We are nearing the end of a fortnight where our Ultimate Questions lesson is being taught in 3 schools. This means that by the end of this marathon, approximately 1,300 students will have been in one of these lessons since the school year started in September, which is a remarkable statistic.
The lesson involves moving the tables to the side of the room to create a big space for students to sit in with the room divided by masking tape and 10 A3 laminated question cards placed on the ground.This in itself creates an environment that is so different to the norm that they enter with great anticipation (and on occasions, confusion).
A volunteer is chosen from the class on the basis that they are open-minded and able to make judgements about the best arguments given. This volunteer reads out the first Ultimate Question, which is always ‘Is God real?’ The students then discuss this in groups before having to vote with their feet, as they move one side of the masking tape or the other, depending on whether they think the answer is yes or no.
The volunteer then facilitates a debate with a variety of different arguments given, including a chance for the Step team to share the Christian response. Although the debates get a little lively and animated from time to time, I sometimes think Her Royal Highness should insist the Houses of Parliament take note of and learn from the general civility of discussions and respect given by the teenagers.
The chosen volunteer then needs to weigh up the arguments and decide which side gave the most persuasive reasons. This determines what Ultimate Question is asked next. The route is different in different lessons but we always get to debate several of life's big questions, such as 'Was the Universe an accident?', 'Does God allow suffering?', 'Is there a purpose to life?' and 'Is there an afterlife?'
It is always a privilege to spend an hour discussing these questions and helping young people process them for themselves, sometimes for the first time. Perhaps it’s something you would like to be involved in or you know someone who would thrive in this setting. Why not get in touch to find out how you can join the team.