King Herod arrested Peter and put him in prison, but an angel freed him in a miraculous way. Children will play a game of tag that simulates the miracle.
- Hula hoops (2 or more, depending on the size of the group)
- Slips of paper in a cup with the different roles printed on them (You can download the role slips on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at www.teachingthem.com. The name of the file is “Peter in Prison – Roles,” and it contains 4 Peters, 2 Angels and 6 Guards.)
- Select a space to play the game.
- Lay out your hula hoops some distance away from each other.
- Cut out or make your role slips. Fold them and put them in a cup so that the children can draw them out without knowing which role they are choosing.
- Practice the script.
Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):
- “We’re going to play a game called, ‘Peter in Prison!’”
- “It’s like a game of tag, and it’s based on a miracle that happened to Peter one time after he had been arrested by King Herod.” (Have volunteer read Acts 12:1-11.)
- “Incredible story, huh?”
- “So, let me tell you how our game of tag will work.”
- “Everyone will draw a slip of paper from this cup, read it and keep it a secret.”
- “It will tell you what role you will play in the game.”
- “Some slips say ‘Peter.’ Some say ‘Angel’ and some say ‘Guard.’
- “If you draw ‘Guard,’ you will try to tag all the ‘Peters’ and take them to a jail cell (point out the hula hoops).”
- “If you draw ‘Peter,’ you will try to stay away from the ‘Guards’ without letting them figure out that you are a ‘Peter.’”
- “If you draw ‘Angel,’ you will act normally so that the ‘Guards’ can’t tell that you aren’t ‘Peters.’ You are trying to fool the ‘Guards’ into trying to tag you so that the ‘Peters’ can stay out of jail.”
- “If a ‘Guard’ tags an ‘Angel,’ the ‘Angel’ has to say, ‘Angel’ and count to 30 before moving again.”
- “If a ‘Guard’ tags another ‘Guard,’ the ‘Guard’ has to say, ‘Guard,’ and then both are free to keep looking for ‘Peters.’”
- “If a ‘Guard’ tags a ‘Peter,’ the ‘Peter’ must step into the hula hoop. He is in prison.”
- “An ‘Angel’ can free a ‘Peter’ by standing in the jail with him and saying, ‘Peter, Peter! You should know! God sent me to let you go!’ Then, ‘Peter’ is free until tagged again.”
- “No one can be tagged while in a jail cell.”
- “If the ‘Guards’ tag all the ‘Peters’ (there are up to four ‘Peters’ depending on the size of your group), the ‘Guards’ win.”
- “Play lasts for three (3) minutes. If even one ‘Peter’ is out of prison, then the ‘Peters’ and ‘Angels’ win.”
- “Does anyone have any questions?” (Answer any questions.)
- “Okay, let’s play!” (Play several rounds if you like. Then ask the Debrief Questions below.)
- Why do you think King Herod put Peter in prison?
- Why did God send an angel to free Peter?
- Do you think God still does things like this? Why or why not?
Children, Teens, Adults
This game helps participants to understand how important it is to step our of our comfort zones in order to grow. You can use the story of Abraham (Abram at the time) leaving his country and his family and everything he knew as a reinforcement of the lesson.
o Genesis 12:1-9
o Rope (about 30 feet or more) or a garden hose
o Balls (about 5 – alternatively, you can just wad up scrap pieces of paper)
o Laundry basket or trash can
o Tie the rope or garden hose into a loop.
o Use the rope or garden hose to make a small circle on the ground (about 1 ft – 1 ½ ft in diameter).
o Coil the excess rope or garden hose on top of this circle so that you have only one circle.
o Set up the trashcan or laundry basket about 20 ft away from the circle (further if you want to increase the difficulty).
o Practice the script.
Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):
- “How many of you know what a comfort zone is?” (Acknowledge responses.)
- “A comfort zone is a place or situation where you feel safe, comfortable.”
- “When you are in your comfort zone, you don’t take risks.”
- “Those are uncomfortable, so they can’t be in the zone.”
- “In your comfort zone, there is no progress or growth, because progress and growth only occur when you take risks and step out of your comfort zone.”
- “God asked Abraham (Abram at the time) to leave his comfort zone.” (Have a volunteer read Genesis 12:1-9.)
- “Abraham had to leave everything that he knew (his family, his friends, his country, his home….) in order to follow God’s leading into a strange country.”
- “The trip would take months, and it would be full of risk to Abraham, his wife, his nephew, Lot, and their servants.”
- “They would face dangers from animals, thieves, foreign kings, fatigue, potential starvation and other threats.”
- “But Abraham could not experience God’s blessing from inside his comfort zone in his home in Haran.”
- “To experience God’s blessing, Abraham had to take a risk.”
- “Let me show you a demonstration that will help you understand comfort zones better.”
- “I’m going to need a volunteer.” (Select a volunteer from the group.)
- “Let’s pretend that this is your comfort zone.” (Position volunteer inside the coil of ropes or garden hose.)
- “Don’t you feel all comfy in there?”
- “Now, let’s pretend that you have a goal that you want to achieve.”
- “Your goal is to get five (or more if you like) shots in a row in that basket/trash can.”
- “You can take shots only from inside your comfort zone this first time.”
- “How many shots do you think you will make?” (Listen to response, and share it with the audience if it was too quiet for them to hear.)
- “Well, let’s try. Take your shots.” (Allow volunteer to take all his/her shots. Share the score with the audience.)
- “Not so good.”
- (Ask volunteer…) “What do you think would help you to be more successful?” (Listen to response, and shear it with the audience if it was too quiet for them to hear. If the volunteer doesn’t mention stepping out of their comfort zone, prompt them.)
- “Let’s try that.” (Allow volunteer to take one step, as big as they can, out of their comfort zone.)
- “But wait. That wasn’t very scary. Stepping out of your comfort zone has to have some risk involved.”
- “Otherwise, every place on earth would be your comfort zone.”
“Let’s make it more scary.”
- “Can I get another volunteer?” (Select another volunteer. Make him (or her) stand five feet away from the first volunteer.)
- “This person represents the risk of stepping out of your comfort zone.”
- “He (or she) has to stand right here and count to ten slowly (“one, one thousand, two, one thousand, three, one thousand….”).”
- “When he gets to ten, he can try to tag our first volunteer, the shooter, as long as he is out of his comfort zone.”
- “But if the shooter goes back into his comfort zone, he can’t be tagged there.”
- “However, he still has to make all five shots, either from within the comfort zone if he hasn’t don’t it already or out of his comfort zone if he is brave enough to come out one step.”
- “Do both my volunteers understand how this works?” (Answer any questions they have. Then, let your shooter try to make the shots, stepping no more than one step out of the comfort zone. If the risk person tags the shooter, the shooter can’t shoot anymore shots.)
- “That looked challenging.”
- “But something interesting happens when you step out of your comfort zone.” (Uncoil the rope or garden hose to make it twice as big as it was.)
- “Your comfort zone grows!”
- “Now you feel comfortable going further than you went before.”
- “So, let’s try it again.”
- “Our risk person will count to ten slowly before he tries to tag our shooter.”
- “Our shooter can step one, big step outside of his comfort zone and take five shots without getting tagged.” (Allow them to try this.)
- “It’s getting easier. Let’s do it again!”
- “The comfort zone increases, because our shooter took a step out of it during the last round.” (Uncoil the rope or garden hose another loop or even two (depending on how fast you want to finish the exercise) to make it bigger. Then let the shooter try to make his shots again. If the shooter makes all his shots, you’re done. If he doesn’t, you might want to run the exercise a time or two again. When you are finished, thank and dismiss your volunteers and close with the following comments.)
- “So, you can see how a comfort zone works.”
- “Whenever you take a risk and step out of it, it grows.”
- “The more you do it, the easier it will be to accomplish your goals.”
- “Remember our story about Abraham?”
- “He took a huge risk, but every step out of his comfort zone helped him to grow in his faith in the Lord.”
- “By the time Abraham reached the Promised Land, he had learned to put his complete faith in the Lord.”
- “He needed that faith to help him wait the 25 years for God’s promise of a son to come true.”
- “He would need it again to pass the test of almost offering Isaac as a sacrifice to the Lord.”
- “Abraham could never have the faith to do those things if he had stayed in Haran.”
- “If you want to experience God’s greatest blessings, you’ve got to follow Him out of your comfort zone.”
Filed under Abraham, Abram, Belief, blessing, Challenges, Character, Comfort Zone, courage, faith, God's Plan, God's Will, Obedience, Object Lesson, Sarah, test, Trust
15 minutes (or more, depending upon how many rounds of tag you play)
This game illustrates evangelism in a high-energy, fun way through a game of tag. It’s a very quick game, so you will probably want to play it several times. The game works best with larger groups of kids, but it can still be played with small groups.
Optionally, you can play the game outdoors with water (for “baptizing”), but if you do, it needs to be okay for the kids to get really wet!
- OPTIONAL: Paper or plastic cups for each child
- OPTIONAL: A tub or bucket of water
- OPTIONAL: Fill the tub with water (You only need the tub of water and the cups if you plan to do the “baptizing” option.)
- Practice the script.
Use the following script and instructions (or modify to suit your needs):
- “Today, we are going to talk about the last words that Jesus said before he rose back into heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father.”
- “Last words are important.”
- “If a leader is leaving his followers, and he has one more opportunity to talk to them, he’s going to say something important, don’t you think?”
- “Sure he is…and Jesus was no different. He had something very important He wanted to say to His disciples.”
- “So, He had over 500 of His followers meet Him at the Mount of Olives, and He said this to them.” (Ask volunteer to read Matthew 28:18-20.)
- “What did Jesus tell them to do?” (Answer: go and make disciples, baptize them and teach them)
- “So, one of the most important things Jesus ever said to His followers was, ‘Go, Make Disciples, Baptize Them and Teach Them.’”
- “Do you think this is still important for us to do as followers of Jesus today?” (Listen for responses.)
- “Sure it is!”
- “It’s just as important today as it was when Jesus originally said it.”
- “We need to tell as many people as we can about Jesus, so that they can go to heaven, too.”
- “And the neat thing is, every time a new person becomes a follower of Jesus, they can then tell all their friends and family about Jesus, too!”
- “Now, there are millions and millions of Christians in the world.”
- “If all the Christians were telling as many people as they could find about Jesus, how long do you think it would be before the whole world knew about Him?” (Listen for responses.)
- “Not too long, huh?”
- “Well, let’s try this out.”
- “We are going to play a game, called Kingdom Tag.”
- “It’s played like regular tag, but there are a few differences.”
- “First, you start with one person who is ‘IT,’ and that person represents a Christian.”
- “Everyone else represents someone who doesn’t know Jesus, and each person can live in different parts of the world.”
- “If you get tagged by the Christian (the person who is ‘IT’), you become a Christian, and then you are also ‘IT!’”
- “Then, instead of running away, your new job will be to try to tag other people.”
- “They will then become Christians, too, and their new jobs will be to tag other people.”
- “We will keep playing until everyone has been tagged and becomes a Christian.” (If you want to do the “baptizing” option, then anyone who is “IT” should run and get a cup filled with water. They tag people by “baptizing” them with the water.)
- “Every few minutes, I’ll ask you to raise your hand if you still haven’t been tagged yet, so be honest and raise your hand if you still haven’t been tagged.”
- “Does anyone have any questions about how to play the game?” (Answer questions.)
- “Okay, I’m going to need one volunteer to be it.” (Select volunteer. Then define what is out-of-bounds and where they are welcome to run and hide.)
- “I’m going to give you a five second head-start before I let the Christian go.”
- “Ready? Go!” (Count to five slowly before letting your “IT” person go. Every few minutes, ask everyone to raise their hands who has not been tagged. The game is over when everyone has been tagged. If it goes quickly, play several rounds, if you like. Then, call the kids back to talk about the Debrief Questions listed below.)
- What did you think about the game?
- How long did it take to tag everyone? Does that surprise you?
- Why do you think it happened so quickly?
- Could we do the same thing by sharing about Jesus with other people we meet?
- How did you know if someone had already been tagged or not?
- Is that anything like how hard it is to know if someone is a Christian in real life?
- So what do you think we should do if we can’t tell if someone is a Christian or not?
- What will you commit to doing this week about sharing Jesus with other people?