Online Session 18 – Early Christians
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Spread of Christianity In History
Paul's "Brand-New" Start
Saul's Conversion (Based Off Acts 9:1-19)
Characters: Narrator, Saul, Jesus, Saul’s companions, Ananias
Narrator: Saul was a Pharisee and a pretty bad dude. He was going all over the place killing everyone who was a follower of Jesus and threatening to do even more harm! Then, one day he was walking with his friends do Damascus…
Saul: All right guys, I heard there’s a lot of these so-called Christians in Damascus! Let’s go take some names!
Companion 1: All right!
Companion 2: Let’s get ’em!
Narrator: Suddenly, there was a bright light!
Saul: [falls to the ground] What in the world is happening!?!
Jesus: Saul!! WHY ARE YOU doing such awful things against me?
Saul: Who are you???
Jesus: I’m Jesus, the one who you are speaking out against! You’re going to have to change your ways. Go into the city and find Ananias. He’ll tell you what to do.
Narrator: Saul’s companions were confused – they heard a voice but saw no one. When Saul got up from the ground, he realized he was in trouble…
Saul: Hey, guys – I can’t see a thing…help me find this Ananias guy!
Narrator: They made their way to the city. Meanwhile, Jesus went to Ananias in a vision…
Ananias: Here I am, Lord!
Jesus: I’m sending Saul to you. I want you to lay your hands on him and pray that he might regain his sight.
Ananias: But Lord! He’s been a nasty dude – killing many of your followers! I don’t want to help him!
Jesus: I know, Ananias – but I want to help him see his mistakes and share the Gospel to those who have a hard time believing. He will be a great leader now that he knows the truth.
Ananias: If you say so, Lord.
Narrator: Saul and his companions arrived at Ananias’ house.
Saul: Jesus told me to talk to you and you’d tell me what’s next…can you help??
Ananias: [grudgingly] Yes. Let’s pray: “Jesus, I pray that you forgive Saul all his sins and restore his sight. Amen.”
Narrator: All of the sudden, something like scales (or really old contact lenses) fell from his eyes and Saul could see once again! Now the real work would begin!
Tell a story about a time you were convinced you knew the truth about something and were wrong. What did it take for you to realize you were wrong? Was it hard to admit? What does it take to change people’s minds when they believe things that are wrong or harmful?
Storytime! Alternate Story #1
Lydia (Acts 16:9-15)
Characters: Narrator, Paul, Man from Macedonia, Paul’s Companion, Lydia
Narrator: One night, Paul had a dream that he knew was a message from God.
Man from Macedonia: Paul! You have to come to Macedonia! We need your help to share God’s message!
Paul: This has to be a dream…you’re all see-through.
Man: Does it matter?
Paul: I guess not. I hope I remember this when I wake up…
Narrator: He remembered, and they went to Macedonia. When they arrived, they met a woman named Lydia who sold purple cloth.
Lydia: I have the finest purple clothes, fine sir, I sell them for a fair price! Would you like a yard? A bolt? You seem like someone who goes through a lot of fabric…
Paul: Well, I do like to make tents…
Lydia: A purple tent would be amazing!
Paul: Perhaps, but it would be impractical. That’s not why I’m here – I’m here to tell people about Jesus.
Lydia: Jesus? Sounds interesting – tell me all about it!
Narrator: Paul told Lydia all about Jesus. She had a pretty strong reaction.
Lydia: That’s amazing! I’m going to tell all the people I can find that God sent a son to die for our sins – and that he rose from the grave and that all people can be a follower – not just a special group! It’s amazing!
Paul: It’s pretty cool!
Lydia: Can I be baptized? Would you baptize my entire family?
Paul: Yes! Where’s the nearest river?
Narrator: After the baptism, Lydia wanted to do something special to celebrate.
Lydia: If the Lord thinks it is a good idea, I would like to have you stay at my house. We can celebrate our baptisms and you can tell us all sorts of stories, and my family will feed you some amazing food.
Storytelling by participants
Share a time when you heard a story of someone else’s faith that helped you believe more strongly. What was it about their story that touched your heart? What is the best way to share about Jesus to help others find faith?
*Scripture citations taken from The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. 1989. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers. As found in the Logos Bible study software program.
Check-In Questions and Mentor Meeting Options
THIS MONTH'S MENTOR MEETING OPTIONS
Choose one of these activities for your next mentor meeting.
Activity #1: Communities
Human beings are communal creatures. That is, we gather together with others in groups for the sake of belonging. Study the different types of groups in your community. Go beyond only churches and look to all sorts of groups. List out the groups you belong to. What group might catch your interest in the future to experience? Why?
Activity #2: Cartographer
Print out a giant map of the early church’s stomping ground. It will span from the edge of Spain all the way to India. Lay out the map on a floor or table and plot out Paul’s (and other early Christians’) journeys. What are these places like today? Where would you like to go to visit? If you want, you can plot the map out on a desktop or laptop computer, too (for computer-inclined students). Links for resources: https://www.ccel.org/bible/phillips/CN092MAPS1.htm, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_early_Christianity.
Activity #3: Create Your Own
Discuss with your mentor or teacher what kinds of things you will both enjoy doing. Decide on an activity for this month that you and your mentor will do.
Instagram/Phone Check-in: Lydia (See above for Check-In Storytimes!)
- Where did Paul, Timothy, and Silas head off to? Why did they go there?
- How might the strangers coming into the community have changed Lydia’s perspective and what did she offer them?
- How did the person they met respond to God’s message? How do you believe you would have reacted to Paul, if you had been in the same (or similar) situation?