What’s it Worth to You?: A youth auction object lesson

This week we were talking about the fact that following God must cost you something. It sounds weird when you say it like that, but every relationship cost something. When you become friends with someone you must give up some of your independence so that the two of you can hang out together. When you get married you give up time, money, energy, and a great deal of your heart so that you can be together. Our relationship with God should cost something of us too. So starting with David at the threshing floor in 2 Samuel 24 I talked about how following God should cost us something.

In the middle I did this survivor show style auction. Here is how it works.

  • Give each student $10 in pretend money. It will need to be 10 $1 bills. I made up my own Catalyst Currency, but any play money will work fine.
  • Pick up several small items that students will want. I got everything from big bags of candy to individual Hershey bars to play-doh and playing cards. (For the record most of the toys are cheaper than the bags of candy)
  • Your total number of items should equal about 1/3 of your total average attendance.
  • Pass out the money to the students (each person gets 10 bucks), but don’t let them see the items up for auction.
  • Tell the students that you will show one item at a time for them to bid on. Inform them that there are not enough items for everyone to have something. Also remind them that everyone has the same amount of money so in the result of a tie we will wait until someone has more or the item will not be sold.
  • Bring out the first item and start the bidding. Very soon they will realize that they need to pool their money with their friends in order to get what they want. But if you loan a friend $2 so that they can buy a candy bar you are pretty much guaranteeing you won’t have the money to buy something later.
  • Keep the bidding going until you have “sold” all of your items.

There are a number of different points you can make from this lesson. Here are some of the things that I brought up:

  • In this auction you needed to decide what you thought things were worth without knowing what was coming later. You never knew if you were giving your money away on something that was OK, but not great only to find out that later there would be something even better. Most people are giving their resources (time, heart, talents, and money) away to things that are just OK, but when they don’t give it all away to God they miss out on what is great.
  • If you were willing to help someone else it was going to cost something of you. Service has great rewards, but you must pay the cost to serve. God doesn’t call us to just give our leftovers. He asks for worship that costs something of us.

There are a bunch of different ways that you can go with this, but it isn’t half bad for an object lesson. Let me know if you find some more ideas for where this will fit.

2 thoughts on “What’s it Worth to You?: A youth auction object lesson

  • February 26, 2009 at 8:43 PM

    Great idea. Very similar to something I’ve seen on the tv show ‘Survivor.’ I’m looking forward to using this later this year. Thanks for the idea!

  • March 1, 2009 at 6:02 AM

    Great lesson! I’m going to share it with our temp Youth leader. It is a good lesson for all of us to think about and learn from.

    Thanks for another though provoking lesson.


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