Reply to "Dorcas (Tabitha) Lesson Set from First Pres, Nevada, MO"

People of the Early Church: Tabitha

Mission Workshop


Acts 9:36-42

Summary of Lesson Activities:

Children will collect clothing and prepare it for donation to a local thrift shop.

Lesson Objectives:

Children will...

  • Learn about basic needs
  • Discuss situations in which people might find themselves in need
  • Participate in preparing a donation for a local thrift shop, which helps people in need.

Workshop Preparation:

  • Promote the event in the newsletter, bulletin and announcements at least one month ahead. See examples at the end of the lesson.
  • Put a box outside the sanctuary 2-3 Sundays before the date of this workshop
  • Invite other Sunday school classes to help with the workshop


  • Boxes
  • Cleaning supplies (rags, old toothbrushes, mild cleaning solutions)
  • Newsprint for packing
  • Children’s Bible


Lesson Plan


Open with a prayer.

Prepare the children for the story:
This story is from the Bible, from the New Testament book called The Acts of the Apostles.

After Jesus died and God raised him up, and after Jesus was taken up into heaven, the Holy Spirit came and drew people together to form the Church in Jerusalem. In the church there were many miracles. Many people believed in Jesus because of the miracles and because of what Jesus’ followers taught. The Church grew. Soon there were churches in other towns too. Peter traveled to some of these churches to see how they were doing.

Read Acts 9:36-42

I wonder…

  • Remember that you do not have to use all the “I wonder” statements—gauge your use of these discussion starters according to your students’ needs.
  • Remember that silence is an appropriate response to an “I wonder” statement and to allow silent time for children to wonder with you before answering.
  • Feel free to wonder out loud with the children, but resist the impulse to give the “right” answers. We are all in conversation with scripture. Sometimes the answer is the conversation.

I wonder how her friends felt when Tabitha got sick and died…
I wonder how Peter felt when he saw Tabitha’s friends crying …
I wonder what Peter was thinking about when he saw Tabitha dead…
I wonder what Peter prayed in the room with Tabitha …
I wonder what it was like to see that God made Tabitha alive again…
I wonder if an ordinary person can make a dead person live again…
I wonder how miracles show God’s power…
I wonder how miracles help us believe in God…

Activity (application):
Sorting clothes for a local thrift shop

  • Begin by discussing basic needs with the children—food, water, shelter, clothing, and medical care.
  • Help children differentiate between basic needs for survival and the things we need to do our work (for kids that’s playing and learning).
  • Things that are simply luxury items (computer games, expensive clothes, cars, etc) need to be identified as such—fun, but we can live and work without them.
  • Tell the children about the thrift shop (eg: people donate items to the store, the store sells them at very low prices—which helps people who do not have very much money, and the shelter for victims of domestic violence uses the money).
  • Talk about circumstances in which people might find themselves in need. Examples would be hurricanes, tornados, crime, fire, accidents, death in the family, or loss of work, in addition to domestic violence. See what kids can come up with on their own, with only a little prodding.
  • Tell the children that Tabitha set a good example for us in helping people in need. She helped people who didn’t have enough money—especially women whose husbands had died and had no way of taking care of themselves.
  • Avoid the label “poor people.” Instead use the phrase “people who are in need” or “people who find themselves in need.” Any of us may at some time find ourselves in need (from disasters or other situations), and we want to avoid segregating a segment of our society by using a label.
  • Tell the children how the people of the church are helping the thrift shop by donating clothes and other items.
  • The children (and others) will help prepare the donation by sorting and folding the clothing. If there are other items, those may be cleaned if needed and carefully packed. We could just load it up and donate it, but these are gifts we want to present with love. So we give things neatly folded, clean, and cared for, because we care about the dignity of those who will receive it.
  • The following week, take the donation to the thrift shop.


Trace around your hand. How do your hands help others?

Close with a prayer.

This is an original lesson written for Faith Village at First Presbyterian Church, copyright 2006. May not be reproduced for sale. Permission granted to copy and distribute for local church use only, provided copyright information is clearly printed on the lesson.

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