Stephen Taylor is putting up a daily Lenten game series on Twitter. In this series he is showing how the board games we love can connect us with the God who loves us. This youth group lesson is based off of one of his posts. You can see all of them by following him on Twitter (@SteTaylorGamer) or check out his blog Games For All.
Learning Game: Clue
Clue is the classic deduction game where players try to figure out who killed Mr. Body, what means were used, and what room it occurred in. The game plays three to six players. If there are more students than that multiple games will need to be ran. Fortunately, this is a common game and finding thrift store copies for less than five dollars is not hard.
Many of the students will probably have played this game before but it will be important to run quickly through the rules. It is highly recommended to use a quick play variant to speed up the game. The simplest one to use is add four to whatever a player rolls for movement.
Play until someone successfully solves the crime and wins the game. Playing with sped up movement this should take twenty to thirty minutes.
Post Game Debrief:
Throughout this lesson several of the questions have “facilitator instructions”. These are meant to be helpful tips for the person guiding the conversation . After playing the game use the following questions to prompt discussion and to set up the deeper discussion on the scripture:
1. In general do you like solving mysteries and deduction? Why or why not?
2. What was your strategy for figuring out who did it in the game we played?
Facilitator Instructions: In talking about the game a few key points that will be referenced later should be introduced. First, all of the information needed to win the game was present it just had to be discovered. Second, finding the answer was a process that required engagement.
Before discussing the scripture, the students should be reminded that the books of the bible were written by people to intended audiences with the purpose of communicating a specific message. If the group consists of older students then a good way to introduce this is to ask “What is a thesis statement?” Point out that the scripture from the beginning of John functions a bit as his thesis statement for the gospel. Read John 1:1-14 and then use the following questions to prompt discussion:
1. Based off of this scripture, what do you think the primary point John is going to try to make in his gospel?
Facilitator Instructions: There are numerous answers, but verses 1 and 14 can sum it up the best. Jesus is the word of God who became flesh and lived on earth. It is commonly understood that the main point of John’s gospel is Jesus is God.
2. If you were writing a gospel and if you wanted to make the point that Jesus is divine, then what kind of stories would you want to include to make that point?
Facilitator Instructions: It is possible that some of the students might have a high biblical literacy and be able to give detailed answers about what they know the gospel of John includes. However, it is also likely the students do not have much knowledge about the gospel’s details. If that is the case, encourage the students to creatively think about the kind of details they would want to make sure are included. If someone mentions miracles, use that as a segue to the next question.
3a. How many miracles do you think the gospel of John includes?
Facilitator Instructions: After guessing, share with the students that church tradition recognizes seven miracles (not including the resurrection).
3b. Does it surprise you that the number of miracles are so low? Why?
Divide the students into seven groups to have them look at the miracles. If the group is smaller in size, it might be helpful to have them divide into three groups and have each group look up at least two miracles. Assign the following scriptures for students to look up in their bibles:
1. John 2:1-11 2. John 4:46-54 3. John 5:5-15 4. John 6:5-14 5. John 6:16-21 6. John 9:1-7 7. John 11:21-27; 38-43
After the groups have reviewed these seven miracles ask the following question:
4. How did the miracles you looked support the divinity of Jesus?
Facilitator instruction: In these miracles Jesus shows a power over the natural world, a power to heal miraculously, and even a power over death. Point out that John, on more than occasion, refers to these as signs. As signs these are meant to point to the divinity of Christ.
Point out that John 21:25 is the very last verse in the gospel. Read the verse to the group and then ask the following question:
5. According to this verse, Jesus did much more than we know but John only listed seven miracles to show his divinity. Why do you think this is?
Facilitator instruction: This is the main point that connects back to the game. In Clue to win the game only three pieces of information are needed. The players, for instance, do not need to know the time the murder was committed. If John’s primary point was to show that Jesus was God and the divine Christ walked on earth, these seven miracles gave the necessary information to arrive to that conclusion.
6. Do you think that John gave enough evidence to support his “thesis” about Jesus? Is there anything else you might have wanted included?
Facilitator Instruction: With a younger group, you may want to consider skipping this question. To answer it requires some more abstract reasoning skills. For an older group, challenge them really consider this question. If they say “yes” then follow up by asking them to state why they that is so.
7. If someone wanted to know more about Jesus and the divinity of Jesus where would they look beyond these seven miracles?
Facilitator Instruction: This is a softball question because the answer is obviously the bible. However, this question sets up the facilitator to make the closing point. Scripture contains all things necessary for salvation. Just like the game Clue contains all of the information to solve the crime, the scripture contains all that we need to know about God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit to be reconciled to god and forgiven of sins. In Clue, save a lucky guess, players have to go through the effort to gather the information to solve the crime. In the same way, for us to more fully know who God is we have to go through the effort to seek those truths in the scripture. Hopefully, this exploration of the seven miracles in John helped the students learn how to better do that.