Monday, May 30, 2016

The First Church (Acts 2: 42-47)

What was the first church like? Was it like our church? What did the people together do back then? 

To introduce our children to the early church and pick up where the story of Pentecost leaves off, I developed a "Godly Play-like" lesson based on Acts 2:42-47. (Please note that I am careful not to call this a Godly Play story, as "Godly Play" is a brand with a copyright. If you make up your own stories, please call them "Godly Play-inspired" unless you have permission from the Godly Play foundation to do otherwise.) 

Using the materials from the Pentecost story, we began with Jesus' friends receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit, and moved on to Peter's sermon, which led to the very first church being birthed. 

There are a lot of great things in this passage, but honestly it can be just a boring to-do list if not communicated in an interesting way. To add a playful element into the mix, I turned the passage into a guessing game by making wooden discs with clip art that represent all of the activities of the early church listed in Acts 2. 

I put the discs into a drawstring bag and let the children one-by-one pull out a disc and guess what the picture might represent. The drawstring bag added an element of mystery (like in the GP story, "The Mystery of Easter"), and almost every child enjoys a good guessing game. 

After we had looked at every disc and talked a little about each thing that the early church did together, I asked the following Wondering questions:

- What thing about the early church do you like best?

The majority of the children liked sharing, helping, and eating together best!

- Which of these things does our church do together?

- Are there some things that that you see among the early church that you don't see at our church? 

In answering these two questions, the children replied that you could see pretty much everything in our church except for signs and wonders. It was a very hot day with no air conditioning, so unfortunately, the kids were getting too restless to wonder about why that might be. But I'd be very curious to hear their answers. : )


  1. Hi Shiela,
    I really enjoy reading your blog. I recently 'wrote' some of the early church stories for our resource centre as most published materials seem to stop at the end of Jesus' ministry. I think the early church is really exciting for young people - its their story too. I love the drawstring bag activity - may i borrow the idea to share with practitioners here, some of them might like to use it alongside our stories?

    1. Sure! And thanks for stopping by!

    2. Mandy, would you be willing to share your stories with the world? :-) I would love to have more stories about the early church!!