Sometimes trying to articulate what we do with Coldwater feels like trying to decipher Corban-speak. Being a part of a new ministry, in so many ways, is a huge blessing. We get to see God work out His will on a daily basis. It also brings its challenges. Without a long history of individuals in whose footsteps to walk, we are left leaving our own footprints, blazing our own trails (no wilderness puns intended), making our own mistakes. One of the things we have struggled with is how to describe the connection between what we do with Coldwater and the youth group.
Coldwater trains its wilderness instructors in experiential education, and it’s this model of teaching that we also use with the youth group. We are still in the process of learning how to translate this type of teaching from its setting in the wilderness to its setting in our church’s basement. One way we do this is through the use of initiatives – structured, game-like activities with a very specific purpose.
On Wednesday night we put together an initiative that went really well. Our goal was to get the students to think outside of themselves. In order to do this, we wrote verses on 6 different puzzles in 6 different colors and then hid the pieces throughout the basement. We broke the group up into 6 teams and told them they needed, as a team, to find all of the pieces and be the team to tell us what the verses said. They automatically assumed it was a competition – they started stealing and re-hiding the other group’s puzzle pieces immediately.
Some groups got really frustrated, and it was interesting to see other groups begin to help each other after initially being so oriented towards their own success. What they eventually figured out was that they couldn’t complete the activity without fitting every puzzle together:
When read together, the puzzles revealed Philippians 2:1-4:
If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.