Spread of the Gospel




  1. Students should be able to name the early apostles.
  2. Students should know where at least some of them traveled.
  3. Students should be able to tell what “evangelism” means.


Possible Lesson Plan:

  1. Open with prayer.


  1. Tell the story of the apostles as given on the next two pages, shortening or focusing on certain apostles if time or attention span require:


                LIVES OF THE APOSTLES (IN BRIEF)       

            Where did they all go, these men who followed Jesus so closely? Let’s look quickly at their lives after the Ascension and Pentecost.

            St. Andrew, the first-called, a fisherman by trade and brother of Peter, traveled to Scythia, Greece, Byzantium (later known as Constantinople), and finally to Russia. He is the patron saint of Russia and finally died on an X-shaped cross, preaching the whole time he was on the cross until his death.

            St. Thomas, better known as “Doubting Thomas” because of his doubts about the Resurrection, surely had no doubts after he saw Jesus with his own eyes. He traveled to far-off India to spread the good news of his faith and there, he died.

            St. Bartholomew also is believed to have traveled to India and began the Christian Church there. He then traveled to Armenia, where he preached for many years. Finally, a wicked king named Astyages ordered Bartholomew killed.

            St. Simon (the Zealot) left Palestine and traveled first to Egypt to preach about Jesus. St. Jude left Jerusalem after Pentecost and traveled to the land of Mesopotamia. In and around the city of Edessa he preached the good news of Jesus and the resurrection. Finally, he went to Persia with St. Simon and there, in Persia, both of these courageous apostles died for their faith.

            St. James the Greater, son of Zebedee and brother of St. John the Beloved, traveled to Spain to preach; he is the patron saint of Spain to this day and is known there as Santiago (Our own San Diego is named for him.). He returned to Jerusalem to try to influence the Pharisees to accept Christ. But, the Jews still hated the Christians and begged King Herod Agrippa to put James to death. James was the first of the apostles to die and the second martyr (after Stephen).

            St. Philip married and had three daughters who also became Christians. He traveled to Phrygia in Asia Minor. There he preached to the people of Hierapolis. These people worshipped a huge snake; Philip prayed and the snake died. Many of the people then believed in Jesus, but some were so angry they put Philip in prison. When Philip would not deny Jesus, he was crucified, head down, and went to heaven to be with his Lord.

            St. Matthew remained for many years in the land of Israel, teaching the Jewish people about Jesus. He wrote the gospel of Matthew to tell the story of Jesus to his people. Finally, he traveled to Ethiopia to preach and was killed by those who hated Christians in that African land.

            St. James the son of Alpheus, also known as James the Less and brother of St. Matthew, traveled after Pentecost first to the city of Eleutheropolis and then to Egypt. There he preached and performed miracles with great success and churches were founded. Finally he was killed in the town of Ostracina, being crucified by pagans.

            St. Matthias was chosen by casting lots to take the place of Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus. He had been on of the 70 men sent out by Jesus to preach and perform miracles. He was with the other 11 disciples at Pentecost and preached in the land of Judea. Then he traveled to the land of Cappadocia and began the church there. He also died for his faith.

            There are several other men we meet in the book of Acts who were not part of the twelve, but worked with them. St. Barnabas was actually named Joseph; the apostles changed his name to Barnabas, which means “Son of Encouragement”. We see glimpses of his work in the book of Acts. He was one of those who sold all he had in the early church in Jerusalem. Next we see him leading the newly converted Saul back to Jerusalem to meet the other Christians there. He was sent by the church in Jerusalem to Antioch, where believers were first called Christians. After a year in Antioch with Paul, the two set out on their first missionary journey. Barnabas also traveled with Paul to Jerusalem for the first church council. But, when Paul refused to trust John Mark to come on his next journey, Barnabas took Mark to Cyprus. They preached there together for many years until Barnabas was stoned to death in Salamis.

            Finally, St. Luke, the Evangelist, was also an early companion of Paul. He was a Roman citizen and physician from the city of Antioch. He traveled with Paul through Asia Minor on Paul’s second missionary journey. He wrote down all they did and all he learned about the life of Jesus; we can still read these today in the Acts of the Apostles and the Gospel of Luke. He painted an icon of the Virgin Mary, which he gave to the Theotokos herself; this is still a prized possession of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Luke lived to be an old man and died in Thebes at the age of 84.


  1. Feed the Elephant True/False Questions:

True                                                     False

                 St. Luke was a doctor.                               St. Luke was a lawyer.

                 St. Thomas went to India.                         St. Philip had three sons.

                 St. James is the patron of Spain.                St. Matthias was one of the original 12.

                 St. Andrew took the gospel to Russia.      Barnabas means “Ugly Son”.


  1. The lesson is so long today, there won’t be a lot of time for extra games or activities. One could write a little ditty, having the children pick out one fact they think is important about each character and singing to the tune of the 12 Days of Christmas – for example:

The first of the apostles was Andrew; he is the patron saint of Russia.

The next of the apostles was Doubting Thomas, India was his goal and Andrew Patron saint of Russia.

The next of the apostles was Simon Zealotes, traveled to Egypt; Thomas went to

India, and Andrew patron saint of Russia. Etc., etc.


  1. Say the word “evangelism” several times. What does it mean? Are we evangelists?


  1. Make “Good News Telephones”: Take two Styrofoam cups. Decorate them and punch a hole in the bottom. Add a string and tell a friend about Jesus.


  1. Close with prayer: Lord, make me as brave as the apostles in telling everyone about You.