Aim: The ‘Paul and Barnabas Separate Ways’ Childrens Lesson on Acts 15:36-39 is titled ‘Friends that Fall out’ as it is written to help children think through what they can do when they fall out with a friend.
This lesson is a simple lesson that is focused on giving children the confidence and understanding on how to deal with conflict biblically. Looking at the story of Paul and Barnabas and how they had a disagreement, this lesson encourages children to think about how they can disagree with others, yet still try to remain friends.
SET the Scene:
Read Acts 15:36-39 together. Act it out by inviting the children to stand up and move around the room as the different characters.
SPOT the Simple Meaning:
1) PAUL AND BARNABAS DISAGREED
Say: Paul and Barnabas disagreed – they couldn’t agree on whether John Mark should be allowed to come with them on their ministry trips. Barnabas wanted to let John Mark travel with them, but Paul thought it was a bad idea. We don’t have all the details, so we don’t understand why or what was said. All we know is that Acts 13 tells us John Mark left Barnabas and Paul. We don’t know why he left them. We aren’t told his reason for leaving his friends. Yet Paul didn’t want him back on their trip, and Barnabas was ready to use him once again.
This disagreement was so bad that Barnabas decided to take John Mark on his journey, whilst Paul decided to take Silas. Paul and Barnabas, two men who had been great friends telling others about Jesus, went separate ways.
2) I CAN DISAGREE WELL WITH OTHERS
Skit: This can be natural between two leaders. One says they want to watch Spiderman (or another movie) the other wants to watch Star Wars. They can’t agree on what to watch, so one says they will watch in one room, and the other says they will watch in another.
Say: Now the Bible just tells us they went separate ways. Did you notice that it doesn’t say that they hit one another or fought. It doesn’t say that they called each other names or said nasty things behind their backs. They simply disagreed and went different ways. It’s not terrible to disagree. We all want different things at different times. It’s how we disagree that matters. What will we do when we disagree? Will we get angry and throw things? Will we get upset and hurt someone? Or will we simply agree to disagree and move on? How we disagree is the most important thing. We can still show love to one another when we disagree.
3) JESUS TAUGHT US HOW TO SORT OUT OUR FALL OUTS
Say: When Paul and Barnabas disagreed they were able to do it without fighting or name calling. Jesus told the disciples (in Matthew 5 and Matthew 18) how they could sort out arguments and disagreements when they happen. When someone hurts us, we can sort it out by speaking to them in these ways:
- Quickly: talk to the person quickly to sort it out.
- Face to face: it’s better to do things in-person and not via text or over the phone. Sometimes things can be misunderstood when we don’t see someone’s face or hear how they are speaking.
- One on one: first try and sort it out together without getting others involved.
Finally, the last way is to ask for help when needed. If we can’t sort out a disagreement on our own, then we may need to get help. Who can help us? [Get feedback] We can ask teachers, parents, grandparents and other friends. We can even talk to God and ask for His help when we can’t sort it out ourselves.
- What does it mean to ‘fall out’ with someone?
- What do you do when you fall out with a friend?
- Who do you tell?
- How might you sort things out?
SENSE How You Feel:
Paul and Barnabas separated ways because they could not agree. They had to walk away from each other, although they had helped one another and served together for some time.
How would you feel if you had to walk away from your friend?
- Make some paper people and have the children think about what it means to be a good friend.
- Put some toy people and buildings (could be made from Duplo or another construction type) and invite the children to re-enact the scene.
- Create a popsicle puppet scene with the characters on Popsicle sticks and a piece of card with buildings in the background. Children can re-create the scene of the friends parting ways by cutting a line in the paper and moving the characters along the line, once they have been threaded through the paper.
Encourage the children to think about if there is anyone they have fallen out with this week. Do they want to make friends with someone? Give the children a few moments to think of someone they need to make up with. Invite the Holy Spirit to help them to have the power, humility and kindness they need. Thank Him for always being there to help.
To use the Canvas template with all the PowerPoint images that you can add or take away from, click here. Alternatively, click on the images below to use them individually.
For more lessons on Paul check out the Pirates teaching series.
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