Do You Build Well?
Minecraft and building
by Kirstine Davis
Suitable for Key Stage 2
To use the video game, Minecraft, to consider the parable of the wise and foolish builders.
Preparation and materials
You will need a reader for the Bible passage: Matthew 7.24-27. If possible, use the Good News version of the Bible.
Before the assembly, arrange for a child who enjoys playing Minecraft to discuss the game with you during the assembly. If you are unfamiliar with this game, you may like to have a look at the Minecraft website at https://minecraft.net/. Please be aware that Minecraft has different modes, some of which could be unsuitable for younger children. It has also been given a range of age-suitability ratings.
Ask the children this question: who likes playing Minecraft?
Invite someone to the front to help you discuss Minecraft. Make the point that there are different modes: Creative mode is more like a virtual brick-building exercise, but other modes (Survival and Adventure), where you have to take shelter to escape from virtual monsters, may be frightening for younger children. Be aware that there is a range of age-suitability ratings.
Explain that, in Creative mode, you can decide where to put your building, what sort of blocks you want to use to build it, what materials the blocks are made from and so on. Minecraft enables you to use your imagination to build endless landscapes and buildings. There are over 100 different types of block in Minecraft, including ice, glass and cobblestone.
Point out that there is a story in the Bible about building. Explain that sometimes Jesus told stories that had a special meaning or moral – these stories are called parables.
Ask the reader to read Matthew 7.24–27.
Recap the story as follows.
Jesus told this story about two men. One of them built his house on rock. It wouldn’t have been easy to chip away at the rock so that he could get his floor level. However, the hard work was worth it because in the story, when the strong wind blew, the house didn’t fall down. Phew! The other man wasn’t quite so hard-working – he built his house on the sand. Imagine if you were digging in the sand on the beach. This man’s house would have been much easier to build! However, when the rain and wind came, his house fell down. What a disaster!
The same kind of thing happens if you build an inappropriate house in Minecraft. For example, if you use ice blocks instead of glass blocks to build your windows, they will end up melting. Alternatively, you might build a house that wouldn’t protect you from a monster in the Survival mode.
When you play Minecraft, you need to choose the right blocks to build with and the right place for your building. That is what Jesus is getting at in this story. After he has finished the story, Jesus says, ‘Anyone who hears these words of mine and obeys them is like a wise man who built his house on rock.' Christians believe that the Bible advises them on the way in which they should live their lives. They believe that living in this way creates a good foundation on which they can build their lives. The Bible encourages us to be kind and loving, to care for people and to stand up for what is right. It also encourages us to make good choices that take other people's needs into account.
By making good choices, we are building strong foundations on which to base the rest of our lives. Next time you play Minecraft, or play with Lego or any other building blocks, think about the importance of building good, strong things into your life.
Time for reflection
Help us to make good choices in life.
Help us to think about other people and to consider their needs.
Help us to be strong and loving.
Help us to be kind and to look out for people who need our help.