OGHS Youth Activities
Youth Activity #1: Past and Future
Age range: Middle School and High School
Materials: *Optional pictures or examples of the technologies described
Intention: This is an exercise in imagination to help youth connect with the ways in which our thinking is limited by our experience.
Through discussion, youth can gain a deeper understanding of the ways in which God can use our generosity and our OGHS offering to change the world.
Optional Activity Extender
If you want to expand this activity, provide some examples of older imagined technologies–DaVinci’s flying machines, the gadgets in shows like StarTrek. Consider how our technology as lived up to or surpassed the imaginations of previous generations.
Begin by reading the focus scripture and inviting a discussion of this year’s theme: More than We Can Imagine.
You may want to start with a few questions, such as:
What do you think this means in the context of the scripture?
Why would Paul write that in the letter?
How does it make you feel to hear that God can do more than we can imagine? Encouraged? Overwhelmed? Skeptical?
After some discussion on the scripture, transition into the next part of the reflection.
Invite the youth to practice a thought experiment with you:
Imagine a time, long ago in antiquity, when there was no internet. No cell phones. No tablets. Computers were big heavy things that lived on your desk and only connected to dot matrix printers. Newspapers were only in print. People wrote each other letters on paper that they mailed. TV had a limited number of channels and there was no Roku, no Netflix, no firestick, no on demand. Music was played on radios or, if you wanted to take it with you, on a Walkman or discman. Information about the world was available on encyclopedias that were heavy multi-volume books that were often out of date by the time they went to print because the world had changed.
You may want to provide photos or examples of these ancient technologies for effect.
Having set the scene, invite the youth to consider how they would carry out some of the daily tasks they now perform: How would you catch up with friends? How would you do a group project for school? How would you get updates on what is going on in the world? How would you stay in touch with family and friends who live far away? What if you needed to reach someone right away?
Add other scenarios that may resonate with your group.
How has technology changed our lives? What assumptions do we make now about productivity and connectedness? Do you think people living in those times could have imagined the way we do things now?
Allow time for discussion and invite reflection on the ways technology has enriched our lives as well as the ways it has created new challenges.
Now imagine a world where you have to work to grow all of your food. Consider all the steps that go into that: you must prepare the soil, you have to plant your seeds, plan for how they will get water, protect the seedlings from anything that might want to eat them, from diseases and molds that could kill them. Then, depending on what you are planting, you may have to wait years for something to mature and give fruit: an orange tree may take anywhere from 3 to 15 years to yield crops!
How would your days be different? How would you find time for things like education? How would your family be different? How might you be affected by climate change? Consider things like access to healthcare and other resources. How is life changed by regular access to healthy, nourishing foods?
Add other questions for consideration that are appropriate to your group.
Through One Great Hour of Sharing, we are helping people in places like Nicaragua where people are learning agricultural techniques that survive climate change impact and provide more diversified crops for each of the farmers. They have planted citrus seedlings that have grown to bear fruit within 9-10 months!
If you have time, read together the Mission Moment found in the Leader’s Guide on pages 9-10.
With our giving we are part of God’s imagination for families who will now have extra time and resources because they do not have to worry about their crops and how to feed their family. Can you imagine the ways in which people’s lives will change!? Maybe the children, who are now free to go to school and who now have enough to eat may end up inventing new technologies that will end world hunger! Maybe they will go on to create art unlike anything we’ve ever seen! Maybe the community will have more time for joy and connection now that they have more resources! And all because we contributed to OGHS with the prayerful hope that God would do with our gifts More than We Can Imagine.
Close with a prayer where you invite each of the youth to share what they imagine to help people around the world.
Youth Activity #2: In Another’s Shoes
Target age: High School
Materials: Handouts with family composition
Scratch paper/chart paper and writing implements
Information specific to your context such as cost of renting housing and supermarket circulars
This activity will help youth to consider the impact of poverty on families and consider how God can use our giving to help.
The youth may be invited to share a testimonial in worship.
Close with this prayer by Oscar Romero
Downloadable Activity Handout:
DEFINITION: Multidimensional Poverty refers to “the multiple deprivations that each poor person faces at the same time with respect to education, health and living standards.”
Youth Activity #2: In Another’s Shoes
Begin by reading the focus scripture: Ephesians 3:14-21.
Direct the youth to consider the theme: “More Than We Can Imagine.” Invite some discussion about how they understand the theme in the context of the scripture.
In a 2014 report the United Nations reported the following figures: “Globally, 1.2 billion people (22 percent) live on less than $1.25 a day. Increasing the income poverty line to $2.50 a day raises the global income poverty rate to about 50 percent, or 2.7 billion people.”
The UN talks about multidimensional poverty. What do you think they mean by that? How does living in poverty make people vulnerable? What are some of the things families may need to sacrifice if they don’t have enough money?
Let’s consider what it looks like to live in different income categories in our own country.
Break the group into “families,” assigning each a family from the attached family information sheet. Invite the youth to create a budget to meet the needs of their assigned family.
They should consider:
Clothing and other necessities
Provide adequate time for discussion before calling them back into a large group debrief of the activity.
Group debrief: Invite each group to share a bit about their family, the income they were given, and the choices they had to make in budgeting.
How did this activity make you feel? What were some of the areas where families had to make sacrifices? How would life be different for these families if their basic needs were met? How do you think this compares to families living in other parts of the world? What might be some of the same needs? What needs might be different?
What are some of the ways God can use our One Great Hour of Sharing offerings to help families and communities in need?
Close with this Prayer by Oscar Romero. Archbishop Oscar Romero was a priest in El Salvador who spoke up against poverty, social injustice, and violence in the community. He was assassinated in 1980 while offering Mass.