Gathering time / game
Feel free just to hang out together. However, if you feel it will get conversation going better, play this game: get the group to sit in a circle and nominate one seat as the ‘top of the food chain’. The person to their left is the bottom of the food chain. Everyone must choose an animal to be and come up with a noise and an action to represent that animal. The person at the top of the food chain does their own noise and action and then the noise and action of someone else. That person must do the noise and action of the person they are receiving play from, then their own noise and action, then the noise and action they are passing play on to! Continue until someone makes a mistake - that person must go to sit in the seat at the bottom of the food chain and everyone moves up a chair. The aim of the game is to try to survive long enough to end up in the top seat when time is up!
Ask everyone for examples of when it is actually right to do the wrong thing (eg breaking the law in the fight against segregation in the USA) and times it is wrong to do the right thing (eg sending someone to prison for stealing to feed their family). Are there any rules or ways we can tell when to toe the line and when to be a bit riskier? Is it OK to take risks sometimes? When?
Would you break the law to stand up for your faith? Would you risk ridicule for the sake of celebrating something God had done in your life? Have any of you been baptised publicly? Did any non-Christian friends come to that?
You will need: risk assessment for a short walk outside; parent’s / carer’s permission; coats if needed
Go for a short walk together (about five minutes is plenty) while someone with a strong voice reads the passage from 2 Samuel 6. You could arrange for different people to do different parts but make sure you are organised so the reading can flow well and not keep stopping as the readers look up the verse or forget it’s their turn. You might want to read it several times during your walk and also spend time discussing the passage. The dynamism of being active while thinking and listening will change how the information is assimilated by the young people. Ask them how they found it afterwards - did it stick better or worse than listening to a story statically, indoors?
If you have a large group, you could consider splitting into two separate groups to do this - as the danger of doing it in too big a group is that those on the edge may not be able to hear easily and may lose interest.
When you get back to where you meet, in groups or pairs, come up with the best clickbait headlines for different aspects of the story. (‘Clickbait’ is the name given to deliberately provocative headlines on social media; you may need to show some examples of this to explain.) At the end of a few moments, discuss each group’s ideas.
Ask the young people these questions, making sure everyone has the chance to contribute:
- What do you think about what happened to Uzzah?
- What do you think about the way David behaved?
- Is everything that happens in this passage ‘fair’?
- What does this story tell us about God?
- What makes God happy today?
You will need: pipe cleaners; coloured material or paper; large sheets of paper; gluesticks
Invite the young people to choose one of these two activities in order to subjectively engage with the passage.
The group must create an object or sculpture out of pipe cleaners that represents how one of the main characters was feeling, or how they personally feel in regards to the story.
They should create a moodboard by sticking down different pieces of material - perhaps in the shape of temple, to represent different parts of the story and how different characters felt. For example, red could represent danger, anger or alarm; green is more peaceful, calm and safe.
Create a quiet reflective atmosphere with some soft worship music in the background. Encourage the young people to find space around the room on their own to spend a few minutes praying and thinking through the four main characters in the story. Lead them in a simple prayerful meditation by describing simply the role in the story of David, Uzzah, Obed and Michal. Who do they identify with? Who does God want them to learn something from? Prompt them to speak to Jesus in their own hearts about this and to invite the Holy Spirit to speak to them and change them.