This "Stations of Acts" activity/idea was contributed a few years ago as "AN IDEA" that needs some fleshing out. We've kept it because it's a very INTERESTING idea!
"Act Stations" are similar in concept to "stations of the cross", or some of the "walk-through" drama activities found in our Exodus forum. It's an interesting way to teach a series of events in a large story. In this case, the stations are important people in the Book of Acts who rarely get much press in our lessons.
It can work as a drama-march, or as a set of storytelling stations. You could also adapt it as a set of Game Stations. Or it could be the outline for a series of tableaus your kids create in-costume (which could also be photographed)
The basic 'outline' below needs some age adjustment and enhancement, but the creative ideas should spark your own. It was originally written for younger youth.
Book of Acts Activity
I was interested in illustrating the Book of Acts one day. I just read the first few chapters and this activity just gelled in my mind. Doesn't cover everything in early Acts, but here goes...
Illustrate the following stories in the beginning part of the Book of Acts
- Acts Introduction
- Mathias...drawing of lots
- Barnabas and the selling of his fields
- Stoning of Stephen
- Paul on the road to Damascus
....and to teach kids what it means to be cut off from God.
Location: Needs to be outside.
- Small rocks (dark), one white rock and something to hold them in. In addition, a paper bag. The number of rocks should equal the number of kids participating.
- Pennies (double the number of kids participating)
- A small water bottle, with water
- Blindfolds (enough for each kid--bandanna's work great)
- Some treats (Hershey's or whatever in small bags). Works best in a small cooler
About an hour, perhaps a bit more
Here's the sequence of your whirlwind tour through the start of Acts:
1. Opening - Acts Introduction
Start inside and briefly describe Acts. I start with the book of Luke, indicate that Luke wrote Acts (a sequel to Luke). I ask questions about what happened after the resurrection. It's interesting. Most kids heard about Paul, but don't know all the events in Acts. Explain the activity indicating that the kids will be playing various roles in the start of Acts. Keep this short though.
2. Mathias...drawing of lots
Go outside. If you have a picnic table or a tree, stop under it and read/paraphrase the story of the selection of the new disciple (Mathias). Put the rocks in the paper bag. Have each kid take a rock out of the bag but not reveal it. Then all reveal. The one with the white rock is Mathias. I've done this twice and the older kids feel "honored" if they were Mathias.
3. Pentecost (Holy Spirit)
Next, walk a short distance and explain briefly goings-on in Jerusalem at the time. Suddenly stop and ask the kids to form a circle. You can ask kids to imagine the fire of the Holy Spirit descending on them (the disciples). I ask kids to feel the wind of the Holy Spirit. (I've had blowing wind too outside. Thanks, God)
Then, assuming they are in high school or 7th grade onward, ask each kid to say "Jesus Christ" in a non-English language and to say "good morning" "how are you" etc. in that language. Usually, the language will be French or Spanish. (kids in higher grades need to take a language....this illustrates to them what it must have been like speaking in tongues) They will all speak in the second language they are learning. This is a cool experience for them.
4. Barnabas and the selling of his fields
Next, walk some more distance. Describe the brief story of Barnabas selling his field and placing the money at the disciple's feet. We just happen to have a cornfield next to our church. This worked perfectly!! I partially buried the pennies in a marked section of the field and had the kids find them. That got them going. If you don't have a big field, think of some other hiding place, but don't make it too hard to find the pennies e.g. " Pennies From Heaven" ... hey wasn't that a 1920's song
5. Introducing Stephen
Next, walk some more distance. Describe the story of Stephen, why he was chosen etc. In a booming voice, I said to the kids imagine that all the people are looking at you, Stephen, and you give your Old Testament speech. Kids loved the "Stiff-necked people" (they repeated it too in a booming voice). In fact, kids viewed Stephens' speech as kind of a Cliff Notes version of the Old Testament...all in about 2 pages of Acts. Never thought of that, but it's true!
6. Stoning of Stephen
Time to stone Stephen. Kids now change roles and are the mob. Place the water bottle some distance away. Give the stones to each kid (you can collect more so each has a few) and try to hit the water bottle. After all, are done, I stand there and pour the water out of the bottle and say two things that: a) Stephen poured himself out like our Lord did, for the people and b) the disciples, though afraid and persecuted, still Baptized people. I also throw a coat or towel on the ground and mention that Paul was there, approving. (People threw garments at Paul's feet) Note: best to police the area right afterward picking up the stones so that the lawnmower guy doesn't have a bad day.
7. Paul on the Road to Damascus
Next, walk some more. We happen to have a dirt road. I walked the kids down that road, but you can use any distance. When the time was right, I said, "sit on the ground". I then read Paul's story on the road to Damascus. (Struck down etc.)
8. Paul Blinded
Of course, the next thing is to use the bandanna's to blindfold the kids !! They are now all Paul. Blindfold all kids making sure they can't see. I then let the kid who picked the white rock (Mathias) to lead the entire group back to the Sunday School Building! (he/she is NOT blindfolded) So, it's you the leader and the Mathias kid NOT blindfolded. Remember to say, no touching/leading by the hand etc. Just VERBAL commands. For us, it's a long distance back, through a kid's playground, around trees etc. Try to get some up and down motion to the trek as that challenges kids.(up and over some logs or something) You'll see some interesting leadership skills and tactics emerge when being led. Kids flip out on this part of the activity. Really good group dynamics.
By the way, this part can be its own activity if you just want to illustrate Paul/Damascus Road story.
You can have the one kid lead the rest of the kids all the way back inside your building or he/she can lead them to a point just outside. We go just outside. There, have the cooler with candy in bags, inside the cooler. Have your leader, somehow (it's fun to watch), lead each kid to the cooler, open it and grab a bag or two of candy. Preplan the amount/bags before you start the activity and plant the cooler in the spot you want to end the activity before you start the activity.
9. Paul & Ananias
Then ask the kids, while blindfolded, what they think of the experience? How do they feel? Some may say afraid, not knowing etc. Use their response to illustrate what it means to be cut off from God like Paul was and that they too may feel as if they are cut off from God someday in their lives, but in reality, they are not, for God is with them always. _*This can be a really powerful moment for your group. *_Read scripture about Ananias helping Paul and that afterward people were still skeptical about Paul's conversion!
Finally, remove the blindfolds. They'll be amazed as to where they are in relation to your church property layout! And they have some treats...just like Paul receiving a meal as scripture says after the scales fell from his eyes.
Don't forget a camera to take pics too. Enjoy!
Originally posted by Mark from Boyds Presbyterian Church, Boyds Maryland.
A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability.