THE EARLY CHURCH - MISC WORKSHOP Lessons and Ideas

This topic is for posting VARIOUS WORKSHOP Lessons and Ideas for teaching the story of the Early Church in Acts.


The Early Church

A "HOLY-WOOD" Video Workshop for Older Grades


Summary of Lesson Activities:

Uses the video "The Apostles and the Early Church" – Children’s Heroes of the Bible, distributed by Gateway Films, Vision Video

Scripture Reference:

Acts 1-12. The Contemporary English Version (CEV) is an easy-to-read translation.

Concepts:
Paul and Peter and friends had to work hard, against enemies, to share the love of Jesus.

Lesson Objectives:

  1. Children will review events after Jesus’ resurrection in the early life of the church.
  2. The children will view the video “The Apostles and the Early Church”
  3. The children will discuss what they can do to be dsciples/followers of Jesus.


Lesson Plan

Opening:

Greet the children and introduce yourself.

Explain the purpose of this workshop. This unit is a study of the early church. What happened after Jesus was resurrected? Who was Paul and how did he go from killing followers of Jesus to becoming a follower of Jesus? How can you be a follower of Jesus?

Dig:


Bible Story:

You will need to review the events told by the video. It covers a lot so telling the children before watching the video will help them recognize the events and follow the story.

For older children, you may wish to define the words:
Disciple - a student or learner. In Jesus’ time, a young Jew who wanted to study about God, would choose a rabbi (a teacher) and become his disciple. The young disciple would listen, memorize the teachings and would later become a teacher too. Jesus chose the 12 disciples to teach them about God. We are disciples of Jesus when we study and learn and come to Sunday school and try to live like Jesus.
Apostle – an apostle is a special messenger of God. It refers to the 12 disciples, Paul and others who were called especially by Jesus to preach and heal.
Persecute – to harass, treat badly, especially for religious or political reasons. The Romans and the Jewish priests didn’t like people following Jesus’ teachings. They wanted to stop people from hearing about Jesus. In the video we will learn that Stephen and James were stoned and Peter was imprisoned.
Pentecost – a Jewish feast day that took place seven weeks (about 50 days) after Passover (remember the Last Supper meal was at Passover). Christians remember it as the day the Holy Spirit came (shown as wind in the video) as Jesus promised.
Saul – Hebrew name, before his conversion, Saul persecuted the early Christians by arresting them and putting them in jail. Saul is noted as the one who held the coats for those who stoned Stephen, the first Christian martyr.
Paul – Greek name, Saul changed his name to Paul after his conversion on the road to Damascas.

Story sequencing. (5-7 minutes) The story sequence statements (see below) should be printed on large cards/paper and handed out randomly to the children. Ask each child to come forward with the next numbered event as you briefly outline the video story from the statements. Post each event on the wall, creating a time line.

Application:
Start the video. It’s about 23 minutes long. Distribute the popcorn.

Recap some of the highlights by referring to the story card statements on the wall. Discuss how hard it was for Peter, Paul and the other Apostles to share the good news about Jesus. Is it ever hard for us to be Christians? Has anyone made fun of you for coming to church? Think of how the early Christians had to suffer so much to keep the faith alive. Was it harder to be a follower of God then or now?

Today we can safely come to church and learn how to be a follower/disciple of Jesus. How can we be good disciples? (come to Faith Quest, be kind to someone who is picked on at school, not fight with siblings, smile at a new kid, share something with a friend or sibling, pray, be polite and say “Thank you”, learn about Jesus, etc)

Reflection:

Prompts for journal writing: Describe a time when you did something kind for someone. Name 2 things that you can do this week to show you are a disciple/follower of Jesus.

Closing Prayer:
Thank you God for helping the apostles preach to others about Jesus and his love. Thank you for our church, the Kirk of Kildaire, where we can come and learn to be followers of Jesus too. Help me be a good disciple for Jesus. Amen


References:
Vision Video – The Apostles and the Early Church – Children’s Heroes of the Bible, distributed by Gateway Films, Vision Video


Time-line Statements
Copy the statements on paper footprints. We made LARGE footprints (left and right) to make "tracks" on the wall. they were laminated to hold up over the five weeks. OR the paper can be cut into other shapes to visually depict the event, eg. a rock for “Stephen is stoned”, a road for the statement on the road to Damascus.

The bold words should be written on the cards/images that are to be placed on the wall in a timeline.
1. Jesus is risen. The body is gone.
2. Jesus appears to his followers.
3. The Holy Spirit gives the gift of healing and preaching to the apostles on Pentecost. (wind)
4. The apostles heal the sick in the name of Jesus.
5. Peter and the apostles are warned not to preach about Jesus.
6. Saul of Tarsus persecutes followers of Jesus.
7. Stephen is stoned.
8. Saul meets Jesus on the road to Damascus and is blinded.
9. Ananias heals Saul of blindness by the power of the Holy Spirit.
10. Saul becomes Paul and a believer of Jesus.
11. Paul meets the disciples in Jerusalem.
12. Peter is arrested and put in prison to be crucified.
13. Peter’s friends pray for his freedom.
14. Peter escapes from prison. It is a miracle.




The Early Church


HOLYWOOD For Grades 1 and 2 only


Scripture Reference:

Acts 1-12. The Contemporary English Version (CEV) is an easy-to-read translation.

Concepts:
Each person in the church has a special talent like each part of our body has a special function.

Lesson Objectives:

  1. The children will view 2 segments of the video “Davey and Goliath – Bedtime Stories”
  2. The children will discuss what they can do to be disciples/followers of Jesus.


Lesson Plan


Opening:

Greet the children and introduce yourself.

Explain the purpose of this workshop. We will be watching stories about ministering or helping others. How can we make a difference in someone’s life? What can we do to show God’s love?

Dig:


Bible Story:

There are 4 story segments on this video. The children will watch #2 Boy in Trouble and #3 The Waterfall. Both stories are concerned with helping others. Ask the children to watch for ways in which the characters show God’s love.

#2 Boy in Trouble – You should explain that in some places, you can get a money refund for returning bottles to the store. Today, you might get 20 cents per bottle. This is a way to recycle. How do we recycle bottles and cans? We may not get money for it, but it is still a good thing to do.

Application:
Start the video and watch the segment Boy in Trouble– about 15 minutes. Distribute the popcorn.

Recap some of the highlights of the story. What happened to change the boys’ mind about saving money to watch a movie? God uses people to care for others. What kindness did Davey and his friend show to Tommy? What happened when other people saw what the boys were doing for Tommy and his family? (Other people started to help too. They became aware of this family’s trouble) .

Discuss: What does the church do to show God’s love? What can kids do to show God’s love? (come to Faith Quest, be kind to someone who is picked on at school, not fight with siblings, smile at a new kid, share something with a friend or sibling, pray, be polite and say “Thank you”, learn about Jesus, etc.)

Show the segment The Waterfall – about 15 minutes. How does Davey show love to Goliath? (Davey didn’t give up on his dog). How can we minister to others? How does the Kirk minister to others? (WIHN, Stephen Ministry, support for the Ark, Habitat for Humanity, the youth are going to ASP, we can bring our offerings to Sunday school).

Reflection:

Prompts for journal writing: Describe a time when you did something kind for someone. Name 2 things that you can do this week to show you are a disciple/follower of Jesus.

Closing Prayer:
Thank you God for all the blessings you give to us. Help us to help others who are less fortunate than we are. Thank you for all the Kirk people who help others: WHIN, Ark Shelter, Habitat for Humanity, Stephen Ministry. Please God, use me to show your love to others. Amen


References:
Gospel Films. Davey and Goliath – Bedtime Stories, Program Source International. Distributed by Gateway Films, Vision Video


A lesson from Kirk of Kildaire Presbyterian Church

A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability.

Original Post

The Early Church

An Agape Feast Food Lesson


Summary of Lesson Activities:

This is a wonderful lesson teaching about the early churc's practice of the Agape Feast. But more importantly, it demonstrates BEING a Fellowship that Feasts together.

Scripture Reference:

Acts 2:42-47


Bible Background


Major Impressions:

The early church, filled with the Holy Spirit, saw God work in amazing ways. They were filled with holy fear, awe, and wonder at the miracles and provision of God. Community and Koinonia led to sweet magnetic joy. The Pentecost flames seemed to spread as 3,000 new believers joined the Church. When God’s people come together and follow God (through prayer, worship, agape meals, Lord’s supper?, and teaching), Christ is glorified and made known.

Then and There:
History of the birth of Christianity, it was an exciting time to be a Christian, the Holy Spirit was at work, people were being baptized, turning to God, and joining into the community of believers. The church was growing stronger through prayer, fellowship, breaking of bread (Lord’s supper?) the apostles’ teaching, sharing, hospitality, and worship. But the Jews were not open to the new religion (so they met in both the synagogue and homes) and it would soon become illegal. The church was small and in the minority but growing. The Acts 2 church seems to be in the honeymoon stage (with no major persecution and no major sin issues in the church) And God was at work: miracles, joy, goodwill, and new believers daily.

Here and Now:
The same Holy Spirit at work in Acts 2 still dwells in the believers hearts and is still in control of the church today. Often this passage makes me feel disheartened (why is the church not growing and living in fullness like in the beginning), but it should give hope because God is unchanging. God can (and does) work through his church, despite the mess Western Civ and sin has made. The message has not changed: Christ crucified and risen, bringing the gift of new life. We need to return, I need to return, to the basics of the apostles’ teaching, prayer, fellowship, prayer, worship. Hopefully the same results will follow: joy, goodwill, and new believers to the glory of God. The Church as a bride instead of a whore.


Week One: Better Together
Acts 2:42-47

Hook: Start by talking about birthdays. The excitement of new babies (Show picture of new nephew). Do any of you have little siblings or cousins? How did you feel when they were born? Pentecost is called the “Birthday of the church.” Today we are going to learn about the exciting time when the church was brand new!

Book: Our passage takes place in Jerusalem, a big city with a lot of different people. While the church started out small it will soon be making a big impact. The church grew from a few followers of Jesus to 3,000 in one day! Think if next week at Kingdom Klub we had 3,000 kids! It would be very exciting.

Read Acts 2:41-47 (together?)

Look and Took: Love Feast!

The following "tables" are like "stations" the kids move to. Each has a guided lesson.

Teaching Table
Food: Milk
Why do we drink milk? Who else does? (babies)
Like Milk is essential to grow, learning about the Bible is essential to grow as followers of Jesus.
What are ways we can learn about God and the church?
(during this time my group will be getting a take-home kids devotional book for the unit)

Fellowship Table
Food: "M and Ms"
What is fellowship?
M and M Icebreaker (each kid picks on M and M and answers the question for their color)
R: What is your favorite subject?
O: What is your favorite sport?
Y: Where was your favorite vacation?
G: Who is your favorite singer?
B: What is your favorite season?
Br: What is your favorite color?

Breaking Bread -The Lord's Table
Food: Bread
Do you have family dinners?
Eating is a great way to know people. Talk about communion and how this might be what the passage is talking about. Either way, disciples shared their lives with one another.


Prayer Table
Food: Pretzels
What is prayer?
Tell the kids the legend of the pretzel (reminder to pray)
Share prayer requests
Pray together


Sharing Everything Table
Food: Nothing
Some people do not have enough food, people in the church shared so everyone had enough.
Draw a picture (5 mins) of something you could share or give away to help others…or some way to help other people.


Worship Table
Food: Chips and Salsa (Or Cheese and Crackers or PB and J)
What is worship?
The early church meet at the synagogue and at homes. Chips are great and so is salsa (eat a big spoonful of salsa if you are feeling adventurous), but together they are amazing! As Christians it is important to worship God at both home and church.
Share one thing you thank God for.


Praising God Table
Food: Pop Rocks
Who has had pop rocks? What do they do?
People were so excited about what God were doing they couldn’t keep it inside!
Sing a worship song


FRUITS Table
Food: Chocolate bar, Fruitbar
The very sweet results of the church was the Goodwill of the people, Joy, and more people coming to know Christ. What are the "fruits" of our labor?


Editor's Note:
"The Tables" --what a great concept! But they need fleshed out more, and more content. Please post your suggested improvements HERE BELOW.

A lesson by Sarah Morehouse and Susan Brunk from: Covenant UMC,
Lancaster PA

A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability.

Additions

I took the above lesson and added more discussion/activities: 

[The following "tables" are like "stations" the children move to. Each has a guided lesson. Spend no more than 5 minutes per table.] 

1. Food: Milk

ASK:  Why do we drink milk? (to grow strong, to make our bones grow, to be healthy)  Who else drinks milk? (babies) 

Just as milk is necessary for babies to grow, learning about the Bible is necessary for us to grow as followers of Jesus. 

What are ways we can learn about God and the church? 

[Come to Faith City every Sunday, come to Wednesday night classes, read the Bible every day, watch Bible movies, read Bible story books, listen to Christian music, attend VBS, talk with your parents about God]. Encourage discussion—ask the children to give examples of what they do. Encourage them to do one new thing this week to learn about God. 

2. Fellowship Table - Food: "M & Ms"

ASK: What is fellowship? 

M & M Icebreaker (Each student picks one M & M and answers the question for their color. You may need to substitute different questions for the younger children.)

R: What is your favorite cartoon?
O: What is your favorite sport?
Y: Where was your favorite vacation?
G: Who is your favorite singer?
B: What is your favorite season of the year?
Br: What is your favorite color? 

SAY: As each child answers the question according to the color of M&M he/she chooses, try to remember their answer. This is part of fellowship—when someone tells you something about herself, you should try to remember that fact.  When we get to know each other better, we know how to be a better friend to that person. For example, if I know that you have a dog, then I can start a conversation with you by asking about what tricks your dog can do.  The more you know about a person, the better friends you will become. Fellowship is about being a friend.

After each child has chosen an M&M and answered the question, pick people at random and ask who remembers what answer that student gave to their question. [You may need to write down the question they answered so you can lead this discussion. Be prepared to prompt students, in case they don’t remember—be careful not to embarrass the student about whom the question is being asked.] 

3. Breaking Bread Table (Fellowship) - Food: Bread (use whole-grain loaf bread—consider having an olive oil/spice mixture for the students to dip their bread into)

READ Acts 2:46. “They broke bread in their homes every day.” What do you think that means? “Breaking bread” is a way of saying that they ate together. Eating is a great way to get to know people.  And notice the second part of the verse—they were “happy to share their food with joyful hearts.”  They invited each other over for dinner! Don’t you enjoy it when you have friends over for a meal? The early Christians did this every day.  When you’re eating your meal, you’re usually relaxed and can have a really nice time.  Do you have family dinners? It’s very important for families to eat together every day, too. 

4. Prayer Table - Food: Pretzels (find “The Legend of the Pretzel” via a search engine)

ASK: What is prayer? [encourage answers] READ Acts 2:42.

ASK: What is a legend? [a story that has been handed down through the ages; it tells a story, although it cannot be proven to be absolutely true.]   SAY: I have a legend to tell you today, about a pretzel and how it reminds us to pray.  Read/Tell the story. 

5. Sharing Everything Table - Food: Nothing

READ Acts 2:44. Remember—people had come to Jerusalem from all over the world for Pentecost, and some of them just didn’t go home after they became Christians. Some of them did not have enough food; Christians who had plenty shared so everyone had enough.

Draw a picture (5 min.) of something you could share or give away to help others…or some other way to help needy people. [While the children are drawing, talk about our clothing pantry and food pantry; talk about the backpacks that we stuff for the children in Honduras. Ask if any of the children have ever gone with their parents to serve food at the St. Francis House, the Ronald McDonald House, or the Hope Lodge.] 

6. Worship Table - Food:  Unleavened Bread (several recipes online—make your own, or buy matzoh) 

READ Acts 2:42 and 2:46a, and Luke 22:19 

What is worship?

The early church met at the synagogue and at homes, and they worshipped together every day. As Christians it is important to worship God at both home and church.  Some families have a special evening devotional, they read the Bible together,  they pray before meals, and they pray before they go to sleep at night. 

The phrase “break bread” can mean eating together at a family meal, but it can also mean the Lord’s Supper—the special meal Jesus told his followers to eat to remember him. We sometimes call it “Communion.” The bread that we eat in the Lord’s Supper is called “unleavened bread,” which means it is a flat bread that doesn’t have yeast or anything else to make it rise up and get fluffy. Jesus took this kind of bread at the Passover Meal the night before he was arrested. He broke off a piece for each disciple and gave it to them to eat.

As we eat our unleavened bread, I’d like each person to share one thing you are thankful to God for. 

7. Praising God Table - Food: Pop Rocks

Who has had pop rocks? What do they do? 

People were so excited about what God was doing they couldn’t keep it inside! Singing is one of the BEST ways to praise God, and we have so many wonderful praise songs. Today I’m going to play a song, which you probably already know—“Lord, Reign in Me.” Do you know what the word “reign” means? [spell it] “Reign” means “rule,” or “be in charge.” A king “reigns” over the country. Jesus “reigns” over the church. We want Jesus to be in charge of us.

[Play the song “Lord, Reign in Me.” [CD and player available in City Hall. Play Track 14.] Encourage the children to sing along—play it more than once so they learn the song.] 

8. FRUITS Table - Food: Fruitbar or pieces of fresh fruit

READ Acts 2:47. The very sweet results of the love in the early church was the Goodwill of the people—“all the people liked them.” But even better, more and more people were being saved every day. That is the real fruit of Christian service. Remember—Jesus said in Matthew 28:19-20, “Go and make followers of all people in the world. Baptize them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Teach them to obey everything that I have told you. You can be sure that I will be with you always. I will continue with you until the end of the world.” The people in the early church did this—they talked about Jesus to everybody they met. We’re supposed to do that today also. Who can you talk to this week about Jesus? [Encourage students to name someone, but do not pressure them to name someone aloud if they are hesitant.] 

Closing
Close with a prayer: Dear God, Help us to be like the early Christians—help us to have agape love for each other—to share, to pray together, to eat together, to have fun together, to truly love each other. Help us to share the good news with our friends. This is our prayer in His holy name, Amen.

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