Note to the Teacher
The scripture we read is from Paul’s first letter to the church of Corinth, where he talks about division in the church. The opening activity has students putting together their “perfect sibling.” The discussion encourages students to think about the different issues we have going on in the world today and how Paul calls us to unity. The activity and discussion has students uniting as brothers and sisters in Christ as we join together in a united closing activity. Times are based on a fifty-minute lesson period but may be adjusted.
1. Ice Breaker: 'The Perfect Sibling' (10 minutes)
Start by explaining to your students that today they are going to create the “perfect sibling.” We read in our scripture today that Paul addresses his audience as “brothers and sisters.” Paul is going to talk about division, so today we are going to create that perfect “sibling” we never have to fight with or argue about anything. Tell students to take five minutes to draw what that perfect sibling would look like. Then have them write everything about that perfect sibling that makes the sibling perfect. Allow students to share their “perfect sibling” and enjoy! This will be a fun ice breaker to kick off your time together!
Transition by sharing with your students that there is no such thing as the perfect sibling. Paul understood this and knew that the early church, and even churches today, will have issues and conflict. Today, look at how Paul encourages us to be empathetic and loving amid division and difficult issues.
2. Read Scripture (5 minutes)
Our scripture reading today is from Paul’s letter to the church of Corinth where he addresses the division in the church and encourages them to “have the same mind.”
Read 1 Corinthians 1:10-18.
3. Discussion (15 minutes)
- What is the tone of this second part of Paul’s letter?
- Why do you think Paul talks about division so early in this letter?
- What do you think are the top five things that divide (or causes division among) people today? (You may even want to divide this question into parts. 1: “What divides younger people (teenagers)?” “What divides young adults?” “What divides older people?” “What divides parents?”)
- What do you think divides our churches the most today?
- Why do you think it’s so hard for people to come to an agreement about difficult topics?
- When is the last time you were in an argument or debate with a friend? (If you feel comfortable sharing, what was the argument about and how did the conversation end?)
- How does Paul say we should address division and conflict?
- Do you think people should never have disagreements or conflict? Why or why not?
- Does this passage imply that we should agree on every issue that’s out there? Why or why not?
- How are we supposed to “be of one mind” in today’s world?
- What do you think is significant about Paul addressing the people as “brothers and sisters”?
- How is Paul inviting us to have differences about things and apply his advice today?
4. Activity and Discussion: 'United' (20 minutes)
Invite group members to make a circle. Explain to your students that they are going to think back to one of the issues we came up with during our discussion time. It could be an issue that the church has, an issue that our world has, or maybe an issue that a family could have. After they’ve selected an issue, they are going to think about why that issue stuck out to them the most. They will not be sharing what their issues are or why it stuck out to them the most. This is simply an exercise for your students to process and think about what issues they struggle with and why.
After everyone has had time to think about their issue, select one student who will start the activity. You’ll hand the ball of yarn and invite students to say, “Help us to love deeply and be united as the body of Christ.” Once they have finished, have them hold on to the end of the ball of yarn and then throw the ball to someone else in the circle, repeating the phrase, “Help us to love deeply and be united as the body of Christ.” That person will hold on to the “end” of the yarn that is connected to the first person and throw it to another.
Continue until everyone is holding a piece of yarn. Invite students to observe how we are united in this circle and united as the body of Christ. We may not all believe the same about every issue (and that’s ok), but we are still united as siblings in Christ.
Ask students to share any thoughts or feelings they may have. If no one responds, take some time to allow students to pray for the issues of the day and for reconciliation to take place.
Close your time together in a manner that is typical for you. Consider taking joys and concerns, then asking for a volunteer to close in prayer.
Total time: 50 minutes
- Pens or pencils
- Assorted supplies for the ice breaker (see above)
- Ball of yarn