Category Archives: Problem solving

Let Go and Let God (LESSON)



15 minutes



This lesson teaches that faith is about letting go of our problems and letting God handle them.  It uses the story about Jesus feeding the 5,000 and highlights the faith of the little boy who was willing to give everything he had so that Jesus could work a miracle.



  • John 6:1-13



  • Vanilla wafers and goldfish crackers (enough for everyone to get some)
  • Baskets to put the wafers and crackers in (12 baskets)
  • Bible


  • Distribute the vanilla wafers and goldfish crackers among the twelve baskets and have them ready to distribute.  You might want to arrange to have volunteers ready to pass them out before you begin teaching.
  • Put markers in the Bible in the place where you want your volunteers to read the Scriptures for the lesson.
  • Practice the script.



  • “I’m going to tell you a story about over 5,000 hungry people.”
  • “Let’s read about it.”  (Have volunteer read John 6:1-4.)
  • “But that doesn’t tell us how many people were there.  Let’s jump ahead a little.”  (Have volunteer read John 6:10.)
  • “So, there were 5,000 men.  That’s just the men.”
  • “We know from one of the other Gospel writers (Matthew 14:21) that there were even more people than that, because it says there were 5,000 men besides the women and children.”
  • “I bet that most of the men brought their wives and children, too.”
  • “If every man brought his wife and even just one child, there would have been fifteen thousand people!  That’s a lot of hungry!”
  • “Let’s keep reading.”  (Have volunteer read John 6:5-6.)
  • You see, Jesus already knew what He was going to do, but He wanted to test them to see if their faith had grown from seeing Him do all the miracles He did.”
  • “And what did Philip say?” (Have volunteer read Philip’s response from John 6:7.)
  • “BZZZZZZZZZTTTTT!!!   Wrong answer!  Everyone say it with me, ‘BZZZZZZZTTTTT!!!!’”
  • “Philip failed the test.  He didn’t have any faith that Jesus could feed the people.”
  • “But let’s see what Andrew does.”  (Have volunteer read John 6:8-9.)
  • “Andrew brought Jesus a young boy with a lunch sack, which contained five, small loaves of bread and two fishes.”
  • “Andrew didn’t bring much, but he brought Jesus something.”
  • “DING! DING! DING!  Right answer!  Everyone say it with me, ‘DING! DING! DING!’”
  • “Believe it or not, even though Andrew still didn’t have enough faith to understand what Jesus could do, he was the one who passed the test.”
  • “Philip brought Jesus nothing but doubt, but Andrew brought what he could find.”
  • “He brought Jesus something, and when you’re talking about faith, something is always better than nothing.”
  • “Touch your neighbor and say, ‘Something is better than nothing!’”
  • “And what did Jesus do with that ‘something?’”
  • “Well, first He organized everyone into groups and had them sit down.”  (Organize participants into groups, and have them sit on the floor.)
  • “Then He took the loaves and blessed the food. ‘God is great. God is good. Let us thank Him for our food.’”  (As you say this, hold up one of the baskets of wafers and crackers.)
  • “Then, He fed just a few of those people, right?” (Expected response: “No…” As you ask this question, have some volunteers begin to pass out the baskets of Goldfish and Vanilla Wafers to groups of kids.  They should continue until every group has a basket.)
  • “No? Well, He fed the hungriest people, right?” (Expected response: “No…”)
  • “No?  Well, He fed all the men, right?” (Expected response: “No…”)
  • “No?  Well, maybe He fed just the women and children, right?” (Expected response: “No…”)
  • “No?  Well, who did He feed?” (Expected response: “Everybody!”)
  • “Everybody?  You mean He fed every single person?  That’s amazing!”
  • “Well, surely He told them to only have one serving each so that the food would last, right?” (Expected response: “No…”)
  • “No?  How much did He feed them?”  (Have volunteer read John 6:11.)
  • “He gave them as much as they wanted?  That’s crazy!  We’re talking maybe 15,000 people at an all-you-can-eat buffet!  That’s a ton of food!”
  • “But wait, it gets even better!”  (Have volunteer read John 6:12-13.)
  • “They gathered twelve doggy bags (or baskets)!”
  • “Why do you think there were twelve baskets left over?”  (Expected response: “There were 12 Apostles.”  They may need some help making this connection.)
  • “Exactly! That was one for each of the Apostles!”
  • “I think Jesus was being funny.”
  • “He was teasing them, because they hadn’t believed that He could feed all those people, so He gave each of them their own personal reminder!”
  • “Now, Philip failed the test.  Andrew passed the test (but just barely).  But the boy did better than both of them.  He got an A+!”
  • “Can anyone tell me why?”  (Expected response: “Because he gave everything he had.”)
  • “Right!  He gave his entire lunch!”
  • “When it comes to faith, something is better than nothing but everything is better than something!”
  • “Touch your neighbor and say, ‘Everything is better than something!’”
  • “Think about that!  He had to be just as hungry as everyone else there.”
  • “Jesus had been teaching and healing all day, and it was now late in the afternoon.”
  • “I’m sure the boy had to make a tough decision – keep his lunch and fill his grumbling belly or give it away and take the risk that he might go hungry.”
  • “Faith always requires us to take a risk.”
  • “Faith is the moment something leaves our hands and goes into God’s hands.”
  • “We don’t know what God is going to do.  He almost never tells us ahead of time.”
  • “But we’ve got to trust that God will do something good and maybe something even better than we expect.”
  • “The boy didn’t know what Jesus was going to do with his lunch.”
    “There is no way he could have known. This had never happened before!”
  • “But that was the test!  Did the boy trust Jesus enough to let Him handle the problem?”
  • “God sometimes allows problems in our lives because He wants to know if we will trust Him by putting things into His hands.”
  • “To pass the test, we’ve got to let go of our problems and let God handle them.”
  • “Jump up and yell, ‘I’m gonna LET GO and LET GOD!!’”
  • “Yell it again, ‘I’m gonna LET GO and LET GOD!!’”
  • “Awesome!  That is what faith is all about!”
  • “Let’s all work at having faith in God like the boy in the story.”  (You may want to say the Rhyme Time below several times to reinforce the teaching point.)


Rhyme Time

When we practice letting go,

God will help our faith to grow.


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Filed under Apostles, faith, Problem solving, test, Trust

Proactivity (GAME)


Teens, Adults


30 minutes

This game helps participants to recognize the need for being proactive in addressing problems rather than procrastinating, hoping things will change or avoiding the problems altogether.  Participants will make decisions about which problems (from a given set of scenarios) to address with their limited time and resources.



2 Samuel 13-18 (for the story of Amnon’s rape of Tamar, Absalom’s revenge and coup against David and the war that followed – Had David intervened early in the conflict, much of the destruction and loss could have been avoided.)



o  Copies of the worksheet, “Proactivity – Game Card” (one per participant.  This document can be found on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at

o  Bible (if you choose to look at the Bible verses mentioned above to give context for the game)

o  Prize for the winner (optional)


o  Print out the “Proactivity – Game Card” worksheet (one per participant)



Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):

  • “We’re going to play a game called ‘Proactivity.’”
  • “The purpose is to show you how important it is to address problems at the early stages before the get unmanageable or cause too much disruption.”
  • “On your worksheet, there are six different problems.”
  • “They are each at a different level of intensity on a scale of 1-10.”
  • “A level 1 problem is not causing much tension or having much impact.”
  • “A level 5 problem is causing measurable tension and negative impact.”
  • “A level 10 problem is totally disruptive and requires immediate attention.”
  • “The game is played in four rounds.”
  • “At the beginning of each round, you have an opportunity to make an intervention on two of the six problems.”
  • “You ‘intervene’ by placing an ‘X’ over the square for the upcoming round on two of the problems.”
  • “This indicates that you have taken action to prevent the problem from getting worse.”
  • “If I announce during the next round that the problem has gotten worse and that it has increased in levels, you do not have to count those extra levels on your sheet.  You prevented them from happening.”
  • “In the following round, you can choose to use your two interventions for the same two problems, for two new ones or for a mix of one new and one old.  It’s up to you.”
  • “Your goal is to finish with the lowest overall score, and your score will be determined by adding up the levels from each round for each problem.”
  • “For example, if one problem starts at a level 3, increases three levels in the second round, increases two levels in the third round and increases four levels in the forth round, your total score for that problem would exceed the maximum level of 10 (unless you used an intervention during one or more rounds.)”
  • “If your score reaches or exceeds the maximum of 10 points, you incur a 5 point penalty for that problem.”
  • “In the same example, if you used an intervention on the second (3 pts) and fourth rounds (4 pts), you don’t have to count those points in your total.  Your score for that problem would only be 5 pts (3 pts in the first round and 2 pts in the third round).”
  • “The trick is anticipating which problems are about to escalate the most in the coming round so that you can avoid the points by using an intervention.”
  • “What questions do you have before we begin?”  (Answer questions.  Then, follow the process outlined below.)
  • “Here are the six problems you are currently facing.”  (They can read what you are saying on their Game Cards.)
  • “Problem #1: Two staff members are in a relationship, but they are currently not speaking to one another.  This is currently at a Level 2.”
  • “Problem #2: Two senior leaders are having a conflict with one another.  This is currently at Level 4.”
  • “Problem #3: A staff member has shown up late to work several times this week.  This is currently at a Level 3.”
  • “Problem #4: A project has missed two of the early deliverables.  This is currently at Level 5.”
  • “Problem #5: You have a sore tooth.  This is currently at Level 2.”
  • “Problem #6: Your spouse is irritated that you are working too many hours.  This is currently at Level 3.”
  • “Before I announce the changes for Round 2, pick two of the problems that you want to intervene on (i.e., take action on to prevent them from getting worse).  Place an ‘X’ on Row 2 in the column for that problem.” (Allow them a moment to mark their “X’s.”)
  • “When I announce the changes, you don’t have to write any change in these two places, because you have taken action to prevent them from getting worse.”
  • “Here are the changes for Round 2.  As I read these, write the number of points in the box on Row 2 for each problem.”
    1. ROUND 2

                    i.     Problem #1 – The couple won’t work on a project team together. Add 2 points.

                    ii.     Problem #2 – No change.  Add 0 points.

                    iii.     Problem #3 – The staff member missed an important deadline.  Add 2 points.

                    iv.     Problem #4 – The project team is forecasting that they will go over budget.  Add 2 points.

                    v.     Problem #5 – You can’t eat out of that side of your mouth.  Add 3 points.

                    vi.     Problem #6 – Your spouse made several sarcastic jokes at a party about you being “home for a short visit” in between trips.  Add 1 point.

  • “You should have something in every box on Row 2 now.  Two squares will have an ‘X,’ and the rest will have a number.”
  • “Before I announce Round 3, mark an ‘X’ in two boxes on the third row to show that you are doing an intervention on those problems.”
  • “Here are the changes for Round 3.”
    1. ROUND 3

                    i.     Problem #1 – The couple had a loud argument at the office.  Add 4 points.

                    ii.     Problem #2 – The senior leaders’ teams are taking sides. Add 3 points.

                    iii.     Problem #3 – No change.  Add 0 points.

                    iv.     Problem #4 – The team reworked the budget and got the costs back under the limit.  Subtract 2 points.  (If a team used an intervention on this problem for this round, they can put an ‘X’ over the 2 points in Round 2.)

                    v.     Problem #5 – A piece of tooth fell out.  It’s hard to focus on anything.  Add 4 points.

                    vi.     Problem #6 – You had a fight about your travel schedule.  Add 4 points.

  • “All the boxes on the third row should have something in them now.”
  • “Before I announce Round 4, mark an ‘X’ in two boxes on the fourth row to show that you are doing an intervention on those problems.”
  • “Here are the changes for Round 4.”
    1. ROUND 4

                    i.     Problem #1 – The female member of the couple filed a sexual harassment lawsuit.  Add 5 points.

                    ii.     Problem #2 – Staff on both teams are sabotaging the efforts of the others.  Add 5 points.

                    iii.     Problem #3 – The staff member missed three days of work in the last two weeks. Add 3 points.

                    iv.     Problem #4 – A major milestone has been missed.  Add 3 points.

                    v.     Problem #5 – Your tooth is abscessed, and you need a root canal.  Add 4 points.

                    vi.     Problem #6 – Your spouse took the kids and left to stay with her parents.  Add 6 points.

  • “Now it’s time to add up your scores.”
  • “If any of your scores is equal to or greater than 10, you have to add a 5-point penalty for allowing that problem to blow up on you.”
  • “Anytime you ignore something important for long enough, it will be both urgent and important to get your attention.”
  • “Add this penalty to your Total to get your New Total.”
  • “After you’ve added each column, add each of those totals together to get your Grand Total.” (You might want to award a prize for the lowest overall score.  Afterwards, have them discuss the Debrief Questions below.)


Debrief Questions

  1. What was challenging about the game?
  2. What are some of the major teaching points?
  3. How will you apply them to your life and work?

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Filed under Decision making, Games that Teach, Initiative, Priorities, Problem solving

Courage of Your Convictions (EXERCISE)


This exercise challenges participants to make decisions and defend them to their peers.  They will go through several stages of defending their decisions and then coming to consensus.  At the end, they will be able to score themselves based on how well they defended each of the decisions.


  • Print copies of “Courage of Your Convictions – Worksheets” (one per participant).  You can download it on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at  There are eight different worksheets to choose from.  Each one will take up to an hour to complete through all four stages, so you will probably only want to use a few during any given workshop.
  • Hand out colored markers (one set per participant of blue, red, yellow, green and purple markers).  You can use anything colored – paper or posterboard squares, colored paperclips, manipulatives used for teaching young children, colored dots, etc.



Explaining the Exercise: 5 minutes.

Stage 1: 20 minutes

Stage 2: 10 minutes

Stage 3: 10 minutes

Stage 4: 10 minutes

Debrief: 15 minutes (Save the debrief until you have done all worksheets that you are doing to do.)


  • Read through the instructions on the first page of the “Courage of Your Convictions – Worksheets” document, and then let them start discussions.  (It may be best to read just Stage 1 and Stage 2 at first.  Once those are completed, share Stage 3, and when that is completed, share Stage 4.  When all four Stages are complete, pass out another worksheet or (if you are done) have them answer the Debrief Questions at the bottom of the first page of their worksheets document.)
  • The process is as follows:
    • Participants will review different scenarios and choose a response.
    • Then, they will reveal their response to their peers and defend their choice.
    • The group must then work toward consensus.
    • Once that is achieved, groups will be mixed, and each team member must then defend the group’s decision to the new group.  However, in the end, they must come to consensus.
    • Participants then return to their original groups and explain what happened – adding new information and rationale to the discussion.  In the end, they must come to consensus again.
    • Finally, participants will grade themselves based on the number of times they changed their decisions.  A high number of changes is not desirable, because it show that they were too easily influenced by the groups (and did not have the “courage of their convictions”).
    • The debrief is saved until the completion of all worksheets.

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Filed under Choices, Consensus, courage, Decision making, exercise, leadership, Problem solving

Garbage Collector (QUICK DRAMA)


This short drama highlights our tendency to not trust God with the garbage in our lives.  Often, prayer is a last resort after we have tried in every way to fix the problem ourselves.  God is waiting for us to bring all our garbage to Him.  He’s not shocked by the stuff we’ve been carrying around, and it doesn’t make Him love us any less.



  • Use a thick marker to write the following words (each word in large, bold letters and each word on a separate sheet of paper): SIN, SHAME, HURT, PAIN, ANGER, BITTERNESS, UNFORGIVENESS, DISAPPOINTMENT, FEAR, REGRET, BETRAYAL, DISHONESTY, ADDICTION, LUST, ENVY, PRIDE, JEALOUSY, HATRED, GREED, SELFISHNESS, PREJUDICE, RACISM, THEFT, UNFAITHFULNESS, MEANNESS (Feel free to use other words that better suit your audience.)
  • Crumple up all the sheets of paper.
  • Assemble a costume for the person playing Jesus (white robe, sash or shawl, beard, etc.)


SCENE:  Jo/e enters from the side or back of the room, harried and unsuccessfully trying to hold onto armfuls of crumpled sheets of paper.  Each time she/he drops one, she/he stoops to pick it up before continuing toward the stage.  Dressed recognizably in a white robe and having a beard – Enters casually following Jo/e, watching her/him curiously as they both move to the stage.


Jesus –      “Hey, Jo/e, watcha got there?”


Jo/e –        (Clearly uncomfortable and trying to hide the crumpled paper from Jesus) “Oh, hi, Jesus.  I’m not sure what you are referring to. I don’t have anything.”


(As she/he is talking, several of the crumpled papers fall to the ground.  Jo/e hurriedly tries to pick them up, but Jesus stoops and picks one up before Jo/e can get to it.)


Jesus –      (Uncrumpling the paper and holding it inconspicuously in a way so that the audience can see what is written on it or reading it aloud) “Jo/e, this is garbage.  Why are you carrying this around?”


Jo/e –        (Trying to take the paper back from Jesus) “Oh, Jesus, don’t worry about that.  I’ve got that taken care of.” (Drops more papers in attempt to get the one Jesus is holding.)


Jesus –      (Keeping the first paper out of Jo/e’s reach and picking up another one from the ground, opens it and reads it aloud.) “Jo/e, this one, too?  Don’t you know that you can give this stuff to me? ”


Jo/e –        (Trying unsuccessfully to get papers back from Jesus but dropping more each time.) “Jesus, please let me have those back!  They’re mine, and I’m handling them.”


Jesus –      (Picking up another paper and reading it aloud.) “Oh, Jo/e!  This is too much for you to carry!  All this garbage is making your life a mess!”


Jo/e –        “Jesus, I really don’t want you to see those. And I’m doing fine with them, really!  I’ve had them for a long time.”


Jesus –      “I know you have, Jo/e.  I’ve been waiting for you to bring them to me, but you’re stubborn, and you’ve been holding on to them for far too long. Your garbage is starting to stink, Jo/e, and you can’t hide it any longer.  Let me take it away for you.”


Jo/e –        (Clutching the papers) “But I don’t know how!  It’s part of me, and I’m afraid of letting it go.”


Jesus –      “I’m not asking you to let go of all of it at once. We can start small. How about we start with this one? (Gestures with one of the papers He has collected.) Can I keep it?”


Jo/e –        (Looking pained and indecisive for a moment before relenting) “Oh, okay! Keep it!  But just that one!” (Reaches over, grabs the other two pieces of paper from Jesus, crumples them back up and replaces them in the pile in her/his arms.)


Jesus –      (Smiling) “Okay, Jo/e, it’s a start…and a good one.  Let’s talk about where this came from and how to keep it from controlling your life.” (Turns and begins walking toward the exit.)


Jo/e –        (Stooping to pick up any dropped pieces of paper before following Jesus out of the room.) “Hey, you know, Jesus…I feel a little better already.  I may have another one in here somewhere that I’m ready to give you.”


Jesus –      (Before exiting with Jo/e following) “Excellent, Jo/e!  From now on, I want you to consider me your personal garbage collector.  I do pickups anytime, day or night.”





Filed under acceptance, Confession, drama, forgiveness, prayer, Problem solving, Quick Drama, Repentance, Sin, skit

Parking Lot (GAME)


15-20 minutes

This game forces team members to work together in order to solve logic puzzles.  Team members will work puzzles representing cars parked irregularly in a square parking lot.  There is only one way out, and they must coordinate their movements so that their “car” is able to make it off the lot.


These Scriptures are provided as possible context for talking about the topics of problem solving or collaboration, but they aren’t essential to the activity.  Use them if they suit your purposes.

  • 1 Kings 3:16-28 (creative problem solving)
  • Daniel 5:12 (solve difficult problems)
  • Nehemiah 2:11-18, 4, 5 or 6 (creative problem solving)
  • Nehemiah 3:1-32 (collaboration)



The amount of materials you will need for this game will depend largely on the size of your group and how many small groups you need to create.

  • For each group of 4-6 people – Posterboard, futureboard or cardboard (One white piece, and one light-colored piece. Use the size that is readily available in the stores – about 2 ft tall x 2.5 ft wide)
  • Thick, black, permanent marker
  • Ruler
  • Straight-edge for drawing lines (optional)
  • Scissors or cutting tool
  • One copy per team of each of the puzzle patterns and answer keys in the file “GAME – Parking Lot – Patterns.pptx.”  (You can find this file on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at  Alternately, you could project an image of each of the patterns using a Computer, LCD projector and screen.)
  • Prizes for winning teams (Optional)



  • With the permanent marker and the straight edge, mark off a large square on the white posterboard, futureboard or cardboard.  (24 in x 24 in).
  • Divide this square into six squares vertically and six squares horizontally using the ruler, and mark off the lines with the permanent marker.  (Each square should be 4 in x 4 in.)
  • Mark an arrow, pointing to the right in the square on the far right on the third row from the top.  (See the diagram to the left for a better idea of what this looks like.)
  • On the light-colored posterboard, futureboard or cardboard, measure and mark off nine, rectangular pieces according to the following dimensions:
    • 3 pieces of 4 in tall x 12 in wide
    • 6 pieces of 4 in tall x 8 in wide
  • Cut these pieces out.
  • Mark diagonal stripes down one of the 4 in tall x 8 in wide pieces of posterboard, futureboard or cardboard.
  • Divide the group into smaller groups of 4-6 people each.
  • Practice the script.


Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):

  • “We’re going to play a game called, ‘Parking Lot.’”
  • “Every team has a white game board with 24 squares on it and nine separate pieces of posterboard (or futureboard or cardboard).”
  • “You’ll notice that one of your pieces has diagonal lines drawn across it.  This is YOUR car.”
  • “All the other pieces represent ‘cars’ that belong to other people.  Some are bigger cars than the others.”
  • “The white game board represents a parking lot.”
  • “I’m going to hand you a pattern (or “show you a pattern on the screen”), and your group should lay the separate pieces on your game board to match the pattern.”
  • “You will only need eight of the pieces, because one of the pieces will be used for later patterns after the first one.”
  • “Once you have duplicated the pattern on your game board, you will then work as a team to get your car out of the parking lot.”
  • “There is only one way out, and it’s marked with an arrow on your game board.”
  • “To get your car through the exit, you will have to move the other cars up and down or right and left to get them out of the way.”
  • “None of the cars can turn, and they can’t move sideways.”
  • “If they are facing vertically, they can only move vertically.  If they are facing horizontally, they can only move horizontally.”
  • “They cannot go through or over or under another car, but if there isn’t a car in the way, they can move as many unoccupied spaces as possible.”
  • “The last rule is that you can only move one car at a time and only when I tell you to move.”
  • “The team that gets their car out of the parking lot with the fewest moves wins.”
  • “What questions do you have before we get started?” 
  • (Answer any questions.  Then, pass out the first pattern.  Allow groups three minutes to form a strategy, and then remind them that each team will move together as you give the signal.)
  • (Tell them to make their first move.  When everyone has made it, tell them to make their second move, and so on, until a group gets their car free.) 
  • (After you have allowed them to make 20 moves, if no team has won, you may want to let them start over.  None of the puzzles require more than 20 moves.) 
  • (Hand out copies of the Answer Key for each puzzle so that teams that didn’t complete it can see how it is done.)
  • (Award a prize for the winning team if you like, and play another round by handing out a second pattern.)
  • (There are a total of six patterns available for use in the file. There are also Debrief Questions to highlight the teaching points.)


Debrief Questions & Discussion

  1. “What was challenging about the game?”
  2. “What did your team have to do to get your car free each time?”
  3. “What can you learn about problem solving from this activity?”
  4. “What can you learn about collaboration?”
  5. “How can this help you back in the real world of challenging problems?”

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Filed under Collaboration, creativity, Game, Problem solving, teamwork

Building the Church – GAME


Teens, Adults


30 minutes

This game helps participants to recognize the need for effective collaboration/teamwork when working to build up or serve the Church.  It is a “Gotcha” type of activity that sets up the participants to fail in order to make the point about teamwork.  By the end of the game, though, everyone wins!



Ephesians 4:11-13



o  Copies of the file “Building the Church – Pattern.ppt” (can be found at on the Lesson and Material Downloads page – There are 2 pages. You will need one copy of both pages for every two groups.  It will be necessary to divide the participants into an even number of groups for this exercise.  It’s best if these are in color.)

  • Copy (or copies) of the file “Building the Church – Vision.ppt”  (can be found at on the Lesson and Material Downloads page – You will need at least one copy for every two groups unless you project the image with an LCD projector.  If you print it, it’s best that it’s in color.)

o  Scissors or cutting tool (one or more per group)

o  Bible


o  Print out the “Building the Church – Pattern” file. (2 pages – 1 set for every two groups)

o  Decide how you will divide the participants into an even number of groups.

o  Decide which groups you will secretly pair together for the activity.  One group in the pair of groups will get one of the pages from the “Building the Church – Pattern” file, and the other group will get the other page.

o  Set out scissors or another cutting tool on each table.  (To make the activity go faster, I recommend giving each table several pairs of scissors.)



Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):

  • “We’re going to do a game called, ‘Building the Church.’”
  • “I’m passing out a puzzle pattern to each group, and I would like you to cut out the pieces using the scissors on your table.”
  • “Do a good job cutting them out, because you will then piece them together like a puzzle to make a church building.”
  • “The first group to correctly ‘build’ their church will win!”
  • “Any questions?”  (Answer any questions.  Then, tell them to start.  Walk around the room as they are “building the church” so that you can see their progress.  If they are able to make a building that looks like a church from the pieces in their pattern, let them know that it is a nice effort but not what you are expecting.  Tell them that you think the church can be improved, and let them have more time to work on it.  After most groups have had a chance to create some time of building with the pattern, interrupt with the following information.)
  • “You’re doing a good job building your churches, but I think they can be much better.”
  • “I think I need to share with you what my vision for the church is.”  (At this point, either project the image of the church from the “Building the Church – Vision” file or hand out copies of the file to each table group.)
  • “This is more along the lines of what I had in mind.  Build THIS church!”  (Allow more time for them to work to build this church.  Before too long, they should realize that they don’t have enough pieces to complete the pattern.  The only way for them to complete the church is for them to collaborate with another group to share pieces.  Not all patterns were the same, however, so they must partner with the “right” group if they want to complete their church.  If they are struggling to discover this, you can drop hints until they understand.  Then, allow them to finish building their churches.  When they are done, have them go back to their original groups and discuss the following debrief questions.)


Debrief Questions

  1. When did you realize that you didn’t have enough pieces in the pattern to build your church?
  2. What did you have to do to finish building your church?
  3. What impact did seeing the Vision for the church have on your efforts?
  4. How important is it to have a common vision in our organization for building up the Church?
  5. Read Ephesians 4:11-13.  What does it say about the different roles in the Body of Christ and why/how they should work together?
  6. How do you think this applies to us in this organization and our work with the Church?
  7. What should we do differently to help us build up the Church more effectively?

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Filed under Church, Collaboration, competition, Game, Problem solving, team, teamwork

Project Management Series – Nehemiah (DEVOTION)

This series of devotions is designed to be completed over several days.


Devotion – Project Management Series (Nehemiah)

Project Initiation & Planning

In your groups, read the following Scriptures. Then answer the questions below.

  • Nehemiah 1-2
  • What steps did Nehemiah take to initiate and plan this project?
  • Who are the people in these roles: project manager, team, customer, sponsor, stakeholder?
  • What agreements does Nehemiah make with different groups or individuals?
  • What requests does he make from different groups or individuals?
  • What is the project scope?
  • What can we learn from how Nehemiah managed this project?


Devotion – Project Management Series (Nehemiah)

Project Execution

In your groups, read the following Scriptures. Then answer the questions below.

  • Nehemiah 3
  • Create a project plan for building the wall. For each task, identify:
    • Owner
    • Duration
    • Due Date (assume an overall project deadline of 4 months)
    • Cost/Budget
    • Who Pays?
    • Put the tasks in order and identify predecessors and successors (be creative with this, since it’s not clearly stated).
  • Identify the critical path by placing asterisks by critical path tasks.


Devotion – Project Management Series (Nehemiah)

Risk Management

In your groups, read the following Scriptures. Then answer the questions below.

  • Nehemiah 4-6
  • What unexpected events threated to take the project off plan?
  • Which threats were internal to the team, and which ones were external?
  • How did Nehemiah deal with them?
  • How could he have prepared for them in advance?
  • What can we learn from Nehemiah’s example?


Devotion – Project Management Series (Nehemiah)

Risk Management

In your groups, read the following Scriptures. Then answer the questions below.

  • Nehemiah 7:1-5, 70-73; 8:1-18; 9:1-3, 38; 10:28-39; 11:1-2; 12:44-47
  • What things did Nehemiah do that would help to ensure the sustainability (ability to be maintained) of the project?
  • How do you think these would help?
  • What promises did the people make?
  • What can we learn from these Scriptures?


Devotion – Project Management Series (Nehemiah)

Project Close-Out

In your groups, read the following Scriptures. Then answer the questions below.

  • Nehemiah 12:27-43
  • How did Nehemiah celebrate the completion of the project?
  • What can we learn from Nehemiah’s example?
  • Why do you think celebration and close-out might be important?


Devotion – Project Management Series (Nehemiah)

Monitoring & Evaluation

In your groups, read the following Scriptures. Then answer the questions below.

  • Nehemiah 13
  • What happened after Nehemiah returned to Babylon?
  • What promises from Chapter 10 did the people break?
  • What could Nehemiah have done to prevent these problems?
  • What is the importance of monitoring and evaluation for the success of a project?
  • How should it be done?

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Filed under Bible study, Challenges, Devotion, Evaluation, leadership, Management, Nehemiah, Overcoming obstacles, Planning, Priorities, Problem solving, Project management, Resources, Solutions