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BIBLE PASSAGE: Acts 2:42-47; 4:32-37
BACKGROUND: Following the drama of the ascension and Pentecost, the growing community of believers set out on a radical way of living. Money, property and food were shared, the weakest were looked after and the message of Jesus was proclaimed. This session should inspire some interesting ideas about how we can live in a similar way in the 21st Century. Don’t dismiss ideas that seem too big to pursue. It may be that, with a little preparation, your young people can make a huge difference to the community around them!
Welcome the young people to the session. Share out any refreshments and chat about life. If things are a bit quiet, play ‘Mallet’s mallet’ (for those of you who are less than 35 years old, this was from a children’s TV show in the 80s!). This is a word association game where two players take turns to exchange words, each one related to the previous. If someone hesitates, repeats a word or says a word that is not connected, they are out. (On the show they used to get a bash on the head with a foam mallet, but you may not want to do that here…)
You will need: pens and paper
In pairs, run surveys on people’s favourite things (see the ideas below). Each pair should go around the room asking everyone to vote on their chosen question: five points for their favourite, three points for second place and one point for third.
They should build up a scoreboard on a sheet of paper. If appropriate, allow them to go out and ask people in other areas of the church (perhaps after the service if they are still keen) or, if supervised, even on the street outside.
Surveys you could include: best biscuit, best chocolate in a box of Celebrations, best breakfast cereal, best item from Greggs; best ice cream flavour; best non-chocolate packet of sweets. Feel free to come up with your own, but they should be food or drink-related, or at least something that can be shared.
Pairs should also ask their respondents: “With which of the following would you be prepared to share those with? A) Your bestie, B) A random person sitting next to you on the bus or C) A homeless guy sitting outside Tesco.
Finally, share the results of the surveys.
You will need: Bibles; pens and paper Split the group into a few smaller groups, give out the Bibles and ask your young
people to make a list of things the believers did in each verse of the two passages. They should note the verse and then a couple of words to summarise what the believers did.
Challenge the small groups to choose one verse from the whole passage that best sums up the community of disciples and believers after Pentecost. Finally, they should choose one word from the passage that summarises the whole thing. Each small group should then plan a short drama that depicts the verse they chose. It must be silent, ten seconds in length, include everybody and ensure that all members of the group remain in physical contact with at least one other throughout! You may use
props so long as these rules are not broken.
Each group should present their drama to the rest of the group for them to guess which verse they are depicting. The other must guess which word they think that group chose as the most important. Feed back on each other’s work, discussing why each group made the decisions they did and what they were trying to show and why.
Use the following questions to explore the passage and the ideas around it:
- What makes a good team?
- What kind of people and resources do you need to impact a whole society in a similar way to the early Church?
- How well does your youth group do the following things: having fun, learning, working well together, putting up with each other’s faults, creating a positive environment, not arguing, making the most of everybody’s individual strengths and impacting the world around you. (You could score these things out of ten.)
- How much do you rely on the power of the Holy Spirit, individually and as a group?
- How does meeting together help you in a way that you would otherwise miss out on?
- How did meeting together benefit the early disciples?
- What can we learn from this story about our own community and mission with God?
You will need: a large sheet of paper (lining paper is ideal); paint in warm colours; paint- brushes; cover-up and clean-up equipment Show the group the large sheets of paper (or paper rolls) and warm-coloured paints. Invite the young people to spend some time thinking, drawing and writing keywords about your youth community, your wider church, and the communities you live, work and play in. What do you love most about them? What do you struggle with? Come
up with words and images to describe what the challenges are, and about what you would love to see change and what God can bring to those situations…You could also come up with ideas of what your community could do to serve God in the wider community.
Take it in turns to (literally) lift each other up while praying for one another. If you have a larger group you can squash in nice and tight and do a sort of crowd surf while you all shout out prayers for each other.
If there are not so many, start with each person on the ground and support them under their knees, hips and shoulders to lift them up nice and high while taking it in turns to pray blessing and encouragement over them (Make sure you risk assess this beforehand and supervise it carefully).
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