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There really isn’t a “best” way to describe the church. Even the writers of the New Testament found it difficult to describe and used a ton of metaphors to help relate the place of the church in its community and the world. We hope this activity helps your youth not only identify with the mission and purpose of the church, but to find their unique place and role within it as well.

WHAT IS THE CHURCH?

Resources

Objects, pictures, or simply index cards with words on them that represent the Church

  • Bride – Wedding ring
  • Vineyard – Bunch of grapes
  • Flock – Sheepskin
  • Family – Family Photo
  • Nation – A Globe
  • Catholic Collar – Priest
  • Building / House – Monopoly house
  • Salt – Salt Shaker
  • Body – A Barbie or Ken Doll
  • Lampstand – Candlestick
  • Loaf – Loaf of bread
  • City – City map
  • Field – Bag of soil
  • Light – Flashlight
  • Fisherman – Fishing Pole
  • Army – Toy Soldier
  • Temple – Small Church with Steeple
  • New Race – Photo of people from diverse ethnic groups

What to Do

  1. Divide into groups and distribute one of the words, photos or objects to each group.
  2. Give groups have ten minutes maximum to generate a list of qualities based on a keyword, photo, or object as it reflects the church.
  3. Each group must choose a spokesperson from their group to present their group’s responses.
  4. Have each spokesperson take five minutes each to present their group’s responses.
  5. When everyone has finished, celebrate their efforts and spend some time to highlight interesting points that were presented by the students.

Variations

  1. Spread the cards, photos or objects out before the group and have them pick one that best represents an experience or a feeling that they have had as a member of the church or youth group. Go around the group and ask each participant to share why they picked what they did and why that represents them or an experience they have had in the church or youth group.
  2. Place cards or photos on each person’s forehead or back and let them try to guess what is on their back by everyone’s reaction to them. No talking is allowed.
  3. Play a game of charades using the words.

Scripture References

Family
(Hebrews 2:10-11; Galatians 4:1-7; 2 Corinthians 6:18; Matthew 12:49-50; Ephesians 2:19; Galatians 6:10; 1 Timothy 5:1)
Do your treat other members of your church as part of the same family, as an extended household?

House
(Hebrews 3:6; 1 Timothy 3:14-15; 1 Peter 4:17; 1 Corinthians 3:11; Ephesians 2:19-22; 1 Peter 2:6-7; Isaiah 28:16; Psalm 118:22; 1 Peter 2:5; 1 Corinthians 3:11-17; 1 Corinthians 6:19)

Fishermen
(Matt. 4:19)
Does your church cast its influence outside in order to capture lost souls for Christ?

Flock
(Matthew 10:16; 26:31; Acts 20:28-30; I Peter 5:1-3; John 21:15-17; John 10:11-15; Col. 1:13)
Are there shepherds in your church guiding and protecting those who are easily lost? Do the members of your church seek and follow the direction of the one Shepherd together?

Body of Christ
(1 Corinthians 12:12, 27; Ephesians 4:12, 5:23,30; Romans 12:4-5, 1 Corinthians 10:17; Colossians 1:24; Eph. 4:12, 16)
Do the members of your church see themselves as part of the same organism with different abilities working together for the common good?

Bride of Christ
(2 Corinthians 11:2, 11:12; Ephesians 5:25, 31-32; Romans 7:4, Revelation 19:7-8, 21:9)
Are they actively engaged in being loved by Christ and loving Him in return?

New Race
(Gal. 6; Eph. 2; 1 Pet. 2)
Do the members of your church see themselves as part of a new group of people brought together in Christ and not by physical race, nationality, gender, and social class?

Salt
(Matt. 5:13)
Do the members of your church preserve, and give others a taste of Christ?

An Army
(Eph. 6:10-1 7, 1 Thess. 5:8)
Do the members of your church see themselves as part of one army that is growing in spiritual life and conquering anything that stands in the way between them and God?

A Holy Priesthood
(1 Pet. 2; Rev. 1; 5)
Do all the members of your church serve God and draw near to him?

Light
(Matt. 5:14)
Do the members of your church bring light to the world’s darkness and shine for Christ in all things?

A Holy Nation
(1 Pet. 2; Rev. 1; 5)
Do their values reflect that of the Kingdom of God or this present culture?

A Golden Lampstand
(Rev. 1-2)
Does your church bear the light of Christ?

One Loaf
(John 12; 1 Cor. 10)
Are the members of your church so connected together that they have lost their independence and individualism? Or do they live as independent, individualistic, uncrushed grains of wheat?

God’s Field
(1 Cor. 3)
Are they passing through spiritual seasons together and growing into Christlikeness as the word of God takes root in their life?

A Vineyard
(John 15; saiah 65:8)
Is your church like a vineyard where the cluster of grapes lives and grows together?

A Temple
(1 Cor. 3; 2 Cor. 6; 1 Pet. 2; 2 Cor. 5, Eph. 2:19-22)
Are the members of your church being built together?

A City
(Php. 3; Heb. 12; Rev. 21-22; Gal. 4:26)
Are the practices of your church based on human tradition, or are they built on the spiritual principles of the city of God?

Take It to the Next Level

These objects are all metaphors for the church in the New Testament that help Christians understand who we are as a church, and our relationship to each other in the church, and to the world.

Make it Spiritual

  • What connections did you make with the church?
  • • What connection was most meaningful to you? Why?

Make it Personal

• What is one characteristic you would like to develop in your church?
• What can the youth do to immediately start developing that trait in your church?
• What will you personally start doing to see that characteristic is displayed in your church?

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