Removing our burdens

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Removing our burdens
Topic Burdens, Sin
Group Size Any
Prep Time 20-60 min
Setting Outdoors waterway
Age Group Any
The Point Our sins, secrets, and failings are truly burdens and Jesus will take them away.

Back to Experiential Learning

Supplies Needed

With a good outdoor river setting you should only need permanent markers and have each participant bring a backpack. You will probably want some spare heavy duty bags in case someone forgets theirs, of course.

You will also need some form of waterway that is fast or deep enough that people won't be going in to retrieve their stones once tossed in. A lake works the best, but a river or strong creek will do.

If your waterway does not provide large (1/2-3 pound rocks) rocks for people to write on, you will need to collect them in place them in a pile for the people to use. Otherwise, directing them to the bank where the rocks gather naturally should be fine.

How to Set Up

There really isn't much to set up. Have each person bring a heavy tot bag or backpack. Make sure they come with those to the main meeting where this event happens.

There needs to be a stash of stones of varying sizes lying close to hand as well, whether that pile occurs naturally or not depends on the location.

What Happens Then

Early in the morning gather everyone near your stones. Have people write down their secrets and sins on stones, one sin per stone. People can vary the size of the stone with the severity of their deeds, but should be fist sized or so with adults, smaller the younger you get of course. Give them time to pray and think about what they are ashamed of and what is weighing their hearts down.

Then have people put their sins in their backpacks and carry them around all day. Depending on the age group, penalties for putting down their bag might be appropriate, but for most people, they will cling to those bags so no one can find their secrets. All normal activities for the day should still be done.

After a reasonable period of time (hour for younger children, the morning for youth, all day for adults) gather everyone together and talk about how Jesus frees us from our burdens, and our guilt. Then have people break out along the water and throw their burdens in, praying as they do so that God will take their burden and forgive their sins. Some people might find it helpful to read their stones to other people before throwing them in, but this probably should not be a requirement of the event.

Afterwards, you need something exhuberant to do, a really upbeat song to mosh to, a game to play, anything that will help people to really have it sink in how much weight has been lifted from their backs.

Possible Problems

There is of course the danger of injury, however small. Some people will not want to give up their burdens and will carry them for longer than the original intent of this exercise is. Some guidance will probably be needed for keeping the size of rocks reasonable and making sure no one gets injured.

Also, this should not be done over night or any time when the people will be seperated from their rocks. This is not only to reinforce the concept, but also to prevent people from sneaking into someone else's bag and reading their secrets without permission.

Other Ideas that use this Topic

How to Fall DownSatan plants seeds of mistrust to take us from God, the cross invites us to trust again.Message Idea
Personal SlaveryOne sin makes us a slave to it, we need freedom from Christ.Message Idea
Victory over Hidden Things in our LivesGod can deliver you from the hidden sin in your life.Message Idea