Biblical Headlines for a Tabloid World!!!
Most of us are familiar with some of the more popular Bible stories. “Crossing The Red Sea” “Jesus Walks on Water” “Jesus Feeds 5000” etc.
But, what if those events took place in our modern & media frenzy world?!
This is a unique and fun meeting designed to teach not only the stories themselves, but also to bring those bible stories a little closer to home for teens. If Jesus really had walked on water today, wouldn’t it be all over the news and papers and internet?!
Jesus Calms The Storm at Sea Jesus on Trial
The basic idea of this meeting was something I read in a meeting idea book a while ago. The idea was to teach the chronological order of the stories. I had the idea in the back of my head to use one day, but had never really developed it completely. Then, The Boston Marathon Bombing took place. As we all watched tv, read papers, and searched the internet for any new detail that the other channel/paper/website hadn’t reported yet, I remember this idea and thought NOW IS THE TIME!!! I decided to put my own spin on it and use it to not only talk about the stories themselves, but also how sometimes we get caught up in the MEDIA FRENZY headlines and don’t take the time to get the TRUE FACTS. Let’s face it, sometimes the tabloids are more entertaining, but wouldn’t more traditional papers like The Miami Herald, NY Times, etc. be a bit more reliable?
Here in Miami/Ft. Lauderdale, we have a channel which is known for the more ‘tabloid/salacious’ type of headlines and story titles.
For instance, on most channels you might see a headline/promo/news anchors telling you to watch the 6pm news because…
“Tropical Depression expected to be upgraded to Tropical Storm…tune in at 6pm for the latest update”
But, on this more ‘tabloid type’ channel, they will be saying…
“TERROR in the TROPICS!!! Tune in at 6pm!”
SO…with all the craziness of the Boston Bombing Details, Suspect Photos shared on Facebook/Twitter, Manhunt, and capture going on that week, this seemed like the perfect time to go ahead with this meeting.
What You’ll Need:
-A list of bible stories (I wrote each on a small scrap of paper and folded)
-A hat/basket for teams to pick a story from
-A Newspaper Template (I googled a newspaper image and made copies)
How I Ran The Meeting
I started the meeting by talking about the events that had taken place in Boston that week. You could certainly talk about anything to start your meeting. It’s not hard to find a current event these days which is all over the news/papers/internet and being reported in vastly different ways depending on the source.
We talked about how we felt, what we found out and when, if anyone had family or friends in Boston that were effected, etc. We talked about where we were getting most of our information. The teens, of course, were getting most of it online either at homepages like msn or on facebook and twitter. We talked about some of the early details that were out there that proved to be completely false and how some media outlets are so anxious to be the first to ‘break’ the story, that they don’t accuratly check the facts before the report it. We talked about different the local tv channels broadcasts are and the difference between newspapers, magazines, and tabloid headlines. This was already a great discussion before we even started the activity.
I then had the teens break up into small groups of two or three. (This will depend on how many teens you have, I had 10 groups of 3 teens) Each group gets a bible, a newspaper template, and a marker/pen. I had them each pick 1 bible story out of a basket and asked them to come up with a modern media / tabloid type of headline for their story. I asked them to create a main ‘lead’ headline, and then some additional bullet points/outline facts about the story. I told them the headline should pull the interest of the reader so that they want to read that article first! If this was going to be a lead story, what would the headline say to make sure the reader didn’t ‘skip’ over the story?
I gave the teens about 20 minutes to read their bible story and create their headlines.
Once we came back as a group, we had each team stand up and present their headlines. Here are the stories and what my teens came up with….
1. The Last Supper – “He will never eat again”
2. Jesus Feeds 5000 – “Ravenous Night Feeders Stalk Jesus”
3. Water into Wine / Wedding at Cana- “Alcoholics Around the World Celebrate”
4. The Birth of Jesus- “Humble Birth for Supposed King”
5. The Flood- “Relentless Rain”
6. Adam & Eve- “Man Creates Life for Eternity”
7. Jesus Walks on Water- “Ghost Waiting at Sea”
8. Trial of Jesus- “Religious Terror Trial”
9. Crossing The Red Sea- “Hands Up, Hold On”
10. Calming of Storm at Sea- “Man Controls Nature, Citizens Saved”
Each headline had bullet points/fact outlines which were also presented by the team. Once all the teams had presented their headlines, we voted on our favorite/most likely to be on a tabloid cover at the grocery checkout story. The winning team got a prize.
Our first place headline
We wrapped up the meeting by talking about how these bible stories effected the people who heard them in the days after they actually happened. Then, we compared how our current headlines effect how we act/think in the minutes/days after they occur.
I end every youth group meeting with prayer intentions which begin with a reflection song based on the theme of the night. I used Casting Crown’s “What This World Needs” for this meeting.
HOW IT WENT:
This was a wonderful way to combine bible stories which can sometimes seem hard to imagine in ‘real life’ since we are so far removed from that time and place with our current news/media trends. What if YOU were there when Jesus turned wine into water? What if Jesus’ Trial happened this morning, what would the news/internet be reporting??? My teens had a great time trying to come up with the winning headline, and many commented how they ‘never knew that fact’ since I insisted they read the whole story to get the bullet points/outline facts as well. This is something I will definitely keep in my back pocket and do again at some point.
I hope, should you use this idea with your group, your teens can get something out of it as well. If you do use it, please let me know how it goes!