Prayer. “Dear Lord, help us to be wise and generous when we work together to help needy people.”
Choose any of these children's learning activities that fit their ages and needs.
Let an older child or teacher tell how the Corinthians helped poor brothers and sisters in Christ.
Background: Paul was serving as a missionary when he heard that believers in Judea were hungry because of a famine. He asked believers in other countries to help those people. Their giving project was a big one, and many congregations collected money for it for a long. The believers also made sure that the right people took it and provided for the needs of the starving Christians in Judea.
Read 1 Corinthians 16:1-4 or tell by memory what the apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians about how to collect their offering. Then ask:
· What other churches besides in Corinth gave for the poor? (Answer: See verse 1)
· In what way did the believers give for their collection? (Verse 2)
· Did the people give their offering all at once? (Verse 2)
· How did the church carefully supervise how the money was sent? (Verse 3)
· How important was this offering in Paul’s opinion? (Verse 4. Paul was busy starting new congregations, but he took time to care for those who suffered in Judea and to make sure that offerings were well managed.)
Explain what Paul told the Corinthians about how believers were responding to his plea to give:
· Paul wrote a second letter to them and told how many believers were giving generously (2 Corinthians 8, verses 1-7, 10-11 and 19-21).
· Very poor believers in Macedonia, a small country north of Greece, gave very sacrificially.
· The poor Macedonians begged the apostles with much urging to let them give.
· The Corinthians gave a little each week, setting it aside for the apostles to take to Judea.
· Paul told them to name trusted men to help take their gifts to Judea, to avoid suspicion.
The purpose of the
offering was not only to feed the starving people but also to glorify
Dramatize parts of the story of the “Great Offering”. Let older children help the younger ones.
· Arrange with the leader of the main congregational worship for the children to present the drama.
· Let older children or adults play the parts of Narrator, Paul, Titus and Enemy. The Narrator summarizes the story and helps children to recall what to say and do.
Let younger children
play the parts of Poor People, Corinthians
Corinthians should have pebbles or coins for the offering.
Narrator: Tell the first part of the story (what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 16:1-4). Then say, “Hear what the poor people in Judea say.”
Poor people: “Our crops failed.” “Within a year we will starve to death.” “May God help us!”
Narrator: “Meanwhile, far away in Corinth, hear what Paul says to the Christians.”
Paul: “We must give help to those who are starving in Judea. Set aside a little money each week, and give it as an offering each Sunday. After a time, I will come take the offering.”
Narrator: “Hear what the Enemy of Christ tells his demon helpers.”
Enemy: “Oh no! The congregations are cooperating! We demons must stop them from working together! They are giving too much and helping each other. We must discourage them.”
Corinthians: Pass around a box to collect an offering. Say things like, “I am so glad we can help a little each week!” “I kept an egg each day from my hens, and sold them. Here is the money for the offering.” “I made some shawls and sold them.”
Enemy: Stomp your foot angrily. Say, “We failed to cause them to give a huge offering all at once. So, we will tempt them to be careless with the money. I will create suspicion about the persons who take it to Judea. They might steal some of it!”
Corinthians: Point to two people and say, “You two people will handle the money.” “We trust you to take the money.” “Please keep a careful record of everything we give you!”
Narrator: Tell the second part of the story, “A long time later Paul visited Macedonia. Hear the Macedonians say to him.”
Macedonians: “Paul, you
said that our brothers and sisters in Judea
”We are poor, but we want to help them.”
”Please let us give also for the Great Offering, like the Corinthians are doing!”
Paul: “May God bless your sacrifice and generosity. I will send Titus to get your offering.”
Narrator: “Titus also visits the Corinthians. Hear what he says.”
Titus: “You will be happy to finish this great project that all the congregations have begun together. I have come for the offering with other trusted brothers. Do you have men ready to go with me to take the money to Judea?”
Corinthians: “We want to
do our part to help the people in Judea.”
“These two men are trustworthy. They will go with you.”
(Go to the Poor People. Hand them the gifts.)
Poor people: “Oh, we thank God! Now we will not starve to death!”
Enemy: “We failed! They handled the money too wisely to stir up suspicion. I will try again!”
Narrator: Thank those
Let the children ask the adults the same questions that are near the beginning of this study.
Discuss: What are other examples of projects that congregations can do together to serve God?
Let older children draw an accounting book with columns “Income” and “Expenses.”
Main pages of an accounting book
· Under ‘Income’ write some things they might sell to earn money to give the poor.
· Under ‘Expenses’ write things they might buy for the poor in the second column.
Let younger children draw a hand holding a coin (see the picture above).
· Let the children explain to the adults at worship time that the pictures show how congregations work together wisely and generously to help people in great need.
Memorize 1 Corinthians 9:6.
Poem. Let four children each recite one of the verses from Proverbs 24:3-6.
Prayer: “Lord, you give to us many good things. We want to give to needy people and to those who take your Word to far away places. Help us to work together to honour you with our wealth.”