Bible heroes and villains series
Collect items from the story to display – jars, swords, torches.
Introduce the theme
Ask the group to think about times when they have felt weak, or frightened or overwhelmed.
Set up some tasks that you would normally need two hands to do – tying shoelaces, wrapping a present, peeling a banana. Tell the group that they have to do the tasks with one hand behind their backs. After they have struggled for a while, suggest that they try working together. Talk about how it feels to face a task that seems impossible.
Open the Word
Read Joshua 6. There’s a good telling of the story of Gideon in the Lion Storyteller Bible.
Introduce Gideon, who tried to hide from God when he was told he would be a mighty warrior who would fight the Midianites.
God wanted the Israelites to realise that it was his power not theirs that would lead them to freedom and seemed set on making Gideon and his ‘army’ as weak as possible, sending most of the men home and leaving just 300, with no weapons.
Gideon had the men blow trumpets and light torches in empty jars that they smashed so that the noise and light would confuse the Midianites.
Gideon and his mini-army were able to defeat the Midianites and bring glory to God.
Shine a light!
Make jars for the light.
You will need: glass tealight holders and glass-painting pens; tealight for each person.
Invite people to decorate a tealight holder. They should think about the need for the light to shine from the jar. While they are making their holders, talk about why the army broke their jars. What effect did it have? How do you think Gideon’s men felt before and after the attack on the Midianites?
Build a bridge
A bridge-building competition.
You will need: art straws; scissors; sticky tape.
Divide the group into teams, giving each team the same amounts of straws and sticky tape.
The teams have to build a bridge that will span a given gap and be as strong as possible, within a time limit.
The art straws are not particularly strong, and one straw can’t bear much weight. But when you build them together into a structure, they can be very strong. Gideon on his own was weak, but God gave him strength to do the job he was called to.
End with the closing prayer:
For the times when we have been less than heroic,
Lord we are sorry.
For the times we have not used our hero talents,
Lord we are sorry.
Give us the courage not to hide our potential
but to be generous,
not to dismiss others but to celebrate their gifts.
Encourage us to follow the example of ____ and have a go at being heroes.
Session material on Bible heroes:
Material on Bible 'villains'