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The Apostle Paul

Larry Crane


PEN PALS

We wanted our children to understand the importance of Paul's letters in encouraging, loving, and instructing the early churches. To do this, we placed our children in groups named after the early churches: Romans, Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Thessalonians. We gave each group a real mailbox that we purchased from a local hardware store. Each group decorated its mailbox with its name. Then we assigned each child a pen pal in one of the other groups. Over the course of a three-month period, the kids sent letters of encouragement to their pen pals each week. Our adult volunteers delivered the letters to the mailboxes.

It was so much fun for the children to come in each week and check their mailboxes. At the conclusion of our unit, the kids each identified themselves to their pen pal and new friend.

Beth Mathews
Dayton, Ohio

PAUL'S TEACHINGS

by Sheila Halasz

Not only was Paul prolific in his letter-writing, but every word was God-breathed. Help children understand Paul's teachings with these activities.

PAUL THE WRITER

For this activity, you'll need paper, pencils or pens, and tape or push pins.

Say, "Paul was a writer. He wrote 13 books of the Bible with God's help. He wrote more books in the Bible than anyone else."

Pass out the paper and pencils. Tell children to write 13 things they know about God. If you have a younger group, kids can work together to make one list of 13 things.

When the children are finished, ask, "Was it easy or difficult to write 13 things you know about God? How many of you asked God to help you? Do you think Paul wanted to write God's words? Why or why not? Do you think it was easy or difficult for Paul to write 13 entire books? Explain. Paul had very special help from God, and Paul wrote exactly what God told him to write."

Read aloud 2 Timothy 3:16-17.

Ask, "What can we do to make sure people read what we wrote?" (If no one suggests it, tell kids they could put up their lists in places around the church for others to read.) "It pleases God when others read about him. Choose where you'd like to post your writings." (Make sure kids only hang their lists where your church allows things to be hung.) "Why is it important for people to read what Paul wrote? What can we do to encourage people to read God's Word?"

THE MYSTERY OF CHRIST

You'll need white crayons, watercolor paints, white paper, and a children's Bible.

Read aloud Ephesians 3:3-5 from the children's Bible. Then say, "God told Paul his secret plan. This secret was something that people who lived in other times didn't know. We each have secrets too, and we're going to create secret messages.

"Think of something good about yourself that you would like to share with a friend that your friend may not know. Maybe you like to eat broccoli, or you play hockey, or you're really good at spelling. Use a white crayon to write a word or draw a picture on a white sheet of paper that tells about your secret. When you're done, exchange papers with a friend. Have your friend try to guess what your secret is."

After everyone has had a chance to guess, ask "Do you think God knows your secret? Now pretend you're the Apostle Paul. How would it feel to have God share his secret with you?"

Read aloud Ephesians 3:6-7. Say, "Paul found out God's secret that Jews and non-Jews can be part of the same body and can share together in God's plan for his people. The even bigger secret is that all people can be part of God's family if they believe in Jesus as their Savior."

Have kids use the watercolor paint to paint their friend's picture to see what the secret is. Let children share the secrets they discovered.

Then ask, "How did you feel when you discovered a secret about a friend? How do you think Paul felt about knowing the greatest secret ever? How did Paul share God's secret with others? Who could you share God's secret with this week?"

MILK FOR BABES

You'll need half a banana for each person, spoons, bowls, and napkins.

Form pairs. Give each pair two banana halves, spoons, bowls, and napkins. Have the kids mash the bananas in the bowl to make "baby food." Ask, "Why do babies eat baby food?"

Say, "You're going to take turns with your partner, feeding him or her baby food -- a mashed banana. We'll race to see who can do this the fastest-and neatest. Ready, go!"

After this activity, ask, "How did it feel to feed your baby partner? How did it feel to be the baby? How would it feel if you were always treated like a baby here at church? Explain."

Read aloud 1 Corinthians 3:1-2. Ask, "What kind of food did Paul say he was feeding these people? What does that mean?"

Read aloud 1 Corinthians 3:3-4. Ask, "What were these people doing that made them seem like babies? What do people do when they're jealous of each other?"

Read aloud 1 Corinthians 3:5-9. Ask, "According to these verses, what's the solution for people acting like babies? When have you ever seen people acting like this before? What's the solution for all of us to be united instead of divided?"

SPEAK IT

You'll need a piece of candy and a lemon slice for each person. You'll also need unsweetened Kool-Aid soft drink, cups, salty crackers, and water.

Read aloud Philippians 2:9-11. Have each child eat a piece of candy and say, "Jesus Christ is Lord." Then have each child suck on a lemon piece and say, "Jesus Christ is Lord." Then have each child eat a salty cracker and again say, "Jesus Christ is Lord." Lastly, have them try to wash down the crackers with unsweetened Kool-Aid soft drink as they say, "Jesus Christ is Lord."

Say, "There are times when it's hard for our tongues to keep telling others about Jesus Christ being the Lord. What can we do when we just don't want to keep telling others about Jesus? How can God help us?"

Pass out cups of water to the children.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Use these snacks to extend lessons about the Apostle Paul.

PAUL THE TENTMAKER

To help kids remember that Paul's ministry was telling others about Jesus, but his job was making tents, have them make tents. This idea is from Tina Smith from Candler, North Carolina.

Each child will need a paper plate, two graham crackers, and two pretzel sticks to make tents. Have kids each work on a paper plate. Kids will spread icing or peanut butter on one edge of a graham cracker and then lean the other piece of graham cracker to form a tent. The pretzel sticks serve as tent poles to hold up the tent.

JAIL CELLS

To remind children of the story of God delivering Paul and Silas from jail, have them make jail cells. Give each child a graham cracker and several 3-inch licorice laces. Spread marshmallow cream on the graham cracker, then lay licorice laces across the marshmallow cream to make the bars of the jail cell.

SHIPS AHOY

Paul's missionary travels took him on sailing ships quite often. To help children remember this, have them make mini ships. You'll need small individual pie crusts, pudding or custard filling, Fruit Roll-Ups fruit snacks, and cookie sticks. Have children each fill a pie crust with pudding or custard filling. Then have them each unroll a fruit snack, lay it flat, and cut it diagonally into fourths. Have each child weave a cookie stick through the center of their fruit snack triangles and insert one end of the cookie stick in the filling to create the mast and sail of the ship.

VENOMOUS VIPER

In Acts 28, while Paul was putting wood on the fire, a viper bit him. He shook off the snake and suffered no ill effects. As you talk about God's protection of Paul, have kids make this snack from RoseAnne Sather, art director for Children's Ministry Magazine.

Have each child cut two mini bagels in half and arrange them in a slithery pattern (see diagram). They can use cream cheese to stick them together. Help kids carve a little off the sides of one end for a nose. Add Red Hots candies for eyes and Fruit by the Foot fruit snack tongue.

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