Aim: By working through the various activities, young people should begin to understand success from a biblical perspective. Introduction: Success is almost always portrayed as a positive thing. If you set a goal, and achieve it. then it’s good — the world tells us. Yet that isn’t what the bible teaches. To introduce the story of the Tower of Babel. Taken from the BB Juniors Pro Pack S-2-2
Jenga (or similar) game
Table and two chairs
• Two plates/cutlery set up adequate supervision. for dinner’.
• Script (provided as template — or you could improvise!
• Post it notes
• Marker pens/pencils
Activity 1 - Comes Before A Fall
Read Genesis 11:1-9 to the group and then explain that they’re going to help act out the story, so they need to remember what happens.
• Have two children start building the tower from the bricks you have and as they are doing so, ask the others what happened next?
• Explain that God ‘confused their language’ so they couldn’t communicate and, although you can’t do that today; you are going to make it a little bit harder.
• At this point, destroy the tower and ask two other children to have a go.
• This time, blindfold them. It should prove difficult (though probably not impossible!) to build the tower,
• At this point, God’s response to this seemingly innocuous tower building may seem a little strange.
• The people set a target (build a tower), and were working towards it — it seems like a success story! Ask: So what made God act like this? If necessary, read out verse 4: Then they said, Tome, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth,”
• Point out that in this verse the reason that they are building the tower is very clear they wanted to make a name for themselves. They wanted to be known as having the highest. best tower.
• Spend a few moments reflecting with the children on the sorts of things we might do just to draw attention to ourselves: Wanting the latest clothing! computer game Wanting to be popular’ / trying to get in with the in crowd at school.
The final thing to impress is the most critical: That none of these things by themselves are
problematic. Perhaps some of the children do have the latest computer game. That isn’t
displeasing to God, in the same way that building a tower wasn’t the thing that grieved God.
Rather, it was the fact they were doing it so people would look to them and say how great they
were. in the same way, God doesn’t want us to do any of these things to seek the approval of
the people around us.
Try and continue explaining the story/consequences while they are building the tower the first and second time. It keeps the devotions moving and the children engaged.
One of the take away points here is that God did a fairly extreme thing. This was one community of people, united in tradition, geography and language. Language is the glue of community, allowing interactions and growth. God took that away from them. You can help explore this point a little more by only allowing the two children to use one hand each and/or no talking. It makes the illustration even funnier but also reinforces the story. God took drastic action. Why? Because their attitude was all wrong.
Activity 2 - Attitude Matters
Photocopy script if you are using it. Select two children (or ask for volunteers) who would be willing to act out the mini-sketch and perhaps let them have a read through.
This can be a follow on activity from ‘Pride Comes before a Fall” or a separate one in its own right. Set the scene for the sketch: It is dinner time and a parent and child have sat down to have dinner. The child has other
CHILD: (Throws cutlery down) I HATE carrots
PARENT: They’re good for you, eat up.
CHILD: (Stands up) I won’t. They’re horrible.
PARENT: (Shouts) Sit down.
PARENT: Sit down or you are going to your bedroom
CHILD: (Sits down) — But I’m still standing up in my head.
After the sketch, thank your actors and ask the group what they saw.
Q. Did the child do what he was told? (Well, literally yes! He was told to sit down and did)
Q. If you were the parent, would you be happy with the child’s reaction (Probably notl Why?)
The take away point for the child is that we might do what we are asked, but our thinking can
still be wrong. Our attitude DOES matter. The attitude of the people of Babel mattered, and our
attitude matters in all the big and small things we do.
In everything we do:
Playing games at BB, coming to church, doing school work, talking to friends: There is the DOING part, and that’s obvious: When we play games, the DOING part is kicking the ball or when working it might be writing or drawing. But at the same time, everything has a THINKING part. When we’re playing football, do we want to win, whatever it takes? When we come to church, is it only because we have to? God knew the people of Babel had the wrong THINKING, so he stopped them.
If you can get a run through (2minutesl) with your actors, you can make sure they know what they have to do. Depending on the children, it might work better just to brief them on what they have to say instead of letting them read a script.
Activity 3 - God > Success
• Introduce Paul to the group.
• Explain that he was around shortly after Jesus and was a leader in the church as well as a church planter and missionary. The Bible tells us that Paul was known as Saul before his conversion, and persecuted the early disciples of Jesus in and around Jerusalem. While travelling from Jerusalem to Damascus the resurrected Jesus appeared to him in a great light. Saul was struck blind, but after three days his sight was restored by Ananias of Damascus. and Paul began to preach that Jesus was the Messiah and the Son of God.
• In addition to that he wrote lots of letters which can be found in the New Testament.
• Explain that when they get older they might want to apply for a job and would need to write a CV listing all their achievements. What might they put on it if they had to do it today?
• Give each child a piece of paper and ask them write two things they are pleased to have achieved.
• When they are done, ask whether or not they think Paul had a good’ list of achievements and then read them Philippians 3:4-6. After you’ve read it. stop to pick out (or see if they can remember) some of his qualifications’. As you do, write them on a sticky note and put up on the wall in front of the group.
• Tribe of Benjamin: Israel’s first King came from this tribe and it was greatly esteemed.
• Pharisee: A very religious sect that followed their own rules in addition to the law of Moses.
• Persecuted the church: He hadn’t believed that Jesus could be the Messiah and so had persecuted Christians as heretics.
For full details see BB Juniors Pro Pack S2-2