Friday, September 21, 2018

H.S. YOUTH: Think Tank

I saw a video the other day on a site called Table Talk from the Hope Channel. It's four guys at a table who are told to bring a Bible and their brain. When they arrive they're provided a list of topics and told to discuss. There are no scripts and no rules. All I could think about is HOW COOL that would be to get the youth talking and having to defend their beliefs. Here's how it would work.

Think Tank

A card table and 4 chairs sit in the middle of the room (the Think Tank). The remaining students sit around the table. If you have a large number of students you'll want to break them up into groups so that you have more than one set of table and chairs. 

VARIATION: Put students in teams of 4. One sits in the chair and the other 3 sit behind him/her for support. They will work as a team.

The goal of this exercise is to have students discuss statements surrounding a provided topic. The students surrounding the table, or on the same team, will provide questions or information to the one in the seat to defend their belief, refute or challenge the other 3 sitting at the table. After a chosen amount of time, the person sitting at the table rotates and a new topic is chosen until everyone has had a chance to sit at the table.

Students are asked to bring their Bibles, Small Catechisms, and their brains. Instead of only giving them general topics, they are also given challenge statements. Reasons and or examples must be given for what they say. For example, if a student says, “God created evil,” he/she must also say why they believe that. 

Materials:  Students will need pencils/pens and paper. I would cut letter paper into fourths. 

Process:  Four students are sitting around a table with their Bibles and catechisms. The rest of the students are sitting around or behind them with their books and paper/pencils. They are not allowed to speak, but can pass notes. The leader/teacher introduces the topic. S/he then has a statement written on a piece of paper and reads it aloud. Each student takes a turn responding to the statement. Many of the statements are right or wrong depending on the situation or perspective. Remember that students need to respond with support of their statement. After each person has a turn responding, the students behind or circling the table can write down questions or statements furthering the discussion and pass them to their teammate or, if no teams, anyone at the table. They may also help with support, if needed. If necessary, the teacher/leader can push by asking related questions and if students are headed off in the wrong direction can step in to steer them toward the truth, especially if they veer off into social or political talk without biblical support. Some topics can become great discussions. At the end of the class or after each question, take a minute to do a wrap up so students don't leave questioning a biblical truth or where the Bible stands on an issue.

Also, you can have students send you topics they want to discuss as long as they remain in a biblical context. 

Topics to Get You Started

Good God – Bad World
            God created evil.
            Evil’s existence helps the world find God.
  The world is full of evil because God is testing us.
            God should stop evil in the world.

God is Love
            Love is accepting everything no matter what.
            Love is accepting everyone no matter what.
            If God loves everyone then everyone will be in heaven.
            Love includes discipline.
            God loves you no matter what you believe.

God’s Law
            The law is just mean and nobody needs it.
            If we’re forgiven the law doesn’t matter.
            The law leads people to the gospel.
            I can’t follow the law, so why try?
            I don’t have to follow the law to be a good Christian.

            Baptism saves you. That’s all you need.
            If you’re baptized you cannot lose your faith.
            Baptizing babies is wrong.
            We are baptized to show God our faith.

            If I don’t repent I won’t go to heaven.
            My sins are forgiven, I don’t need to repent.

            Evolution and creation can fit together.
            God’s days are longer than our days.
            Evolution makes more sense than creation.
            Believing God created the world takes more faith than evolution.
            Evolution has been proven.

Holy Communion
           The Lord's Supper is something everyone should be allowed to take.
           Telling people they can't take communion at your church is mean.
           I can take communion at my friend's church.
           The Lord's Supper is something we can do without thinking. Just do it!

The 10 Commandments
          The hardest commandment to keep is...
          The easiest commandment to keep is...
          Breaking the commandments really has no effect on my life.
          There are no consequences for not following God’s law.

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