This is a full youth group lesson that can work in a variety of settings. The lesson is intended for 10 to 20 students, but it could be adapted for more. Ideally, any youth group leader could take this lesson and successfully implement it with a little prep time.
14 “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:
These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. 15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.
19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. 20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.
21 To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne.
Main Point: Our faith can always be described as hot, lukewarm, or cold. The temperature of our faith is determined by how passionate we are about loving God and how much of ourselves we devote to God.
Learning Game Speed Run (15-30 minutes)
A whole sub-culture in the video game hobby is speed runs. Speed runs are all about making it through a game as fast as possible. While many games can be done as a speed run, this hobby found its start in the side scrolling games of the 8-bit and 16-bit era. Those games are still especially good for speed runs.
Pick a game and have the youth attempt their own speed run. In a perfect world, it would be ideal to use the original consoles for these older games such as a Nintendo Entertainment System or a Sega Genesis. If those are not available older games can be downloaded on newer consoles. If using a Wii, the original Super Mario Bros. can be downloaded. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 can be downloaded on either the Xbox 360/Xbox One or the PlayStation 3.
Have the youth attempt to complete the first stage of the game. Each student gets one attempt, and if they lose their life they are out. When a student completes the level record the time it takes to complete the level. The student which completes it the fastest is the winner.
Allow as many youth who wish to try to make it through the first level of Sonic 2. The goal is to go as fast as possible. If a player dies they are done, and everyone can only try once. Award a prize to the winner.
Post Game Discussion starter (5-10 minutes)
The goal of this discussion is to use the game exerpeince to get the students to begin thinking critically. These questions also set up the deeper, scripture based discussion. Ask the following questions to prompt discussion:
1. What would you say is your most played video game? How many hours would you guess you have played it?
2. How has all of that time translated to skill?
Explain that one of the ways people play video games is by doing speed runs, this is where someone seeks to get through a game as fast as possible. For example, the current record for Sonic 2 is 15:08, and the current record for Super Mario Bros. 4:57. If time allows the video of that speed run can be shown:
3. How much practice do you think it would take to get down a run like that?
4. What do you think motivates someone to do things like speed runs?
Bible Discussion(25-30 minutes)
The goal here is to use the discussion questions to allow the students to explore the themes and teachings of the bible on their own. Leaders should facilitate the discussion and not dominate it. To help the leader's guide the discussion, there are facilitator points and extra information that might be helpful to share. Use the following questions to prompt discussion:
1. What are some things that you are passionate about?
2. What is the difference between liking something and being passionate about it?
Facilitator Instruction: It is important to make the distinction between liking something and being passionate about it. Often the things we are passionate about mean a great deal to us. If we are passionate we have no problem pouring time and resources into it. Our passions helps define us, and people know us about what we are passionate about.
Read Revelation 3:14-21
Facilitator Instruction: It could be really helpful to give the students some background context to this scripture. The church of Laodicea was very comfortable, and we get a sense from this scripture that the church functioned a bit like a social club. The city of Laodicea was well known for being the head of banking in the area, a textile hub, and the city was known for a famous eye salve. In verse 18, the source of their confidence and pointed out how it was making them spiritually poor.
Re-read verse 15 for the next several questions.
3. In your opinion what does a hot faith look like?
4. what makes someone have a hot faith?
Facilitator Instruction: A hot faith is a passionate faith. The connection should be made back to the speed runs. A hot faith is one that is as dedicated to God as a speed run player is to getting the fastest time. Like a fire, a faith stays hot if it is consistently given fuel. We give it fuel by staying in love with God through prayer, worship, reading scripture, and the sacraments.
5. What does a lukewarm faith look like?
6 What causes someone to have a lukewarm faith?
Facilitator Instruction: A lukewarm faith is a casual faith. Again, this can be connected back to the video games. A lot of the students probably play video games, but very of them are dedicated enough to get good enough to do speed runs. They are more casual video game fans. They enjoy the activity but they are not passionate about it. Someone has a lukewarm faith when they feel the same way about their faith. The enjoyment and some level of commitment might be there, but there is no passion.
7. What does a cold faith look like?
Facilitator Instruction: A cold faith is a non-existent faith. Once again this can be tied back to the video game illustration. Chances are someone failed and made the comment about how they never play these kinds of video games.
8. Why do you think Jesus prefers a hot or cold faith compared to a lukewarm faith?
9. This scripture says that Jesus is at the door and knocking. If you answered it, how would your faith change?
Facilitator Instruction: If a faith is cold it can only heat up. A lukewarm faith though is usually content to be lukewarm and not change. Even the most dedicated, passionate student probably has room to grow, so everyone can always answer Jesus' invitation to add more fuel to the fire and have a more passionate faith.
Closing Worship (5 minutes)
Toby Mac sings about how it feels to answer that door and let Jesus in. This is true regardless of our faith is hot, lukewarm, or cold. Invite the youth to consider where their faith and where they want it to be as they listen to the song. Have the students listen to or have someone lead Burn for you by Toby Mac.