,
∙ give Saul a chance to experience Christian love during and just after his blindness]

∙ What happens to Saul while he is blind? [He seems to have accepted Jesus and become one of his followers.]

∙ What does it mean to accept Jesus? [Believe God raised Jesus from the dead, make Jesus Lord over your life.]

Any questions/comments about your “Saul Experience”?


Reenact the story with puppets:

 

“Now we are going to use our puppets and reenact the story of Saul on the road to Damascus. Let’s think about the story.
∙ Who are characters in the story that our puppets can be?” [Saul, Jesus, people traveling with Saul, Judas, Ananias, Jewish leaders, people being persecuted, people Saul preaches to after his conversion]
∙ Where does the story take place? [Jerusalem, road to Damascus, home of Judas, home of Ananias]”

Introduce the puppets, puppet care, and puppet skills. If there are enough puppets, let each child have a puppet (any puppet) to practice manipulation. If there are not enough puppets, have everyone practice with “invisible puppets” (hand held like a puppet). Do this around the puppet stage/table. Demonstrate how to move the puppets. Have all the puppets jump, nod, shake their head, act happy, act sad, act afraid, act mad, pray, preach, see a bright light, fall over, etc. If desired, this can be done in a “Simon Says” game format.

Assign parts and have the children create movement and dialog as the scripture/narration is read. (See the script that follows or create your own.) Encourage creative dialog. Remember, there are no right or wrong answers.

If there are more children than puppets, some can watch while the others do the puppet show. (The audience is a very important job!) Then, reassign parts and do it again. (Let those who watched the first time have first choice on parts for the second performance. If more than one child wants a part, draw names.)

If time permits, do the puppet show several times, allowing the children to create different dialog each time.


REFLECT:
Pulling it all together (closing discussion):


∙ After Saul met the risen Jesus he was a changed man. His life was totally different. In what ways was his life different? How could people see that something had changed?

∙ Do you think Jesus only chooses people who spend their lives studying the Bible (like Saul) to do his work? What sort of person does He choose?

∙ How do others know that you are a believer? What in your life is evidence of it?

∙ What sorts of things do you think Saul said to the people to whom he was preaching?


Review the memory verse. Read the memory verse from a poster together. Divide the class into groups of 3 or 4. Give each group a set of index cards with one word of the verse written on each card. Have them put the words in order.


By 11:45 a.m. ask the Shepherd to pass out the journal pages and pencils/markers. Suggestion: You may wish to give the children a sticker or some memento to paste in their journal as a reminder of the story or activity.


Shepherd Time:
[Journal Questions adapted from Saul's Conversion-State Street UMC: CyberSpace - Computer Workshop lesson plan.]

Younger children: Saul heard Jesus’ voice and saw a great light. Draw a picture of what you think this looked like.
Older children: What do you think Saul was thinking while he was blind in Damascus for 3 days? What do you think he did?

This is meant to be a time of reflection and introspection. Writing about faith helps clarify lessons. In addition to the suggested activity, children may draw pictures relating to today’s scripture or memory verse, list highlights of the day’s activities, or rephrase the memory verse. The journal pages will be saved and given to the children at the end of the school year.

You may want to provide an extra activity or worksheet for children who finish their journals quickly, such as coloring sheets, crossword puzzles, word searches, games. See the Workshop Leader’s Background Notes and rotation.org for ideas.


Before noon, ask the students to stop journaling for a moment and sit quietly for prayer so they can leave when their parents arrive. Allow them to finish journaling afterwards.

Closing prayer:

 

Jesus, we sometimes act like we are blind to your love and to all that you have given us. Help us to see you with new eyes and to serve you in all we do and say. Be with us and guide us. Help us to share the good news of your light in our lives with our friends and family. In your name we pray, Amen.


Additional Suggestions:

 

You will need to decide how best to adjust the lesson for older and younger students, including which journal question to use. Keep the children active and involved in activity. Do what works for you and the children. Some ideas in addition to those included in the lesson plan:

Older children:
∙ Sometimes older children think that puppets are babyish. If time permits, consider inviting a preschool class to see their “performance” (warn their teacher that it will NOT be a polished performance).
∙ Allow one of the students to read the narrator’s script.
∙ Have a volunteer be Saul and read one of his sermon/life stories to the "congregation" (Acts 22:3-21 and Acts 26:2-23).

Younger Children:
∙ For classes composed primarily of pre-readers, show the children how to find the passage in the Bible (for example, “Acts follows the Gospels. To find the Gospels, open the Bible in the middle and then open the second half in the middle - you should end up in Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John. Acts is after John.) and then have them do it. After everyone has found the passage, have them close their Bibles and listen while you read.
∙ Encourage them to hold their puppets tall and to speak loudly and clearly, but remind them that this is not expected to be a polished performance. If the children’s heads are showing behind the puppet stage or table, that is okay.


Resources

Catherine. “Faith Quest on the Road to Damascus - Praising Puppets Workshop.” Saul to Paul - Lesson set by Kirk of Kildaire Presbyterian Church.

Derden, Jaymie. “Paul’s Conversion - A Blinding Light! - CyberSpace - Computer Workshop.” Saul's Conversion-State Street UMC (Bristol, Virginia) lesson plan at rotation.org. (Source of journal questions and closing discussion questions.)

For additional information on using puppets and drama to bring Bible stories to life, see Amy Crane’s Puppet Workshop Instructions in the Workshop Design and Teaching Resources section of the IDEA AND LESSON EXCHANGE



Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

*****


SAUL ON THE ROAD TO DAMASCUS
PUPPET WORKSHOP
NARRATOR’S SCRIPT

Adapted from the New Living Translation

[Narrator should pause at indicated points to allow students to improvise dialog and act out the story with their puppets.]


Once, long ago, there lived a man named Saul. Saul was an educated man who believed in the one true God. He served and worshiped God. And he believed that followers of The Way — followers of a criminal named Jesus who had been executed — were going against God and should be punished.

[Saul puppet appears on stage, bows, and introduces self.]


Saul asked the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem to send him to Damascus, a city about 150 miles from Jerusalem, so that he could take care of any followers of The Way he found there.

[Saul confers with leaders and then departs with a few companions.]

It was a long journey to Damascus — several days.

[Journeying.]

As Saul and his companions were nearing Damascus, a brilliant light from heaven suddenly beamed down upon him! Saul fell to the ground and heard a voice speaking to him:

[Shine flashlight, puppet falls, voice asks, “Why are you persecuting me?” Tells Saul to go into the city.]

The men traveling with Saul stood speechless with surprise, for they heard the sound of someone’s voice, but saw no one!

[Traveling companions react.]

Saul was startled to discover he was blind — he couldn’t see a thing!

[Saul reacts, traveling companions help Saul on his way.]


Saul’s traveling companions led him to Damascus. For three days he went without food and water.

[Show Saul and his caregivers.]

Now there was a believer, a follower of The Way, in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord spoke to him in a vision:

[Lord tells Ananias to go to the house of Judas on Straight Street. Ananias argues.]


So Ananias went and found Saul.


Ananias laid his hands on Saul and said:

[Jesus sent me, so you can get your sight back and be filled with the Holy Spirit.]


Instantly, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes and he regained his sight.

[All react.]


Then Saul got up and was baptized.

[Ananias baptizes Saul.]


Saul stayed with the believers in Damascus a few days. And immediately he began preaching about Jesus in synagogues.

[Saul makes speech, including stating Jesus is the Son of God.]

All who heard him were amazed!
[Amazement.]


Saul’s preaching became more and more powerful. And even though Saul went from being the persecutor to being persecuted, he kept on telling everyone everywhere that Jesus was indeed the Messiah.

[More testifying and witnessing. All bow.]



Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

 

 

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Rotation.org Moderator reformatted this post to improve readability and to fix links.

 
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This interactive story was created specially for our youngest students (preschool/kindergarten).  We find that walking through the story with little activities helps them to remember the details much better - almost like having been in the story!

 

LESSON OVERVIEW

Kids will walk through the story of Saul’s conversion as they complete a variety of simple activities together.

 

MATERIALS

• Bible

• A small jingle bell that would fit into a child’s closed hand

• Velcro marking tape

• Blindfolds

• 1 bottle of white glue

• Kinder Surprise Eggs - one for every student

 

WELCOME

Introduce yourself and learn the names of your students. 

 

Explain to children that they are going to enter into the story of Saul on the road to Damascus! Has anyone ever gone into a real bible story together? In order to do so they must get on their IMAGINATION SUIT and then they must listen very carefully to each of your instructions.

 

Put on your “imagination suite” together as a class (a hat, shoes, glasses, jacket, etc) and then twirl quickly round and round and then sit down as you enter into the story together

 

Imagine through the story as follows:

 

ACTS 9:1-2

Read the passage.

 

Explain that Saul was a man who didn’t like Christians. He wanted to capture anyone who believed in Jesus and put them into jail! Is that a friendly thing to do?

 

Let’s play a game of tag that helps us to imagine Saul capturing Christians.

Select one child to be Saul and have be “it” in the game of tag. Any child that is tagged will have to cooperate by going to “jail” (a pre-determined location in the classroom). When the whole class is in jail the game ends. You can play several times with different children pretending to be Saul.

 

Let’s find out what happened next.

 

ACTS 9:3-6

 

Read the passage. 

 

Jesus didn’t want Saul capturing or hurting anyone who believed so he stopped Saul on his journey with a bright light!

 

Let’s walk on the road to Damascus together. Whenever you see the “bright light” turn on you have to fall to the ground!

 

Have the children walk around the room slowly. Turn the lights on and off - whenever a light is turned on everyone falls to the ground - when it turns back on they stand up and keep walking again. 

 

ACTS 9:7

Read the passage.

 

Only Saul could see Jesus. Everyone travelling with Saul could hear Jesus but they couldn’t see Him. What would that be like? Would it be weird if you could hear a sound but didn’t know where it was coming from?

 

Play a listening game. Sit children in a circle. Have one child hide their eyes in the centre while you hand a small jingle bell to another child. Have all children in the circle close their hands into fists and shake them. The child in the middle needs to find out who has the bell by listening. They can’t move around - they have to stay in the centre of the circle and then point to the person they think has the bell. Take turns until every student has had a turn guessing.

 

ACTS 9:8-9

Read the passage.

 

Saul was blind! I wonder what it would be like to be blind?!

 

Play a game to imagine what it would be like to be blind.

 

Using some velcro marking tape make a winding path on the carpet. Explain to kids that they will have to make it from one end to the other with a blindfold on.....thankfully they will have some help just like Saul did!

 

Divide children into pairs, one blindfolded and one not. Have the child without the blindfold lead the “blind” student through the path one pair at a time. Let each child take turns being blind and being the leader.

 

ACTS 9:10-16

 

 

Read the passage.

 

The Lord called a special helper named Ananias to go and visit Saul so that Saul could see again. Ananias listened to God and did as he said.

 

Let’s play a game where you can be a special messenger.

 

Here’s a twist on Follow the Leader or Simon Says - Have all the children line up along one wall while you as the leader stand at the opposite side of the classroom. Call one student at a time by name. That student must run to you. When they reach you, whisper a special message (such as jump up and down, touch your nose, clap your hands, spin in a circle, etc) in to their ear.

 

After hearing the message you can shout “(name of student)....go!” and the student must return to the class and demonstrate the action for the rest of the students to follow. Play until all of the kids have had at least one turn to “go” just like Ananias.

 

ACTS 9:17-19a

 

Smear a very small dab of white glue onto each child’s pointer finger and tell them to hold their finger up in the air and wave it so that it dries.

 

Read the passage.

 

Jesus sent Ananias to visit Saul so that he could see again. The Bible tells us that something like scales fell out of Saul’s eyes so that he could see again. Maybe his eyes had been covered by something so he couldn’t see and then the covering fell off! 

 

Have the children peel the glue off of their fingers to imagine what the scales might have looked like.

 

Acts 9:19b-22

Read the passage.

 

What did Saul do after he could see again? How was this different than the beginning of the story where he put Christians into jail?

 

What a wonderful surprise - Saul went from hating Christians to being a Christian!! He even told many other people all about Jesus. I bet a lot of Christians celebrated when this change happened, they were probably so excited that they didn’t have to be scared of Saul anymore and even more amazed that Jesus’ power was strong enough to change even a man like Saul.

 

Saul probably looked the same on the outside as he did at the beginning of the story but something on the inside had changed - his heart!

 

Let’s have a snack that looks pretty ordinary on the outside but has a special surprise on the inside!

 

Hand out a Kinder Surprise Egg to each student!

 
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