News and updates for Above Bar Church parents and carers

Stephen - following Jesus to the end

Dear <<First Name>>,

Bible passage for this Sunday: Acts 6 and 7 (the story of Stephen)

Aim: Stephen knew that Jesus's love is better than anything. Following Jesus can sometimes be hard and difficult, but because of his amazing love and the gift of the Spirit we can keep going. And the church keeps growing!

This is quite a hard story for very young children. I would focus on Stephen knowing that Jesus' love is better than anything. And that despite things being very hard, the church was growing bigger and bigger each day (there's a little rhyme you could sing in the song section).

A quick overview: Stephen

If you'd like the shape they use in this story, you can print off a copy here to colour in. Or if you'd like one already coloured in, here it is. 

A guest video from Alison to GSMA kids!

Talk about it

Younger children
  • Stephen knew that Jesus' love for him was the best thing ever. Why not sing with your child - Jesus' love is very wonderful
  • when things are hard, what can we remember about Jesus? (He loves us, is always with us, and we can talk to Him)
Older children
  • why did the people get so angry with Stephen that they killed him? (they didn't want to hear about Jesus being the Messiah, especially after they had been the ones who wanted Jesus put to death)
  • what did Stephen say in his speech to the people? (He accused them of being hard hearted towards God. He said they had now killed the Messiah, Jesus)
  • Stephen knew that the crowd wouldn't like what he said, but he said it anyway. Why do you think he did this? (Stephen's relationship with Jesus was the most important thing in his life. He wanted to speak the truth about Jesus, regardless of what that cost him). 
  • when you talk about Jesus, how do people respond around you? Is it ever difficult? What can you remember when it's hard? 
  • read Acts 7:58. Who was watching everything? Look out for this person, we're going to hear a lot more about him in the weeks ahead. 

Brilliant resources for families from Open Doors

Do have a look at the Open Doors website with your children. There are some excellent resources to help you think and pray about our brothers and sisters around the world. There are ideas of ways you can send pictures and notes to families with children in these countries. Here's a little video about a boy in Iran whose pastor is put in prison for following Jesus. This story is based on the many true experiences of children, families and church leaders in Iran and is an accurate reflection of what can happen to Christians in house churches there. 

Activities for a variety of ages

Choose a few activities suitable for your child before, during and in the week after the service:
  • keep learning Acts 1v8 (e. g. write it out on some pebbles and put them in the right order)
  • look at the Open Doors website for activities and ideas to do with your children
  • read stories of missionaries with your child (Everyone a child should know is for kids age 3 to 10 (I've got a copy for £5 if you would like it, let me know; or the Trailblazers series for older kids is fab.)

keep going with your Acts poster!

Nicola's fun food ideas: the marshmallow experiment!

Stephen was prepared to suffer because he was focused on his future hope. Can the children endure looking at, but not eating the marshmallow? If they can, they will get a prize worth much more!

Pray about it

Let's pray . . .
  • in the service people will be praying for different parts of the world. Listen out for the countries mentioned, and find them on a world map. You can download and print your own world map for free here. Then later go to the Open Doors website to find out more about those countries and what you can pray for them. 
  • Pray that like Stephen we will come to be people whose relationship with Jesus is the most important thing in our lives. Pray that we too will be bold and courageous servants of Jesus. 

Songs to sing or listen to

Pre-school song: Why not have a go at singing these words to the tune of row row row your boat:
God's family's getting big
Bigger and bigger each day!
God's family's getting big
Bigger and bigger each day!

We're praying for each family to keep going in your discipleship of your children as you teach them that knowing Jesus is better than anything. 

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