Great Debates

10 03 2011

Last month, we staged two debates during our youth group’s Bible study.  These two evenings ended up being some of the two best Bible studies we’ve ever had…and I’m still in the process of figuring out why that is.  Each week, we introduced the topic and had students vote anonymously on which position they believed was “right.”  Then, we divided them into two teams, assigned them a position, and gave them a handout that included questions to think about and possible Scripture references to guide them.  They spent about 20 minutes preparing their arguments, and then we held a 15-minute debate.  We tried to make it as “official” as possible, although there were lots of giggles along the way!! (One girl finished her argument early and spent the rest of her time smiling sweetly at the judges; another boy busted out his iPhone for some musical support).

Then, after all was said and done, we gathered in a circle and debriefed the experience.  We talked a lot about how people use the Bible to support their arguments, especially about pulling verses out of context.  We also talked about how the students had formulated their arguments and how that can be similar to how we form theology.  We talked about how sometimes, there is no “right” answer…or at least, not a black-and-white one.  And we talked about how the Wesleyan quadrilateral of Scripture, tradition, reason, and experience can guide us.

They had a lot to say: both during the debate and afterward. Every single person in the room was involved in the process from beginning to end.  Over the course of the evening (and without any adult prompting), each of them found a Bible, opened it, looked up various Scripture passages, read them out loud, and discussed what they meant.  That may not be a big deal for you more successful youth ministers, but that’s a rare occasion for us!

Click here to download the handouts we used: The Great Debates




2 responses

11 03 2011

sounds like a totally engaging lesson. you’re a rock star!

11 03 2011

wish i could do the same in math class!

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