People have different views about God. What do your young people think? What is God really like? What does the Bible tell us about his character? What does that mean for us?
Draw, photocopy, or present a number of brand symbols which represent retailers, consumer products, computer or telecoms companies, transport or car manufacturers, banks, record labels, national flags etc. Around 20 brand symbols should be enough.
Invite the group to participate in a quiz to identify each of the symbols. This can be completed individually with pen and paper or as two teams competing against each other.
Ask the group why they think symbols are so widely used? (Symbols are used to represent, identify or associate with larger pieces of information.)
Give everyone a blank sheet of paper and a pen. Invite the young people to draw their own symbol to represent their own understanding, belief or unbelief in God. They cannot use words, lettering or numbers. The picture should represent what they think about God. Emphasise that you are not looking for a work of art!
Allow three minutes to complete the symbol and ask the young people to reveal their picture to the rest of the group. Invite the youth group to guess what they think each symbol represents about God, after which the 'artist' can confirm if anyone got it right.
CHECK IT OUT
Can we find out what God is really like? What does the Bible have to say about his nature and character?
Rather than simply ‘tell’ young people what the Bible says, use this activity to encourage a ‘discovery’ experience. Be prepared to help anyone unfamiliar with finding their way around the Bible.
Divide the group into pairs and ask them to examine the verses to find out more about the character and personality of God. Give each pair a large piece of paper to create a poster with the words 'GOD IS' in the middle, with references and characteristics radiating out from the centre.
Select and photocopy the references, but not the answers :-) If you wish, add additional or alternative references. Distribute them to the group. Alternatively create an OHP or ppt presentation.
- Deuteronomy 6: 4-5 (God is one)
- Genesis 1:1, Deut. 33: 26-27, Psalm 104: 1-5 (God is creator)
- Psalm 90: 2, Romans 1: 20, 1 Timothy 1: 17 (God is eternal)
- Psalm 139: 7-12 (God is present everywhere, at all times) (Omnipresent)
- Psalm 139: 1-6, Matthew 6: 8, 1 John 3: 20 (God knows everything that happens) (Omniscient)
- Psalm 115: 3, Matthew 19: 26, Luke 1:37 (Nothing is impossible for God) (Omnipotent)
- Malachi 3: 6, James 1: 17 (God is unchanging in character)
- John 4: 24 (God is spirit)
- Psalm 99: 9, 1 Peter 1: 15-16 (God is holy)
- Deuteronomy 32: 4, Matthew 5: 48 (God is perfect)
- Matthew 19: 17 (God is good)
- Psalm 136, John 3: 16, 1 John 4: 15-16 (God is love)
- Psalm 32: 1, 2, Psalm 86: 5, Psalm 103: 3 (God is forgiving)
- Luke 6: 36 (God is compassionate)
- Psalm 31: 5, Psalm 89: 8, Lamentations 3: 23 (God is faithful, he keeps his promises)
- Romans 3: 25-26 (God is just)
- Ephesians 2: 4-5, 2 Corinthians 1: 3, 2 Peter 3: 9 (God is merciful)
Display the finished posters. Conclude by saying that we can know and understand more of God through his creation and his dealing with people throughout history but, we most clearly see His character demonstrated in and through the life of Jesus. Read John 14: 6-10.
Divide into small groups. Ask each young person to choose a characteristic from their poster and invite them to share, ‘What does it personally and practically mean to me that God is (attribute)?
Select a characteristic and discuss why it is good that God is like that. What would we, and the rest of the world, be missing if God wasn’t like this?
Arrange with one of the young people or someone from your church, to give a short testimony or interview about their experiences of God and his character. Allow time for questions and discussion.
ADDITIONAL OPTION FOR OLDER TEENS
Ask the group what they think are the most commonly held views of God among their peers or in culture today. For example,
- God is creator of the universe but is not actively involved in sustaining it and its present life (Deism)
- God is everything and everything is God (Pantheism)
- God and Satan are two equal but opposing forces in constant battle with one another (Dualism)
- God is just one of many Gods (Polytheism)
- God is an impersonal powerful force (Star War’s ism :-).
In small groups ask the young people to discuss how they would respond to someone who held one of these views of God. Use the posters they completed earlier as a reference point.
No definition is adequate to describe God. We describe God as best we can with our limited knowledge and language. Invite the group to read Isaiah 40:9-31 in the coming week and consider the unfathomable and incomparable God who sustains us.
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