Note to the Teacher
The key phrase for this lesson is “moving out.” We recognize that God calls us to move and change and cares for us while we do so. One icebreaker invites students to work together and make observations as they mirror a partner’s movements in an improv activity. Another icebreaker gets students moving like the wind, as we will discuss the similar movement of those born of the Spirit. The discussion encourages students to think about Abram’s movement of faith late in life and Nicodemus’ movement of Spirit and call to start fresh as a religious leader. The activity gets youth to map out where they are all from on one map and to consider how that map might change in the future and how God watches over us and cares for us as we change and move. Times are based on a fifty-minute lesson period but may be adjusted.
1. Icebreaker: 'Mirrors' and 'Blow Wind Blow' (10 minutes)
Get your students moving and thinking about what it's like to move in tune with God with a high-tech icebreaker video and activity about mirroring or give students the feeling of moving like the wind in a competitive and low-tech game.
Option 1: High Tech
Click the link to watch this video, then have students pair up and do some mirroring: Mirror: Improv Game Demonstration — Chicago Stories: Inventing Improv.
What is one word you would use to describe what it was like to mirror each other? What did you observe about yourself or your partner as you mirrored each other?
Option 2: 'Blow Wind Blow'
Since we will read today about Jesus telling Nicodemus how those born of the Spirit move like the wind, let’s play a competitive game of “Blow Wind Blow.”
Set up chairs in a circle, but make sure you have one less chair than people. Everyone takes a seat, with one person standing in the middle of the circle.
The person in the middle will announce, “Blow wind blow.”
The circle replies, “Blow what?”
The person in the middle will then reply with a conditional statement such as, “everyone wearing red” or “everyone with glasses.”
Those people will then stand up and find a new chair, giving the person in the middle a chance to grab a chair.
You can start removing chairs to make this more competitive.
2. Read Scripture (5 minutes)
Our readings today talk about changes in attitude and changes in latitude. First, we read about the movement of Abram beyond a place that was familiar to him. Then, we hear the conversation between Nicodemus and Jesus in John 3 as Jesus asks Nicodemus to move with the Spirit, beyond a static way of thinking.
3. Discussion (15 minutes)
These stories introduce us to the journeys of Abram and Nicodemus. Abram moves locations, and Nicodemus is moved in Spirit. Both are called into the unknown.
- Do you know anyone who is Abram’s age (Gen. 12:4)? Would it be difficult for them to take the journey that God called Abram to take away from home?
- What kind of details did God give Abram about this move?
- Do you think it would be difficult for you to make a move like this? Why?
- In the conversation between Nicodemus and Jesus, Jesus asks Nicodemus to “be born again.” Jesus is asking Nicodemus to start fresh, to start over. Why might a religious leader or someone who has been in power for a long time need to start fresh or be renewed? What are great and challenging parts of starting off fresh?
- In both conversations, God asks Abram and Jesus asks Nicodemus to not only believe, but to move and act. Have you ever sensed God nudging you to move or do something that made you uncomfortable or inconvenienced?
Read Psalm 121.
- What are the descriptions of the LORD in Psalm 121?
- How do you think the psalmist (the one who wrote this psalm) feels about the LORD based on Psalm 121?
- Do you think that Jesus, Abram, and/or Nicodemus felt about the LORD the way the psalmist did?
- Would the descriptions of the LORD in this psalm make you more likely or less likely to listen if you were called to move or change?
In the past weeks, we’ve discussed how our individual faith can affect the people and the world around us. We’ve also discussed how admitting that we are wrong or forgiving someone else of a wrong is an important part of faith. Today, we have been discussing moving and changing. Do you think Abram ever made mistakes? even though he is famous for being faithful to and chosen by God? Do you think that Nicodemus, a religious leader, had a hard time accepting that he needed to change his mind and his ways and start fresh?
4. Activity and Discussion (20 minutes)
Take this lesson to the next level by discussing origins. Abram came from Haran.
Where do we all come from? Is it easy to know where we are going in the future? On a large sheet of paper, the group will draw a map that reflects where they all come from (this can be a world map, national, local – it depends on what they choose).
Together, they need to learn about one another and come up with a map that best showcases where the group comes from. The nice part is, the students can be as creative as they like with this – it might not even be a geographical map.
Now, have students discuss how this map will change as time passes and we are called by the Spirit to different locations as we discover different callings in life.
Last, remind students to remember how the LORD helps us in Psalm 121, so we can know that God is with us, and that God helps us through life.
- Who or what might God use to help us and watch over us? Would God use us to help and watch over others? How does it feel to know that God might use you to help or watch over others?
- What did this map activity teach you about others in our group? About yourself?
Close in the manner that is typical for you. Consider taking joys/concerns from the students, then asking for a volunteer to close in prayer.
Total time: 50 minutes
- YouTube video of mirroring improv intro (high-tech icebreaker option)
- Computer with screen and audio
- Paper or poster and markers, pens, colored pencils, or pencils (activity and discussion)