Week 3: Hear All the People
- Audio clips of songs for the closing activity
- A CD player or a computer that can play music with the volume controlled
Note to the Teacher:
We have been talking about community for the last two weeks. Last week, we focused on seeing all the people. Now, we will focus on being good listeners and hearing all the people, especially people who are often made to be quiet or who are not heard because others are louder. In this lesson, we will focus on how important it is to listen and how to become better listeners.
The key idea in this lesson and scripture is hearing the voices often unheard. We will be talking about how God listens to us fully and completely and how we need to listen to those around us in return. For the ice breaker, we will play a classic game of telephone with the group to showcase how voices often do not get heard or communicated well. The discussion encourages students to consider how we are listened to by God when we pray and talk with God. We will also discuss how we can be good listeners and how listening is an important part of being good neighbors to those around us. The activity will focus on getting students to listen while also having some fun through a game of “Name that Tune.” This activity should take about fifty minutes but can be adjusted as needed.
Total time: 50 minutes
1. Ice Breaker: Telephone! (10 minutes)
We have all probably played a game of telephone before. Today, we will play this classic game together and give a couple of students a chance to try to share something with the group.
Setup: Get everyone to sit or stand in a circle facing toward the center of the circle. Pick two or three students and pull them aside individually; one at the start of each round, and ask them to answer one of the following questions:
- What Is your favorite joke?
- Tell us your favorite memory in one sentence.
- What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
- What was the last thing you said to your mom/dad/sibling today?
- What is the first thing you thought when you woke up this morning?
The idea of the game is to have a phrase or sentence that the “speaker” came up with returned correctly after it is passed along the circle. Once the speaker has come up with what he/she wants to say, instruct that person to go back to where he/she was in the circle and whisper the sentence to the person next to him/her. Then, that person passes the sentence on to the next person, and so until the phrase or sentence makes it all the way around the group. Finally, the first person shares the original phrase and compares it to what the last person heard.
Instructions: We will be playing a couple of rounds of telephone together and exploring what happens when we have others speak for us and are unable to share our thoughts out loud for ourselves. We will play three rounds. The rules are simple: when the message comes around to you, listen intently to what you hear. Then turn and tell the person next to you. Say the phrase only once, and say it in a whisper! We will see how the original message and final message compare!
If you are meeting virtually, you can play this game by having students call one another one after the other, or use a breakout room feature with only two students in the breakout room at a time.
2. Read Scripture (5 minutes)
Our scripture reading today comes from Matthew.
Read Matthew 10:24-39.
3. Discussion (15 minutes)
- What did you all think of our ice breaker? What are some things that stood out to you about passing the message in whispers from one person to the other?
- What would have been a more effective way to pass along the original speaker’s message?
- Have you ever felt that you were not being heard? How did it make you feel?
- On the flip side, have you ever felt that you weren’t being a good listener? Why did you think you weren’t listening well? What was stopping you from being a good listener?
- What makes someone a good listener instead of a bad listener?
- One of the many beautiful parts of our relationship with God is that we always have someone to listen to us and hear our prayers and thoughts. God is the ultimate listener, and we can all find comfort in knowing that we are not silenced or forgotten.
- What can we learn from the way that God listens to us?
- We have been talking about community and seeing those around us. We talked about seeing not just those right in front of us but also seeing those often invisible to us. Hearing is similar! It is easy to hear those who are right in front of us or who are talking louder than everyone else. How can we practice hearing voices that are often less heard or silenced by the noise of the world—voices of minorities, voices of young people like you, voices of people who are hurting?
- How can we be sure to allow people to speak for themselves rather than trying to speak for them?
4. Activity and Discussion (20 minutes)
This last activity will focus on youth practicing good listening. We will be playing three songs, starting softly and quietly and then turning up the volume little by little. The youth will be encouraged to listen to the song and then attempt to guess what it is. If they get it wrong, they can’t guess again for that round. If this activity turns into an epic dance party, then even better!
Links to songs:
Take a moment to debrief this activity by talking about how the familiarity with songs can help people understand songs, even when it’s hard to hear them. Spirituality is the same way. The more familiar we are with Christianity and the presence and voice of God, the easier it is to understand what is happening, even when it is not one hundred percent clear.
Close in the manner that is typical for you. Consider taking joys and concerns from the students; then ask for a volunteer to close in prayer.