During our rotation on Paul's conversion on the road to Damascus we did a "cooking" lesson. This lesson introduced the idea that you can become a new creation in Christ but you are still "you." This can be a difficult but important concept both for younger children and teens.
Paul’s Conversion on the Road to Damascus
Summary of Lesson Activities:
In this lesson the class will be introduced to the book of “Acts” in the Bible as the 5th book in the New Testament. They will learn the story of Paul’s Conversion experience on the road to Damascus. By taking individual pieces of fruit and blending them together to make a “smoothie” they will see how Paul was made into a completely new person because of his interaction with Jesus. Yet Paul was still Paul.
- a couple of different kinds of fresh fruit
- water or fruit juice (not milk if you have lactaid intolerant kids in your groups)
- cutting boards
- glasses/paper cups
- a blender
- a tablecloth for the table
- long handled spoon
- Optional: bunch of flowers that include buds, as well as, fully open flowers (you can use that in the opening section as an example).
- Familiarize yourself with the Lesson Plan.
- Familiarize yourself with the scriptural passage and bookmark it in your Bible.
- Gather the materials necessary for the lesson.
- Before class have your materials set up on a big kitchen tray out of sight of the students so they don’t get distracted by it.
Introduce yourself to the class. Invite the students to introduce themselves to you. Have them join you in prayer: (Pray the following or anything you wish)
Dear Jesus, when you come into our lives we become completely different from who we were before. We are still ourselves but we are a new creation at the same time. Bless our time together as we learn more about your presence in our lives. Amen.
Say: This month we are learning about what happened to Paul on his way to Damascus. We find this story in the book of Acts.
Ask: Do you know where the book of Acts is in the Bible? (The first book after the four gospels).
Say: Let’s find the book of Acts in our Bibles. It comes right after the book of John.
[Once the students have located the book of Acts ask them:]
Ask: Have you ever heard this story before (maybe in a previous week if this is not the 1st Sunday of the rotation or maybe at another time.)
(IF THEY HAVE HEARD THIS STORY BEFORE HAVE THEM TELL IT TO YOU. OTHERWISE PROCEED WITH READING IT FROM THE BIBLE. They might need help finding the chapter and verse. When reading it out loud they can take turns or you can read it to them. Please read it out loud to the Sprouts so as not to make pre-readers feel uncomfortable.)
Say: The story of Paul shows us what can happen when Jesus comes into our lives.
Ask: Did Paul change himself? (No) Jesus changed Paul, didn’t he? (Yes)
Say: Jesus transformed Paul.
For Buds and Blooms (Our Jr. and Sr. High class):
Continue the conversation about transformation in the following way:
Say: God can change our lives in dramatic and powerful ways but we can also change ourselves when we need or want to. We can make a decisions to change ourselves. We can decide to be more polite or we can decide we need to learn how to better take care of ourselves. We might feel the need for healing about something that’s happened to us or healing in a friendship. We can do things to make those changes in ourselves. But our relationship with God is really important and integral in bringing some of these changes about.
Ask: Do you have any questions about the difference between God transforming us and the changes we can make in ourselves? (Invite them to discuss this if they want.)
Spring and Nature’s Transformations:
Ask: Is it spring yet? (Accept all answers)
Say: Technically its spring but we still have a lot of snow.
Ask: What do you think people look for that tells them that spring is here? (Birds coming back, grass turning green, flowers coming up, it gets warmer, trees begin to bud, we get lots of mud, put away winter coats and snow boots, no more snow days, etc.)
Say: There are a lot of different ways that tell us that spring is here.
Ask: Do we make the birds come back? (No) Do we make the flowers come up out of the ground? (No) Do we turn the snow to rain? (No) (Be prepared to have someone bring up the issue of Global Warming and how we do have an impact on when and how spring happens. That does get addressed in the next section.)
Say: We don’t have any control over when these signs of spring begin to happen. God made nature in such a way that the ways the planets turn and the ways seasons happen have nothing to do with us. Of course, the way we live and use our natural resources effects weather and seasons (Global Warming) but we don’t decide that today will be the day the snow will melt or today will be the day it’ll be hot enough to go swimming. The effects of Global Warming have happened over a long, long period of time. But when spring arrives it feels, and looks, like a brand new world. Trees, lawns, gardens—they all look transformed. Eventually as spring turns into summer it seems hard to believe that we ever had winter!
(If you have a bunch of flowers you can point to them and illustrate that each of these flowers starts out as a tightly closed bud. Slowly, if the light and temperature are right the buds slowly open up. But they do not do it all at once. Each blossom has its own journey.)
Say/Ask: So my next question is this: are we still the same person after we’ve been transformed by God? It’s a tricky question, isn’t it? (You can engage the students in a conversation about this.)
Say: We’re going to make smoothies this morning to help us talk about the kind of transformation God does. We’ve got a variety of fruit here and some other things we need to make a smoothie.
For this exercise it is important to have the class eat a piece of fruit in its natural state and then mixed up in a smoothie. For instance, have them each eat a strawberry. Then make a strawberry smoothie for them to each taste. As they are eating it say:
Say/Ask: Notice how the fruit tastes and feels in your mouth. Can you feel the seeds or taste the skin? Is it crispy or chewy or juicy?
Put the fruit, water and ice in the blender. You can add some frozen fruit in place of ice if you want. Once the smoothie is made pour some of it in paper cups and hand it out to the students.
Ask: What is the fruit like now? Does it taste the same? Can you feel the seeds or the skin?
(You can do this with one type of fruit or with several. Just repeat it).
Ask: The fruit is both the same and completely different at the same time, isn’t it? Do you think that is what happens to us when we are transformed by God? How are we the same and how might we be different? (Let the kids discuss this.)
A lesson from member Cat Blue.
A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability.