Kids Apologetics Series – For Upper Primary Kids (ages 8-11)
Teaching Plan – Why apologetics? 1 Peter 3:15, Acts 17:16-34 and Colossians 2:8
This is the first in a 5-part apologetics series for kids. Apologetics means to defend the faith. The aim of this series is to equip kids so that they are always prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks them for the hope that they have (1 Peter 3:15). This series can be taught in kids church over 5 weeks or can be used at home by parents to equip their kids. Note if this is being used at home you may decide to skip or change the game. The arguments in this series are based on the work of Dr William Lane Craig in his book Reasonable Faith.
The first lesson focuses on why apologetics is important. The big idea is apologetics is commanded by God (1 Peter 3:15). There are several reasons why teaching apologetics to kids in particular is important.
- Apologetics encourages kids by strengthening their faith. It equips them with arguments to counter rival worldviews. In a 2018 Pew Research Centre Report in the USA, the biggest reason why people under the age of 35 had left the church was “they question a lot of the church’s teaching.” In Colossians 2:8, Paul says “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.” Apologetics equips kids not to be deceived by these hollow and deceptive philosophies.
- Apologetics opens up opportunities for kids to talk about the Gospel. Often people will refuse to engage with Christianity as they believe it is not a reasonable position to hold. Apologetics builds credibility for the Christian worldview creating space for the Gospel to be proclaimed in a conversation. An example of this in the Bible is Acts 17:16-34 where Paul engages with Athenian philosophy before proclaiming the Gospel.
Our main scriptural passages to see these points will be 1 Peter 3:15, Acts 17:16-34 and Colossians 2:8.
The teaching plan asks the teacher to retell the story of Acts 17:16-34 from the point of view of Paul. That is imagine you are Paul telling the story. If you are not comfortable doing this you could read the story or watch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cU-LwyAL6yI with the kids
How we want kids to be changed at the end of this lesson?
We want kids to be able to define and know the importance of apologetics.
1 Peter 3:15 memory verse – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XX8z9f_H5GU
- This song will help us learn this key Bible verse for our series
- This verse shows us that God commands us to use apologetics
We have just listened to a song on the Bible verse 1 Peter 3:15. This verse includes a command “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks to give the reason for the hope that you have.”
Today we are starting a series on apologetics. Christian apologetics means to defend Christianity against critical arguments. Or as we have just sung “it is giving an answer to everyone who asks to give the reason for the hope that you have.”
Today we are going to see why we should do apologetics. We will see the reason we should do apologetics is because of the verse we have just sung. God commands us to do apologetics.
We have seen God commands us to “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks to give the reason for the hope that you have.” We should do apologetics because God commands us to. We are going to look at a Biblical example of someone using apologetics in practice.
Act out Acts 17:16-34 from the point of view of Paul.
In this passage Paul is talking to some people from Athens. They are philosophers (v18). Paul wants the Athenians to become Christians. Let’s do a flow diagram on the white board, to see how Paul uses apologetics while talking to them.
Apologetics opens up opportunities to talk about the Gospel:
- As a people the Greeks tried to worship every man made god (v23)
- They even had an altar to an unknown god in case they’d missed one (v23)
- Paul starts trying to convince the Athenians it is worth investigating Christianity by using their philosophy. This is a form of apologetics
- Paul shows that even the Greeks recognize that God created everything including people (v28). This is an example of The argument from Creation which we will look at next time.
- Having shown the Athenians that it is worth exploring Christianity through apologetics, Paul then shares the Gospel
- Jesus was raised from the dead (v30)
- That the people need to repent (v30)
- We can see that the Athenians were ready to listen to the Gospel because of Paul’s apologetics
- We see that the apologetics worked because Paul was able to share the Gospel and some of the people believed the Gospel (v34)
Apologetics encourages us by strengthening our faith. It equips us with answers when other people question our faith. That was we are less likely to lose our faith:
- There is another reason to do apologetics although we get it from a different part of the Bible.
- Colossians 2:8: “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.”
- Apologetics helps the church not to be fooled by arguments from non-Christians.
- In a 2018 study in the US, the biggest reason young people give for leaving the church is because “they question a lot of the church’s teaching.”
- That is to say they don’t believe it
- Now it’s fine to have doubt and seek answers
- However, these people hadn’t been given any good answers to their questions.
- Apologetics provides good answers to those questions
Give the children 2 minutes to write down reasons their non-Christian friends have given as to why Christianity is not true
- Have the children share some of the reasons
- What have the children said in response?
- Explain when the children have given a response they have been doing apologetics
- Recap why we do apologetics. “Because God commands us to” and the reasons why he commands us to.
- Have the kids repeat the reasons back to you
Play a game of in the tomb out the tomb
- A mat or rug which will represent the tomb
- Nominate a leader
- The leader can say
- In the tomb (kids jump in the tomb)
- Out the tomb (kids jump out the tomb)
- Witnesses (kids place their hands above their eyes)
- Stole the body (Kids have to get in pairs and pretend they are stealing the body)
- Show the marks on your hands (Kids have to hold open their palms)
- Any child who gets the instruction wrong is eliminated
- If the game goes for a while then the last child to do the instruction is out
In that game we had to do what the leader said. We had to obey the leaders command. The commands focused on Jesus’ resurrection which is one of the defenses of Christianity.
Just like we had to obey the leader’s commands, we have to obey God’s commands. God has commanded us to use apologetics so we should obey.
 Craig, William. L. Reasonable Faith. Wheaton, Il: Crossway Books. 2008