Resources for Christian Education

Free Workshop Rotation Model Lessons - Season 3

Children’s Sermon

Acts 17:22-31

Paul, Mars Hill, and the Unknown God

May 21, 2017

6th Sunday of Easter

Lectionary Year A

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ASK    (a.k.a The On-Ramp)

  • Good morning!
  • [show box] Can you tell me what this is? (a box, a present, a gift)
  • And, can you tell me what you think is inside this gift box? [let the guessing begin]
  • Why do you think those things might (or might not) be inside this box? (because of its shape, maybe because of the time of year it is, maybe because of the color of the box…)
  • Why do you think it is so hard to guess what is inside the box? (because we can't see what's in the box and there is no one to tell us what is in it or give us hints about what is inside the box).

TELL    (a.k.a. The Freeway)

  • So in today’s story, we hear about the Apostle Paul, and he’s in Athens, Greece.  And while he’s there, he sees this monument (like a statue) that says, “To the unknown god.”
  • What the Greeks were saying was that they thought that there might be a god who existed who they knew nothing about.
  • The Greeks were saying, “There’s probably a god who we don’t know anything about.”
  • Which is a lot like how we thought about this gift box: There’s probably something in it, but we don’t know that for sure, and if there is, we don’t know what might be in it.
  • So Paul uses their curiosity about the unknown to tell them about the God we know.   
  • The God who created everything we know.
  • The God who gave life to all that's living.
  • Paul tells them that we are the sons and daughters of this God and that because we belong to God, God cares about us and about what we do.
  • In other words, Paul told the Greeks what was in the box..

SHARE the Good News   (a.k.a. The Destination)

  • A little bit later in the story, we hear that some of the Greeks laughed at what Paul said and didn't believe him.
  • Other Greeks said, "We'd like to talk to you some more about this God."
  • But most importantly, there were Greeks who believed what Paul said.
  • They received the gift that Paul was offering to them.
  • So, just like Paul helped the Greeks in Athens know more about God, we too, can help each other know God even better than we already do.   
  • And the good news for today is that whenever we share what we know about God, it's like unwrapping a gift and sharing it with the people around us.
  • Shall we see what’s in the box?
  • [unwrap box and take out the type of candy that you put in it.]
  • It looks like there's some candy in the box. You can all take a piece and then take other pieces to share and pass out to the congregation.
  • But first … let's pray.


  • Let’s pray.  This is a repeat-after-me prayer.

Dear God,
Dear God,

Thank you that learning about you…

Thank you that learning about you…

…is like receiving a gift …

…is like receiving a gift …

…that we can share with those around us.
that we can share with those around us.

Thank you and Amen.

Originally posted May 18, 2014
Updated on April 30, 2017
Written and edited by Nathanael Vissia

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Supplies: A brown paper bag with some sort of candy in it that isn’t too unhealthy (like individually wrapped life-savers). Or, if you want to make it fancier, find a box  to put the candy in and then wrap the box like it is a present. The lesson is written as if a wrapped box  is being used.

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