A charitable organization that I support regularly is the Jack Vasel Memorial Fund. This organization helps members of the gaming community in their time of need. This fund is a way that gamers can help gamers when they need it the most. Every year the organization has a big charity auction. I did not have much to offer, but I did offer one of the things I know how to do the best. For the auction I donated a custom Sunday school/small group auction using a game. The winner could pick any game of their choice, and I would find a way to make it work. This year, the winner picked Fresco. Instead of sending the lesson just to him, he requested that I post it publicly.
Note to Facilitators: Fresco is a game for 2-4 players. It is possible to have partners work together, and in doing so the game could be artificially increased to allow eight players. The game also has a longer play time. For that reason this lesson really works best in a young adult/adult small group setting.
Scripture: Colossians 3:12-17
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do,whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Main Point: It can be very easy in life to get distracted from following Jesus and glorifying him in all things. However, we can do this better if we help and encourage one another.
Learning Game: Fresco
This is a European style board game that involves players using worker pawns to take action. Players will be acquiring paint, mixing the paint, and then using the paint to restore a Fresco in a renaissance church. For the purposes of this lesson it is important to thoroughly explain the theme, and this should be explained with a good deal of embellishment. For example, it could be mentioned that the players have been hired to restore the beautiful artwork so that the majesty and beauty of the repaired sanctuary will help the faithful better worship.
If this is being played with players who are not familiar with non-hobby games, this might be somewhat difficult. There are a few decent “how to play” videos that can be found. The game will take between forty five and ninety minutes to play.
Post Game Discussion
Once the game is over, use the following questions to begin getting the participants thinking reflectively and prompt discussion:
1. What strategies did you employ in that game? Which ones worked and which ones did not?
2. Did you find it better to make your workers happy and let them sleep in or really push them even if it made them loose happiness?
3. Were you more focused on getting the painting done so the church was complete or were you more focused on getting the most points?
Facilitator Instructions: This final question will probably catch the players off guard because in the course of playing the game the theme becomes very secondary to the mechanisms of the game and the goal of winning. If this effect is especially pronounced with this group of participants, then it should be pointed out.
4. Why do you think it was so easy to become more focused on winning than on getting the Fresco completed?
Facilitator Instructions: It could be argued that the reason is because the goal is to win. However, in the teaching of the game it should have been heavily emphasized that the players are working to restore the Fresco in a church all for the glory of God. However, as players got focused on the objective, winning became everything. This is the pivot question that leads into the scripture.
Read Colossians 3:12-17, and then use the following questions to prompt discussion:
1. Look at verse 17. How well do you do at living that out? Is it really possible to do everything in the name of the Lord?
2. What are some of the things that keep us from living this verse out?
Facilitator Instruction: Participants could names any number of things. This is the major connection between this scripture and the game. In the game, players become so focused on winning that the theme becomes secondary. In life our focus also gets distracted. We get so focused on making money, on pursuing relationships, on trivial distractions, that we cannot do all things in the name of the Lord, because essentially we are doing all things in our names.
3. How do we go about doing all things in the name of the Lord?
Facilitator Instruction: This is where the rest of this scripture is helpful. Verses 12-15 state we should be compassionate, kindness, humble, gentle, and patient. We should be willing to forgive and above all else love. If we were to do this, and if we allowed these virtues to be present in our lives, then no matter what we are doing we would be doing it in the name of the Lord because our behavior will be glorifying and properly representing Jesus Christ.
4. As you look at the virtues stated in verses 12-14, which one is the hardest for you to “clothe yourself” in?
5. Look at verse 16, why is it important that the message of Christ dwell among you?
Facilitator Instruction: The idea here is that within the group of the church of Colossae, the regularly reminded and taught one another the message of Jesus love and forgiveness. This could be connected back to the game, because it is important to keep the workers happy. In the game happy workers are essential to success, so it is important to use actions to invest in happiness at times. In the same way, we have to be intentional as believers in reminding one another of the joy we should have in Christ so that we may be able to give thanks in all things.
6. How can this group teach and admonish one another so that everyone maybe able to do everything as if for the Lord?
Facilitator Instruction: The scripture mentions, hymns and songs. If the group is struggling to answer this question, a follow up could be how could music help do this?
7. This week, what is a way that in either word or deed you can better do all things in the name of the Lord Jesus?
Facilitator Instruction: It might be helpful if a facilitator has their own answer ready in case any of the participants do not have an answer.