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We are obsessed with competition.  We want to be the best, the fastest, the richest, the strongest, the greatest.  But what does it really mean to be the greatest?  As Christians aren’t we supposed to strive for perfection?  How does God define greatness?

Icebreaker Activity – Who Am I?

  • Make some Identity cards for famous Biblical or historical characters on them.
  • Put the person’s name and one or more characteristics that made them great or famous.
  • Place these cards on the back of people as they arrive and let them go around asking yes or no questions of each other until they learn the identity of the person on the card.

Additional Game Activity (Option #1) – Towels

Have a couple sample size bars of soap and a bucket of water for each team and a towel. Have a relay where each person goes down, washes his/her hands with the bar of soap, dries their hands on the towel and returns. First group to wear down the bar of soap until it is gone wins (if time is an issue, at a specific time, the group with the smallest bar of soap wins. Ask if anyone knows the ancient Latin name for “towel”. Jesus took a towel and wiped the disciples feet to show that it was not the greatest that was important but service to others. Jesus took a “stola” (towel) and wiped the disciples feet to teach them to serve. From this “stola” we get the word “stole”, the cloth that many ministers and choir members wear over their shoulders.

Additional Game Activity ( Option #2) – Opposite

Opposites: In today’s lesson Christ teaches us the opposite of greatness is humility. Play a game or have activity where all the rules are opposite of what they normally are.

Additional Game Activity ( Option #3) – Waiter Relay

Using paper cups and plates etc have them stack cups on a paper plate as on a tray and have relays. If they drop the cups they return to start. Ties in to the lesson by saying that intodays lesson we will learn that we are not to seek greatness but to be servants.

Additional Game Activity ( Option #4) – Shoe Relay

Shoe relay with a twist. Divide into teams. All members take their shoes off and place them in a large pile at the other end of the room. The first in each team runs down, and finds the shoes that belong to the NEXT person in line,
brings them back and puts them on the next person. Shoe laces, etc must all be tied. They then repeat until the entire team is wearing their correct shoes. Award the team that loses. Talk about how it may be a bit degrading to put shoes on for another person, but in today’s lesson we will discover that Christ said the “greatest must be the servant of all!”

Looking at the Scriptures

Mark 9:33-37 Mark 10:35-45

  • As we begin, I would like each of you to share your name and the name of one person you admire. Why? Whom do you consider to be a great person?
  • As we read these two passages, look for what they teach us about ourselves.
  • Can anyone explain everyone’s preoccupation with greatness? Why are people so hung up on who is greatest?
  • What are some examples that show the obsession people have with greatness?
  • Do you think men or women are more concerned with greatness? Or, is there a difference?
  • Is this concept of striving to be the best really all that bad? Explain?
  • Is there any good that comes out of striving to be the greatest?
  • What is wrong with our obsession with greatness? What harm does it do?
  • How have you seen people harmed by someone’s obsession with greatness? Be specific.
  • As Christians, we are immune from this tendency, true or false? Explain.
  • How have you seen the obsession to be the greatest in the church?
  • How has the tendency to strive for greatness demonstrated itself in your life? In what way have you been preoccupied with greatness?
  • When Jesus said, “the first shall be last,” what was he saying? What does it mean to be the servant of all?
  • What would it take to be great in God’s eyes? How does a person become great in God’s eyes?
  • How can you become a servant of all in your daily actions, words, and attitudes?
  • What is one practical way you can serve others you meet this week?

Look at the Mark 10 passage. How does this relate to the first passage?

  • What did Jesus mean by, “Can you drink the cup I drink. . .”?
  • Why did the ten become indignant?
  • Look at vers 42. What was the sin of the “those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles”?
  • What are some examples of the way people try to control or “Lord it over” others?
  • What are some respectable ways that “good” people try to control or “Lord it over” others?
  • Do we have the power to break this tendency to control? Do we have the power to abandon our preoccupation with greatness?
  • What can we do to break the preoccupation with greatness?
  • What is in it for us? How does the preoccupation with greatness hurt us? How would we be benefited by breaking the preoccupation with greatness? Be specific? Would it help you be a student, child, better what? How would it help you?
  • Who would join me in admitting, at least to God, if not yet to another person that you still have a tendency toward preoccupation with greatness?
  • Is admitting to God enough? Someone look up James 5:16 What can you do?

Take it to the Next Level

Step 1: Buy a couple of packs of baseball cards or another type of sports related cards. These cards are collected by many and have pictures of the athlete on the front and stats on the back. Certain cards such as those of Michael Jordan are VERY valuable because of the rarity and because many feel he was the best basketball players. Give youth a few minutes to trade cards then give them an opportunity to explain why they have the best player.

Step 2: Paste white paper over photo’s on the cards or just give youth blank white cards. Have youth make cards for the disciples.. What stats would be important for each? Would their acts of greatness such as miracles or their acts of servanthood be most important?

Step 3: Have youth make a baseball card on themselves. On the back they should write stats for themselves related to humility and service. Also have them list as accomplishments “acts of service” they have performed. They might also create a “heavenly team” name and logo for their team.

Step 4: Have youth Create a Future Baseball Card. What things do they want to be known for as a Christian? What would they Like God / Christ to say about them? What can they do to start living that life today?

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