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Stronger Together (LESSON)


Time
30 minutes

Audience

Children, youth, adults

Description

This lesson helps participants understand how important it is to have unity in the Body of Christ.

Scriptures

  • John 13:34-35; 17:20-23
  • Romans 15:5-6
  • Ephesians 4:1-6, 4:9-12, 4:25-32
  • Hebrews 10:23-25

Materials

  • Paper currency (enough bills so that you have one for every three or four participants and one for yourself – NOTE: you are going to have them tear the money into smaller pieces.  If this is considered disrespectful or illegal in your country, you may want to use pictures of currency instead of the real thing.  For that matter, you may not want to see your hard-earned cash being torn into pieces.  Feel free to substitute.)
  • Clear tape (like the kind for wrapping presents.  Enough for each group of three or four participants to have a roll and one for yourself.)
  • Optional – a flipchart or whiteboard and markers
  • Bible

Preparation

  • Write the Scriptures on slips of paper (one per slip) so that you can hand them out to participants.
  • Before you begin teaching, hand out the slips of paper to different participants, who brought their Bibles.
  • Practice the script.

Procedure

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

  • “Today is your lucky day!”
  • “I’ve got extra money, and I would like to share it with you!”
  • “But first, I need to put you into groups.”
  • “I want everyone to line up single-file in the order of how many pets you have ever owned.”  (Or you can choose a different sorting technique.)
  • “I want the person who has owned the most on this side of the room, and the person who has owned the least on this side of the room.  (Gesture to either side of the room as you give these instructions.  It doesn’t matter which side you choose for most or least.)
  • “Everyone else will line up between those two people in the order of the number of pets you’ve owned.”
  • “Any questions?” (Answer questions.) “GO!”
  • “Okay, now we need to see how many pets you’ve had and what kinds.”  (Go down the line and ask each person how many and what kind of pets they owned.  If anyone is in the wrong place based on number of pets, move them to the right place in the line.)
  • “Okay, now I need to put you into small teams to receive your money.”
  • “I am going to number you off – one to ___.”  (You will want three to four people in each group, so count the total number of participants, and divide that number by either three or four.  This will tell you how high they need to count off.  For example, if you have 24 people and want to divide them into groups of four, 24/4=6.  You would have them number off one to six, and that would give you six groups of four people each.  Once you’ve told them how high to count, number them off.)
  • “Now, I want all the ‘ones’ to get together and all the ‘twos’ to get together.”  (Do the same with each number group.)
  • “Great job!  Now here is your money!  Congratulations!”  (Hand out one bill of currency to each group.)
  • “I know, I know…we’ve got a small problem.”
  • “I only gave each group one bill, but there are three (or four) of you.”
  • “Don’t worry; I have a solution!”
  • “I want the person who has the money in each group to tear it into three (or four) equal pieces and hand them out to all the team members.”  (Encourage them to do this.  They may be reluctant.  If so, convince them you are serious by demonstrating with a bill at the front of the room.  Keep encouraging them until every team has torn the bill and shared it equally.)
  • “There!  Isn’t that great?  Everyone happy?”  (Participants will most likely not be too happy and will tell you so.  Act as if you can’t understand why they wouldn’t like your solution.)
  • “What’s wrong?  I just gave you free money!  You should be happy!”  (Listen to their feedback.)
  • “Oh, so you’re saying that the money isn’t worth anything when it’s torn up like that?” (Listen to responses.)
  • “You’re saying that the money is more effective at what it does when it is all together?”  (Listen to responses.)
  • “That’s really interesting!  And it reminds me of something I’ve read in the Bible.”  (Ask everyone to take a seat with his or her groups.  Then, have a volunteer read John 17:20-23.)
  • “This is Jesus’ prayer the night before He died on the cross.”
  • “It’s probably a very important prayer if it’s one of the last ones that He prayed.”
  • “Why do you think He prayed for ‘complete unity’ between the believers and with God?”  (There could be many answers, but one will be so that the world will know that God sent Jesus and loved the believers just as He loved Jesus, His Son.)
  • “That’s not all the Scriptures say about unity between the believers.”  (Have a volunteer read Romans 15:5-6.)
  • “What is Paul saying about unity to the Romans?”  (Answers may include that it enables us to glorify God with one heart and mouth.  Have a volunteer read Ephesians 4:9-12.)
  • “What do you think Paul is saying in this Scripture about unity?”  (Listen to responses.  A main idea that you want to bring out is that being alone isn’t good.  We need others to help us when we get into trouble.)
  • “If Jesus and Paul feel the need to pray for the believers and encourage them to keep unity, it probably isn’t so easy to do.”
  • “What do you think gets in the way of unity among believers?”  (Answers might include differences of opinion, different denominations, differences of beliefs, jealousy, unforgiveness, lack of time, distance, etc…  You may want to put these on a flipchart or whiteboard.  I recommend drawing a line down the middle of the space and writing a minus sign at the top of the left column and a plus sign at the top of the right column.)
  • “That’s quite a list, and I think it would definitely break the unity of a group of believers.”
  • “Unity is hard.  Human nature (our sinful nature) leads us to want to divide rather than do the hard work to stay together.”
  • “There’s an old saying: ‘People like people who are like them.’”
  • “This means that we are drawn to people who look the same, act the same, have the same opinions, have the same backgrounds, etc.”
  • “It’s easier to keep relationships with these people, because we have so much in common.”
  • “If I had let you make your own groups earlier, you probably would have divided up based on ‘dog people’ and ‘cat people’ and ‘fish people’ and ‘hamster people,’ and all of you would have thought that you were better than the other groups.  Am I right?”
  • “But when people are different than us in the way they look or act or think…, we have to work hard to keep the relationships strong.”
  • “In fact, we might have to make some changes in our own lives in order to keep the relationship together.”
  • “So, let’s make a list of things we can do or the changes we can make to preserve or build unity.”  (Have a volunteer read John 13:34-35.)
  • “What’s the ingredient this Scripture mentions that we need to have for unity?”  (Answer should be ‘love.’ .  If you are using the flipchart or whiteboard, write these down on the “plus” side.  Have a volunteer read Hebrews 10:23-25.)
  • “What ingredient does this Scripture mention?”  (Answers should include ‘meeting together’ and ‘encourage one another.’ Have a volunteer read Ephesians 4:1-6.)
  • “What ingredients does Paul mention in this Scripture?”  (Answers should include ‘humility,’ ‘gentleness,’ ‘patience’ and ‘bearing with one another in love.’  Have a volunteer read Ephesians 4:25-32.)
  • “Last one.  What is Paul telling the Ephesians to do in this Scripture in order to preserve unity?”  (Answers should include ‘put off falsehood’ (or ‘be honest with each other’), ‘speak truthfully,’ ‘be angry sometimes but don’t sin by holding onto your anger,’ ‘do not steal from each other,’ ‘do your share of the work,’ ‘share with those in need,’ ‘don’t gossip, spread rumors or criticize,’ ‘build others up,’ ‘get rid of bitterness, rage, anger, fighting, slander (or ’saying bad things about others’), and any kind of bad feelings for others,’ ‘be kind and compassionate,” and ‘forgive each other.’)
  • “Look at all the things we need to do to keep our unity!”
  • “How are we ever going to be successful at all this stuff?”
  • “The good news is, we don’t have to do it by ourselves.”
  • “In truth, we are a lot like the money you have in your hands.”
  • “It doesn’t have any power in itself to put itself back together.  Neither do we.”
  • “But we do have a power given to us by the Holy Spirit.”  (Bring out some of the tape, and use it to tape back together the bill that you tore earlier.)
  • “The Holy Spirit is a little like this tape.”
  • “He has the power to bring us back together.”
  • “All we have to do is surrender to God’s will and allow Him to mend us, to bring us back together.”  (Pass out rolls of tape to each of the groups.)
  • “Are you willing to allow the Holy Spirit bring you back together?”
  • “Then tape that money back together.”  (Give them a few moments to tape the money.)
  • “Now the money is powerful and effective again!”
  • “Know this: one of the Enemy’s favorite and most effective weapons against us is a strategy called ‘Divide and Conquer.’”
  • “The Scripture says that Satan is like a roaring lion watching for someone to devour.”
  • “If you have every watched Animal Planet, you probably know that lions don’t attack herds; they attack the animals that wander away from the herd.”
  • “They attack the weak ones, the sick ones, the lazy ones, the ones doing their own thing.”
  • “That’s because attacking the herd is dangerous; they could easily trample the lion or gore him or kick him in the head.”
  • “Satan wants to divide us from the herd – the rest of the Body of Christ – so that he can attack us and have a really good chance of taking us down.”
  • “Don’t give him the opportunity!  Stick with the herd!”
  • “We are stronger and more powerful together!”  (You can allow the participants to keep the money or you can collect it back.  It might be interesting to encourage them to pool their money in order to increase its buying ‘power.’  Maybe they could buy something with it that would benefit everyone.)
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Filed under Agape Love, Christianity, conflict management, Conflict Resolution, forgiveness, Relationships, Satan's tactics, teambuilding, unity

Cord of Three Strands


Time

10-15 minutes

Description

This object lesson teaches the old maxim that there is safety in numbers. Ecclesiastes 4:12 says that “A cord of three strands is not easily broken.” This lesson will demonstrate that.

Materials

  • A skein of yarn
  • Scissors
  • Several pairs of gloves
  • Whiteboard or flipchart and markers

Preparation

· Write Ecclesiastes 4:12 on whiteboard or flipchart (see below).

· Cut the yarn into 13 lengths of approximately five feet.

· Keep one length unbraided.

· Braid three strands into one length.

· Do this three more times so that you now have four lengths of braided yarn.

· Braid three of the braided strands together so that you now have nine strands of yarn in this one length.

· You should now have:

o A single strand of yarn.

o Three strands of yarn braided into one length.

o Nine strands of yarn braided into one length.

· Practice the script.

Procedure

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

  • “One of the most common and most successful strategies that Satan uses against us is called ‘Divide and Conquer.’”
  • “Does anyone know what that means?” (Take responses, but if they don’t know for sure, continue with script.)
  • “Divide and Conquer is Satan’s strategy to separate you and me from other Christians in our lives.”
  • “He knows that if he can get you alone, you are no match for him.”
  • “I’m not saying that Satan is all-powerful. He’s not. But he has had thousands of years to practice tempting us, and we are not all that difficult to figure out.”
  • “All by yourself, you are no match against Satan in a spiritual battle. Let me demonstrate.” (Ask your two biggest / strongest children (or even adults) to come up front. Give them each a pair of gloves to put on.)
  • “Okay, let’s say that these two guys are Satan’s henchmen. And let’s say that this strand of yarn (use single strand) is you.” (Give one end of the yarn to each of the “henchmen,” and ask them to wrap it around their hand to get a secure hold.)
  • “In a spiritual battle, these guys are going to do everything they can to break you.” (Have the “henchmen” pull on the yarn until they break it. Make sure that the room is clear of anything that could harm them if the yarn breaks and they fall backward.)
  • “Oh! Look at that! That’s not good! They broke you!”
  • “But you’ve got a defense. The Bible says that:” (Put on board or flipchart.)

“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:12)

· “In a spiritual battle, two are better than one, and three are better than two.”

· “You shouldn’t try to go it alone. You need Christian friends and Christian family members who can help you.”

· “How can Christian friends and family help you in your Christian walk?” (Take responses. Some ideas might be: encouragement when you are struggling, advice when you don’t know what to do, a positive example, sharing your burdens…)

· “Those are great reasons not to be a cord of one strand!”

· “ So let’s try this again with three strands braided together.” (Give the “henchmen” the three-strand braided yarn, and ask them to pull on it as hard as they can. Again, make sure that they won’t fall into anything if the yarn breaks. Depending on the size of your “henchmen,” it’s likely that they will not be able to break the three strands.)

· (If they break it…) “Hmmm. They were able to break the three strands, but it was much harder, wasn’t it? ‘A cord of three strands is not quickly broken,’ but sometimes even it needs more…” (Pull out the nine strands of yarn.)

· (If they don’t break it…) “Hmmm. They weren’t able to break it this time. It looks like “A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Now, what if you had even more strands…” (Pull out the nine strands of yarn.)

· “What if instead of two friends or family members, you had eight friends or family to help you resist Satan’s temptations or to encourage you in the spiritual battle? Do you think you would be strong then?” (Take responses.)

· “You bet you would! But let’s check just to make sure.” (Give the “henchmen” the nine-strand braided yarn, and ask them to pull on it as hard as they can. For effect, call up more volunteers to help. They shouldn’t be able to break it.)

· “That’s impressive, isn’t it? So what do you think you need to do after seeing this demonstration?” (Take responses, and listen for things like: build relationships, go to church, make Christian friends, share my struggles with my Christian friends and family, help others who are struggling…)

· “Fantastic! Let’s strengthen your strands right now! Find two other people, and practice memorizing this verse together.” (Allow them to practice and then recite for the group.)

“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:12)

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Filed under Christianity, Coping skills, Hands-on, Object Lesson, Satan's tactics, Scripture memory, Spiritual Warfare