Monday, September 14, 2009

    BACK TO SCHOOL: The Body of Christ

    In this short discussion starter, written for middle school youth but adaptable for other ages, the participants explore the idea that the church as the Body of Christ only exists as we come together in community, each sharing our own unique gifts for ministry.
    • Youth will discuss the body of Christ metaphor in 1st Corinthians.
    • Youth will identify particular gifts they can use for ministry.
    • Youth will create a body mural identifying ways they can work together as “the body of Christ” in the coming school year.

    Getting Ready – Using a set of post-it notes on which are written different parts of the body, place a post-it on the back of each person. Explain that they will have three minutes to figure out which body part they are by asking anyone else a Yes or No question. A few quick rules: You may not directly ask if you are _____ body part. You may not ask more than one question of the same person in a row.
    Alternative: Get a used Jenga-style game. Write words on each block representing different gifts, ministries, activities within the church (e.g. pastor, teacher, communion, mission, choir, singing, praying, etc.). Invite the youth to help you brainstorm other examples and write those on other blocks. Proceed to play the game, removing one block at a time from the tower of blocks, inviting youth to see this as symbolic of what it would be like if we removed any of these gifts or ministries from the life of the church. What happens when we are missing different gifts?

    Digging In – Explain that today you’re going to consider what Paul, a writer in the New Testament and leader of the early Church, meant when he described the Church as being like the body of Christ. Brainstorm with the class first by asking them to consider in what ways we might see the Church as being like a human body.

    Next, invite youth to read with you the passage from 1 Corinthians 12 (consider using the version from “The Message” – a Bible in contemporary language) and consider what this tells us about what the church should be like.

    Ask: What if your eyes decided to take a vacation and not work for awhile? How would that change the way you do things? What if your feet decided to stop working? How would that change the way you live? How are we different as a Church or as a youth group if someone is missing? What sorts of things can we do as a whole group, that we couldn't’t do (or at least not as well) by ourselves? How does the Church benefit from having all sorts of people with different gifts and talents?

    Applying it! Ask for a volunteer to lay down on a large sheet of paper and trace their outline. Write at the top of the sheet “The Body of Christ.” Pass out markers and invite the group to work together labeling how they might use different parts of the body to be in ministry to each other, the Church, or the world in the coming year together. For example, next to the ears they might write “Listen to each other.” Next to the hand they might write “Serve food in a homeless shelter.” Next to the mouth they might write “Invite people to youth group.” Next to the feet they might write “Go and help in the community garden.”

    When they finish, invite each person to consider their own gifts/talents/abilities for ministry and to write their name on or next to the body parts that represent ways they can be involved in ministry. For example, they might put their name next to the mouth if they would be comfortable calling people to remind them to come to youth group. Or they might put their name by the knees if they are open to praying for the group.

    Heading Out! Affirm the importance of each person in the group as part of the Body of Christ and part of this fellowship where they come to learn from each other. Offer a prayer of thanks for the chance to be part of the body of Christ and asking God to help each person understand their particular gifts for ministry.



    nathan said...

    Man I really love this idea. Another game I play when talking about the body of Christ is called "Drop Out". You grab 10 random items from the room (poles, books, pencil, trash can lid, etc) and have 10 kids stand in a circle and play music while they pass the item one at a time around the circle. When someone drops an item they are out but the item stays. Eventually you have 3 people holding 10 items and its hilarious! But it shows that when people leave our church there is still a task to be completed and its harder if they are not there! Thanks for the idea!

    Brian said...

    Hey Nathan. Thanks for commenting. I love the "drop out" idea. I'm hosting a youth lock-in on Friday and that is definitely going into the list of activities. Thanks for sharing!

    Paul said...

    Hey there, just wanted to say thanks for your blog. The community building and peacebuilding feel of your thoughts and ideas is really refreshing!
    -Paul in Canada

    Andre said...

    Hey Brian. Thanks for this wonderful idea. It is so important that our young people see themselves as part of the body of Christ. Also it gives them a purpose to be part of youth group. It is not just coming to youth group to recieve something but also about serving together! And that is awesome! Andre from South-Africa