(Airplane Crash Simulation Night)
Main Point: To help students prioritize their lives to please God.
Biblical Text: Luke 12:16-21
2-3 sheets of paper per student
Pens for every student
Enough Bibles for every student
1 note card for every student
Optional supplies include small bags of peanuts, soft drinks, flight uniforms, tasteful magazines, a “fireproof” box, and video clips/scenes of a plane crashing.
Before Students Arrive
Set up your room like an airplane – rows of seats with an isle down the middle. Use whatever resources you have – a bus would be great, but a room with a bunch of chairs will work just as good. Finally, place the pens, papers, and note cards on each seat of the “plane.”
When the program starts, seat the students on “the plane.” If you can, have a funny, charismatic leader play the role of the flight attendant going through the safety instructions. Have them go “over the top” a bit, saying things like, “If this plane turns into a fireball in the sky, well, THEN you’ll be glad you paid attention to the location of the flotation devices!!!” Afterwards, he or she can begin to pass out the peanuts and sodas if you opted for them.
For even more comedic value, you might have the captain interrupt the flight attendant and say, “This is your captain. Welcome to Flight 284J81K13niner. The ground crew just notified us of a problem with the wing. It fell off. As soon as we get it glued back on, we’re good to go.”
Soon after takeoff, have the captain solemnly announce, “The plane is in serious trouble and we can only keep it aloft for another 10 minutes. Each passenger needs to write two letters, one to their families, and one to God. Write whatever you think is appropriate. The letters will be collected and stored in a fireproof box to keep them safe during the crash. Begin now.”
In 10 minutes, collect the letters and store them away. If you have the video footage of a plane crash, play it now.
Divide into Small Groups:
(If you have 10-15 students, one group will work. If you have more than that, you may want to break them into separate groups for the discussion.)
Let’s go ahead and split up into our discussion groups, and then afterward we’ll come back together for a final word.
CLICK HERE for a quick training article on how to maximize your small groups using our small group format—a great resource to equip your small group leaders.
- ASK A FEW: What did you feel like when you were told you had 10 minutes to live?
- ASK A FEW: What if it was true that you only had a few moments to live? Would you have regrets about how you have handled relationships, priorities, commitments, etc?
- ASK A FEW: What would you do IMMEDIATELY if you knew you REALLY DID HAVE ONLY 10 minutes to live? Is there something that you would hurry to do, someone that you would talk to, or something that you would set straight?
Have students turn to Luke 12:16-21.
16And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. 17He thought to himself, 'What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.' 18″Then he said, 'This is what I'll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19And I'll say to myself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.” ' 20″But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?' 21″This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.”
Tonight we put you in the pretend situation of an airplane crash to help you understand the very real situation of your life. For some, the situation was a good reminder to constantly live your life for God. For others, it was an in-your-face-wake-up-call. We also read the story of a man who did not live in a way that pleased God, and in the closing moments of his life, he faced a desperate reality. Hopefully, all of us have much more than 10 minutes to live. But regardless of how long we have to live, at the close of our lives, none of us want to face regrets, or to displease God.
Right now, I want you to write on your note card what needs to change about your life…STARTING NOW. Maybe you need to forgive a person, maybe YOU need to ask for forgiveness from someone. Maybe you need help breaking a bad habit. Maybe you do not have a relationship with God and you need to enter into one with Him. No matter what the change is, write it on your card now.
(Give them 3 minutes to do so.)
(When they have finished…)
Now, here is my challenge to you tonight. If you want help making THAT change in your life, simply write your name on your card, fold it in half, and bring it to me. You do NOT have to do this, but if you choose to do so, I want you to know that this will be between me, you, and God.
I just don’t want you to live your life apart from God, or live your life in a way that is not pleasing to God. Nor do I want you to face regrets that can be avoided by changing something about your lives.
Close in Prayer
NOTE: Make sure you are very careful with the “leftover letters.” Students may write very sensitive information on them, so it's best to be very responsible with them.
Jonathan McKee is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Bullying Breakthrough; The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices; If I Had a Parenting Do Over; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers on TheSource4YM.com. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.