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BIBLE PASSAGE: Matthew 13:1-9
BACKGROUND: A parable is a story with many layers of meaning. Jesus used a lot of parables in his teaching, but he rarely explained them. However, Jesus does give an explanation for the parable of the sower. Before the session, reflect on verses 18 to 23 and listen to what God is saying, both to you and to the young people.
Welcome the group to the session and share out any refreshments you have brought. Catch up with how the young people are and how their week has gone. Ask the group what they have been listening to this week. What has been good? Is there anything they have struggled to pay attention to?
Play a couple of rounds of Chinese whis- pers. Try using sentences such as: “There are bears playing with red balloons in the shopping area outside Tesco!” or “How many matches make a match for a perfect match of a box of a million matches?”
After the game, ask them how easy it was to get every word right. What made it hard and what made it easy?
You will need: actors to perform the script below
If you have time before the session, ask your volunteers to rehearse this dramatic reading. If time allows you could do the rehearsals as part of the session, exploring emotions and motivations as you rehearse:
N1: Jesus told a story about a farmer.
N2: A farmer who sowed seeds in his field.
N1: Some fell along the path.
N2: A rocky path.
N1: And the birds of the air swooped on in.
N2: And gobbled the lot.
Birds: KERCHING! GET IN!
N2: Some fell on rocky places. N1: Where the soil was shallow. N2: The seed sprang up quickly. N1: And died quickly.
N2: Because it had no root!
N1: Quickly…on to the next seed.
N2: The seed that fell among the thorns.
N1: Which quickly grew up.
N2: And quickly choked the seed.
N1: Quicker than quick.
N2: Some seed fell onto good soil.
N1: That quickly grew.
N2: And stayed as good as new.
N1: When the rain fell… N2: And the sun shone… N1: The harvest was full. N2: The harvest was done.
Split into four groups and give each group one of the areas where the seed landed. Ask them to quickly recap why the seed did or didn’t thrive. Then ask each group to discuss how that relates to the way people hear and respond to God’s word.
Ask for feedback from the four groups.
If people aren’t quite sure at this stage, there is no need to worry because the people who first heard Jesus say this were a bit confused as well.
Discuss the story using these questions:
- Which type of ground do you identify with the most?
- What does this parable tell you about God?
- What does this parable tell you about you?
- What is this parable really about?
You will need: four large sheets of paper; Post-it notes; pens
Spread the large sheets of paper out around the room and write at the top of each one the different ground the seed fell on. Set out piles of Post-it notes so the group can write and stick on the different big sheets. (You might want to give people the option of keeping the Post-its private). Give the group time to write and stick the Post-it notes onto the sheets.
The idea is to encourage people to see how they engage with God’s word and how they put it into practice. You may want to help them consider how and if they want to get help in overcoming areas of struggle and weakness.
You will need: sheets of paper and Post-it notes from ‘Creative prayer’; packet of seeds (large ones such as sunflower or pumpkin seeds)
Before you say this prayer, allow the group a moment of quiet to respond to the Post-it notes they have written and the things
in their lives they want to get rid of. (It’s important to note that some big issues may come out in this session.)
Give each person a seed to hold. Ask them to close their eyes and listen to the prayer:
Father God, thank you that you give us your living word. Please help us not to ignore, neglect or reject it. Please help us to listen carefully and respond wisely, to
not let worries get in the way or any other distraction to stop us putting into action what you say.
Thank you that your word living in us will grow the best harvest; the best kind of life we can ever wish to see. Amen.
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