This is game that helps participants understand that God’s dream for their lives has to be discovered and that it usually requires the help of others to complete. It was developed for adults but can be modified for use with children (see ideas at the end of the lesson).
- Large puzzles with at least 50 pieces each (The puzzles can be different, but they should be similar in size and shape.)
- Masking tape
- Ziplock bags (optional)
- Signs that say, “MENTOR.” (One per table group.)
- Prizes for the winning team (optional)
- Flipchart, whiteboard (and markers) or LCD projector and screen
· Teams should be arranged at tables with 6-8 participants each.
· Open each puzzle and remove 10-12 pieces.
· Mix these up.
· Carefully tape four pieces (each) to the bottom of different chairs around the room. (You might want to put them in a Ziplock bag to protect the pieces.) Make sure that they cannot be seen. Each of these chairs should have pieces from several different puzzles taped underneath.
· Label the back of these chairs, “MENTOR” (just one per table – if you have more pieces than will fit under the “MENTOR” chairs, tape them under other chairs, but don’t label those chairs, “MENTOR.”)
· Take any remaining pieces (that you pulled from the puzzles) and mix them in with other puzzles around the room.
· Put the rest of the puzzle pieces in a bag or box (but not a box with the picture on it) in the center of each table.
· Keep the pictures of the completed puzzle in the teaching area at the front of the room.
· Flipchart the Debrief Questions at the end of this lesson (but keep them hidden until the activity is done).
· Practice the script.
Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):
· “We’re going to put some puzzles together.”
· “These puzzles represent God’s dream for your life.”
· “At your tables, one of the chairs says, “MENTOR,” on the back. Those of you sitting in those seats are now the “Mentors” for your teams.”
· “Can I see the “Mentors” outside the room for a minute?” (Go outside room with “Mentors” and tell them about the hidden pieces under their chairs. Ask them not to reveal this secret unless someone (from any table) specifically asks them about the missing pieces. If they are asked any other question, they can answer it as long as it doesn’t reveal that there are hidden pieces under their chairs. They are not to participate in the puzzle building unless asked to do so. Also, let the “Mentors” know that you have the pictures of the completed puzzles at the teaching area in the front. If anyone asks about them, the “Mentors” can come get the pictures and take them back to their tables. Allow the “Mentors” to return to their groups.)
· “Okay, you can start putting your puzzles together. The first team to finish wins!” (Allow at least 30 minutes for puzzle building. If a team finishes, observe whether or not they try to help other teams. If no one asks the “Mentors” about the missing pieces after 20 minutes, you can drop some hints until they catch on. When everyone is done, award prizes (optional) and ask the teams to work through the debrief questions on the flipchart. Allow 15 minutes. Then do a large group debrief on what lessons they will take away from the activity.)
o “What helped or hindered your team’s success?”
o “What might you do differently if you had it to do over again?”
o “Were the mentors important in completing the puzzle? Why or why not?”
o “If the puzzles represent God’s dream for your life, what do the pieces under the chairs represent?”
§ “How could this be a metaphor for the way God reveals His will?”
§ “What do the pieces at other tables represent?”
§ “What do the pieces that didn’t fit into your puzzle represent?”
o “Did anyone try to determine if someone at the table was actually skilled at putting puzzles together?”
§ “Why or why not?”
§ “Does this say anything about the way we approach the subject of mentors? Explain.”
o “How important are other people in solving our problems?”
o “What lessons can you take away from this activity?”
Possible Modifications for Children
· When working with children, consider the following changes to make it more relevant for them:
o Instead of having “MENTORS,” you might label the chairs “PARENTS,” “TEACHERS,” or “CHRISTIAN FRIENDS.”
o Rather than do a debrief at table groups, you might prefer to lead the questions from the front of the room in order to keep the children focused.
o Some other debriefing questions you might ask could be:
§ “How does God show us His plan for our lives?”
§ “Why doesn’t God just tell us His whole plan when we are young?”
§ “Why does God give some of the pieces of our puzzle to other people?”
§ “Have you ever helped someone discover a piece of their own puzzle?”
· “How did that feel?”
· “How did you find out that you had a piece of their puzzle?”
o You might have the children finish by drawing pictures of God’s dream for their lives.