By Dusty Luthy
New Hope (Paducah) Youth Director
One of my favorite things to do in a group setting is to dig into scripture in a deep, meaningful way where everyone, regardless of spirituality, can participate.
Word Maps are one of my favorite tools to do this – and one of the most low-maintenance activities I do. I start with a circled theme word in the middle of a chalkboard, dry erase board or large newsprint and hand out related scriptures to different groups of kids. Our youth group at New Hope is on the large side, so three groups could have 8-10 kids each with one fairly meaty scripture or two shorter scriptures per group.
Each group then looks up that scripture, then reads it out loud and discusses what stands out to them. Then, we come together as a larger group, where each group shares their scripture. After reading the scripture, we then add words to describe/strengthen/explain the core word on the board, creating a bubble map. Use colored chalk or markers to make it eye-appealing.
Everyone is able to contribute, and because they’ve already discussed the scripture in a more intimate setting, they feel more comfortable sharing with the larger group. Using different Bible translations is also helpful to get a fuller use of language. At the end, the numerous bubble words help root the theme word in the youth’s brains so it has a more lasting definition.
Time needed: 30 minutes
Some themes to get you started:
1 Samuel 15:22
2 Timothy 2:21
Other themes to try: prayer, love, patience, sacrifice, Jesus, truth.