Notes on my lessons about…
ACTS 16: Paul and the Philippi Jail
I’ve done the Acts 16 story of Paul & Silas in the Philippi Jail in two different churches.
Here are some of the details of how we did each.
NOTE: The photos on this page are from our SECOND VERSION of the jail.
The FIRST Time We Built the Jail
We lined the walls of a small room with brown paper drop cloth found at a paint supply store (the kind that is reinforced). The paper was taped or tacked to the wall.
We hung dropcloth all around but at one end we hung it away from the wall a bit and put a red lamp behind it to give them room a dark glow (turning off the main lights).
We put a little bit of straw (not hay) over the top of canvas drop cloths that were placed on the floor.
We took the door off the hinges and substituted a stiff cardboard door we painted to look like a jail door. Cardboard bars and duct tape that looked like metal. Added some black swag chain.
The BEST thing we did was have a Senior High dress as Timothy and another dress as a Roman guard. The guard was very brusque and we had him CHAIN all the kids together at their ankles and march them into prison. We used black cheap decorated swag-lamp chain. It makes a great clinking sound. After Paul “converted” the guard, the guard opened the chain links between the ankles –leaving the chain loop around each ankle as a reminder. The kids couldn’t wait to show it around church.
Paul taught them about the dangers of being a follower. He taught them the secret symbol of the fish. He had each of them scratch out a message with charcoal to their families as a “letter from jail.” The paper was made from crumpled torn pieces of grocery bags which looks really “old” and supple when you roll it a few times.
The guard caught one of the kids writing a subversive message and threatened him (gently so). It was quite memorable.
After the earthquake, the guard rushed in and was baptized. The kids helped. Then we ate grapes and talked about being willing to risk your freedom for God’s Word. What risks do we take as Christians? etc.
The SECOND Time We Built the Jail
A few years later in a different church we didn’t have a small room to convert, so we used the corner two walls of fellowship hall, and made the other two walls out of TABLES we stood on their ends and covered with the paper drop cloths. This time we also made the door out of black PVC. Lots of duct-tape later it looked great.
Note: The guard has to tone it down for the little kids. They believe he was a little too real.
Two advantages to our makeshift jail in Fellowship Hall:
1. The tables moved really easy to make the earthquake (which was done by two teens on the outside).
2. The Jail was highly visible to all the adults who loved it.
Those the makeshift jail in fellowship hall wasn’t as cool as the one we made in the small room years earlier, the kids didn’t care. The guard really makes the whole thing, –chaining the kids together, being gruff, trumping up “charges” against the kids.
PAUL RESOURCES here at our site:
- Life of Paul software ! …including a student worksheet.
- My free four lesson set: “Paul and the Bright Light“
- 2 Nest Video Paul DVDs
- What’s in the Bible DVD #11 about Paul
- Pentecost Ideas: Book of Acts, Paul, Fruits of the Spirit, related lessons.
- Acts 16, Paul in the Philippi Jail (below on this page)
I hope you enjoy adapting the free multi-lesson I wrote for my church. It is titled:
Paul and the Bright Light
SCRIPTURE: Acts 9:1-20, the story of Paul’s Conversion
from Neil MacQueen, www.sundaysoftware.com