Sunday, March 7, 2021

In the face of persecution, the early church saw growth as believers dispersed following Stephen’s death. (See Acts 7.) As they went, they carried the good news with them. Jesus’ disciples had cared for the church from Jerusalem, but God began to call them out as missionaries too. 

In Acts 8, Philip went to Samaria and Judea. The Holy Spirit led him to share the good news with an Ethiopian official. Paul encountered Jesus in Acts 9 and began spreading the gospel. Peter performed miracles and people believed in Jesus. In Acts 10, God made it clear to Peter that the gospel was not only for the Jews but also for Gentiles. Peter gave testimony about the salvation of Gentiles to Jewish leaders in Jerusalem who thought people needed to follow Jewish law to be saved.

As the message about Jesus went out, churches were started. One of these churches was in Antioch, which was the capital of Syria. When the church at Antioch began, it was made up only of Jewish Christians. But, as Acts 11:20 reveals, some Christians from Cyprus and Cyrene went to Antioch and began sharing the gospel with Greeks (Gentiles). Many Gentiles believed.

When the church in Jerusalem heard about this, what was their response? They sent Barnabas to Antioch to encourage the believers there! Then even more people believed in Jesus. The Bible tells us that Antioch was the place where believers were first called  “Christians.”

As you talk this week, emphasize the story point: Barnabas went to Antioch to encourage believers. Even though some people tried to stop it, the gospel spread throughout the earth—not only to Jews but also to Gentiles. The good news about Jesus is for everyone. God calls us to celebrate when others believe and help them know and love Jesus more.

Check this session’s Activity Page for ways to interact with the Bible content this week.


  • Babies and Toddlers
    • ○ The good news is about Jesus.
    • ○ Believers celebrate when others believe in Jesus.
    • ○ Some of the Gentiles in Antioch trusted in Jesus.
    • ○ Barnabas and Paul taught people about Jesus.
    • ○ Christians are glad when people trust in Jesus.
  • Preschool
    • ○ The gospel continued to spread.
    • ○ What is the gospel? The gospel is the good news that God sent His Son, Jesus, into the world to rescue sinners.
  • Kids
    • ○ Barnabas went to Antioch to encourage believers. 
    • ○ What is the gospel? The gospel is the good news that God sent His Son, Jesus, into the world to rescue sinners.
  • 1 Chronicles 16:31 
  • “Jesus Is Better” (Hebrews 1–8)