Upper Elementary

Who Will You Follow?

Lesson 9 

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Fall 2019

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By: Nance Keyes 

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October 27, 2019

Lesson Focus:

We can follow God when others don’t.

Bible Basis:

Numbers 13:1—14:45

Materials Needed:

Step 1:

  • Internet access

Summary & Links:

Students will watch two short clips about conformity as they discuss peer pressure and realize they can say “no” to their peers and “yes” to following God.

Memory Verse:

“Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve.”
—Joshua 24:15

Step 1:

Students will watch two short clips about conformity as they discuss peer pressure and realize they can say “no” to their peers and “yes” to following God.

Materials Needed:

  • Internet access

When your students arrive, show the following video to them and ask them to share their thoughts about it [1:36]:
Mesmerizing Mass Sheep Herding

Sheep and other animals often travel in herds, or groups. What we just watched was a good example of what is called “herd mentality.” Herd mentality is when people act the way you saw the sheep acting. They are influenced by others so much that they behave the same way as those they are with even when they do not understand why the group is acting a certain way.

Show the following video [3:42]:
Social experiment – most people are sheep

  • What similarities did you see between the two videos? (Although some of the sheep had dogs nipping at their feet, the majority of the sheep had no idea why they were doing what they were doing, they were just following the pack. The woman and later the waiting room full of people all did the same thing.)
  • The woman said, “Everybody was doing it, so I thought I was supposed to,” and “when I saw everybody stand up, I felt like I needed to join them.” When have you done or said something because everybody was doing it? (Answers will vary but may include: following trends in clothes, music, or food; doing positive things like joining an after-school club or team; unkind behaviors such as teasing a peer or carrying on when there is a substitute teacher, etc.)
  • The woman felt “much more comfortable” when she stood at the tone even though she had no idea why she was standing. Why did she feel more comfortable doing what the others were doing? (Answers will vary; she did not feel left out; she did not stand out as being different; she felt like she was part of the group; she felt like she was doing the right thing because everyone else was doing it, etc.)
  • Even the man who seemed determined not to join in eventually stood. Perhaps he felt odd for being different. How does a person keep from giving in to that kind of pressure? (Answers will vary.)

Standing at the sound of a tone in the video was harmless, but it says a lot about the way people respond to peer pressure. We want to belong or fit in with others. We may end up

following others without stopping to think that we have a choice. We may follow even when what the others are doing is not what we should or want to do.

  • When have you felt pressured to follow the crowd or follow just a few friends? (Answers will vary.) 
  • What is your biggest fear about what might happen if you do not go along with the group? (Answers will vary; rejection, ridicule, loneliness, isolation, teasing, bullying, etc.)

Moses, Caleb, and Joshua went against the group and stood up for God’s plan when others were too afraid to trust God. Let’s see how they managed to say “no” to peer pressure and “yes” to choosing to serve God.

Looking for Steps 2, 3 & 4?

You can find Steps 2 and 3 in your teacher’s guide. To purchase a teacher’s guide, please visit: Bible-in-Life or Echoes.

Step 4:

Materials Needed:

  • Internet access
  • Cotton balls (4 or 5 per student)
  • Sealable plastic bag (1 per student; small)
  • Index cards
  • Pens or markers

Rather than giving in to the “herd mentality” and agreeing with those who were driven by fear and doubt, Moses, Caleb, and Joshua followed the Lord, their Shepherd. They had a choice, and they chose to serve God. With every pressure to follow the crowd, we have a choice, too. Do we follow the crowd so we can fit in, or do we choose to serve God and walk in His ways even when others do not?

  • Why do you think people join the crowd even when they do not agree with what the crowd is doing? (They are afraid of how others will treat them, etc.)
  • Where did Moses, Caleb, and Joshua get their strength to choose to serve God? (Answers might include: they believed God’s promises; from their commitment to God, etc.)

This week as you are faced with big and small pressures, and when following God might mean that you are the only one doing so, making the godly choice may not be easy.  

Give each person an index card; 4-5 cotton balls, a small plastic resealable bag; and a pen or marker. 

On the index card, write Joshua 24:15, “Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve.”  Have your students slip the index card into the plastic bag along with 4-5 cotton balls. The cotton ball is a symbol of the choice: follow the herd of sheep, or follow the Lord, our Shepherd.

While the students are working, you may want to play the following [2:42]:
Step by step you’ll lead me and I’ll follow you all of my days

Place the bag with the index card in your room where you will see it each day this week. When you leave the house, take an extra cotton ball with you. Keep it in a pocket or in something else that you carry. When you are faced with peer pressure and the choice to follow God’s ways, let the cotton ball remind you to say a prayer for strength, and choose who you will serve.

Moses, Caleb, and Joshua followed the Lord even when the others did not. Will you?

Close in prayer asking God to give the students the strength to choose to walk in His ways no matter what.

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