MEETING AIM: To see how Paul’s faith enabled him to follow God.
BIBLE PASSAGE: Acts 27
BACKGROUND: These sessions are designed for you to do online in a group video call (on something like Facetime or Zoom). Make sure you have parental permission to do this, as well as following your church’s safeguarding procedure (see p13 if you need more help). As with your usual sessions at church, make sure you have at least two leaders online.
Paul believed he would get safely to Rome. Throughout today’s Bible passage, that belief and faith must have been tested. There were many opportunities for Paul’s journey to come to an end. Yet, by the end of the passage we find everyone, despite getting very wet, safe and well.
JOINING THE SESSION
As people join you online, ask them to share what they have been doing during the past seven days. As they share, you can ask them if they or anyone they know has been on a trip or journey – was it long or short, and how did they travel?
Before the session, search the internet for images of trains, planes, boats, bicycles, cars and lorries etc. The more obscure and abstract the image the better. Once you have the images, magnify a part of each one. Show the images to the group (if you’re using something like Zoom, you can show the pictures during the meeting, otherwise you could print out the pictures and hold them up to your camera).
As you show each picture, ask the group to see if they can tell what form of transport each image is. You can finish by asking what all the images represent. Once they have identified them as forms of transport, you can explain that you’ll be looking at Paul’s journey to Rome and how a journey by sea was so dangerous.
You will need: copies of the blank map
Before the session, email the young people the blank map and ask them to print it out (or print them out yourself and post them to the young people). Make sure everyone has felt-tip pens or pencil crayons. Ask the group to find the Mediterranean Sea on Google Maps (or other mapping app).
Ask them to find a Bible and open it at Acts 27. Explain briefly that this passage tells the beginning of the story of Paul’s journey to Rome.
To explore this Bible passage, ask the group to read Acts 27 and, using the pens and pencils, fill in the map. They should include all the places that are mentioned in the chapter, and also draw the route that Paul’s ship takes. Encourage them to fill in as many place names and other cities that they know or can see in the atlases. Ask the group not to look up the route in their Bibles or online, but see if they can work it out just using the references in the Bible.
When they have read through the Bible and created their maps, ask them to show their efforts to the camera and explain what they’ve done.
Continue your exploration of the Bible story by discussing these questions:
•Why was it important for everyone to make it to Malta?
•Do you think God caused the storm or simply allowed it to happen? How much do they think God ‘controls’ the weather?
•Where is God at work in this story?
•How would you describe Paul’s attitude?
•What difference does Paul’s faith in God make in this life or death situation?
Make sure everyone has a piece of A4 paper or card, and some felt-tip pens.
Ask them to draw this shape on their piece of paper or card, so that it fills it.
Explain that the shape represents a ship and the mast represents Jesus through the cross. Paul’s life included the journey to Rome via a ship. He knew that Jesus was with him as he travelled. We can know the same in our lives.
Our lives are journeys and depending on our belief, we can have Jesus with us. Encourage the group to illustrate their ‘life journeys’. Add images that represent family, things they like and enjoy and things that they don’t like or worry them.
Explain that their lives will include metaphorical storms and shipwrecks. We can live our lives like the soldiers and sailors on the ship with Paul, or we can be like Paul and put our faith in God. This doesn’t mean our lives will be more successful; after all, everyone survived the storm, but it does mean we’re following a route that God has provided for us.
Finish the session with a prayer. Remind the group that Paul was going through a very difficult time. We too face difficult times – they may not be as severe as what Paul faced, but they can feel equally distressing to us. That is when prayer and knowing God is with us can help.
Use Psalm 23 as a prayer and encourage the group to use it in their own prayer time when things are difficult. Suggest that it is a very useful prayer to memorise and recite whenever they may feel distress and need to feel calm.
Supporting documentsClick link to download and view these files
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