Scripture: Acts 13:1-15:41
- Students will learn that Barnabas was known as the “son of encouragement” and helped Paul with his missionary journey.
- Students will learn how to encourage others by writing cards and making a card ministry kit.
Guiding Question: How can we encourage others through writing?
Materials: paper, envelopes, stamps, writing and coloring supplies, shoe boxes or other small boxes or folder to keep bards in, magazine pictures, stickers etc. for decorating
Procedure: Review the story of Barnabas emphasizing that his name means “son of encouragement”. Focus on how they were spreading the “gospel” which translates to “good news” and is the story of Jesus Christ saving us from our sins. They were focused on their mission and serving others. Even when Paul and Barnabas disagreed, they parted ways peacefully and continued their ministry. Instruct students in how to write a card to someone. First, brainstorm reasons for giving cards of encouragement: Sick, Celebrating birthdays, and sympathy for someone who lost a loved one, thank you, someone moving away, celebrating anniversaries, thinking of someone you have not heard from in a long time, etc. Then make a list of phrases that would be appropriate under each category. Examples:
Birthdays: Happy Birthday__________!
I hope you enjoy your special day.
I am so blessed to have you in my life.
I am so glad that God created you.
Sick: I am praying for you and I hope you get well soon.
I pray that God gives you peace and comfort during this time.
Students can then choose someone to write a card to. Provide a prayer list from your church/ community for students who are not sure who to write to. Depending on time and resources, students can either create home-made cards, or write in blank store-bought cards. Show students how to sign a card and address it. Allow students to make multiple cards to use in the future. These do not have to be to a particular person, but can be already prepared for when someone needs a card. Students can create a file folder or decorate a shoebox to put them in.
- How is the Gospel a message of encouragement for everyone?
- Who are some people in your life that could benefit from a card of encouragement?
- How did Paul and Barnabas deal with their disagreement? How were they able to continue their mission despite this?
Supplemental Activity: Create a card ministry station for your church/school/program. Provide a box, shelving, or racks organized by occasion much like you would see at a card shop. Provide stamps and possibly an address book of people in your ministry/church/school/community. Many blank cards can be purchased at cheap prices by bulk. Students can use this station to write cards to other people year-round.