“If God Builds It” – Group Explored Bible Study

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if-god-builds-itThis group explored bible study will talk about the building the church and its true foundations – what is the church really made of? What gives a Church, or your youth group, its foundation? This study works great for a “deeper” middle school study, but can also be used or adapted for high school students as well.

Opening Activity – 7 – 12 minutes

Supplies Needed: (This is a group activity, so each group will need a bag with these supplies)

  • 2 pieces of construction paper
  • 1 pencil
  • 2 pieces of plain copier paper
  • 1 half sheet of mailing labels
  • 1 paper plate
  • 1 pair of scissors

For the leader:

  • Tape measure
  • stopwatch or timing device

Instructions:

Divide your youth into groups of four or five (teams can be larger if needed, but no more than seven). Give each group a paper bag with the supplies listed above. It’s important that the bag be opaque so that students can’t see inside the bag.

Explain to students that they will have a set amount of time (usually 5 – 10 minutes works best) to use the supplies in the bag to build the tallest structure possible. They can only use the supplies in the bag, but they are allowed to cut, shape, bend, or anything else the supplies in any way they want (except the scissors – for safety sake!). At the end of the activity, the tallest structure wins.

Discussion (5 – 7 minutes)

  • After the activity, bring the groups together (or have three or four small groups circle up if you have a large group) and have them compare their structures. Have the group with the tallest structure describe why and how they build their structure this way and why they were able to build it as tall as they did. Then have the group with the shortest structure (or probably the structure that fell apart halfway through the activity!) explain their reasoning for building their structure the way they did and the reasons they think it wasn’t as successful.
  • Have students take a bible and read, out loud, 1 Corinthians 3:10-16. You might have them take turns.

Teaching/Commentary (5 – 10 minutes)

  • This passage is Paul’s plea for the Corinthians to come together and build a Church. The Corinthian Church was much different than what we think of as a Church today. This early Church met in peoples’ houses, which were usually small rooms no bigger than most of your bedrooms at home. Imagine 20 or 30 people packed into your bedroom, with no air conditioning! During their services they would sing songs, read scripture, and take communion.But this Corinthian community was having problems. They were arguing about whose leadership to follow. They were arguing about whose teachings to follow. Basically, they were arguing about the future of their church! Even the very first Christians argued with each other.Paul is writing this letter to the Corinthian Church to help explain why the Church should put aside their differences if they are going to honor God and grow.

Discussion (10 minutes)

  • Scan over the passage that was just read: if you had to guess, what issues do you think the Corinthians were arguing about? What verse clue you into those arguments?
  • Think of a time when you have had a disagreement with someone? What was the cause of the disagreement? Was it a serious disagreement or something that later turned out to be minor? How was it resolved?

Teaching/Commentary (5 minutes)

  • Paul uses the concept of a building to describe how the Corinthian church started. A building isn’t usually built by one person – there are architects, construction workers, electricians, roofers, and many more than work on a building. Each has a specific gift or skill they bring to the work.

Discussion (10 minutes)

  • Imagine if you had to go out and build a church today, where would you start? What would be the most important pieces?
  • Relate the structure you built to the pieces, materials, or people you would need to build a church (i.e. – the base of your structure might represent worship, or scripture, or mission, etc.). What pieces of your church might be missing that would make it less sturdy?

Teaching/Commentary (5 minutes)

  • Have students read 1 Corinthians 1:18-22.
  • The core of this passage teaches that the first thing necessary to build a Church is faith and unity in Jesus Christ. Paul urges the Corinthians to remember that they all belong to Jesus Christ, even if they have differences. They will be stronger and more faithful when they focus on this truth.

Discussion (5 – 10 minutes)

  • In what ways does your own Church show that it builds itself around Jesus. How do you show everyone that they all belong to Jesus?
  • In what ways could your church (or youth group) do better? What actions can you take this (week, month, year) to make that happen?

Closing Prayer

God of grace, help our church to be strong in Your son, Jesus. Help us discern where the Holy Spirit is working, and give us the strength to follow wherever it leads. If there are differences that we have with other people in our own lives, we ask that you heal them. If there are places where our relationships need to be stronger, give us the strength to make them better. We pray all of this in the name of Jesus, Amen.”

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Lane is the Pastor of Discipleship at Brentwood United Methodist Church in Brentwood, Tennessee. He’s a graduate of Huntingdon College and Harvard Divinity School and is an elder in the Tennessee Conference of the United Methodist Church. Lane has a passion for making disciples for Jesus and for Auburn football! Follow him on Twitter: @RevLaneDavis.

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