An Easter youth group activity investigating the individual incidents which make up the resurrection account.
Take a look at the sentence in the graphic and count the number of times the letter 'F' appears in the sentence. How many did you get?
This opening activity is based on a well known idea from a business / marketing course. Most people get three, and don't even see the word 'OF' because in your mind you pronounce it as 'OV'. It's a clever piece of psychology designed to make you miss three of the six letters 'F' in the sentence.
This simple challenge reminds us that even looking at something carefully and closely we can miss important things. In stories we think we know well, or have heard many times, its easy to overlook important information, facts or evidence.
Is the resurrection account well known to your young people? How much do you think they know? Do they need to take a fresh look? Or, have they just seen it portrayed in a movie? Do they need to take a closer look?
THE 'F' CHALLENGE
Display the sentence on a screen using an OHP or projector. Copy the graphic as it appears here, using a simple bold font and include the box around the text.
Explain to your group that they will have ten seconds to look at the graphic and count the number of times the letter 'F' is used in the sentence. Ask them not to say anything during the challenge and to keep their answer to themselves. Display the graphic for 10 seconds and then ask the young people how many they counted.
- Raise your hand if you counted just one letter F? (Probably no-one)
- How many counted two? (Maybe one or two)
- Raise your hand if you counted three? (At this point the vast majority should raise their hand)
- Did anyone count more? Four, five, six? (It is possible that a few may raise their hand for four, five or six, but don't stop - just pass quickly on)
Display the sentence again and point out each letter 'F'. Begin with the first 'F' in 'finished', move on to the second 'F' in 'files' and then the third 'F' in 'scientific.' Then ask, but what about this one? Point to the first 'OF' in the second line. And this one, point to the second 'OF' in the second line. Finally, point to the 'OF' in the last line.
Briefly explain the psychology of the graphic i.e. most people don't even see the word 'OF' because in your mind you pronounce it as 'OV.' This exercise reminds us that even when we look closely we can miss important things. In stories we think we know well, or have heard many times, its easy to overlook important information, facts or evidence. Take the account of the resurrection. We've probably heard it many times, but do we know what really happened? How much do we know about the different incidents and the people who play a role in the story?
JESUS CHRIST RIP (RESURRECTION IN PROGRESS!)
Explain that the group will take on the role of 'investigative reporters' working to discover the true facts about the resurrection account. Split your group into pairs and give each the name of the fictional newspaper they work for i.e. Jerusalem Mail, Nazareth Post. Galilee Gazette, Temple Telegraph, Bethany Bulletin, Palestinian Press.
Then give each pair a notebook or clip board, pen, and one of the short passages to investigate. They have 5 minutes to discover the facts and outline the main events and people. They also need to think of a memorable newspaper headline for the passage.
Each pair then has 15 minutes to consult with their fellow journalists. This is to build up a complete picture and timetable of the resurrection story as written by the gospel writers, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
Select a number of passages for this activity which can include, Matthew 28: 1-7, 8-10, 11-15; Mark 16: 1-8, 9-11; Luke 24:13-34, 35-43; John 20:11-18.
HOLD THE FRONT PAGE
Each pair then designs a front page for their newspaper, complete with headlines, some of the main facts and events from the resurrection story, perhaps an eyewitness account, and editorial comments about what this means for us today.
The front page can either be designed in a simple hand-written and hand-drawn format or electronically if you have access to some laptops, printer and design software.
This activity is a creative way for young people to explore in detail and piece together the events surrounding the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The finished front pages could be displayed in your youth room or the church.
Close with a short Easter presentation, challenge or devotional thoughts on the resurrection account.
The lives of the disciples were transformed by these events. Invite a member of your church to be interviewed about what the Easter story and particularly the resurrection account means to them today.
Some would like to show the resurrection account to be false or a hoax. There are several common objections to the account, namely, Jesus never died, or the disciples stole the body, or the Jewish or Roman authorities removed the body. Using the information gained from their 'investigative reporting' how would your young people refute such claims? With guidance, allow them to work out their own conclusions and apologetic for the resurrection account.
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