We’re about to hit a serious Sunday School lesson. This is one I wouldn’t teach in a preschool Sunday School class because they wouldn’t be ready to learn about Stephen martyred. Last week we already got hints of trouble when Peter and John were in jail for preaching. This week it really gets serious.
Learn to delegate (what I learned from Stephen martyred)
Right at the beginning of this lesson the apostles are looking at the biggest growth any church has ever seen. They went from a church of a few dozen people to over 5000 people. Even today we’d call that a mega-church, and like all mega-churches they’re experiencing growing pains. Some people feel they aren’t getting their needs met and other people are being favored.
The apostles take a step back and realize they can spend all of their time putting out fires, OR they can delegate and continue with the work they’re called to. This is a tension everyone deals with at some point in their life. The small businessman who has experience amazing growth, the parent with several kids, the ministry leader with a bigger ministry, everyone. I frequently have to decide what is the best use of my time, now I don’t always make the best decisions in that area, but I’m working on it.
I’m working to figure out when I should let things go, it’s hard because I want to DO IT ALL! But then I’d need about 5 clones, and I’ve learned from movies cloning never ends well.
Life as a Christian will be hard (the second lesson from Stephen martyred)
Sitting in the middle of Texas and living amongst people who may disagree, but will still respect me, I don’t have a lot of personal experience on this topic. I’ve run into a few rude and offensive individuals online who questioned my intelligence and my parenting, but that’s about it.
But, that’s not the case for many Christians throughout the world, and throughout history. All I have to do is turn on the news to hear of Christians being killed simply for what they believe, and I do not believe that will change anytime soon.
I want to emphasize this with my kids, so they can understand what is going on around the world.
Stephen martyred activity
When it came to actually teaching my kids about Stephen’s martyrdom I wanted to make sure they understood this wasn’t just something happening 2000 years ago. This still happens today, and we need to be praying for the church.
I went to Voice of the Martyrs and printed off a couple of maps from WonderMaps of the Middle East and bits of Africa. I carefully cut out several countries I knew things had been going on in, and then searched each country. On the back of the country I wrote down something that had happened within the past year.
Then we each took turns drawing a country and praying for the people there and for the people involved. They were all sad, but some made me want to weep, the police officer killed because he was guarding a church from terrorists, the two aid workers pulled out of a taxi and killed. So much pain and anguish.
But, we worship a God who is bigger and mightier than this. Acts does not end when Stephen martyred, as a matter of fact in two weeks we will see one of the instigators learn about Jesus. First however we will learn about the very first missionary, Phillip.
Stephen Martyred resources
- Stephen Martyred lesson and storybook
- Stephen is Persecuted lesson
- St. Stephen rock candy (this one feels odd for me and I wouldn’t do it, but I could see it connecting to kids, so I’m sharing it)