354 - The long sermon


15 minute Story planner

Acts 20
The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories by Mary Batchelor page 400

The apostle Paul was a great teacher. He carefully explained about God’s goodness, his power and his wisdom. However this story suggests that some of Paul’s sermons were long; in fact some of his letters were long too. Halfway through writing to the Church in Philippi Paul says ‘and finally’ (Philippians 3:1), as if he is about to finish the letter, but he writes over a thousand more words before actually finishing. 

1. Setting the scene  - 2 mins 
Find the New Testament section in a Bible.
Show and talk about ‘The Early Church FlashCards’ cards one to eight. 

2. Starter question - 1 min
Have you ever listened to a long talk? Did it feel as if the talk went on and on and on? Sometimes, even when somebody is speaking about something interesting, it can be hard to listen for a long time – we might start to think about something else or begin to feel a little sleepy… our eyes slowly close and, before we know it, we’re drifting into a deep, deep sleep. One day as Paul spoke, a young man found it hard to concentrate on what the apostle was saying… 

3. Tell the story with props - 4 mins
Click on the images at the beginning of this post to download more web resources

Beware of allergies – make sure it is safe for the children in your group to handle and taste the food used in this activity

  • A map showing Paul’s first missionary trip, a globe or map of the world
  • A small bag of coins 
  • A picture of an oil lamp (see Printables)
  • ‘Don’t worry, he is still alive!’ speech bubble (see Printables)
  • Optional – bread, olives and grapes.

4. Story activity - 6 mins
Option 1 - Enjoy the puzzles in this weeks Dead Sea Comic Caper (see Printables)

Option 2 - ‘Keep talking’ challenge
You will need: a stopwatch on a phone and a selection of objects such as a potato, a ruler etc.
1. Place the objects in a fabric bag.  
2. Encourage a volunteer to select something from the bag without looking.
3. Ask the volunteer to pretend that what they have selected is very special to them, and to spend at least thirty seconds explaining why they like it so much. What they say can be made-up. For example if they selected the ruler they could say how much they like the way the numbers are written in tiny writing along the side. They could talk about how they hate drawing wiggly lines and how useful it is for reaching things on a high shelf. 

Option 3 - Talking with different emotions
You will need the emotions graphic (see Printables) 
1. Explain to the children that you are going to take it in turns to say a nursery rhyme. But you will each say it in the style of an emotion selected from the emotions graphic e.g. happy, sad etc.
2. While you are saying the rhyme the other children need to guess how you are feeling. They should then be able to select the emotion from the graphic.
3. Allow other children to have a go. If you run out of emotions select other styles such as saying the rhyme in the style of a cowboy, a comedian/clown, a news reader, a deep sea diver, an alien, a librarian or a king.

5. Reflective prayer - 2 mins  
Father God, we thank you that the Apostle Paul taught the first Christians about your goodness, your power and your wisdom. We thank you that Paul's letters were copied into hundreds of languages so that thousands of people can read them today.

Father we recognise that sometimes it’s hard for us to keep on learning and listening when we feel tired and busy. We think about Eutychus wanting so much to hear what was being said but falling fast asleep. Father we ask that you help us to listen carefully even when we have many other things to do, and to learn more and more about your goodness, your power and your wisdom day after day.  Amen.

Alongside telling this story, make the craft...

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