- Age Range
- Number of Participants
- 30-60 minutes
A helpful way to begin a conversation about faith and belief in God with secondary school young people. The key to this activity is honesty and acceptance of where everyone is starting at. It works very well collaboration with ‘letters of faith’ and ‘press the priest’ activities.
Supplies you’ll need
- Large piece of paper – A2/A1 is best but A3 or A4 are ok if nothing better is to hand
- Felt Pens
On your large piece draw a line along it with 0 at one end, 50 marked in it middle and 100 marked at the end. It should look something like this:
This activity works best with young people you have spent some time getting to know. Playing some games beforehand is a great way to break the ice with new groups and help them loose their inhibitions around each other and yourself.
Leading the Activity
This activity works best with a large group first being split into groups of 7-10 with a group leader going with each group. Larger or smaller groups can also do the exercise but more than 10 tends to make the activity drag and too few can make shyer members of the group close up.
Each small group leader introduces the piece of paper to the group and explains they will be using it to start their discussion about faith. They’re going to do this activity so that everyone knows where each other is at and start to uncover common question that everyone has.
The leader explains that the line represents were people are in their relationship with God and the Church.
- 100 is complete belief in God, complete understanding of the faith and acceptance of what the church says.
- 50 is some belief in God and some understanding of faith and some acceptance of what the church says.
- 0 is No belief in God, No faith and No acceptance of what the church says.
- Everywhere in between each of those is a sliding scale towards one of those opinions.
The leader explains that they are now going to go around the group and mark their name and where they are at in their relationship with God on the line. It is really important that the leader emphasizes that it is ok to be anywhere, even if that place is 0. We want them to be honest and we need to show acceptance of where they are so when we discuss later they do not feel cut out or looked down upon. The leader should go first when doing this activity to show how it’s meant to be done.
When the individual places themselves on the piece of paper, have them give a brief explanation as to why they have put themselves where they did. They will very probably bring up specific questions they have that they feel haven’t been answered in a way they’re adequately happy with. It will almost always be something to do with the 3 S’s: Suffering, Science or Sexuality. While most hang ups they have are very easily answerable it is important at this stage to accept their difficulty and thank them for their honesty. If you answer every hang up they have on the spot without being directly asked about it they will most likely close up tighter as they don’t feel listened to as an individual.
Once you have gone around the whole small group pick out a particular hang up which many of them seem to have or one someone is very passionate about. For example, ‘So much of the bible seems out of touch with the real world and science, is it really meant to be taken literally?’ Open the discussion up to everyone and if people are holding back ask their opinion directly to get them involved.
As the leader, if you know the answer, try to help them arrive to it by asking prompting question and giving your opinion when asked for it. If you don’t know the answer, don’t lie or pretend you do, the YOUCAT will probably have a good answer and equally you can probably direct them to someone that does or suggest you find it all out together.
By facilitating the discussion you will answer many question ‘roadblocks’ that hold young people back from exploring their faith. A calm, relaxed and open discussion can be fantastic for changing attitudes towards the faith.