Everybody close your eyes. You are no longer at camp. You have been transported to the first century A.D., where disciples of Christ are being persecuted. You are a Christian, but you are facing opposition from the government. Anyone who publicly acknowledges that they are a Christian is condemned to be thrown to the lions. Guards wander the streets, interrogating common people in order to eliminate unwanted Christians. It is into this atmosphere that you will find yourself when you step out of this room. Today is not an ordinary day, however. There is a secret gathering of Christians in a yet-to-be-disclosed location. Your goal is to find your way to the secret location and join your brothers and sisters in this secret "underground church" meeting. Along the way you may be approached by one of the guards, who will simply ask you, "Roman or Christian?" If you reply, "Roman," you will not be held any longer and you will be sent on your way. If you reply, "Christian," you will be taken to a holding cell to await your fate with the lions. Picture yourself in such a society. Ultimately, you would like to remain true to your faith. What will you do?
WHAT THE KIDS DON'T KNOW (but you do):
- - -Where the location of the secret meeting is (make sure it's big enough for everybody)
- - -Some of the guards (perhaps one out of five) are actually Christians and will not only set you free if you admit you are a Christian, but they will give you a hint as to where the secret meeting is.
- - -Some of those who stand up for their faith and are sent to the holding cell (early in the game) will be broken free by an amazing work of the Holy Spirit (angels come and hold the guards, allowing the prisoners to go free).
Those who are caught much later in the game will not be released and will be told of their untimely demise at the hands of the lions (there were martyrs, you know).
There should be at least one guard for every 5 people or so, or nobody will ever get caught. The secret meeting place needs to be hidden well enough that everybody won't find it within five minutes. Once people find the secret church, they MAY NOT LEAVE to bring others in; it is simply too dangerous. The larger the playing area, the better.
This is the most important part of the entire game, and it must be done in a very sensitive way. Some kids will have denied their faith and might feel bad about it. Others will think it was no big deal to lie about not being a Christian so they could reach their goal. Others might be afraid of what might happen to them if they stand up for their faith in real life. The debriefing is an opportunity for you to really reach the kids on what it means to stand up for one's faith and to totally trust God even in situations where they may face incredible adversity.
This game is played each summer with junior high camps of 100-150 kids and 20-25 counselors at Mount Hermon's Redwood Camp in Santa Cruz, California. It can easily be adapted to fit smaller youth groups as well. Hope you like it!