Stories of Abraham and Jacob: Around the “Campfire” (While Roasting Marshmallows!)

This evening’s session is all about storytelling!

First, we need to finish our work on the stories of Abraham, Sarah, and Isaac from last week but then we will segue immediately into the great stories of that rascal, Jacob!

To set the mood for the storytelling, I’m going to build a pretend campfire! Take a look:

(For directions on how to make the pretend campfire and marshmallows, visit


Here’s the overall plan:

BIG IDEA: Jacob shows that God finds a way (there’s hope for us yet!).


  • As the young people enter, invite them to gather ‘round the “campfire” for some storytelling and roasting marshmallows!
  • If local policies and procedures prevent you from having real marshmallows, create pretend ones as describe in the link above.
  • Complete last week’s session on Abraham, by directing the young people to open their binders to the Abraham Trusts in Gods Plan Worksheet they filled out last week and have volunteers use their notes to tell the following stories (Worksheet Answer Key) :
    • Gn 12:1-8 (God’s call and migration)
    • Gn 13:1-18 (God’s promise of land/a home)
    • Gn 15:1-18 (God makes a covenant with Abram)
    • Gn 17:1-9, 15-22 (God changes Abram’s and Sarai’s names)
    • Gn 18:1-15 (3 visitors and the promise of a son)
    • Gn 22: 1-18 (God tests Abraham’s faith)
  • Introduce Pinocchio pictures to show that we are sometimes tempted by “plans” that do not have our best interests at heart. Emphasize the following:
    • Pinocchio was created by Gepetto who wanted the best for him and had a plan for him (to go to school and learn and grow)
    • Pinocchio was tempted by Honest John who had his own plan that did not have Pinocchio’s best interests at heart but rather his own.
    • Pinocchio was persuaded to buy into Honest John’s plan to take up acting and he came under the control of Stromboli who, again, had plans that did not have Pinocchio’s best interests at heart.
    • Jiminy Cricket represents Pinocchio’s conscience – trying to remind Pinocchio who had his best interests at heart.
  • Explain that Abraham was able to place his trust in God’s plan because he had faith that God had his best interests at heart.
  • Have young people return to their places and complete the Session 4 Assessment.
  • Review the assessment.
  • Continue with opening procession and prayer ritual

ENGAGE (5 mins)

  • Show picture of a black sheep and ask if anyone knows what it means when we call someone the “black sheep” of the family.
  • Explain that it refers to a member of the family who has gotten into some kind of mischief and has not lived up to the family name/reputation.
  • Point out that the holidays can be stressful for families because we may be getting together with relatives, some of whom may be thought of as the “black sheep” of the family.
  • Say, Today, we’re going to learn about one of Isaac’s son’s who was the “black sheep” of the family and yet, God chose to work through him to advance his plan.

EXPLORE (30 mins)

  • Scripture reading: Is 41:8-10, 13-14 (Do not fear, you worm, Jacob)
  • Point out that when God refers to Jacob, he is referring to his people Israel and that when he refers to Jacob as “a worm” and “a maggot” he is emphasizing both our helplessness and how far above us God is.
  • Distribute Jacob worksheet and bibles and work together as a large group to read through the stories as young people use their bibles to find answers to fill in the blanks.
  • Discuss and review the Jacob stories (Jacob worksheet answer key)
  • Write the word Divine Providence on the board and explain that we use this phrase to describe how God finds a way to advance his plan even when we are imperfect.
  • Show picture of Divine Providence parish (Chicago suburb)
  • Share the phrase “God writes straight with crooked lines” as a popular description of Divine Providence.


  • Lead a guided reflection in which young people are invited to write a prayer for the victims of the typhoon in the Philippines and to come forward one at a time to drop their prayer and donation in a collection box.


  • Distribute and go over the Homework Notification Sheet asking the young people learn about the story of Jacob’s son, Joseph, and to think about the choices they make and the consequences they face
  • Closing prayer


About Joe Paprocki 2742 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.