The Word is Near You

Because God

Tenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A

The Word is near you? How do we celebrate that this week? How do we claim the gift we’ve already been given? Perhaps that’s the key—what we’ve already been given. This is a time for celebrating who we are as the people of God. Instead of prayers asking for what we don’t have, maybe we can claim with joy what we already have.

Mathew 14:22-33

Note to the Teacher:

Learning Outcomes: Teens will understand how trust plays a part in our relationship with God. Students will also understand that God calls us into a relationship.

Needed Resources:

  • Paper plates with different types of food (be sensitive of allergies) and blindfolds
  • Plates (not paper)
  • Milk
  • Food Coloring
  • Small bowl with liquid dish soap
  • Cotton swab

The Icebreaker: Students will have an opportunity to experience the emotions of trusting someone to help them relate to Peter’s experience of getting out of the boat.

The Discussion: Students will look beyond the “how” of Peter (or Jesus) walking on water, and explore the “why.” They will also explore what prevents them from giving their full faith to God.

The Activity: This is an object lesson to help teens understand why it is important to share why we put our trust in Christ. This may be something they have a hard time with (sharing their faith), but help them identify opportunities and continue this discussion beyond this week.

Times are based on a fifty-minute lesson period, but may be adjusted.

1. Ice Breaker (10 minutes)

Option 1 - Food Guessing Game:

  • Before students arrive, prepare plates with different foods on them. Perhaps have a non-food item or two in the middle. Make sure to keep the plates covered so that students don’t see them when they arrive. Once they are in the room, ask for two volunteers to blindfold themselves and work as a team to identify the foods. One person will sample the food (without using his/her hands) and then describe it without rhyming, spelling, or saying the word. The other volunteer will have a minute to guess as many items as possible.
  • If you are meeting via Zoom, ask one student to mute his/her video, collect items, and then describe them in the same way. Let a partner who is also on the Zoom conference do the guessing.

Option 2 - Trust walk or fall. If you are face to face and haven’t done a trust walk or fall in the past, this is a good option because everyone gets a chance to participate.

  • A trust walk happens in pairs, with one person blindfolded and guided by a second person who can either use only verbal cues or hands on shoulders to guide the blindfolded partner through a brief course, that the organizer has laid out.
  • A trust fall has several different forms, and we encourage you to search YouTube or Google to find the version most appropriate for your age range and group.

Icebreaker Debrief:

  • Ask the person who was blindfolded or had the video muted: How did it feel to do your job? Were you nervous? Frustrated? Embarrassed?
  • Would you rather be the person blindfolded/muted or the one who gets to pick the items to taste (or leading in the trust walk)?
  • What if you could pick who is going to fill the plate (food guessing game) or pick the person to lead/catch you (trust fall/walk)? Would that make you more comfortable?
  • Why does the person you choose make a difference?
  • What does it take for you to gain trust in a person?
  • Can you think of situation where you go with blind trust in a person or thing? (Think about riding in a car or plane or eating in a restaurant.)

2. Read Scripture (5 minutes)

Our scripture reading today comes from Matthew 14:22-33 and Romans 10:5-15.

3. Discussion (20 minutes)

  • Again, this week, let’s talk about the why of this story and not the how. We can’t explain how Peter walked on water, but why.
  • First, what do you think made Peter ask Jesus to command him out of the boat?
  • What made him scared?
  • What did Peter do when he got scared?
  • How did Jesus respond?
  • Let’s draw parallels in our own lives. How do you know when you see Jesus working in your life?
  • What things scare you or get in the way of keeping your focus on Jesus?
  • Where do you find comfort or how to you gain focus?
  • In Romans, Paul talks about “the word is near you” in verse 8. What does this refer to?
  • Verse 9 says if you have these two things, then you will be saved. What are the two things and what are you saved from?
  • What do verses 10-13 mean to you? How do these verses support what we read about Peter in the Matthew passage?
  • The last two verses of this passage in Romans tell us why it is important for us to share our faith. What do these verses say?

4. Activity and Discussion (20 minutes)

Activity: Pour milk on to a plate (not a paper plate). Talk about how the milk represents the world without God. It is bland, and there is not much to it. Then drop different food colorings throughout the milk, not too close to one another. Talk about how Christians bring color and hope to the world. Next, take a cotton swab and mix the colors together to show how we interact with one another; the colors do not blend well. Next dip the cotton swab into dish soap; then place it into the milk and food coloring and watch it come alive. This is what happens when we allow the Holy Spirit to intercede, using us to spread the gospel message.


  • Have you ever taken the time to think about your faith?
  • Is your faith something you get excited about?
  • Has anyone shared their faith story with you?
  • Have you ever shared your story with anyone? (Some teens don’t know what their “faith story” is, so you may need to expand on this.)
  • What are some ways we can all share how we came to put our trust in God?


Do not miss this opportunity to present the gospel to your students in a way that is fitting for your group. Give them a moment to receive and respond.

In This Series...

Ninth Sunday After Pentecost, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Tenth Sunday After Pentecost, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Eleventh Sunday After Pentecost, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Twelfth Sunday After Pentecost, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Thirteenth Sunday After Pentecost, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes