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<< Holidays & Special Coverage << Hunger Games

The Hunger and Thirst Games

  • Paul Turner Disciple Project Ministries
  • 2012 30 Mar
The Hunger and Thirst Games

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled" (Matthew 5:6).

Changing the Context of Culture

We all know the impact culture has on our students. We implore them from Scripture and from our own hearts not to conform to this world. At times it seems to be a losing battle, but our God is bigger than culture.

We can't stop culture, but we can change the context of how our students look at and receive this culture. This series is a result of prayer and a desire to change the way our kids perceive the music they listen to, the movies they watch and, in this case, the books they read.

This series could be used multiple ways. This material could be used as a retreat, a camp theme or as we used it—a 4-week meeting theme.

As a line from the book says, "May the odds be in your favor." I will say, "May God richly bless you as you teach your kids what it means to hunger and thirst after Him."

How to Use this Curriculum
If you have not read the book The Hunger Games, I suggest you start there. In reading the book, you will achieve a few things:

1. You'll earn street cred among your kids. If you are trying to make a point from the book without having read it, the kids will know you are faking it.

2. You'll get more ideas than what I have packed into this short outline.

3. You'll understand the philosophy of the book, the writer and the major themes.

Once you have read the book, talk with your leaders, students, parents and your pastor about this series. The book is semi-controversial, in the sense that it involves kids and death. It's not Lord of the Flies by any means, but the theme of survival in a post-civilized world is very strong.

Upon obtaining approval, get the dates on the calendar; you should take two or three weeks to promote the kick off, "The Hunger Games Are Coming!" Take time to explain the goals of the 4-week teaching. We used it as as an outreach tool so kids could bring their friends, but it met many other needs, as well.

Take a list of your kids and break them into teams. If you have eight kids, that's OK. Four and four works. Assign each team an adult leader to help with points, etc. Find the tally sheet here.

I made cards based on the 12 districts in the book, printed them off and allowed the kids to choose a card and which district they represented (Mining, Agriculture, etc.).These cards are located toward the end of the book.

I have created a cool page where you can order cool give-aways and room decorations.

Finally, after all the prep work, pull the trigger, and go all out. I have offered four meeting outlines to get you started, a point system, a list of worship songs we used, and links to the videos of the games we played. Enjoy!

"The Hunger and Thirst Games" is a 4-week contest for fun, prizes and world domination. For the four weeks, you will be a part of a city of contestants playing for prizes. Each week, you will choose two contestants to compete. The two contestants chosen from each team must be different each week.

Prizes, such as free trips or reduced fees, can be earned each week by the contestants. The city claiming the ultimate prize will be earning major bucks toward "Your Big Event Here."

Here is how your city can win points:

• 5,000 Points for NEW Guests (People who never have been to our youth group).
• 1,000 Points per dollar given in the offering.
• 5,000 points per week, per Scripture verse memorized.
• 5,000 points for event attendance.

1st Place—25,000
2nd Place—15,000

Four Weeks of Outlines
The outlines are basically the same, but feel free to add to or change the order of the outlines to fit your group. I do not use many notes, so I do not have an outline for each message, but I do have a PowerPoint for each message.

Week 1: The Kick Off Service: Are You Hungry to Do Something Great?
Scripture: Exodus

The Point:
Helping kids understand what it was like for the Israelites to leave Egypt and use their gifts to glorify God. I wanted our kids to see the hunger the Israelites had for building a place to meet with God. I likened our group to the tent of meeting, but now we do not need the tent because we are the temple of the Holy Spirit. These are not in the PowerPoint slides, but is how I closed.

The Game: In the book, the Hunger Games select two kids from every district to compete. We do the same by allowing each team to choose two kids to compete every week in the games.

Week One, Game One: The Maze

Praise and Worship: We have a full band, so we played the songs live. Don't be put off by this if you do not have a band. You can play the song and allow kids to sing along or use it  as a time of reflection before and/or after the message. I have a suggested list of songs you can use later on in the book.

Intro Video: Why I Hate Religion but Love Jesus

This video has more than 12 million hits, and came out the week I shared this message. I love when that happens.

Message: "Are You Hungry To Do Something Great?" PowerPoint

Closing: We do altar time and prayer, allowing kids to hunger and thirst after God. We also assign leaders to pray with kids at the altar. There are multiple ways to close your meetings from happy and joyful to serious and everywhere in-between. Don't feel as if you have to do it one way every time. Feel free to change it up every week as the Lord leads.

Week 2: Jesus and the Thirsty Woman
John 4

The Point: The goal is for students to understand that all people are spiritually thirsty. They are thirsty to worship something, anything.

The Game: Link to Game Two: Cheeto Face

Unlike the last game, this is just pure fun, no deep theological meaning here.

Praise and Worship: See Worship List Below

Intro Video: Thirsty

Message: "Jesus and the Thirsty Woman" PowerPoint

Closing: Multiple ways to close this service.

Have a big ceramic pot (representing the woman's pot) in which kids can place pieces of paper on which they've written what they want to leave behind.

Give each kid a Dixie Cup, and let them draw water from a ceramic pot labelled "Living Water." You could have the kids pray and drink the water when they are ready, or you can pray and drink together as a group.

Week 3: Jesus and the Hungry Men
John 6:22-34

The Point: To help students understand that because Jesus is the bread of life, He is worthy of following and not just for His miracles.

The Game: The Mystery Bag

We were not able to film this for some reason, but all you have to do is have partner 1) put their hands behind their back and partner 2) slip their hands through the other partner's arms and feed the first partner with the items in the mystery bag. We chose messy things such as yogurt, etc.

Praise and Worship: See Worship List Below

Intro Video: Bread

Message: "Jesus and the Hungry Man" PowerPoint

Closing: We closed with communion.

Week 4: Where Does Your Hunger Take You?
Luke 15:11-32

The Point: Students are hungry for life, and sometimes that hunger drives them to places that ultimately will not satisfy that hunger.

Link to Game Three: Sundae Face

One partner must build a sundae on the face of the other.

Praise and Worship: See Worship List Below

Message: "Where Does Your Hunger Lead You?" PowerPoint

Two news stories I used:
One Student's Hunger Led Her to Hurt
One Student's Hunger Led Him to Help

Closing: Prayer

Give Away Prizes:
When the winning team has been crowned winner, put the names of everyone on that team in a bag and draw for the prizes (free trips, etc.). You could do this on a weekly basis; it's a bit more work, but it may be worth it.

We took pictures of each of the teams and posted them on Facebook.
If you have any questions about the lessons contact Paul Turner
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Psalms 42:2: "My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?"

Psalms 107:9: "for He (God) satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things."

Proverbs 10:3: "The LORD does not let the righteous go hungry, but He thwarts the craving of the wicked."

Proverbs 13:25: "The righteous eat to their hearts' content, but the stomach of the wicked goes hungry."

Isaiah 32:6: "For fools speak folly, their hearts are bent on evil: They practice ungodliness and spread error concerning the LORD; the hungry they leave empty and from the thirsty they withhold water."

Matthew 5:6: "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled."

Matthew 25:35: "For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in."

John 6:35: "Then Jesus declared, 'I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to Me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in Me will never be thirsty."

John 4:13-14: "Jesus answered, 'Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again,but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.'"

John 7:37: "On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, 'Let anyone who is thirsty come to Me and drink.'"

Pre-meeting Songs (fun game music)
"Eat It"—Weird Al

"Hungry"—Spectre General (from the original Transformers)

"Hungry Heart"—Bruce Springsteen


"American Fastfood"—Randy Stonehill

"The Thirst Is Taking Over"—Skillet

"Is Anyone Thirsty"—Undercover

Songs for Worship, Prayer or Meditation
"One Thirst"—Bethel Live

"One Thirst and Hunger"—Jeremy Riddle

"Thirst"—Uptown Worship Band

"Hungry (Falling on My Knees)"—Vineyard UK

"Stir Up a Hunger"—Paul Baloche

"We Are Hungry"—Jesus Culture

"All Who Are Thirsty"—Brenton Brown

"Thirst"—Kevin MacDougal, Lyndsey Wallace and Scott Reed (Best of Worship Vol. 3, Grace Alone)

*Most all of these songs are available on iTunes.