30 minutes (or longer, depending upon how many rounds of play you allow)
This object lesson helps children understand how much faith it took for Abraham (called “Abram” at the time) to leave his family and friends to go where God sent him. This is a good outdoor activity that gets everyone involved. It is more physical than typical object lessons, so please consider if it is appropriate for your group of children.
· Ball (preferably an American football if you are going to call the game, “Don’t Fumble Your Faith,” but most types of balls will do – it just needs to be large enough for the kids to try to pull it out of “Abraham’s” grip.)
· Tape or chalk
· Use the tape or chalk to mark off a square on the floor or ground. The square should be four to five feet wide in all directions.
· Mark off an “X” in the center of the square.
· Practice the script.
Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):
· “Who can tell me some things you know or remember about Abraham from the Bible?” (Listen to responses. Encourage and correct where appropriate.)
· “Abraham was the first father of the Hebrew people. He was originally named, ‘Abram,’ which means, ‘exalted father.’ But God promised him that he would be the father of a great nation and gave him a new name: ‘Abraham,’ which means, ‘father of a great number.’”
· “This promise had to be a little hard to believe, because Abraham and his wife Sarah had already learned that they were not able to have children.”
· “What made it tougher to believe was that Abraham was 75 years old, and Sarah was 65 years old when God made the promise!”
· “Let’s read about it.” (Ask a volunteer to read Genesis 12:1-8.)
· “So, there was more to it. God didn’t just promise to make Abraham the father of a great nation; He also promised to:
o Make Abraham’s name great.
o Make Abraham a blessing to other people.
o Bless those who bless Abraham.
o Curse those who curse Abraham.
o Bless all the peoples on the earth through Abraham.
o Give Abraham’s people the land where the Canaanites lived. (This was a later promise – v. 7.)”
· “That’s a pretty big promise! But it didn’t come completely free. God asked Abraham to do something first.”
· “God asked Abraham to, ‘Leave (his) country, (his) people and (his) father’s household and go to the land (God) would show (him).’”
· “God didn’t even tell Abraham where he was going. He basically said, ‘I’ll let you know when you get there.’”
· “That takes a lot of faith! To leave everything you know and go somewhere you don’t! Through wilderness with wild animals and possibly hostile people!”
· “But Abraham (‘Abram at the time’) did it. Right after he got the promise, the Bible says, ‘So Abram left, as the Lord had told him…’”
· “Let’s play a game to help us understand how much faith it took for Abraham to leave his country, his people and his father to go where God sent him.”
Don’t Fumble Your Faith: Game Set-up and Rules
· Pick one volunteer to be “Abraham.” Put this person on the “X” in the center of the square. Give this person the ball.
· Pick one volunteer to be “God.” Place him/her some distance away from the square – at least ten feet away.
· Line the other kids up on the tape or chalk line that you laid down. There should be at least a few on each side of the square, but they will probably want more kids on the side that is closest to “God.”
· Tell the rules of the game:
o Tell the kids that the ball represents Abraham’s faith in God.
o Abraham’s goal is to get to God without fumbling (letting go of) his faith.
o The square outline represents Abraham’s comfort zone. In it, he feels comfortable and safe. Outside it, things are scary and unknown.
o The kids standing on the square outline represent things that make Abraham’s comfort zone comfortable. They are things like:
§ Fear of the unknown (anything that is outside the comfort zone)
§ Home / House
§ Familiar foods
§ Familiar customs
§ A comfortable routine
§ A good job
§ Physical safety
§ Favorite things to do
§ Favorite possessions, etc. (After you’ve listed a few of the things Abraham had, you might use things the kids would identify with, like video games, pizza, sports… It adds humor and helps the kids to connect the lesson to their own lives.)
o Tell the kids that these things make it difficult for Abraham to leave his home and go where God wants him to go.
o The goal of the kids standing on the square will be to keep Abraham in his comfort zone. They can do this by locking arms, forming a wall and not letting Abraham through.
o They can also try to make Abraham “fumble his faith” (drop the ball) by reaching in and trying to grab it or pull it out of his grip.
o They cannot, however, take their feet off the marked-off square. If Abraham gets past them, they cannot chase after him.
o If Abraham breaks free of “his comfort zone,” he has only one obstacle left to reaching God, and that’s you (the facilitator).
o Tell the kids that your role is to play Satan / the devil. If Abraham makes it out of his comfort zone, you will either try to catch him and take him back, or you will try to make him “fumble his faith.”
o The game ends when one of the following happens:
§ Abraham “fumbles his faith.”
§ Abraham is unsuccessful in his attempts to reach God after several minutes (you choose the time limit, but three to five minutes should be plenty).
§ Abraham reaches God with his “faith.”
o Whenever one of the Abrahams successfully reaches God, he/she gets to pick the next Abraham, and a new round ensues with the previous Abraham joining the “comfort zone.”
o Whenever an Abraham fails to reach God or fumbles his faith, the facilitator should select the next Abraham.
o Play as many rounds as you like. Most kids will enjoy a turn at being Abraham or God.
o Save some time at the end of game play to debrief using the following script:
§ “Help me remember what symbols we were working with in the game.”
§ “What did the ball represent?” (Listen for responses.)
§ “What did the square represent?” (Listen for responses.)
§ “What are some of the things that make our comfort zone comfortable?” (Listen for responses.)
§ “Who can share with us a step of faith that God has asked you to make in your life?” (Listen for responses, and encourage.)
§ “What do you think it means to ‘fumble your faith?’” (Listen for responses. The general idea you want to hear is that it means that you lose confidence that God will help you or protect you or that you lose confidence that He really asked you do something.)
§ “Has that ever happened to you or someone you know about?” (Listen for responses.)
§ “What can we do to make sure we hold onto our faith like Abraham did?” (Listen for responses.)
§ “Excellent, everyone! Remember this week to hold onto your faith!”