Sometimes you just want to do something a little different or change the scenery. Try taking what I call an in-house field trip. Younger children find this great fun and can learn from it as well. Pretend that your building will be Asia and Macedonia. Create a map of your building and designate certain rooms or areas as stops on the Apostle Paul’s missionary journeys. Using a large appliance box, let the students decorate the box like a ship, complete with emblems and cloth sails. Each student can be given a stop on the journey to be in charge of. As you “sail” your ship through the building (Fred Flintstone style with your feet), the student in charge of the stop will tell us why we are there, who we will be visiting, what church Paul established there, and other interesting points about the location and its people. Create “storms” along the way with flashing lights and sounds of thunder. For older students, you can include a jail at Rome and make the explanation of Paul’s imprisonment part of the journey.
While at each of Paul’s stops, give the students a printed maze or puzzle to work that depicts elements true to Paul’s experiences at that location. When you stop at Ephesus, a church “elder” might be reading a letter from Paul while he is in the Roman jail. The students can act out the reactions of parishioners, or conduct a question and answer period. Ask them to quote verses, give the names of Bible characters they remember from that location, or be the first to tell us where the next stop on the journey will be. Just be sure to make it back to your classroom by snack time since eating in a boat will make some students sea-sick!
Mature students may not find the pretend boat such a thrill. Send them on a scavenger hunt with clues that match each of the locations along Paul’s journey. In each room designated as a part of Asia, “plant” items or written clues to the next part of the journey. The first one or group to successfully complete the journey in the correct order by following the clues gets to serve the snacks, or be served first. Whatever floats their boat! If you don’t want to risk turning them loose in the building, create the same journey clues in a board game format. Give each team the same board (map of Asia) and clues. See who can figure it out first.