Paul and Barnabas on a Mission Together: A Free Lesson on Teamwork

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Christianity isn’t a solo endeavor. It is something God calls us to as a community. This is why Wesley said that he knew of no religion other than social religion and no holiness that social holiness. God has designed us to live in faith and work in partnerships. This week we dive into a powerful example of partnership: Paul and Barnabas.


Go around the circle and have each person say their name and answer the following question:

If you were going on a 3 month hike into the wilderness, what 3 things would you make sure to have (remember, you have to be able to carry whatever it is you say).

The Importance of Working Together

What are 3 traits of friendship that you possess?

What are 3 traits of friendship that you look for in others?

If you felt God calling you to leave on a year-long mission to another country, and that God was instructing you to find one other person to go with, what kind of person would you look for?

The Bible

Read the following passages in Acts, then answer the questions:

Read Acts 13: 1 – 3

Why were Saul (who later became Paul) and Barnabas set aside to be sent to share about Jesus? (Answer: The Holy Spirit instructed the Believers in Jesus to set them aside.)

Right before Saul and Barnabas leave, what happens (see verse 3)?

Have you ever felt God calling you to something? What was it, and what stands in our way of listening to God?

Read Acts 13: 4 – 5

There is no indication that Saul and Barnabas knew each other before they left on their journey. Why do you think God chose two people who didn’t really know each other to travel together?

Has there ever been a time when you have been paired up with someone you didn’t know, or you maybe didn’t really like, to do a project? What was the outcome? How did your opinion of that person change?

Think about a mission trip with McFarlin when you have been paired with people you didn’t know very well. What was the outcome? How did it work out?

Read Acts 13: 6 – 12

Who are the main characters in this story, and what do they do?

Why is there conflict between Bar-Jesus and Paul (who by now has changed his name from Saul) and Barnabas?

How did Paul and Barnabas deal with Bar-Jesus? Why do you think God did what God did to Bar-Jesus?

Why is important that the Governor came to know Jesus?

In a lot of instances, the early Christians didn’t try to get people in power, such as Governors, to believe in Jesus. What are the advantages and disadvantages are there to getting to people in power and sharing faith?

Read Acts 13: 13 – 14

In this passage we read that John deserts Paul and Barnabas and returns to Jerusalem. We don’t know why…but why do you think he might have deserted the group?

What are some of the conflicts that Christians face that end of tearing us apart instead of bringing us together?

How can we deal with disagreements and still honor God?

Is it possible that John actually left the group because he felt called in a different direction? Or that he knew there was conflict with Paul and Barnabas, so leaving them was a way to not destroy their mission.

Read Acts 13: 42- 52

Have the group sum up what is going on in this passage.

Re-read Acts 13: 45.

What is the main reason that people didn’t like Paul and Barnabas’ message?

Why would they be jealous?

How does our jealousy destroy relationships with others?

Re-read Acts 13: 52

Even though things weren’t easy, the Disciples were excited about what God was doing. What are the things that are going on in your life and in the life of McFarlin that get you excited for what God is doing?


Scott has served in student ministry for over 30 years, the past 23 years at McFarlin Memorial United Methodist Church in Norman, Oklahoma, where he oversees ministries to Kindergarten through 12th grade as the director of student ministries. Having grown up in an incredible and life-changing youth ministry at Pioneer United Methodist Church in Walla Walla, Washington, Scott got his start in student ministry at Simpson United Methodist Church in Pullman, Washington while a student at Washington State University. He will never forget his first official Sunday as a youth director when 2 of the high school students who showed up were older then him! Scott has a passion for missions and leadership develop, and desires to create life-long disciples for Jesus Christ. He and Kristin have been married for 13 years, and welcomed an amazing little girl into the world in May of 2016. You can follow Scott on Twitter: @ScottMeier