Children, Teens, Adults
This game teaches that we often need to share resources in order to be successful. Competition with others outside the team is usually productive, but competition within a team can create a lose-lose outcome for all involved.
o Acts 2:42-47
o Flipchart and marker
o Large, open space to play
o Mats of some type
o They can be pieces of cardboard or posterboard, table mats or even newspaper or flipchart paper.
o You will need one per participant, plus one extra per team. For example if you have four teams of five people each, you will need 20 mats (one per participant) plus four mats (one extra per team) for a total of 24 mats.
o They should be large enough for one person to stand on (i.e., about 2’x2’).
o (Optional) Prizes for the winning teams.
o Clear the open space of any obstacles.
o Divide participants into teams of similar size (5-8 is best).
o Identify a starting line and a finishing line. It should be across the room and a significant distance away.
o Count out the mats for each team. They should have one more mat than people on their teams. It doesn’t matter if teams are not the same size. If you have three teams with five people and one team with six, the three teams should have six mats, and the fourth team should have seven mats.
o Space the mats out along the starting line. Keep them close enough together that teams will be able to pass mats back and forth between them.
o Write the debriefing questions (at the end of this lesson) on a flipchart, but conceal them until it is time to debrief.
Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):
- “We are going to play a game about sharing resources, and we will do it twice.”
- “The first time, your team will be in competition with the others, and we will see how can get from the Start Line to the Finish Line first.”
- “I’ve put mats out along this Start Line.”
- “Your goal is to travel to the Finish Line only stepping on the mats as you go.”
- “It might not sound too difficult, but I have a few additional rules to share.”
- “You can never have more than one person on a mat at a time. In other words, no sharing mats.”
- “Your feet must never touch anything except for a mat as you go from the Start Line to the Finish Line – no standing on other peoples’ shoes, no stepping on the floor, no using other objects as mats – these are the only mats you can use.”
- “If you break a rule, you have to go back to the Start Line and begin again.”
- “Each team has one more mat than you have people.”
- “So the way that you will move is that people in the back will pass a mat forward to the leader.”
- “The leader will step on the new mat, and everyone behind him will step forward to stand on the mat of the person that was in front of them.”
- “Eventually, you will fill up all but one of your mats.”
- “Pass that mat from the back of the line to the front of the line, and everyone will be able to take another step forward.”
- “Does anyone have any questions?” (Answer any questions.)
- “Okay, get ready, get set……..GO!” (Allow teams to race. Make sure they are following the rules. Send a team back if it breaks a rule. When a team has crossed the Finish Line, declare them the winner and have everyone return to the Start Line.)
- “Now, let’s do it again, but this time, I’m going to take away some of your mats.” (Select groups, and take away one mat from each of them. You can even take away two mats from one team to add more difficulty to the challenge. Leave two groups with all their mats (including the one extra per team). )
- “During the last race, success was beating the other teams, but this time, success is ALL teams crossing the Finish Line.”
- “Unfortunately, not all teams are equally equipped, so you are going to have to find a way to share resources.”
- “All other rules still apply.”
- “What questions do you have?” (Answer any questions.)
- “Okay, get ready, get set………GO!” (Allow teams to work together to reach the Finish Line. They will have to pass the two extra mats between teams in order to be successful. If you took two mats away from one team, they will need to permanently borrow one of the extra mats. This will allow only one mat to be passed between teams, which will slow them all down. However, it’s a good lesson on ‘we are only as strong as our weakest link.’ Without the extra mat, that team will get left behind. After they have all crossed the Finish Line, you might want to award a prize to everyone for their teamwork or offer a prize to the team that won the first race. Have participants regroup into their teams to discuss the following debriefing questions.)
o How did you resolve the issue of scarce resources?
o Why is it important for us to share resources?
o How can we do this better in our own groups/organization?
o Read Acts 2:42-47. How did the early Church handle resources?
o What was the impact of this approach?
o What other lessons can you take away from this activity?
This object lesson teaches about the need to protect our hearts and minds from the evil things that might get in them.
- Small box
- Heart-shaped object
- A handful of candy or a few candy bars
·You might need a confederate when you try to tempt the “gate-keepers” to let you into the city.Talk to one of the older children ahead of time, and let them know you want them to let you in the gate after you’ve tempted them some – maybe when you offer the candy.Ask the child to keep this a secret.
·Practice the script.
Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):
- “I am going to tell you a story from the book of Nehemiah.”
- “In the time of Nehemiah, there was a temple in Jerusalem, but there were no walls around the city.”(Ask for a few children to volunteer to come be your temple.Have them stand together and hold the small box in the center.)
- “This box represents the Ark of the Covenant.”
- “The Ark was the most important thing in all of Israel.It represented where God came to meet with His people.”
- “Now, without walls around the city, the temple was unprotected.”
- “At any time, the enemy could just walk in and steal the Ark of the Covenant, because there was nothing to keep the enemy out.”(Pretend to be the enemy, and show how easy it is for you to come in and steal the Ark.)
- “Now, the Ark of the Covenant is gone today.No one knows for sure what happened to it.”
- “I think that’s because we don’t need it anymore.You see, God replaced the building that was called “The Temple,” with our hearts.He now meets with us in our hearts instead of in a building.”
- “The Bible says that God removed our ‘heart of stone and gave (us) a heart of flesh.’” (Ezekiel 11:19 – Replace the box with the heart-shaped container.)
- “And our enemy is Satan.He wants to steal our hearts so that God can’t use us for His purposes.”
- “So, the temple is like our heart today.What did Nehemiah need to protect the temple?”(Walls)
- “Right!And Nehemiah was smart.He put together a team of people, and they began building those walls.”
- “But if Nehemiah needs physical walls to protect the temple, what do you think we need to protect our hearts?”(Spiritual walls)
- “Exactly!We need spiritual walls!Well, just like you build physical walls stone by stone, you build spiritual walls piece by piece when you do good things for God.”
- “Can anyone give me an example of a ‘stone’ you might put in your spiritual wall?”(Look for examples of spiritual disciplines and good works for God.As kids mention them, have them come up to be part of the wall around the temple.Examples include: Bible study, giving, helping others, prayer, meditating on God’s word, solitude, going to church, worship…Keep taking examples until you have a complete wall around the temple.)
- “There!We have our spiritual wall to protect us from Satan’s attacks.If we didn’t have our spiritual walls up, Satan could come right in and steal our hearts.”
- “Walls are good to have, but we are missing something.We also need gates!”
- “Without gates in the wall of Jerusalem, the good stuff, like food and supplies couldn’t come into the city.”
- “In the same way, without gates in our spiritual walls, there is no way to let in good things like God’s Word.”
- “So, we need gates – can anyone think of what our gates might be?Where does the good stuff come into our minds and hearts?” (Ears, eyes, mouth)
- “I’m going to make these people our gates keepers.”(Pick two or three pairs of children and have them hold hands to designate that they are the gates.Make sure you include your confederate if you are using one.)
- “Having gates is good, because they let the good stuff in, but they can also let in bad stuff.Your gates are the weakest part of your spiritual wall, and Satan will try really hard to get in through them.”
- “Can anyone give me some examples of things Satan might try to get past your ear gates, your eye gates or your mouth gate?”(Take examples, and if needed, supply the following:
omusic with bad lyrics
obad scenes in movies
opictures in magazines
othings you might feel jealous about
othings that might make you feel bad about yourself
odrugs or alcohol (because they make you do things you wouldn’t ordinarily do – like open your ear gates and eye gates to really bad stuff)
oother peoples’ personal things that are not to be shared (like a diary)
- “Wow!Satan has thought of a lot of stuff to try to get in through our ear gates, eye gates and mouth gate.”
- “Let me show you how he works.”(Go to one of your gate-keeper pairs and try to tempt them to open the gate to let you in.)
- “Hey, guys!How are you today?Say, I would really like to get into that gate.Would you mind opening it for me?”(Assuming they say, “no,” try some of these temptations.)
o“Aw, c’mon, do it for your friend!We’re friends right?You don’t want to be uncool do you?”
o“Wait until everyone hears what a loser you are!”
o“What if I offered you this candy?Would you open it for me then?”
o“You would be my best friend ever!”
o“Those guys over there let me in all the time.”
o“If you let me in, I’ll give you something really cool!”
o(Add other temptations that you think might work.If no one succumbs to the temptations, use your confederate to get into the city.)
- “HA!I knew I could get in!Now that I’m in here, I think I’m going to set up camp.”
- “When Satan gets into your heart and sets up camp, the Bible calls it a stronghold.A stronghold is the place in your heart that Satan holds, and it’s where he attacks you from.”
- “There is a story in the last chapter of Nehemiah in the Bible that tells about when one of Nehemiah’s enemies came to live inside the temple!”
- “Nehemiah had left the country for some time, and while he was gone, some of the people who were friends with Nehemiah’s enemies let a man named Tobiah move in!”
- “That’s like letting Satan live in your heart!Who wants that?”
- “The good news is that Nehemiah was a man of God.When he found out that Tobiah had moved into the temple, he kicked him out of the temple and out of the city.Then, he bleached the place and filled it up with temple furniture and offerings.”(Nehemiah 13:4-9)
- “So if Satan gets past our gates with his junk, what do you think we ought to do?”(Throw him out just like Nehemiah did!)
- “That’s right!Kick him out of your heart and mind!Then close those gates, and don’t let him in again, because if you keep letting him in, he’s not just going to want to live in your heart – he’s going to want to steal it for himself!”(Demonstrate stealing the heart-shaped container from the temple.If, as often happens when I conduct this object lesson, you are mauled by the children, it’s best to give up the heart before you incite a riot.)
- “So, how many of you are going to be careful to build your walls and guard your gates from now on?”