Note to the Teacher
The scripture we read from the Gospel of Matthew tells the story of the Great Commission. The icebreaker helps introduce the idea of signs that we explore further in the scripture reading and discussion. The activity at the end helps students explore the doubts associated with what they feel God is calling them to do.
1. Icebreaker: The Funniest Sign (10 minutes)
Give each student a 3x5 card. Tell students that the goal of this activity is to re-create the funniest sign they have ever seen. f it helps them tell the story of that sign, they can write the story on the back. Once all the students have finished, ask them to pass in the signs and have the leader share the creations. Once they have all been shared, let students vote on which was the funniest. If you don’t like the competitive aspect of this icebreaker, you are welcome to have the students just hold up their own sign and tell the story behind the sign.
2. Read Scripture (5 minutes)
To help students understand that this passage applies to all of them, divide the passage into several sections and invite each student to read a portion.
Read Matthew 28:16-20.
3. Discussion (15 minutes)
- What from the passage stood out? Was there anything that was particularly interesting, weird, or confusing?
- Did you know that, in the book of Matthew, the writer used mountains to act as “signposts” in the story? When a major part of any story was happening, the author of Matthew had it set on the top of a mountain as a signal to the readers that this was an important part of the story/narrative. How does this concept apply to our passage?
- In this holy moment, “some doubted,” even after seeing Jesus who had died and risen from the dead. What do you think they were doubting? What would you have been doubting at that moment? Do you think it is fair to doubt God or God’s abilities? Why or why not?
- Jesus had previously sent out the disciples to minister, but this is the last time that happens in the Gospel of Matthew. Why is it significant that this all happens on a “mountain signpost”? What parts of this passage will be important in the next chapters of God’s story with people?
- What do you think it means to “make disciples of all nations” today? Do you think this has been done; or is still being done?
- Why do you think it’s important that Jesus promised to be with them, as the disciples spread his teachings?
4. Activity and Discussion: Signs and Doubts (20 minutes)
Every signpost, every important thing, brings doubts with it. This activity will help students think about that dynamic and give them an opportunity to invite God to let them know that God is with them in the middle of their doubts.
Start by giving each student a sheet of paper. Tell students that for half of the time remaining, they will write or draw what they think God might want them to “go and do” in their world. After students have finished that part of the activity, remind them that the scripture talks about the disciples doubting. Tell them that every call also brings with it doubts. Have them flip the paper over and write or draw their doubts about what is on the other side. Once they have finished, invite any who are willing to share.
Then tell them that the end of this passage is important to remember – that God is with them wherever they are and can help them navigate their doubts as they seek to do what God has asked them to do. Take a moment to offer a space for students to pray about their calls and doubts.
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
- 3x5 cards (1 per student)
- Pens, crayons, markers, etc.
- Sheets of paper (1 per student)