YOUTH GROUP GAME ON GOD'S GUIDANCE
Written by Mike Sheley
Bible: Proverbs 16:9; Psalm 119:105
Bottom Line: God guides us in our everyday life, one step at a time, as we follow Him.
- Three “Connect 4” Game Sets
- Three extra sets of checkers that are a different color from the two colors in the Connect 4 sets
- Most checkers come in black and red
- Some new game sets for Connect 4 include a yellow set
- If you need a different color for the third set, you can search Amazon, collect old checkers, or purchase some new ones and use paint to make them whatever color you want
- One, 6 or 8-foot Table
- Six Chairs
- Background Music
- For the lesson portion, you will need pre-printed copies of Proverbs 16:9 and Psalm 119:105.
Set up a 6 or 8-foot table with three “Connect 4” stands sitting side-by-side.
On each long side of the table, place three chairs - each facing one of the stands.
HOW TO PLAY THE GAME
Divide your group into three teams and have them line-up in three single-file lines.
Let each group know which color checker represents their team.
For this game, the first two people in each line will have a seat at the table.
They cannot sit side-by-side or across from someone on the same team.
The purpose of the game is to connect as many checkers as they can, in a row horizontally, vertically, or diagonally of their color.
Defensively, their goal is to block as many connections from the other two teams as possible.
Players can only use checkers of the color assigned to their team.
When the music starts, they will take turns putting in one checker at a time.
You can only play one checker at a time.
You have to wait for your opponent to drop in a checker before you can add another one.
This all sounds pretty familiar, but, of course, we are spicing things up a bit.
When the music stops, everyone must move one seat to the right.
If you are in the farthest seat on the right, you will go to the end of your team’s line and a new person from your team will take the empty seat on the far left.
When the music begins, play resumes.
At the end of the game, the team that has the most connections of four or more checkers of their color, in a row, will win.
If there is a tie, the one with the longest connection(s) in the tie will be the champion.
Say: Ready? Go!
Have someone play upbeat music in the background.
Randomly stop the music at intervals of 10-30 seconds.
At the end of the game, congratulate your champion!
Remember to look at all three boards.
Whichever color has the most connections of four or more in a row will be your winner.
If there is a tie, then see which one has the longest connection in a row.
Say: Many of you have probably played Connect 4 before.
But, I doubt any of you have played it like that!
The easiest round of that game was when you were the first one to play and you could drop your checker anywhere.
A new beginning feels good - the beginning of the year, and the beginning of a new school year are always filled with hope because you have a fresh start.
But, today, we're going to take this opportunity to check-in and see if the steps you are taking in your everyday life lead you towards God’s best for your life.
Hand out the pre-printed copies of Proverbs 16:9 and Psalm 119:105 to the students and ask for a volunteer to read each of the verses when they are to be read during the lesson.
Read Proverbs 16:9.
If I was to summarize this verse I would say, "We can make all the plans we want, but God shows us each step along the way."
So, that makes me wonder: If I want to follow God’s lead in my life, how do I know which steps he wants me to take?
Allow a few responses from students.
Let's think about the game for a minute.
It would have been awesome if before the game started, I had given you a picture of how the completed stand full of checkers was going to look and you could just drop in your checkers where they needed to go.
And what if I had even shown you where to drop the checkers for each individual round... that would have been more like me helping you one step at a time.
Check out this next verse where we find out exactly how God does this for us.
Have a student read the verse.
Read Psalm 119:105.
The author of this Psalm, or song, in the Bible says that “God’s Word,” or the Bible, guides us.
In this passage, the “lamp” or “light,” is like a modern-day flashlight.
He emphasizes this by saying the same thing a little differently – It’s a “lamp to guide my feet” and it’s a “light for my path.”
Some of us wish God gave us a big spotlight.
Maybe you've started thinking about what you will do someday after you graduate high school.
It would be amazing if God gave us specifics about our future - like telling us what career we should choose, who we should marry, where we should live, etc.
But, here's what God does... He shows you how to live your everyday life, one day at a time.
And as you follow Him every step of the way, He leads you.
Following God’s guidance and making wise choices in our everyday lives is like making connections in the game we played - getting our checkers lined up in a row.
How do you get a long streak of connecting what God wants you to do multiple days in a row?
You spend time in the Bible so that you will be able to see how God is guiding you, one step at a time.
So, remember - God shows us in the Bible how to live our lives one day at a time so that no matter what our big plans are, we’ll live in such a way that we honor God and help others get to know Him.
Let’s commit to spending more time reading the Bible so we can live more days the way God wants us to.
Close in prayer.
Written by Mike Sheley. Mike is the Middle School Pastor at Mount Pleasant Christian Church in Greenwood, Indiana, where he oversees their ministries for 5th-8th graders. He’s been in full-time youth ministry over 15 years with most of that time focused on preteens and junior highers.