1 Samuel 16:7
To help students understand that ‘strength’ is not just about physical strength, but also about having the strength inside yourself to do what is right.
Things you’ll need:
- Three balloons, one of which needs to be a giant balloon.
- A container or box with a pretend spider (or a real one!).
- A simple brainteaser or riddle (see example below).
- Before the assembly begins, set up a table or other suitable surface and two chairs where the audience will be able to see for the arm-wrestling contest.
- Find and write up on a large piece of card a brainteaser or riddle, for example, the sequence: O T T F F S S ? (What are the next two letters in the sequence. Answer: ‘E’ and ‘N’. The letters are the first letter of the numbers 1 to 9 written as words, Eight and Nine.)
1 Start by getting students to think about strength with illustrations from current news or TV programmes that they will be familiar with (eg World’s Strongest Man).
2 Explain to students that in this assembly you’re going to be finding out how strong some of them are. Ask for three volunteers to take part in a series of strength tests – two boys and one girl works well.
Have an arm wrestling contest with each volunteer. Set this up so that everyone in the audience can see the contest. Make sure you lose at least one round. Talk about the physical strength needed to arm wrestle.
Next, give each of your three volunteers a balloon. Give the giant one to the person who beat you in the arm-wrestling contest. Tell the contestants that the first one to blow up their balloon and burst it by blowing it up (no nails or pins!) is the winner.
Get the other students to cheer the competitors. Whether or not anyone manages the balloon challenge, when you’ve ended the contest, comment that this test needed physical strength (keeping on blowing into the balloon), but also courage – no one likes the idea of a balloon bursting in their face!
The spider test
Introduce your pretend (or real) spider! Are the ‘tough’ arm wrestlers so brave now? Is being ‘tough’ always about being fearless? Sometimes even the biggest, ‘toughest’ people are afraid of creepy crawlies!
Note: keep this light-hearted, being careful not to make any of your volunteers feel embarrassed.
The brain-teaser test
Show the brain-teaser to your contestants (and audience). Can the contestants work it out? (No help allowed from the audience.) Their physical strength or bravery can’t necessarily help them now; a different kind of strength is needed to get the answer and succeed.
Tell everyone the answer to the brain-teaser if no one can work it out.
3 Thank your contestants and ask them to return to their places.
- Comment that all kinds of strength are needed in life: physical, mental and academic strengths all have a part to play in life.
- Ask how ‘strong’ they think they are when it comes to making some of the big decisions in life about right and wrong. Point out that it often takes strength to do what you know or believe is right (give some examples which you think are relevant to your audience).
- Ask how they know what is right and wrong. Explain that everyone needs to have a basis for decisions about moral or ethical issues. Explain it has to do with:
- Character: what you are like (eg honest/dishonest, reliable/unreliable, fair/unjust, etc).
- Values: what’s important to you (eg you only think about yourself; you’re concerned about others).
Both of these have to do with what you’re like on the ‘inside’ – not how physically strong or how clever you are.
Briefly refer to the story in the Bible about the choice of David as king in 1 Samuel 16. David was chosen not because he was a good-looking singer who fought wild animals, but because of the strength of character and the person he was, which God saw on the ‘inside’ (1 Samuel 16:7).
1 In a short time of quiet, ask the students to reflect on:
- What do you think your strengths are (eg sport, dancing, music)?
- What do you think are your strengths of character (eg work hard, good friend)?
- What are your values (eg right, wrong, honesty, morals)?
- Do you need to change anything or do something differently?
2 Ask students how they might need to be strong in standing up for what’s right. Conclude by challenging them to be strong enough to make good choices and to decide to make a difference in good ways today.