Counter-Culture (EXERCISE)


Silo MentalityTime

25 min

 

Description

Participants will engage in an exercise to examine four negative cultural norms at the organization and four positive replacements.  They will be asked to explore how they feel in the midst of each one and to commit to adopt the positive cultural behaviors.

 

Materials

  • 8 sheets of posterboard
  • Thick marker
  • Masking tape (1 roll)
  • Printouts (1 per participant) of the following two documents. Both documents can be found on the http://www.teachingthem.com website on the Lesson and Material Downloads page..
    • EXERICSE – Counter-Culture – Problems and Solutions.docx
    • EXERCISE – Counter Culture – Wide Range of Emotions.pptx

 

Preparation

  • Print copies of the two documents for all participants.
  • Tape a very large circle with masking tape in the middle of the open floor of the teaching area.  It should be large enough so everyone will be able to stand in the circle together.
  • Create eight large signs on posterboard by labeling each one with a different cultural element from the list below:
    • Distrust
    • Silo Mentality
    • Polishing Our Rough Edges
    • Over-commitment
    • Trusting Others
    • Collaboration
    • Being Vulnerable & Transparent
    • Ruthless Prioritization
    • Ask 8 volunteers to each take one posterboard and line up along two different walls – the four positive cultural elements (Trusting Others, Collaboration, Being Vulnerable & Transparent and Ruthless Prioritization) on one wall and the four negative cultural elements (Distrust, Silo Mentality, Polishing Our Rough Edges, Over-commitment) on the opposite wall.

 

Procedure

  • Pass out the two pages (“Problems and Solutions” and “Wide Range of Emotion”) to every participant.
  • Invite each participant to join in one of eight little groups, aligned behind participants holding up eight large placards.
  • Instruct participants to move around into other groups until there are about the same numbers of participants standing with each placard. (NOTE: This exercise will work even if there is only one person in each small group – the one holding the placard – but will also work with 100 people.)
  • Ask the group behind the “Distrust” sign to read together and aloud the description of “Distrust.”
  • After that reading, call upon anyone in the room to call out the feelings/emotions that they experience when they encounter this cultural problem in their organization. (Remind the participants to look at the graphical list of Feelings in their hands to help them identify any feelings they experience.)
  • After this, have the group behind the corresponding counter-cultural placard (“Trusting Others” in this case) read aloud and together the description of  “Trusting Others.”
  • Then have both groups dealing with the Distrust/Trusting Others issue walk into the large circle in the middle of the room, holding their signs high so everyone can see them.
  • When those participants are in the circle in the middle of the room, the facilitator calls upon anyone in the room to call out the feelings/emotions that come to mind when they imagine this powerful counterculture of “Trusting Others” becoming a reality throughout their organization.
  • On the count of three, have everyone in the room say aloud and together “We release Distrust” and the person holding that placard goes outside of the circle and lays that placard down on the ground.   (The placard “Trusting Others” remains held aloft in the circle.)
  • After this, the same overall process is repeated for the remaining cultural problems and counter-cultural behaviors.
  • When this is completed, invite someone to pray in a short time of conversation prayer.

 

Source – Greg Boyer and Michael Kientz


 


Cultural Problems and Their Counter-Cultural Solutions

 

Some of our cultural problems in our organization are:

1. Distrust – Managers don’t trust staff enough to delegate to them. Staff don’t trust their managers enough to give them honest feedback. Senior leaders don’t trust staff enough to share information.  As a result, work takes longer to complete, misunderstandings abound, and, gossip and rumor often replace formal communication channels.

 

2. Silo Mentality – Staff are focused on doing the best job they can, but they don’t talk to their peers doing the same roles. As a result, they reinvent the wheel on a regular basis or suffer silently, not knowing how to solve problems that someone else has already solved.

 

3. Polishing Our Rough Edges – In a desire to look “Excellent” (which translates to “Perfect” in our culture), staff misrepresent the situation to make it look like things are better than they are. Staff overstate their strengths, skills and contributions. Field Offices put on a show for visiting leaders. Leaders do whatever it takes to ensure they get “green KRIs” (a proxy for all kinds of visible measurements) even when it requires enormous sacrifice from their staff. As a result, leaders and senior leaders don’t have a true picture of the condition of the ministry, resources aren’t allocated correctly, and problems are prolonged.

 

4. Over-commitment – Senior leadership regularly takes bigger bites than the staff can chew. Because we don’t know what’s most important, everything looks important, and we feel that we have to do everything. At the heart of this behavior is a pride that makes us feel like our efforts are essential to the success of the ministry and a lack of faith in God’s provision to bring about positive outcomes.  As a result, staff are exhausted, burnout and turnover are common, relationships are strained, our infrastructure is stressed, and staff lose confidence in their leaders as we regularly invest fully in initiatives that have little to no impact.

 

Counter-cultural corrective attitudes and behaviors are:

1. Trusting Others – Every worker at every level commits to being trustworthy by honoring commitments, being transparent, communicating frequently and strategically, and dealing with conflict in a biblical way. Leaders take risks to share information and delegate to give opportunities for workers to earn their trust.

 

2. Collaboration  – When people encounter a problem that they aren’t sure how to solve or initiate a project, their first thought and action is to contact their peers and find out what’s been done already. Workers regularly spend 25% or more of their time collaborating with other staff both inside and outside their office.

 

3. Being Vulnerable & Transparent – Everyone commits to giving an honest and realistic picture of what the current state is. Leaders and workers ask for help when they need it. Leaders honor this risk by not punishing staff for admitting mistakes or asking for help. Everyone allows their rough edges to show so that God can use them to connect us to each other (like a jigsaw puzzle).

 

4. Ruthless Prioritization – Senior leadership identifies a few anchors that all workers can use to make decisions about which activities get done and which ones detract us from our main focus (even if they look good and important).  Senior leaders require other leaders to justify initiatives by matching them to the anchors and hold themselves accountable to say “no” more often than they say “yes” to new initiatives. The organization regularly assesses workers’ capacity and work-life balance and makes adjustments to protect the well-being of the staff.

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Filed under Collaboration, Communication, culture, Priorities, Transparency, Trust, Vulnerability

Works Test (GAME)


Works TestTime

20 minutes
Description

This game helps participants to understand that not all good works have the same value in God’s eyes.  Good things done with bad or selfish motives are not worth nearly as much as those done for the right reasons.  The game teaches about Paul’s writing about the believers’ judgment (aka “the Bema Judgment”), where our works will be tested.

Scriptures

  • 1 Corinthians 3:11-15

 

Materials

  • Printouts of the file “Works Test – Cards” (You can find this file on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at www.teachingthem.com.)
  • Scissors
  • Glue or clear tape
  • Prize(s) for winner(s) – Optional
  • Bible

Preparation

  • Cut out the Works Test cards.  There are three per page, and they each have two sides – a “Motive” side and a “Good Work” side.
  • Fold the cards over so that the “Good Work” shows on one side and the “Motive” shows on the other.
  • Glue or tape the two sides together.
  • When they are dry (if you used glue), turn all the cards so that the “Good Work” side is facing up.
    • Practice the script.

Procedure

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

  • “A teacher named Paul told us about the judgment for believers that will happen when Jesus comes back.”
  • “This judgment is just for rewards; there won’t be any punishments.”  (Have a volunteer read 1 Corinthians 3:11-15.)
  • “The foundation he talks about is Jesus and the Truth that He is our Lord and Savior.”
  • “This foundation is very important.  If you don’t have Jesus as your Lord and Savior, then it won’t matter how many good things you do.  There won’t be any rewards for you when Jesus comes back – only punishments.”
  • “But, if you have Jesus as your foundation, then the good things you do start to earn you treasures in heaven.”
  • “So, Paul is saying in this Scripture that when we do good works, we are building on the foundation of Jesus and the Truth that He is Lord and Savior.”
  • “When we stand before Jesus at the judgment for believers, He will test our works with fire.  Good works done for good reasons (‘gold, silver and costly stones’) will survive the fire and we will be rewarded for them.  But bad works or good works done for the wrong reasons will burn up like wood, hay or straw do when they catch on fire.”
  • “Let’s play a game that teaches us about this.”
  • “To play this game, you need to know that ‘good works’ are things that we do that have good results and that ‘motives’ are the reasons we do the things we do.”  \

Game Play

  • Shuffle the cards thoroughly, and make sure that all the “Good Work” sides are facing up. 
  • Deal the cards so that each person gets 10. 
  • Instruct participants not to turn the cards over but to arrange them in two rows of five in front of them.
  • Beginning with the youngest person in the group, have each person read ONE of their cards “Good Works” out loud and then turn the card over.
  • Have the person read the “Motive” on the other side out loud.
  • If the “Motive” has a picture of a pot of gold, bars of silver or a costly stone, the person gets to keep it.
  • If the “Motive” has a picture of firewood, a bale of hay or a straw broom, the person has to “burn it” by putting it into the center of the group.
  • Go around the group three to five times depending on how much time you have.
  • Then, award points – 3 points for any “Gold” motives, 2 points for any “Silver” motives and 1 point for any “Costly Stone” motives.
  • The person with the most points wins the game.
  • You can then turn over all the other cards if you want to.
  • Award a prize to the winner if you want to.
  • After the game is finished, discuss the Debrief questions below.
  • You can use the Rhyme Time to reinforce the main point of the lesson.

 

Debriefing Questions

 

  1. Why do you think your motive is important to God?
  2. What do you think you need to do to earn gold, silver or costly stones in heaven?
  3. What will you do differently now that you know about how to earn treasures in heaven?

 

Rhyme Time

When my motive is good,

I don’t make straw, hay or wood!

 

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Filed under Game, Judgment, Motivation

Solid Foundation (OBJ LESSON)


Building with LegosTime

20 minutes
Description

When you are building a house, it’s essential to have a strong foundation.  Jesus illustrated this in the parable about the wise and foolish builders and made it clear that the “house” is a metaphor for our life.  If we build on the Rock (Jesus), our lives will withstand every storm of life.  In this object lesson, children will build three different foundations and then test them to see if they will stand the test.

 

Scriptures

  • Luke 6:46-49

 

Materials

  • Sugar cubes (1 box per group – make sure they are fresh so that they will dissolve quickly in water)
  • Marshmallows (1 bag of large marshmallows per group)
  • Legos or Duplo building blocks (about 100 small blocks or 50 large blocks per group)
  • A small house made from half of the Lego’s or Duplo blocks
  • Watering can or 3 bottles of water
  • Water (enough to fill you can or bottle)
  • Clear plastic containers (3  – about 8-10 inches tall and large enough for kids to build their foundations in)
  • Bible

 

Preparation

  • Build a small house out of the Legos or Duplo blocks, but save about half of your blocks for building one of the foundations.
  • Put the sugar cubes in one plastic container, the marshmallows in another and the rest of the Legos or Duplo blocks in another.
  • Fill the watering can with water (if you are using one)
    • Practice the script.

 

Procedure

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

  • “Jesus told a story about a wise and a foolish builder.”  (Have a volunteer read Luke 6:46-49.)
  • “Jesus isn’t really talking about houses.  He’s talking about something much more important.  When He says ‘house,’ He really means life.”
  • “Jesus is saying that we should build our life on a strong foundation so that when bad things happen (like the flood and the torrent, which is a fast-moving stream), our house – our life – will not be destroyed.”
  • “So what is this foundation that Jesus is speaking about?  Does anyone know?” (Acknowledge responses.)
  • “In Scripture, the term ‘foundation’ is often used to mean truth.”
  • “In the story Jesus told, He said that the wise builder dug down deep and laid his foundation on the rock.”
  • “In the Bible, rocks are usually references to Jesus, the Rock.”
  • “So, what Jesus was saying is that the wise builder built his life (his ‘house’) on the truth (the ‘foundation’) that Jesus (‘the Rock’) is Lord and Savior.”
  • “If you build your life on any other foundation, it won’t stand up during the storms of life – the difficult times.”
  • “Let’s do an activity that will show what Jesus means.”  (Divide the group into three small groups, and give each group a container with different building materials. Give them 3 minutes to build a foundation out of their materials.  When everyone is finished, set the small house on top of the sugar cubes.)
  •  “Let’s see what happens when the storms of life happen to a house built on this kind of foundation.”  (Get a volunteer to poor water over the house to simulate a storm and flood.)
  • “What is happening to this foundation?” (Acknowledge responses.  Get another volunteer to shake the plastic container to simulate an earthquake.)
  • “Now what’s happening?” (Acknowledge response. Repeat the process for the marshmallow and Lego/Duplo foundation, but when you put the house on the Lego/Duplo foundation, attach it so that it sits firmly and will withstand the “earthquake.”  After you’ve finished the activity, discuss the Debrief questions below.  You can use the Rhyme Time to reinforce the main teaching point.)

 

Debriefing Questions

 

  1. If the Legos/Duplo blocks represent the Truth that Jesus is Lord and Savior, what do you think the sugar cubes and marshmallows represented?  (An answer that you are looking for is that they represent what the world says is true.  These are fake truths.)
  2. What are some examples of fake truths that some people build their lives on?  (Some responses might include “money, power, fame, pleasure… are the most important things in life” or “other religions” or “if you are good enough, you can get to heaven.”)
  3. What happens when people build their lives on these truths?
  4. What truth do you want to build your life on?

 

Rhyme Time

A life built on the Rock

Will withstand every shock!

 

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Filed under Jesus, Object Lesson

Satan’s Tactics (GAME)


Roaring LionTime

15 minutes
Description

Satan has many different ways to attack us.  This game will help children to understand that they can attack back with prayer.  The game is a tossing game in which children will try to knock out targets with beanbags or something else that they can throw.

 

Scriptures

  • 1 Peter 5:8

 

Materials

  • Board with cutouts for targets (I recommend a sheet of plywood with sixteen (16) rectangles cut out of it (made to look like a collage picture frame).  There should be four cutouts per row and four rows.  Each cutout should be approximately six inches tall by 4 inches wide.  Sheets of paper will be taped to the back of the board over the holes. The board should have a stand so that it is free-standing (or leaning) and can withstand being hit with beanbags.  You can find a diagram in the file “Satan’s Tactics – Board Diagram” on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at http://www.teaching.them.com.  Alternatively, you could tape the Tactic Cards mentioned below to the floor and have participants try to throw a beanbag on top of them.)
  • Tactic cards to place in each of the cutouts  (You can find these in the file “Satan’s Tactics – Tactic Cards” on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at http://www.teaching.them.com.)
  • Tape to tape the cards in each of the cutouts and to mark the throwing line
  • Beanbags (3-6 – you can substitute tennis balls or some other throwing object – label them with the word, “PRAYER.”)
  • Scissors for cutting out the tactic cards
  • Permanent marker for labeling the bean bags
  • Bible

 

Preparation

  • Create your target board.
  • Print out the tactic cards and cut the pages down the middle. (There are two tactic cards per page.)
  • Tape the tactic cards in the holes on the back of the target board with the words showing out.
  • Use the tape to mark a throwing line about ten feet away from the target board.
  • Label the beanbags to say “PRAYER.”
  • Practice the script.

 

Procedure

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

  • “We have an enemy, and he is trying to attack us.”  (Have a volunteer read the 1 Peter 5:8.)
  • “Satan has many different tactics (or ways) that he uses to attack us, but we can attack back with prayer to God.”
  • “We’ve put many of Satan’s tactics on the target board over there, and your goal is to knock them all out with these bean bags, which represent prayers.”
  • “Everyone gets two chances to throw a ‘prayer’ at the targets and try to defeat one of Satan’s tactics.”
  • “Then, we’ll rotate.  We’ll keep going until all of Satan’s tactics have been defeated.”
    • “Any questions?”  (Answer questions if there are any.  Then, play the game, allowing the youngest person in the group to go first.  When all the Tactics have been knocked out, discuss the Debrief Questions below. You can use the Rhyme Time to reinforce the main point of the lesson.)

 

Debriefing Questions

 

  1. Have you ever been attacked in one of these ways?  Which ones?
  2. Do you think prayer would help?  Why or why not?
  3. Do you know of any other attacks Satan makes against us?
  4. How can you fight against those?

 

Rhyme Time

When Satan attacks

Send a prayer back!

 

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Filed under Fear, Game, prayer, Satan's tactics, Spiritual Warfare, temptation, Worry

God’s Recipe (OBJ LESSON)


Cake - ChocolateTime

10 minutes
Description

This object lesson shows how God uses both good and bad things in our life to make us into the person we are.  It uses the analogy of baking a cake with all its ingredients.

Scriptures

  • Romans 8:28

 

Materials

  • Flour (about half a cup)
  • Baking soda (about half a cup)
  • Salt (about half a cup)
  • Vinegar (about half a cup)
  • Baking powder (about half a cup)
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder (about half a cup)
  • Sugar (about half a cup)
  • Eggs (2)
  • Milk (about half a cup)
  • Vegetable oil (about half a cup)
  • Plastic spoons (10)
  • Snack cakes (10 – chocolate flavor – something from Little Debbie’s or something similar)
  • Table (1)
  • Chef costume (optional – apron, chef’s hat wooden spoon, etc.)
  • Slip of paper with Romans 8:28 written on it.
  • Bible

 

Preparation

  • Line your ingredients up in small containers on a table in the front of the room.
  • Place a spoon in front of each ingredient.
  • Write the Scripture on the slip of paper, and put the slip of paper in your chef’s hat or somewhere else you can easily get to it during the lesson.
  • Hide the snack cakes somewhere that no one will be able to see them.
  • Practice the script.

Procedure

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

  • “How many of you like cake?”  (Acknowledge responses.)
  • “Me, too!  I love it!”
  • “Hey, if you like cake, maybe you can help me with something!”
  • “Can I get ten volunteers to come up front?” (Select 10 volunteers.  Have each one take up a position behind one of the ingredients.  If you don’t have enough participants, have some of them taste more than one ingredient in the upcoming demonstration.)
  • “So, I like cake a lot, and you like cake a lot, right?”
  • “Then, let’s make some cake!”
  • “I have this recipe.”  (Hold up a sheet of paper to represent your recipe.)
  • “It says we need flour, baking soda, salt, vinegar, baking powder, cocoa, sugar, eggs, milk, and vegetable oil.”  (Point out the different ingredients as you mention them.)
  • “That’s why I need you guys.  Each one of you is responsible for one of these ingredients.”
  • “So, let’s see…the recipe says, ‘Preheat oven to 350 degrees.’”
  • “Oops, I forgot to do that part.”
  • “’Grease and flour two, nine-inch cake pans.’”
  • “Uh-oh…I didn’t do that, either.”
    “’Mix all the ingredients for three minutes.  Then pour into cake pans and bake in over for 35 minutes…’”
  • “35 minutes!  That’s WAY too long!  We don’t have that kind of time.”
  • “I’ve got a better idea!”
  • “Let’s just eat the ingredients one at a time.”
  • “They are all going to the same place anyway, right?”
  • “When they get to our bellies, they will mix together to make a cake!”
  • “So, here’s where I need your help!”
  • “I need each of you to take one spoonful of your ingredient and tell us how it tastes.” (Most won’t want to try their ingredient, but urge them a few times.  If they still don’t want to do it, say, “Oh, all right!  I’ll try it.” Then, make a big show of how bad it tastes.  Gag, sputter, buckle your knees, gasp, whatever…  Even if they try their ingredient first, you should also try it.  The only exception would be the eggs, because eating raw eggs might make you sick.)
  • “That was absolutely terrible!”
  • “Only the sugar and milk tasted good.”
  • “I love cake, and it always tastes soooooo good!  Why do the ingredients taste soooooo bad?” (Acknowledge responses.)
  • “Oh!  You mean they only taste good when you mix them all together?”
  • “That reminds me of a Bible verse!”  (Take off your hat, and pull out the slip of paper with the Scripture on it.  Ask one of your volunteers to read it aloud.)
  • “This Scripture means that God uses ALL THINGS for our good – good things and bad things – good ingredients like the sugar and milk and bad ingredients like the baking soda and vinegar.”
  • “God mixes them all together in our lives to help make us into the people He wants us to become.”
  • “This won’t happen right away…it will take time.”
  • “Many times in life, we have to go through tings that are really bitter and unpleasant.”
  • “At the time, they seem terrible, but God has a recipe, and He will take that bad thing and make something good out of it if we will just be patient and wait for Him to work.”
  • “But if we will trust God with even the bitter stuff in our lives, He will bring the sweetness out – just like in these cakes that I forgot I bought this weekend!!!”  (Give each volunteer one of the snack cakes.)
  • “How do those taste?”  (Acknowledge responses.  Then thank and dismiss your volunteers.  Use the Debriefing Questions and the Rhyme Time below to reinforce the learning.)

 

Debriefing Questions

 

  1. Why do you think God allows us to go through the bitter and difficult things in our lives?
  2. Have you ever been through something terrible but then seen later how God used it to help you?  (Allow one or two to share their examples.)
  3. Based on what you’ve learned, how will you handle those bitter and difficult times in the future?

 

Rhyme Time

Sometimes we’ve got to wait

For God to make it great!

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Filed under Failure, faith, God's Plan, Object Lesson, struggles, Suffering

God’s Covering (OBJ LESSON)


God's CoveringTime

20 minutes
Description

This object lesson shows how God can protect us during times of suffering and temptation.  It uses some science and some surprising ways to keep balloons from popping even when pierced or put over a flame.

 

Scriptures

  • Psalm 32:7

 

Materials

  • Balloons (3 per child and 5 for facilitator (includes a few extras just in case))
  • Wooden skewers (2 per child and 2 for facilitator)
  • Vegetable oil (just a little to dip the skewers in)
  • Duct tape (1 roll)
  • Candle with a stand (1 set)
  • Matches or a lighter
  • Medicine dropper (1 – for putting water into a balloon before you blow it up)
  • Water (1 cup per group)
  • Bible

 

Preparation

  • Get your materials ready.
  • Practice the script.

 

Procedure

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

  • “Did you know that bad stuff happens to everyone – even Christians?”  (Listen for responses.)
  • “If you don’t follow Jesus, you’ll be like this balloon when bad stuff happens.”  (Blow up and tie a balloon.)
  • “This wooden skewer represents bad stuff that happens to them.”  (Use the skewer to pop the balloon.)
  • “That’s not good!  I don’t want to be like that balloon, do you?”  (Listen for responses.)
  • “But Christians don’t have to worry, because God protects them when bad stuff happens.” (Have a volunteer read Psalm 32:7.  Then, blow up and tie another balloon, this time about halfway to two-thirds full.)
  • “Even Christians are still like this balloon, but they have something special.”  (Put a piece of duct tape over the balloon on two different sides.)
  • “They have God’s covering to protect them when bad stuff happens.”  (Slowly twist the skewer through the tape, through the balloon and through the other side.  Then show it to the kids.)
  • “Pretty cool, huh?  The bad thing still happened to the balloon, but this time, it didn’t pop, because it had God’s covering.”
  • “God know where our weak areas are, and He will protect us in those places.”
  • “God protects us in another way, too.”  (Blow up and tie another balloon about halfway to two-thirds full. Take one of the skewers, and dip it into the vegetable oil. Carefully twist the skewer into the nipple of the balloon (the thickest part at the very top) and then though the other side close to where you tied the knot.)
  • “Oil in the Bible often represents the anointing of the Lord.  God anoints us when He has something special and difficult for us to do, and the anointing protects us from Satan’s attacks.”
  • “I know one more way God protects us!”  (Light the candle. Use the medicine dropper to put one dropper-full of water into a balloon. Blow up the balloon and tie it with the water inside. Hold the balloon over the flame of the candle.  You can even allow the flame to touch the balloon where the water settles.)
  • “If we will fill ourselves with Living Water by reading God’s Word every day, He will protect us from popping when Satan turns up the heat in our lives.” (Pass out balloons and other materials to the kids, and let them try the three experiments.  Help them if they need it to tie balloons, pierce balloons with skewers and hold balloons over the flame. When they’ve all had a chance to try, discuss the Debrief Questions below.  You can use the Rhyme Time to reinforce the main point of the lesson.)

 

Debriefing Questions

  1. Why didn’t the balloons pop when the skewers went through them?
  2. How about when you put the balloon over the flame?
  3. How is this like how God protects us during times of suffering?
  4. If you have to go through a time of suffering in the future, how will you handle it?

 

Rhyme Time

We have God’s covering

To protect us when we’re suffering.

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Filed under Annointing, Object Lesson, struggles, temptation

Moses, Aaron and Hur vs. the Amalekites (GAME)


Moses, Aaron and Hur in BattleTime

15-20 minutes

 

Description

This game illustrates the story of Israel fighting against the Amalekites.  When Moses raised his hands, Israel pushed back the Amalekites, but when his hands were lowered, the Amalekites pushed back the Israelites.  Aaron and Hur held up Moses’ arms to ensure the Israelite victory.

 

Scripture

  • Exodus 17:8-16

 

Materials

  • Masking tape – one roll
  • Dowel rod, stick or broom handle to serve as Moses’ staff
  • Chair or something to represent stone for Moses to sit on

 

Preparation

  • Use masking tape to mark one line in the center of the room and two lines on either side of the room.

 

Procedure

Use this script or modify to suit your needs.

  • “We’re going to play a game to help us remember and understand a story from the Bible.”
  • “The story is about Moses and the Israelites in a war against the Amalekites.”  (Have a volunteer read Exodus 17:8-16.)
  • “When Moses’ hands were up, the Israelites were winning, but when he got tired and lowered his arms, the Amalekites started winning.”
  • “So Aaron and Hur sat him on a stone and held up his hands until the victory was assured for Israel.”
  • “So, to play this game, I need three volunteers to be Moses, Aaron and Hur.”  (Select volunteers.  Have “Moses” sit on the chair or other item representing the rock.  Have “Aaron” and “Hur” stand by his sides.)
  • “Now, I need to divide the rest of you into pairs.”  (Line everyone up in a single-file line from smallest to largest.  Count the number of participants.  Divide this number by two and have all participants count off to that number.  For example, if you have 16 participants, half of that is 8.  Number off the participants 1-8.  Then have the two “ones” get together and the two “twos” get together and so on.  Position each pair over the line made with tape in the center of the room.)
  • “This side (choose a side) represents the Israelites.”
  • “This side (choose a side) represents the Amalekites.”
  • “When Aaron and Hur raise Moses’ arms (Have your volunteers demonstrate.), you can push against your opponent only if you are an Israelite.”
  • “When Aaron and Hur put Moses’ arms down (Have your volunteers demonstrate.), you can push against your opponent only if you are an Amalekite.”
  • “If it’s not your turn to push, you can try to hold your ground, but you cannot push back.”
  • “The goal is to force your opponent across the line behind him or her on their side of the room.  If you do, you win!”
  • “The first three to win their battle will get to replace Moses, Aaron and Hur in the next round.”
  • “Any questions?” (Begin the first round.  Make sure that Moses’ arms go up and down fairly quickly to give both sides a chance.  After you’ve done a few rounds, debrief using the following questions.)

 

Debrief Question

  • Why do you think God allowed the battle to be decided by whether or not Moses’ arms were up?
  • Do you think God would have allowed Israel to lose the entire battle if Moses, Aaron and Hur had been too tired to keep Moses’ arms up?  Why or why not?
  • How do you think the Israelites felt about Moses, Aaron and Hur after the battle?
  • Why do you think Moses built an altar and called it, “The Lord is My Banner?”
  • What can we learn from this story that we can apply to our own lives?

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Filed under Game, Moses

Gates of Jerusalem (GAME)


Gates of JerusalemTime

20 minutes
Description

This game teaches about the gates of Jerusalem during Nehemiah’s time and uses them as a metaphor for how we should conduct our Christian Walk.  Participants will play a dice and memory game to familiarize themselves with the gates and the lessons that they teach.

Materials

  • Printouts of the file, “Gates of Jerusalem – Cards.”  (You can download this file from the website www.teachingthem.com on the Lesson and Material Downloads page.)
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Dice (2)
  • Small candies to use for rewards for right answers (enough for everyone to have 2-3 pieces each)
  • Lamination sheets and a laminator (optional – best if you plan to play the game multiple times)
  • Bible

Scriptures

  • Nehemiah 3
  • Psalm 23:4, 119:97-98
  • Matthew 4:19, 24:27
  • John 1:29, 7:38
  • 2 Corinthians 10:3-5
  • Ephesians 6:10-17
  • Hebrews 12:1-2
  • 1 John 1:9
  • Revelation 19:11, 22:12

 

Preparation

  • Print the file “Gates of Jerusalem – Cards.” (in color, preferably)
  • Cut out the pictures and their descriptions.  (Be careful not to separate the pictues form the descriptions underneath them.)
  • Fold the pictures over so that the descriptions are on the opposite side.
  • Glue the two sides together.
  • Laminate all the cards. (optional)
  • Arrange the cards according to the order pictured on the second slide in the file with the cards.
  • Mark the Scriptures in your Bible with a bookmark so that they will be easy to find.
  • Practice the script.

Procedure

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

  • “We’re going to play a game to teach us about the gates of Jerusalem during the time of Nehemiah.”
  • “We can read about these gates in chapter 3 of the book of Nehemiah.”
  • “In this chapter, Nehemiah organizes everyone to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem so that they can protect themselves and their Temple from their enemies.”
  • “The gates he mentions in the story were real gates at the time, but we can also use them as a reminder about how we should live as Christians.” (Point out the cards you’ve laid out in the shape of the walls of Jerusalem.)
  • “These cards represent the walls and gates of Jerusalem.”
  • “The ones that look like rocks are the parts of the wall.  They don’t move.”
  • “The ones with pictures on them represent the gates, and you can open the gates by turning over the card.”  (As you go through the next part of the script, turn over the cards and read the descriptions on the opposite side.  Then, return the cards to their original position with the picture showing up.)
  • “The first gate is the Sheep Gate.  It was used to bring sheep into the city for sacrifices, and it was very close to the Temple for this reason.  It reminds us that Jesus went to the cross like a sacrificial lamb.  We should remember that He died to pay for our sins. When we accept this gift, we become Christians.”  (Have a volunteer read John 1:29.)
  • “This first gate represents the gate we walk through when we give our hearts to Jesus.”
  • “The second gate is the Fish Gate.  This gate was used by fishermen to bring their fish into Jerusalem to sell.  It reminds us that as followers of Jesus, He is calling us to become “fishers of men.”  That means that we should try to help others know about Jesus.”  (Have a volunteer read Matthew 4:19.)
  • “The third gate is the Old Gate.  We aren’t sure why it was called the Old Gate, but it may have been because it was part of an older city and brought to Jerusalem.  It reminds us that God’s Truth is older than time.  When Satan tries to trick us with lies, we should use God’s Truth to fight against him.”  (Have a volunteer read Ephesians 6:10-17.)
  • “The fourth gate is the Valley Gate.  It opened into a valley on the west side of the city of Jerusalem.  Mountaintops are exciting, but valleys are hard.  They represent the difficult things we go through that help us depend on God and make us stronger.  There is nothing growing above the treeline on a mountain, but valleys are typically lush with growth.”  (Have a volunteer read Psalm 23:4.)
  • “The fifth gate is the Dung Gate.  This is the gate that led to the Valley of Hinnom, where the people burned their garbage.  This gate represents how God uses the valleys in our lives to show us some of our garbage and sinfulness.  When God shows us what is sinful and bad in us, we should get rid of it like smelly garbage (or poop!) so that we can follow Jesus.”  (Have a volunteer read Hebrews 12:1-2.)
  • “The sixth gate is the Fountain Gate.  It was at the end of the Pool of Siloam, and provided refreshing waters for the people of the city.  It represents the streams of Living Water that should flow from us to bless others.  Once we have gotten rid of the ‘dung’ in our lives, God’s Living Waters (which represent God’s Word and His Spirit) can flow through us.”  (Have a volunteer read John 7:38.)
  • “The seventh gate is the Water Gate.  This gate was at the beginning of a famous tunnel that King Hezekiah dug to bring water into the city in case enemy armies lay siege to Jerusalem.  Because the water came through a tunnel, it couldn’t be poisoned by their enemies.  The Water Gates reminds us that we should wash every day in the Word of God by reading our Bibles.  God’s Word is always pure, and Satan can’t poison it.”  (Have a volunteer read Psalm 119:97-98.)
  • “The eighth gate is the Horse Gate.  It was the gate where the horses were taken for water.  Horses in the Bible represent war, so this gate reminds us that we should always be ready to do battle with spiritual forces of evil.  (Have a volunteer read 2 Corinthians 10:3-5.) It is also pointing forward to the time when Jesus will come again.  The Bible says He will come again riding on a white horse.  (Have a volunteer read Revelation 19:11.)
  • “The ninth gate is the East Gate.  It was on the east side of the city and faced the Mountain of Olives.  This gate is very important for Jews and Christians, because the Bible tells us that Jesus will come the second time from the East.  This gate reminds us to have hope because Jesus is coming again.” (Have a volunteer read Matthew 24:27.)
  • “The tenth and final gate is the Inspection Gate (or Muster Gate). It opened to a road that led to Miphkad (“appointed place”).  This is where the people were numbered for the Temple tax.  It reminds us that we should take time at the end of each day to allow God to review the day with us.  If He brings to mind sins we have done, we should confess them and ask for forgiveness.  (Have a volunteer read 1 John 1:9.)  It also points forward to the time when Jesus comes again.  There will be a time of judgment for believers called the Bema Judgment.  At this time, He will evaluate all that we have done and reward us for our good works. (There is no punishment at this judgment.).”  (Have a volunteer read Revelation 22:12.)
  • “In the story in Nehemiah, he mentions the Sheep Gate again at the end of chapter 3.  This is to remind us that everything begins and ends with Jesus and that He is coming again.”
  • “So, here’s how to play the game.”
  • “The youngest person goes first.”
  • “He or she rolls two dice and then has to tell us the name of the gate for the number he/she rolls and what the gate means.” (Point out the numbers in the upper, right-hand corner of each gate picture.  The Sheep gate is numbered both 1 and 11, because it is mentioned twice in the story.)
  • “For example, if you roll a 2 and a 3, that equals 5.  You would have to tell us the name and meaning of the Dung Gate.”
  • “If you roll a 12, the person on your left gets to pick which gate you have to tell us about.”
  • “If you get it right (or mostly right), you get a piece of candy!”
  • “After your turn, the person on your right gets to roll.”
  • “Ready to play?  (Play several rounds.  Then, you can use the Rhyme Time below to reinforce the message and the Debrief Questions to apply the lesson to their personal lives.)

 

Rhyme Time

When gate meanings are unlocked

We understand our Christian walk.

 

Debrief Questions

  • Which gates are hard for you to understand? (Explain to help make their meaning clearer.)
  • What gates have you already gone through in your life?
  • What was that like?
  • Which gate do you think is the coolest?  Why?
  • Who could you teach about the gates?

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Filed under Game, Nehemiah

Action Plan BINGO (ACTION PLAN)


Action Plan BINGO CardTime

Varies – to be used throughout a workshop or other learning event and then debriefed at the end.  The debrief should last approximately 30 minutes.

 

Purpose

This activity helps participants to create an action plan of things they want to do as a result of their learning.  It does it in a fun way by making it into a BINGO game and gets peer feedback on how realistic and actionable the plans are.

 

Materials

  • Copies of the file, “Action Plan BINGO – Cards.” (You can find this file on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at www.teachingthem.com.  You will need one copy per participant.)
  • Small prizes for BINGOs.  It is possible and even desirable for participants to get more than one BINGO, so you should probably have an average of three prizes per participant just in case.  Candies or other small items work well for this.

 

Preparation

  • Print copies of the file “Action Plan BINGO – Cards” for each participant.

 

Procedure

(follow this script, or modify to suit your needs)

  • (At the beginning of the learning event or workshop) “We’re going to play a game during this workshop that will help you to develop a strong plan for using what you learn after you leave.)
  • “It’s called, ‘Action Plan BINGO.”  (Hand out BINGO cards to each participant.)
  • “There are 25 spaces on this BINGO card.”
  • “The goal of this game is to write one action in each box.”
  • “These are actions you plan to take when you return to work.”
  • “The one in the middle is a ‘Grace Space,’ which means that you get it for free and don’t have to put any action items in it for it to count.”
  • “Anytime you think of an action you want to take as a result of what you are learning, write it in one of the boxes.”
  • “Make sure it is clear, realistic and some that will help you be more effective.” (You may want to have them write in SMART goals in each box.  These would be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound.)
  • “At the end of the workshop, I will give your table group an opportunity to share their actions with each other.“
  • “When you share, your tablemates will give you an up or down vote (i.e., thumbs up or thumbs down) on each action as feedback on how realistic and actionable it is.”
  • “If you get a majority of ‘up-votes’ from your peers, the action item is approved, and you can count it.”
  • “If you get a majority of ‘down-votes,’ you can still do it, but it won’t count toward a BINGO.  You should put an ‘X’ in the corner of the box.”
  • “If you get five ideas approved in any row, column or diagonal, you will win a PRIZE!”
  • “Rows, columns or diagonals with the Grace Space in them still count.” (Answer any questions about the game.  Remind them to add action items periodically throughout the learning event.  At the end of the event, reserve 30 minutes for them to follow the up-down voting process that you described.  Award prizes for every BINGO that they make.  I recommend saving prize-giving until after the complete review has been done, but you might encourage them to shout “BINGO!!!” whenever they get five in a row.  NOTE: sometimes the same action item can count for multiple BINGOs.  It might count horizontally, vertically and diagonally.)

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The Power of the Peer (ANECDOTE)


Stanley Milgram ExperimentIn 1961, psychologist Stanley Milgram was trying to make sense of the atrocities of World War II.  He wanted to know what type of person could be compelled to treat people with the level of cruelty that came from the Nazi regime, so he devised an experiment and took out an ad in the local newspaper.  The ad invited people to come to the basement of a building at Yale University and participate in an experiment to test the effects of negative reinforcement on learning.  For an hour of their time, they would be paid $4.50.

When the subjects arrived, there was always another person in the waiting area.  This person was a confederate of Dr. Milgram’s (meaning that this person knew about the experiment and had a role to play).  The confederate would start a friendly conversation with the subject until a scientist in a white, lab jacket appeared and asked both people to draw a slip of paper out of a bowl.  The slip of paper told them what their role would be: “teacher” or “learner.”  In actuality, both slips said “teacher,” so that the subject would always be in the “teacher” role.

The two people would then be led to a small booth, where the confederate (the “learner”) sat down and had a special paste applied to his arms.  The scientist said that this was to help administer the shocks from the electrodes, which were then attached to his arms.  The confederate would then ask, “I have a little bit of a heart condition; will it be a problem?”  And the scientist always responded, “No.  The shocks are painful, but they aren’t dangerous.”

The subject would then be led into the next room and shown a piece of machinery that he would use to send shocks to the “learner.”  The scientist would give the subject a 45-volt shock from the machine to demonstrate what it would feel like.  Then, the scientist would give instructions about how the experiment was to be conducted.  The subject (the “teacher”) would read out two words loudly enough to be heard in the next room.  Then, he would read the first word again and wait for the “learner” to remember and say the second one.  If the “learner” got it incorrect, the “teacher” would flip a switch to shock him.  Each time he missed a word, the voltage would be turned up until it reached a maximum of 450 volts (ten times the shock the subject had received, which was unpleasant even at that low level).

In truth, the “learner” didn’t get any shock at all, but the “teacher” didn’t know that.  The first shock brought a grunt from the “learner.”  The second, a mild protest.  Then stronger protests.  Then screaming, shouting and banging on the wall while yelling, “I have a HEART problem!”  After 315 volts, the “teacher” would only hear silence when he flipped the switch.

You probably think you would refuse to participate in such a study once you saw what it was all about, and maybe you would.  But would you believe that 65% of the subjects continued to administer shocks all the way up to the maximum level?  Many protested during the experiment and asked if they could stop, but the scientist in the white lab coat would just say, “The experiment calls for you to continue.”  If the subject protested five times, the experiment was ended, but over half of the subjects were intimidated by the authority figure in the white lab coat and continued to give shocks even after they thought they might have seriously injured the friendly stranger they met a few minutes before.

Dr. Milgram experimented with every variable (room size, the look of the machine, distance from the “learner” and many others), but he found one factor that made the biggest difference in how the subject behaved – having another person in the room.  If a second “subject” (also a confederate of Dr. Milgram) refused to administer the shocks, only 10% of the subjects would continue.  But if the second “subject” continued to the maximum of 450 volts, 90% of the subjects would do it, too!!  That’s the power of the peer.

Peer pressure is a powerful motivator.  The subjects in the experiment didn’t want to be the ones who were too timid to do what the experiment required when their peer seemed to have no problem with it.  Others didn’t want to be the ones who appeared cruel when their peer took a moral stand.  Seeing their peer act in a particular way either pressured them to suppress their concerns or gave them the confidence they needed to challenge the authority figure in the white lab coat.

We care what other people think about us.  Maybe we shouldn’t, but we do. And so do your team members.  Especially those who have less status or standing in a group because they are newer or younger or less experienced or less mature.  This dynamic shouldn’t be ignored when you are trying to motivate a group to change their behaviors.  If influential peers* don’t support your change, you probably won’t get the support of other team members.  Make sure your strategy for implementing your change includes engaging these high-influence staff members.  Connect with them first.  Get their buy-in.  Respond to their concerns.  Give them a role and responsibilities in the change.

When everyone else sees them supporting the change, they will be more likely to follow their example.  If you neglect to engage your high-influence staff members, don’t be surprised when you get some shocking resistance.

* The staff members with influence are often those who are more articulate, older, more experienced, come from a higher social class, have connections or have some other status that is highly regarded in your culture.

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Filed under Accountability, Change, Character, Influence, Peer Pressure