Use this Sunday School lesson to teach children about the birth of the Christian church as told in Acts 2. This lesson plan was first prepared for an older elementary Sunday School class, but you could easily modify it for younger children or kids church. In the present form the estimated length is about 60 minutes. We’ve included links to other free activities related to this story at the end of this page.
Bible Story: The Birth of the Church
Scripture: Acts 2:22-47
Target Age Group: Age 9 – 11 (U.S. 3rd – 5th Grade)
Learning Context: 4th Grade Sunday School
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Supply List: Birthday decorations, balloons, cake/cupcakes and calendar
Learning Goal: Students will learn that believing in Jesus gives them a new birthday and they become a part of the Church (Body of Christ).
Learning Indicator: Students will be able to identify key characters and events by answering review questions. They will also participate in discovering truths as they read the verses from their own Bible during the Bible lesson.
Learning Activity #1: As students arrive have them mark their date of birth on a calendar. The calendar will be used during the lesson to talk about the Second Birth. This calendar can be kept up during the year for students who are born again and would like to write the date of their second birth on the calendar. You can let them place a small sticker by their name if they want.
Learning Activity #2: (Memory Verse Activity) Write words/phrases on the balloons from Acts 2:42 with a permanent marker. Read the verse together and have students put the balloons in order according to the verse. After the verse is put together have the students stand in a circle and try to bat their balloons in the air and keep them in the air as they recite the verse together.
Acts 2:42 “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”
Learning Activity #3: Following the lesson/review celebrate the birth of the New Testament Church by having a birthday cake for the students to eat.
Test: Students will play a review game to answer questions from the Bible lesson.
Bible Lesson: The Birth of the Church
(Give Bibles to any student who did not bring their own.)
(The following is a guide to a possible way to present Acts 2:22-47 to your class. It can be simplified for younger students and could also be used for Childrens’ Church.)
Review facts previously learned from Acts. Who wrote Acts? (Luke) Who did Jesus tell the apostles to wait for? (The Holy Spirit) What happened when the Holy Spirit filled the believers? (Loud wind, tongues of fire and the ability to speak other languages) Which prophet did Peter quote who said God would send His Holy Spirit? (Joel)
We use a calendar to remind us of important events. Earlier we used this calendar to mark each of our birthdays. The day each of us was born is a very important day. God created us in our mother’s womb and made each of us for a purpose. (Psalm 139:13-16) Birthdays celebrate the day God brought us into this world.
In our story today we are going to hear about another birthday. Let’s turn in our Bibles to Acts 2:22-24.
Last week we ended our story with Peter filled with the Holy Spirit speaking to the crowd of Jewish people who were confused about hearing the wonderful works of God being declared in their own language.
Today Peter is still speaking to the crowd and we are going to hear what else he told the people on the Day of Pentecost.
Let’s read Acts 2:22-24 and find out what Peter said. Allow students to volunteer to read each verse.
Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit as he spoke these words to the crowd. He shared the Good News that Jesus died on the cross and that God raised Him from the dead.
The people in the audience were Jewish people. They had a great love for King David written about in the Old Testament. As Peter preached to this crowd he explained to them that the things that David spoke about many years ago were pointing to the time when the Lord Jesus would be raised from the dead. (Read verse 2:27 and 2:31-33)
The next words that Peter spoke to the crowd would not have been easy to say on his own. Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit and was able to tell the crowd that they crucified Jesus the Savior God sent.
Have students volunteer to read Acts 2:37. If your students have different versions have them read what the verse in their version says. (Teacher you are listening for different ways the version says ‘cut to the heart’ (NIV) ‘pricked in their heart (KJV)) Explain that the different phrases refer to being convicted. Ask them if they know what convicted means. To be convicted is to have a strong sense of guilt.
In this circumstance the audience felt convicted that they were responsible for the death of God’s Son Jesus. As the Holy Spirit convicted the audience of their sin they wanted to know what they needed to do next.
In Acts 2:38 Peter tells them what they need to do. Peter told them that they needed to repent. They needed to turn away from their sin and turn to Jesus who died for their sins. By believing in Jesus their sins would be forgiven. Peter told them they needed to be baptized. When they were baptized they would be telling others that they had placed their faith in Jesus to be saved. Peter said that once they believed in the Lord Jesus they would receive the Gift of the Holy Spirit.
After Peter explained what the people needed to do many of them believed in the Lord Jesus and were saved. Let’s find out how many were saved on that day. (Acts 2:41)
On this Day of Pentecost about 3,000 people had a new date to add to their calendars. They could mark on their calendars their second birthday. It was their second birthday because many people in the crowd that heard Peter’s message believed in Jesus and were born again. They were born again because even though they were living they were dead in their sins. They could not have eternal life without being born again. (John 3:3 and 3:7) Those who believed that Jesus died on the cross for their sins, was buried and rose again were born again on that day.
Not only was this a day of celebrating being born again, it was also the day that the very first church was born. A church is not a building but it is made up of people that believe in the Lord Jesus. Each and every person that believed in Jesus that day were part of the very first group of people who heard the Good News taught to them and they believed.
The new believers gathered together regularly to hear the apostles teach about Jesus. Let’s read verse 42 to find out what else they did. (They fellowshiped, celebrated the Lord’s Supper and prayed together.) We can see that the believers served and helped each other and praised God together. As the believers lived a life filled with the Holy Spirit God continued to save people on a daily basis causing the church to continue to grow. (Acts 2:44-47)
Although what we read from our Bibles happened a long time ago the same message is true for us today. Jesus is the Savior God promised to send. Even though we were not physically there crying “Crucify Him!” my sins and your sins nailed Him to the cross. He was buried and 3 days later God raised Him from the dead. Anyone who calls upon the Lord Jesus and believes in Him can be saved and have eternal life. What is your response to this message? If you have never been saved you can turn to Jesus today. If you have any questions we can show you from the Bible how you can be saved.
If you have been saved does your life look like those of the believers in Acts 2? Do you listen carefully to the pastor as he preaches God’s Word? Do you spend time alone reading your Bible each day? Do you pray daily? Are you spending time with other believers so you can encourage them and be encouraged by them to live for Jesus? Finally, are you sharing the Good News so others can be saved and added to the family of God?
We started our lesson talking about our birthday. Every one of us has a birthday. The question is do we have a time in our life that we were born again. We can celebrate a second birthday if we have been born again. On the day a believer is born again he/she becomes a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). The second birthday is a very important day that should be on each or our calendars. If we only have one birthday we cannot be a part of God’s family and enjoy eternal life with Him.
Teacher: show on the calendar the date of your second birthday and share a brief testimony of when you were saved. Allow students who have a second birthday to mark the calendar when they were saved. Keep the calendar in the classroom so as others become believers they can add their second birthday to the calendar as well.
Close in prayer.
For a review game have a piece of paper with an outline of a church on it. Have boy/girl cutouts. Divide the class into teams and each time they answer correctly they can add a person to the church outline. As the students place the person on the church talk make brief statements or ask questions about what the church is and is not. (Believers, not a building, the Body of Christ etc.)
- Who was preaching in our story today? (Peter)
- What message did Peter share with the crowd of people? (The Good News)
- What person from the Old Testament did Peter say spoke about Jesus’ resurrection?(David)
- Who did Peter say crucified the Lord Jesus? (The Jews)
- What happened when the people heard Peter say they crucified Jesus? (They were cut to the heart)
- What did Peter tell the people they could do? (Repent, be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for forgiveness of sins)
- How many were saved that day? (3,000)
- What are some things the new believers did? (listened to the apostles teach, fellowshipped, Lord’s Supper, prayed, served/helped each other, and praised God together)
- Who can you share the Good News with this week?
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