What draws a crowd these days? Is it a celebrity sighting? An accident or natural disaster? Maybe a concert or sporting event? People are programmed to follow a big crowd, so when something exciting happens, most of us will sit up and take notice.
Let’s check out what happens when an unusual group drew a crowd at a museum.
The following video is fun but very repetitive. Share as much of it as you care to [4:04].
Inflatable T-Rex Flash Mob at the St. Louis Science Center
- Why do “flash mobs” get people’s attention? (Any time something unusual or unexpected happens, groups will want to gather to see it. Curiosity is a universal human trait.)
- Can anyone share about a time when you saw something surprising—and a crowd gathered to watch? (Let students share their experiences—either with the entire group or with a partner. Be prepared to share your own experience.)
- Before events and performances could be transmitted via the Internet, how did news travel? How long would it take? (The concept of viral news, Internet memes, videos, and re-tweets may be relatively new, but middle schoolers can’t identify with word-of-mouth or face-to-face information. Take a few minutes to explain that for thousands of years, news traveled slowly through traditional storytelling or eyewitness accounts.)
Even though the way we share information has changed dramatically, the message of Jesus has stayed the same. When we learn about the good news of Jesus, we can’t help but invite others to come see what it’s all about!
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You can find Steps 2 and 3 in your teacher’s guide; your Step 4 appears below. To purchase a teacher's guide, please visit: Bible-in-Life or Echoes
- Poster board or butcher paper
Ahead of time, preview the following Wikipedia information on the most-followed Instagram accounts in 2018. You will use these to illustrate the public’s fascination with fame.
Most-Followed Instagram Accounts
For some reason, people just love celebrities. Websites, magazines, and television shows feature famous people, what they eat, where they shop, and what they do. It’s not called “celebrity worship” for nothing. For example, the following people are listed as the Top Ten most-followed Instagram celebrities this year.
Read off the names from this “Top Ten” list one at a time, asking kids to raise their hands if they’re familiar with these individuals.
Most-Followed Instagram Accounts
Despite the public’s fascination with famous people, the Bible tells us that only Jesus Christ is worthy of our worship. His disciples wanted to tell everyone about who He is and what He has done. If we know Jesus is the Son of God—how are we telling other people about Him?
Have students divide into groups of three or four. Give every group a piece of butcher paper or poster board. Tell them to make two columns: one labeled THE GOSSIP and the other labeled THE GOSPEL. Instruct them to list things that they hear about famous people (online, school conversations, television, etc.). These can be things like what they’re wearing, where they shop, what movie they’re in, who they broke up with, and so forth. Make sure that your students stay away from inappropriate subjects.
When they finish with the first column, have groups write down things about Jesus that are really worth talking about! Students can write down miracles they’ve read about in the New Testament, the details of His birth, events in the Book of Acts, His salvation message, His divinity, and so forth. (You might need to help some students with this column, especially if they have not grown up around biblical teaching.)
Afterward, discuss the following questions with your group:
- When you look at these two columns, what is the most striking difference between them? (The celebrity gossip is superficial and temporary, but the Gospel is eternal and life-changing.)
- Why is it easier to talk about the stuff on the left and harder to talk about the stuff on the right? (It can be hard to talk about Jesus with people who have not grown up learning about the Good News. It can feel awkward or hard to bring up in a conversation. Celebrity gossip is everywhere, and young people are constantly confronted with all the silly news about famous people.)
- What are some practical ways we can focus more on sharing Jesus and His love with others? (Personal conversations, inviting friends to church or youth group, open dialogue about the Bible, introducing someone to a trusted adult leader, sharing a testimony, or even posting encouraging messages on social media are ways to share what students know about God with others.)
Before class is dismissed, encourage each group to choose one specific item in their GOSPEL column to share with someone this week. If time allows, students can even put it into practice by role-playing, posting an encouraging message on social media, or inviting someone to church.
Close in prayer, asking God to empower your students to be brave and counter-cultural in sharing the Gospel with their communities.
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