resource covers - young people (83)

Background: If God is less worried about physical appearance than the heart then maybe what he ‘sees’ is lots of little attitudes running around the Earth, rather than lots of little people - maybe he watches our changing emotions and motivations more than our actual actions or words! That image would certainly help us understand several things about this passage: God was rewarding Solomon for the passion and dedication he could see in Solomon’s heart (demonstrated by his outrageous sacrifice of 1,000 burnt offerings). Like his father David, Solomon had a heart that was fully for God - to serve him well and honour him properly; and this seems to move God, and please him.

This story marks a significant moment when God moves from dwelling in a tent (the Ark of the Covenant) to take up full time residence in a glorious new temple, the very temple whose curtain tore apart at the moment of Jesus’ death (the point at which God moves house again, taking up residence in the temple of our hearts from then on in). When you look at it on this level you can see God’s heart all through history has been desperate to dwell among us - since the fall of Adam and Eve he’s been taking steps towards a restoration of walking with us in the cool of the day like he did in Eden - what a picture of what heaven will be like! God hasn’t changed from the Old Testament to the New, to now, but there is a plan unfolding through time.


Gathering time

5 minutes

As the young people arrive, serve them the refreshments you have provided. Is there someone in your congregation who could make cake? Do you have the facilities to make toast and tea? Could you think of some healthier options? As you eat and drink together, chat about the young people’s lives - do they have anything to share? Any triumphs? Any disasters?! Share stories from your life too, if appropriate.


Game: One wish

5 minutes

You will need: pens; paper

Give each young person a pen and piece of paper. Ask them what they would ask for if they had one wish. Encourage them to write their answer down on the paper without telling anyone what it is. Collect the pieces of paper and read them out one by one. Can the group guess who wrote each answer?


Bible exploration (part one)

20 minutes

You will need: blankets; poles; cushions; pegs and bulldog clips - anything you can use to make a tent

Build a ‘temple’ together! The group will have made forts or dens, but this one needs to be the best they ever made! Use chairs, tables, blankets, boxes - go to great lengths to make it amazing: a kids’ fort powered-up to a teenage level! It also ideally should be big enough for you all to fit in comfortably to chat.

When it is done take some pictures and then sit around inside. Read the first section of the passage (2 Kings 3:1-15). Discuss the bigger picture of this story and try to encourage questioning the text, for example, asking what God is up to with all this temple stuff.


Chatting together (part one)

5 minutes

Ask the young people these questions, making sure everyone has the chance to contribute:

  • What was it about Solomon that God was so impressed by? Are you like Solomon?
  • Why was building a temple important to God? What does a temple signify?
  • What would you ask God for if he said he’d give you anything?


Bible exploration (part two)

15 minutes

Read the second section of the passage (2 Kings 3:16-28) and then split into four groups. Give each group one of the following TV shows to take on (but don’t let the other groups know): TOWIE; Made in Chelsea; Judge Rinder or Jeremy Kyle; Coronation street. Give the groups five minutes to prepare. In this persona, they must relay the story to the rest of the group (probably with one or two characters telling another one or two what happened - or possibly simply acting it out). The other groups will have to try to guess which TV show they are using.


Chatting together (part two)

10 minutes

Ask the young people these questions, making sure everyone has the chance to contribute:

  • What are your thoughts on this story?
  • What would you have said to the women to sort it out?
  • What is the difference between knowledge, intelligence and wisdom?
  • Where do you come across wisdom these days? What is the wisest thing you ever heard?


Creative response and prayer

10 minutes

You will need: paper; pens; a quiet environment

Lead the young people through a reflective thought. Ask them to close their eyes and imagine an amazing temple - bigger and more beautiful than any of the impressive palaces or landmarks you might have seen around the world on holiday or on TV.

Ask them to list five descriptive words about it on paper in front of them. Below that they should write five words to describe God from this passage.

Now they should consider that they are the temple and that God dwells in them. Look over those ten words and contemplate how that beauty and that awesomeness is living and fuelling their very being every day - even in the boring moments, it is that living God who chooses to live in your heart and share with you his own spirit in yours.

Have a moment of silence (about two minutes - long enough to be effective and get past their usual point of needing to fill quietness, but short enough that they don’t lose attention). Encourage them to say a private prayer in their own head to thank God for living inside of them.