Exclusively Inclusive
Key Scriptures
Deuteronomy 10:17, Mark 9:38-40, 2 Chronicles 19:7, Acts 10:34-35, Malachi 2:10, 1 Timothy 5:21, Matthew 5:46-47, John 4:7-9, Romans 14, 2 Corinthians 2:4-11

It’s Your Move
Gather for this lesson: Fusion stuff, Breaking In cards, One Difference cards, pens, small waste baskets, 30 sheets of paper

Set Up Before Starting: Set up computer to display on the big TV and begin the fusion clips & slides three minutes before the actual starting time (uses the video countdown). Fusion portion lasts 7.5 min.

After the Fuion portion…
Tolerance, Prejudice, Relationships, Care 7-10 min.
Needed: Evenly divided “Breaking In” cards, enough for youth to have one each
Say: Teenagers often punish differences. That’s why the students in Kellie Patterson’s junior-high group stay away from the teenagers who live in the “transit home”—a halfway house for impoverished or abused teenagers who are on their way to foster homes. “Our junior-highers segregate them from their group because they’re different,” Patterson said. “They want their own group of friends, and that’s all they want. And they haven’t learned to be polite about it.”

Prejudice is the word. And the teen years are a prime breeding ground for intolerant attitudes. Here’s why:

1. Teenagers are constantly worried about what others think of them. There’s safety in sameness and differences can feel threatening.

2. They tend to make “pop conclusions”—judging an entire group by one person’s actions.

3. They rely heavily on peers for moral decision-making. Increasingly, adult advice takes a backseat to peer influence.

4. They have a strong desire to experiment with new ideas and anyone not keeping up is not part of the group.

I need two good listeners as volunteers for the next part.

As the ones you choose come forward have another sponsor hand out in random order one of the two versions of a folded “Breaking-In Card.” Show the volunteers one of the “Breaking-In Cards” and instruct them to resist anyone who does not follow the directions on the card you’ve shown them. Have them move to an open area and join hands.

Breaking-In Card #1:
Choose a spot to break into the circle. Whisper “God is great” into the ear of the person on the right of the spot you’ve chosen. Whisper “God is good” into the ear of the person on the left of the spot you’ve chosen. Yell “Cowabunga!” as you try to break into the circle.

Breaking-In Card #2:
Choose a spot to break into the circle. Whisper “I’m alright” into the ear of the person on the right of the spot you’ve chosen. Whisper “She’s alright” into the ear of the person on the left of the spot you’ve chosen. Yell “Cowabunga!” as you try to break into the circle.

Say: Treat the information on your card as top secret. The only way you can find happiness is to join the mini-circle formed by our two volunteers. And the only way you can join them is by following the directions on the “Breaking-In Card” you just received. Once you’re in the circle, don’t allow anyone else who doesn’t follow the directions printed on your card.

One at a time at first and progressing into small groups, have youth try to join the circle following the directions on their “Breaking-In Card.” When all youth have tried at least once to join, have youth return to their seats.
Moving In
Down with Prejudice! 3-5 min.
• How did those of you who weren’t allowed to join the circle feel?
• What was your attitude toward those in the circle?
• How did those of you who did join the circle feel?
• What was your attitude toward those outside the circle?
• Was this game fair to everyone? Why or why not?
Moving On
One Difference 7-10 min.
Needed: One difference cards and pens for everyone
Pass out one “One Difference” card to all youth.

Read aloud this summation of John 4:4-26:
In his encounter with the woman at the well, Jesus broke three Jewish customs: first, he spoke to a woman; second, she was a Samaritan woman, a group the Jews traditionally despised; and third, he asked her to get him a drink of water, which would have made him ceremonially unclean from using her cup or jar. This shocked the woman at the well.

Then Jesus told the woman he could give her “living water” so that she would never thirst again. Jesus used the words living water to refer to eternal life, the gift that would satisfy her soul’s desire only available through him. At first, the Samaritan woman did not fully understand Jesus’ meaning.

Although they had never met before, Jesus revealed that he knew she had had five husbands and was now living with a man who was not her husband. Jesus now had her attention! As they talked about their two views on worship, the woman voiced her faith that the Messiah was coming. Jesus answered, “I who speak to you am he.”

Say: The Samaritan woman probably felt a lot like those of you who couldn’t break into the circle. The Jews refused to associate with Samaritans, even though the Samaritans had no control over their ethnic background. In many ways, we’re no different from the Jews. There are plenty of people we avoid just because they’re different from us. We’re each going to spend one minute silently thinking about one difference we don’t like in others. For example, maybe you don’t like people who make straight A’s or people who are short. Then, secretly write that one difference on your card. No one will see your card but you. Save it for a little later.

After one minute,
• Jesus was a Jew—why do you think he didn’t avoid the Samaritan woman just as all the other Jews did?

Moving Up
Building Up 5-7 min.
Needed: Small waste basket, a sheet of paper and a pen for each triad

Form groups of three and give each a sheet of paper. Ask groups to each draw a picture of the perfect youth room. When they’re finished, place all the pictures in the center of your group.

• Which youth room is the most practical? (You may have to have groups elaborate.)
• Which is most creative?
• Which looks the best?
• Which would you vote to go visit?

Stack all the pictures together and place the wastebasket on top of them.

Say: God created us with many differences. These differences can make our group strong if we accept those who are different from us, even though it may be difficult sometimes. The Bible says we’re all one in Christ Jesus, yet it’s difficult to be one when we see only our differences.

The combination of all the “Youth Center” ideas gives us a better idea as to what might be pleasing to everyone. With compromise in mind, think about the secret difference you wrote in the first activity. Now, on the same card, write what you can do to change the way you treat people who are different.

As youth finish writing…

Say: As you finish crumple up your secret difference and throw the scrap into the wastebasket.

Moving Out
GAME – Stress Points 10-15 min. –Start with about 20 min. left
This game demonstrates the importance of teamwork and unity. Use two parallel lines on the floor, about two feet apart (the red and black “end” lines should work). Form two teams. Have teams each stand behind their line, facing the other team.

Say: We’re going to play a variation of Tug of War. Teams will each “invite” the opposing team members to join their team by dragging them across their line. When a team gets an opposing team member on its side, that person becomes a supportive member of the new team and helps pull other people across the line. Teams can try anything to resist having team members pulled across the line, but when a person’s foot first touches/crosses the opposing team’s line, that person has to join the other team. Everyone must stand with one foot on their line at all times.

Each team will encourage their team members and let them know how cherished and valuable they are by grabbing onto them and saving them from being pulled away. Please use caution and don’t hurt each other.

Let the game continue until everyone is on the same team. Call time if the game seems to drag on or if teenagers get too enthusiastic about pulling new members into their team. Then try making a “Dream Team” of the biggest and strongest, handicap a team by having them use only their left hands, have one team that must keep one hand on the ground at all time, etc…

Gather in a closing circle
Say: How do you draw the line between standing up for what you believe and being tolerant of others opposing views? Does being tolerant mean you’re less committed to your own beliefs? Does believing firmly in an absolute truth make you a non-inclusive person?

Right now, as youth, we’re exploring the edges of our beliefs, stumbling over doubts, and finding that issues are much more complex than we ever expected. While some young people know what they believe, they don’t always know why they believe it. This unstable bombardment of viewpoints can not only be confusing, it can cause us to follow one of two paths:

1. We embrace extreme tolerance, conceding that since we can’t possibly know all truth, we conclude that all viewpoints have some validity. As a result, we allow our beliefs to weaken.

Or, 2. We embrace extreme intolerance, grasping the portion of our beliefs we think we understand, and dismiss all other viewpoints that don’t adhere to our personal belief system.

Both are dangerous stances to take for Christians, especially teenage Christians. The Bible preaches tolerance as an attitude of patience toward differing views. But, scriptures also command intolerance of false teaching. We must be willing to dig deeply into God’s Word to develop a humble attitude of Inclusiveness that also allows us to fully embrace God’s truth.
Dear Lord and wonderful creator of all, we who are divided, unloving, prejudiced at times, inclined to misunderstanding, and intolerant stand before you this day. We ask that you give us the wisdom to make us instead united, loving, open to learning, understanding, forgiving, and tolerant. May your Spirit be present in us as you are in all people.
In Jesus name we pray, Amen.
Say: Please join me in the UMYF benediction.
UMYF Benediction
May the Lord bless you and keep you.
May the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you.
May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.


Discussion Guidelines
1. What is said in the room stays in this room.
Confidentiality is vital to a healthy discussion.

2. No put-downs.
Sarcasm and unkind remarks have no place in a discussion. If someone disagrees with another’s comment, they should raise a hand and express an opinion of the comment but not of the person who made it. It is permissible to attack ideas, but not each other.

3. There is no such thing as a dumb question.
Asking questions is the best way to learn.

4. No one is forced to talk.
Anyone can remain silent about any question.

5. Only one person talks at a time.
Each person’s opinion is worthwhile and deserves to be heard. Listening is an expression of respect.

The Rules:
• Be respectful of others
• Don’t be mean
• Keep your hands to yourself
• Stay in your seat
• Understand there is a time and a place for everything