Week 1 objective: to learn that this verse comes from the book of Romans and that ‘Romans’ was written to the Christians living in the city of Rome.
Game - 7 mins
Aim: to play one or two games similar to those played in Roman times.
You will need: two or three balls (try and provide a tennis ball and a couple of bouncy balls), a hula hoop and a score sheet (see Printables).
Encourage the children to stand in a circle. Place the hoop in the middle of the circle. The children need to be approximately one to one and a half meters from the hoop. Show the children how to bounce the ball to one another by bouncing it once in the hoop. With older children you may wish to make the game harder by encouraging them to use only one hand to throw and catch the ball. You could also introduce a scoring system where the children score one point every time they successfully catch the ball; however you will need to ensure that everyone has the same number of opportunities to catch the ball. Encourage the children to keep a running total of their scores.
If you have time play a second game. Divide the children into two teams. Explain that one team is the ‘odds’ and the other team the ‘evens’. With younger children you may need to explain briefly that all numbers are either ‘odd’ or ‘even’. Reassure the children that they don’t need to know which are which, to play the game. Ask the children sit on the floor in their groups and to each make two fists with their hands. Explain that when you say ‘go’ they should hold up as many fingers as they want to. They should then keep their fingers in the air while you count the total number of fingers. If you count an even number, the ‘even’ team gets a point. If you count an odd number the ‘odd’ team gets a point. Use the score sheet to keep a tally of the number of points scored by each team. To save ‘counting-time’, if you have a large group, you could ask the children to hold up the fingers on one hand only.
Talk about - 6 mins
You will need: a large sheet of paper or a whiteboard, marker pens and a Bible.
Before the session write the verse on the whiteboard or paper.
Read the verse aloud and explain that this verse will help us learn more about the Holy Spirit. Underline the reference. Explain that this verse comes from the book of Romans in the New Testament part of the Bible. Find the book of Romans in a Bible or ask a child to find it. Explain that ‘the book of Romans’ is a letter. It was written by the Apostle Paul to the Christians living in the city of Rome. Paul wrote the letter around AD 56 (about 25 years after Jesus went back up to Heaven).
Talk about the city of Rome at the time of the Apostle Paul. Explain that at that time it was one of the most important cities in the world. Many years earlier the leaders in Rome had taken charge of the area surrounding their city. Soon the Romans conquered more and more land and the area they ruled became known as the Roman Empire. For hundreds of years the Roman Empire stretched for miles and miles and miles.
The Romans were powerful and it was expected that everybody in the Roman Empire would live the Roman way. Some of the things we do today came from the Roman way of life; some of the games we play are similar to the games played by Roman children hundreds of years ago. Talk about the games the children have just played. The game played with a ball and a hoop is similar to a Roman game – instead of a hoop a circle was drawn on the ground. And the game played with fingers was played by adults who tried to guess how many fingers would be held up next.
At the time when Paul wrote the letter to the Romans, people all around the world were talking about the way the Christians in the city of Rome trusted God. In his letter Paul first tells the readers about himself and then carefully explains about the good news of being a Christian. ‘Romans’ is the longest letter in the Bible and many people say it is the greatest letter Paul wrote.
Explain that next week we will discover more about the Holy Spirit as we find out more about this verse.
Song - 2 mins
To the tune ‘Five little speckled frogs’
God gave the Holy Spirit
And now the Spirit’s put
God’s love inside, inside my heart… boom boom.
You’ll find it written down
By the Apostle Paul
In Romans chapter five verse five… boom boom.