In this lesson, we will explore the Council of Jerusalem. This passage from Acts 15 teaches us important lessons about faith, working together, and God’s love for all people.

Key Points:

  • We are saved through grace.
  • We should make it easy for people to come to Jesus
  • Discussing faith questions with others.

Lesson Guide – The Council of Jerusalem

Begin by explaining that some early Christians wondered if new believers needed to follow all the old Jewish rules. Show a map to locate Jerusalem and other locations where Paul had visited. Help your child imagine the setting of the council.

Explain that believing in Jesus is the most important thing. Gather the children around a box labelled “Salvation”. Inside the box, place various items like money, an award for being good, a book and a piece of paper with Jesus on it. One by one, show each item and ask questions: “Can x save us and give us eternal life?” (No) Finally, hold up the paper and ask, “Does Jesus save us?” (Yes)

Explain that only Jesus can save us. Use Ephesians 2:8-9 to emphasise this point: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.”

Share how Paul and Barnabas travelled back to Jerusalem to discuss the issue with the elders and apostles. Describe how the apostles and elders made decisions by talking and praying together. Explain that God has given us other believers to help us understand the Bible and His will.

Divide the children into small groups and have each group work together on a problem-solving game. For example. Human Knot: Children stand in a circle, reach out and hold hands with two different people (not next to them). Without letting go, they must untangle themselves into a circle.

Highlight the importance of working together and listening to each other’s ideas. Explain how discussing and deciding together is similar to how the apostles made decisions by talking and praying.

Talk about the importance of listen to others. Share how the apostles listened to each other’s opinions and to God. Use a “listening game” where children must carefully listen to and repeat a sequence of sounds or words.

Discuss how Paul, Barnabas, and Peter learned that the gospel is for everyone, not just one group of people (Refer to Cornelius Acts 10). Show the children pictures of people from various parts of the world. Have children guess where they are from and discuss the different cultures and how each one is special. Talk about how the apostles followed Jesus’ example. Jesus showed grace to all people (tax collectors, sinners, foreigners, criminals etc), regardless of who they were.

Explain that James said we should not make it hard for people who want to come to God. We need to help others find Jesus easily and not put-up obstacles. Set up a simple obstacle course with things to climb over, crawl under, and go around. Have the children go through the obstacle course.  Then, clear away the obstacles and have the children walk the same path again, noting how much easier it is. Discuss how we can help clear the path for others to find God, making it easier for them to turn to Him.

Share with the children that while the apostles wanted to make it clear that we are saved by grace and not by keeping rules, they still wanted to give new believers guidance to help them live in a way that honours God. They suggested avoiding certain practices that were important to their faith and community.

Show the children each card (e.g., sharing, helping, lying, being mean, etc.) and discuss whether the action is a good choice or a bad choice.

Reaffirm that good does not save us, but because we are saved by Jesus, we should want to do good and follow God’s rules. Good choices honour God and helps build a loving community.

The Council of Jerusalem – Bible story for kids

Games and Activities

Puzzle Pieces Problem-Solving

  • Divide the children into small groups.
  • Give each group a set of puzzle pieces.
  • Challenge them to work together to complete the puzzle.
  • Once complete, discuss how working together and listening to each other helps solve problems.

Eating Challenge

  • Have the child put on thick gloves and use a plastic knife and fork to cut single pieces from a chocolate bar or piece of fruit.
  • The goal is to cut and eat a piece using the utensils, while wearing gloves, making it more challenging.
  • Discuss how this challenge was harder than it needed to be, just like adding extra rules can make it harder for people to come to Jesus.
  • The Council decided it should be easy for people to follow Jesus.

Guided Path

Set up a simple path. Blindfold one child and have another child guide them through the path with verbal instructions. Discuss how listening to guidance helps us navigate challenges, just like the apostles listened to each other and to God.

Example pages

Free Council of Jerusalem Bible Lesson Packs | Download for Kids' Church Activities

Mini Scrolls with Bible Verses – Easy Kids Craft

What you need:

  • Template page or paper
  • 2 Lollipop sticks
  • Colouring equipment
  • Scissors
  • Glue

What to do:

  1. Cut out the template page or paper to size. Colour both sides.
  2. Write or trace a memory verse on the scroll.
  3. Glue a lollipop stick on either side and roll to make into a scroll.

Download the lessons for FREE


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