We Join The Outsiders
Acts 8:26-40, Philip & the Ethiopian Eunuch
The key phrase in this Scripture (for this lesson) is “Do you really understand?” The Ice Breaker invites youth to wonder about the purpose of a variety of items. The Discussion encourages students to think about why the Ethiopian didn’t understand and how they have come to understand Scripture. The Activity allows youth to experience the frustration and joy of not understanding in full, but trying anyway. Times are based on a 50-minute lesson period, but can be adjusted.
|Time||Description of Activity|
1. Ice Breaker: What is It?
This Old House had a segment called “What Is It?” One host presented an obscure, very specific tool, and everyone else had to guess what it might be for. Once everyone guesses, the one who understands the tool explains it.
2. Read Scripture
Our Scripture reading today happens after Jesus has died and been raised, during the period when the Apostles were trying to establish the early church.
|15 min||3. Discussion|
There are two main people in our story today. Who are they, and what do we know about them?
Read Isaiah 53.
For the next four weeks, our class is learning about the Power of the Holy Spirit. Where do you see the Spirit acting in this story?
|20 min||4. Activity and Discussion|
Take this lesson to the next level by getting student’s hands and imaginations involved using the activity Phillip, the Ethiopian, and a Marshmallow Sculpture from the Youth Worker Collective available at https://youthworkercollective.com/philip-the-ethiopian-and-a-marshmallow-sculpture-a-hands-on-activity/
Close in the manner that is typical for you. Consider taking joys/concerns from the students, then asking for a volunteer to close in prayer.
- YouTube clips of This Old House (high tech option)
- Computer w/ speakers or TV
- Assorted “unknown” household items (low tech option)
 Philip might be one of the 12 disciples or one of the 7 men elected after Jesus’ death to handle administrative details (Acts 6). The other man in our story is an unnamed eunuch (YOO-nuck) from Ethiopia. During this historical period, a eunuch was usually a man who had been castrated. Often these men served rulers, because they were not seen as a typical, aggressive, male threat. According to Deuteronomy, a eunuch could not participate fully in worship life.
 He may have been acting for the Candace, seeking information about this emerging religion. He may have been making a spiritual pilgrimage. He is leaving reading Isaiah, but he is confused about it. He may feel like an outsider to the very thing he came seeking to participate in. He doesn’t appear to have received the knowledge, wisdom, or spiritual growth he was seeking.
 In The UMC: The Central Jurisdiction discriminated by race 1939-1956. Women didn’t have full clergy rights until 1956. The church is currently debating inclusion of LGBTQ+ persons. Other denominations: only unmarried men as Catholic priests, communion only for members, minimum age for communion,
Want to get active with this lesson? We have a great element called “Who Am I” that works great. You can get it at the Youth Worker Collective: youthworkercollective.com/who-am-i-exploring-acts-4-through-name-tags.
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