Spread the Good News! Sunday School Lesson from Paul’s Macedonian Call and Leading Lydia to Christ in Acts 16:9-15
Download this free children’s ministry lesson from the story of Paul and Lydia for kids in Acts 16:9-15. Use these teaching actives, crafts, discussion questions, and coloring pages in your kids church, Sunday School, or children’s ministry lesson.
Lesson focus: This lesson reminds students that all of us have God-given opportunities to share God’s love with others and to proclaim the Gospel good news of Jesus. This story provides a glimpse into Paul’s missionary travels as he meets Lydia in Philippi. After hearing what Paul had to say, Lydia was baptized and filled with enthusiasm for the Lord. This encounter shows that God’s Spirit is at work everywhere and at all times! We are called to spread His good news to all.
The download above includes the complete lesson plan, game activity suggestions, Bible coloring pages, Sunday School crafts, and Bible worksheets for the children.
Scripture Passage: Acts 16:9-15
Target Audience: Kindergarten-6th grade, age 6-12 years old
Teaching Materials Needed: Grape kool-aid mix, food coloring, shells, purple items, paper plates, purple yarn and paper.
More Bible Lesson on Paul and Lydia
- Watch this children’s sermon lesson and related Bible craft ideas
- See Lydia Becomes a Christian from Mission Bible Class
- Compare our full Acts 16:9-15 Sunday School Lesson on Lydia and Paul
- Compare another Children’s Bible Lesson on Paul’s Journey to Macedonia
- Download the Paul preaching coloring page for children
- Read about the Macedonian Call Bible Verse Acts 16:9
*Adaptations noted for younger students. Most activities can work for all age groups.
Game Activities to Introduce the Bible Lesson for Kids
Lesson Opening: Kick off with some fun activities that connect with the color purple, or with some of the other themes of the story (baptism and spreading the Gospel):
- Purple it up: name as many things as you can think of that are the color purple!
- Make “scratch n sniff” purple paint! Mix grape Kool-Aid with water, adding blue and red food coloring if needed for extra tint. Experiment with ratios of food dye to create shades of purple. Use paint brushes to spread the water color onto paper.
- Make a collage of pictures that are purple, or use various shades of purple color or markers to create a picture.
- Play with purple play-doh (younger students)
- Look at various types of shells, if some are available (fits with the theme of baptism and the dye coming from shells).
- Talk about baptism: identify what students know about baptism and if they know details of their baptism or sponsors.
Describe the background of the story a little. This takes place in the book of Acts, which details how the first Christians told other people about Jesus and spread the church mission to other countries. These people faced a lot of tough challenges, but God was with them and the Holy Spirit directed their ways.
One of the first leaders in the church was Peter (the same disciple who denied Jesus three times and was later restored). In this story, Peter learned that God wanted everyone to hear the good news of the Gospel. Before that, people thought the message was only for Jews, but because of Christ’s life and death, ALL people are chosen.
*Note: it is helpful to explain what the term “Gentile” means (someone who is not a Jew). Since we aren’t Jewish, we are all Gentiles, so this story is for us!
Ask: What are some challenges that you might face? Why do you think God lets us face challenges?
Lydia and Paul Bible Object Lesson
Sunday School Lesson (Acts 16:9-15) Paul Tells Lydia the Good News
Kids Bible Lesson: This story takes place over just a few verses, and is relatively straightforward, but has some important elements to point out for students. This is a good passage to read with students a couple verses at a time, pausing to explain and describe the action. You might have older students take turns reading, or assign parts and act out the scene with Paul and Lydia.
*For younger students, explain that Paul was a man sent by God to tell other people about Jesus. In this story, describe how he met a lady named Lydia, and she decided to follow his example with her life.
Set the stage somewhat by explaining that Paul had been traveling to different areas, telling others about Jesus and starting up churches. The church was growing in number and strength, and more and more people were coming to know Jesus. Paul, along with Timothy and Luke, traveled through a few areas where he was not allowed to preach (the Holy Spirit told him not to; we aren’t completely sure why). Then he had a special vision directing him to a place called Macedonia:
And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing there, urging him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10 And when Paul had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them. -Acts 16:9-10
Explain that in the Bible, we often see God speaking to people through special visions. How did they know these things were from God, and what they meant? We aren’t entirely sure, but we know that the Holy Spirit directed those who saw these things, and they followed God’s instructions. Paul knew that God wanted him to go to Macedonia to tell people about Jesus.
*Note: it might be helpful to show a map for students, so they can see where some of these strange-sounding places are.
So, setting sail from Troas, we made a direct voyage to Samothrace, and the following day to Neapolis, 12 and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We remained in this city some days. -Acts 16:11-12
Ask: How do you like to travel? By car, airplane, bicycle? In Paul’s day, there were no motorized vehicles. Everywhere they went was usually on foot, or perhaps with a boat or a donkey. It would have taken quite a while to travel, and been very rough!
Most of these city names might not mean much to us, but one of them is important to point out: Philippi. Why might this sound familiar?
This is a great opportunity to explain that Paul wrote letters to these churches he founded, and we call those letters “epistles.” The epistles became a large part of our New Testament. One of those letters is called Philippians, and it was written to the people in the church at Philippi! (If you’re using a map, you might want to go through and describe where some of the other churches were that epistles are named for.)
And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to the riverside, where we supposed there was a place of prayer, and we sat down and spoke to the women who had come together. 14 One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul. 15 And after she was baptized, and her household as well, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” And she prevailed upon us. -Acts 16:13-15
Ask: Who are some people that teach you about Jesus? Is there anyone that you can talk to about your faith?
Describe how Paul and his friends went to the river for church! Does that sound strange? Imagine going to a lake or a river for church service. Well, in those days, they didn’t always have big buildings for churches, so they met wherever people could gather. This area was a place that people would go to pray, and there were some women there that Paul spoke to.
Why do we hear these details about Lydia? The fact that she sold purple cloth was significant for a couple of reasons. For one thing, it meant she was a skilled artisan. Purple dye was hard to make. It came from the mucus of a specific species of snail, in fact, and it was so rare that it was very expensive, and worn only by royalty. Lydia had a special skill to work with this purple dye. She was also likely rich, which some people think allowed her to help Paul in his work with establishing and growing churches. But we also know that Lydia was a woman who worshiped God. And when she heard about Jesus, she immediately wanted to be baptized and follow Him. She even housed Paul and his crew for a little while. She was generous and faithful, and blessed by the Holy Spirit!
Ask: Have you ever had to trust God and take a “leap of faith”?
In this story, Paul trusted God in going to Macedonia. Lydia listened to Paul, and God opened her heart to trust the good news of Jesus. It just takes one or two people to start a ripple effect that can continue spreading the Gospel!
Close with prayer, thanking God for using us to spread His good news throughout the world. Ask God for help in sharing His love with all people.
Sunday School Craft Ideas on Paul and Lydia
Activities: Choose a craft or activity connected to the story:
- Review questions about the story (Where did Paul travel after his vision? Who was with him? Where did they meet Lydia? What did she do? How did she respond to what Paul said?”).
- “Don’t be shellfish clamshell”: since the purple dye came from shells, create a shell decoration that reminds kids of the importance of spreading the Gospel. This could be made using actual shells or a paper plate folded to resemble a large clamshell.
- Purple clothesline: reflect on the story with a “clothesline” picture that features plenty of purple! Cut clothes shapes out of purple paper and attach to a yarn “line” on paper.
- Make cards inviting someone to come to church or Sunday School.