The Jesus Game Instructions
By Linh Le
The foundation of all of my catechesis is Sacred Scripture and you will find that this game is relies heavily on Scripture. So the kids need a bible per group in the minimum and at least one per group must know how to look up citations. They will also need paper and pencil. There needs to be at least 3 grown ups to run the game, 5 is good, the more the better though.
Ok, so here we go... divide up the kids into teams ... each team should pick some type of name for their group to give them a sense of togetherness and identity. If you have time, resources, I suggest letting each group make some type of symbol for their group, a flag on a stick, or crest on poster board, etc. Each group is to be given a golden egg.
The golden egg is a raw egg that has been prepared by doing the following:
Take a raw egg and using a small sharp object (I use a needle) to open a small hole in the bottom of the egg. If you can, save any bit of egg shell you remove. At the bottom of the egg is a small air pocket that works well for storage. Insert the final clue into the egg. (Description of the final clue is towards the end of the email.) Reseal the egg with a hot glue gun and any egg shell you manage to save. If you have too much glue, you can sand it down using some sandpaper, or you can use a razor to cut away excess. Paint the egg a golden color to conceal the work you just did as well as to provide decoration. It works best if the kids do not realize that that egg is anything but a colored egg.
Ground Rules: Explain to the kids that the egg is something very precious, the "soul" of their team (use of this term will come in handy at the end of the game). If they loose or break their egg, they will be deducted massive points (there really isn't a point system but it keeps them in line :o) Let the kids know that they are about to take a journey, and that upon the journey they will meet many things, and undergo many trials. Their constant guide will be the bible and will help them get through each trial. They will be given a puzzle that corresponds to a bible passage. The bible passage will give them a clue to how to passage each trial. If they get stuck and don't know what to do, they are to kneel down as a group and pray as a group. This is key. It is a wonderful way to get them to pray together and get any of the kids who are more shy, or reluctant to participate to take a somewhat active role. They are to be told that help will come with their prayers. (Upon the group praying, an adult who is dressed like an angel will come to them and offer clues, aide, etc). They are to traverse the journey, as quickly as possible, but stress quality is more important than speed. Prizes can be offered if possible as incentive.
The game is divided into 7 "stations" patterned after the life of Jesus. Each station consists of a puzzle and a trial. They are to solve the puzzle to get a scripture passage. The scripture passage will tell them how to
pass the trail. Once they finish a puzzle, they are to pray together, and an angel will guide/direct them to the trial. Logistically you will require a bit of space, outdoors is the best setting. The stations should be set in either a line or a circle. The game begins with all the groups receiving the first puzzle.
Station #1: The first puzzle is a series of math problems that result in the scripture passage, Matthew 2:1-2, 9-1, The Visit of the Magi. (see the file: Station 1.doc) The math problems can be changed to fit whatever level the kids are at. The code is simple ... each number corresponds to a letter. For example, the number 1 = A, the number 13 = M, and 26 = Z. If you really want to challenge them, you can devise a more complicated code. You should see the codes I came up for the college students ... hehehe.
Once each team finishes and prays, they will be directed to the area of trial by an angel. Here an adult will be dressed as Mary and/or Joseph with the baby Jesus. This trial is about giving. To pass the trial, the group must bestow gifts of worth to the Holy Family (i.e. their watches, anything that is nice ... but remind them they should be giving gifts for a king; a great gift that an angel can suggest is that of a song ... remember the little drummer boy) Good role playing on the part of Mary/Joseph is helpful and she/he can give hints to what to do... ask questions like... who are you looking for... what do you want of Him... what did the Sacred Scriptures say to you... have you something for my Son? etc. Once this trial is passed,
Mary/Joseph is to give them the next puzzle and point them down the path.