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Looking for Answers Session goals:
In this session, students will
participate in a bond-building activity
attempt to provide evidence that Jesus is God, that the Bible can be trusted, and that Jesus rose from the dead
assess their confidence in God and in their ability to answer tough questions about God
receive the challenge to investigate the evidence for the case for Christ
Activity Materials needed Approximate time
1. Opener: Line Up. Students masking tape 5 to 10 minutes will work together in small groups to meet challenges, then begin to think about their level of confidence.
2. Sharing: Confidence none 15 to 20 minutes Questions. In small groups, students will tell about experiences and explore their confidence in God and in their ability to answer tough questions about God.
3. Role Plays: Facing the Bibles 20 to 25 minutes Challenge. Students will be challenged to provide evidence that Jesus is God, that the Bible can be trusted, and that Jesus rose from the dead.
4. Debriefing: Starting the one copy of The Case 5 to 10 minutes Investigation. Students will for Christ-Student assess their confidence in Edition for each responding to tough questions student about Jesus and receive Lee Strobel's challenge to investigate the evidence for the case for Christ.
1. Opener: Line Up
Form groups of about eight. (It's okay to have only one group.) Put a strip of masking tape on the floor near each group and instruct the groups to line up, single-file, on their tape lines. Then give instructions like these: Imagine that the line you are standing on is a construction beam twelve stories up in the air. If you step off the line, you step off the beam. When I give the signal, you must rearrange yourselves without stepping off the beam so that you are lined up alphabetically by first name. Go.
Watch the groups to make sure they don't step on the floor beside the line. When all the groups are done, give them instructions for a second round: From this point on, you may not talk. You are still on the beam, still twelve stories up. But now you must line up by birthday, without talking and without stepping off the beam. Go.
When all the groups are done, debrief with questions like these:
What made this activity challenging?
How well did you work together? What did you do to help each other?
What problems did you have working together?
If you had really been up twelve stories, how much confidence would you have had?
2. Sharing: Confidence Questions
Have students form groups of three. Give instructions like these: I will give you a sentence to finish. Take turns talking and listening until everyone in your small group has a chance to finish the sentence. When I say stop, listen for the next sentence to complete. If someone didn't get to finish the sentence before, let that person talk first next time.
When I was eight years old, one of the people I had the most confidence in was ...
When I was in sixth grade, the ability or quality I felt the most confident about was ...
The first time I remember thinking about God as someone to put my confidence in was ...
On a scale of one to ten, I would rate my confidence about explaining what I believe as a ...
3. Role Plays: Facing the Challenge
Have students form pairs (it's okay to have one trio). Give each pair a Bible. Tell them to choose one person to be the "asker" in a role play and the other to be the "answerer." Explain that you'll provide the initial question, which the "answerer" should answer. The "asker" can ask follow-up and clarification questions until you call time.
This activity is more than just a fun way for students to interact. Working together to solve a shared problem can be the first step in building community for a group where not everyone has been together before or strengthening community in a group that has already built relationships.
Make sure students understand the instructions, then ask, I've heard some people say that Jesus is God, but others say that Jesus never claimed to be God at all-people said that about him later. Which is right? If Jesus said he was God, show me or tell me where.
After thirty seconds or a minute, have partners change roles. Invite the new "answerer" to add to what the first "answerer" already said (if anything).
Continue asking questions and giving each partner a chance to answer, using as many of the following questions or statements as you can:
I agree with you that Jesus was a great moral teacher. But why should I believe he was God?
Even if Jesus did say he was God, why should I believe him? He could just be lying.
Suppose Jesus did claim to be God, and suppose he really believed it. Mental hospitals are full of people who think they're Winston Churchill or Gandhi or someone they're not. What's to say that Jesus wasn't crazy?
I know that Christians talk about miracles, but that's unscientific. I've heard that when Jesus seemed to be doing miracles he was actually hypnotizing people to think they'd seen a miracle. Doesn't that seem a lot more likely than a miracle? I was talking to a Jewish friend about Jesus and prophecies about the Messiah. My friend said Jesus did a bunch of things from the prophecies to fool people into thinking he was the Messiah. Is that true?
Even if Jesus did fulfill Old Testament prophecies, it was probably just a coincidence.
Why do you believe the Bible?
What makes you think the people who wrote the Bible didn't just make it up?
I've heard that at first the stories about Jesus weren't written down. By the time they were, they had grown into legends. That's why the Bible claims Jesus did miracles and rose from the dead. How can you believe the Bible when it's full of contradictions? For instance, Matthew and Luke both say that Jesus healed a Roman commander's servant. But Matthew says the commander asked Jesus to do it and Luke says the commander sent others to ask. How do you explain that?
I know enough about the Bible to know that the original manuscripts are lost. All we have are copies of copies of copies, and at first all those copies were made by hand. That's how a lot of mistakes got into the Bible.
Why even bother about the Bible? What does it have to do with me?
If Jesus really lived, I would expect that someone besides the Bible authors would have written about him. Did anyone?
Is there any archaeological evidence that the Bible is true? If so, what?
What makes the Bible any more trustworthy than the Book of Mormon?
Is there any evidence today that Jesus is real?
Why do you think Jesus came back to life after he died? I've heard that Jesus didn't really die on the cross. He fainted and looked dead, but after lying in the cool air of the tomb he revived and left. That's why they couldn't find a body there.
I've also heard that the disciples stole Jesus' body. That makes a lot of sense to me. Do you have any reason I shouldn't believe it?
All those stories about people seeing Jesus alive after he died are just legends that grew over time.
If people really did believe they saw Jesus, I bet they were hallucinating.
When people thought they saw Jesus alive after his death, maybe it was just wishful thinking. They wanted so badly to believe it, they convinced themselves that he was alive.
What difference does it make to people today whether or not Jesus came back from the dead 2,000 years ago?
4. Debriefing: Starting the Investigation
Gather students together and debrief the role-play experience with questions like these:
How confident did you feel about responding to the questions and statements in the role plays?
Have you ever been in a similar situation? If so, tell us about it.
Which of the questions do you most wish you had the answers to?
Hand out copies of The Case for Christ-Student Edition and invite students to look them over while you introduce the author, Lee Strobel, by reading aloud the Introduction on pages 7 and 8. Ask students if they can identify with or know anyone like Lee or his friend Ersin. Invite students to accept Lee's challenge to explore the evidence in The Case for Christ so they can answer their own questions and those of their friends.
Looking Ahead ...
If you are assigning reading outside of class, have students read chapters 2, 3, and 4 of The Case for Christ-Student Edition before the next session.
If your group already has a particular way they like to pray together, work it into the session wherever it fits best. Otherwise, try one of the following ideas for group prayer:
Pass the prayer request: Recruit two volunteers to write down prayer requests and praises on separate pieces of paper as students share them. Then hand out the papers and go around the circle letting each person pray for the request or praise on his or her paper. This ensures that every request is included, and it makes praying easier for students who might stumble over what to say without the prompt of the paper.
Partner prayer: Have students form pairs and pray for one another. They may choose to share requests stemming from the session (perhaps a question that troubles them, praise for a new insight, or prayer for a friend with whom they want to share Christ) or share more general requests.
Prayer for seeking friends: If your group is made up of Christians, you may wish to focus your prayer for seeking or unbelieving friends. If students can't identify such people in their lives, pray that God will open their eyes to those who need to hear about Christ.
Excerpted from The Case for Christ/The Case for Faith-Student Edition Leader's Guide by Lee Strobel Jane Vogel Copyright © 2002 by The Zondervan Corporation. Excerpted by permission.
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Posted May 6, 2010
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