Possible Lesson Plan:

  1. Open with prayer.
  2. Scripture Reference: the book of Esther. The bones of the story should be familiar to the students. Assign roles ahead of time to the students: Esther, Ahasuerus, Haman, Mordecai, and Vashti. Have each scan the book with particular reference to his or her role. Then engage in an impromptu “reader’s play” where the only action is in the voices and facial expressions and act out the story. Have the rest of the students “boo” when Haman speaks,as in the Jewish festival of Purim.


  1. History: Ahasuerus is the Hebrew rendition of Xerxes I, king of Persia. Xerxes should also be familiar to the students from Greek history, as the king who crossed the Hellespont with an immense army on a bridge of boats and marched through the pass of Thermopylae, where he was met by the 100 Spartans of Leonidas. Although the Spartans were eventually defeated through the actions of a traitor, the Athenians had time to remove the entire population to a fleet of boats in the Bay of Salamis. When the larger Persian ships met the smaller, more maneuverable Athenians, the Athenians defeated the fleet of Xerxes (sound like the Spanish Armada some 2000 years later?), and he fled back to Persia, never to try again. Thus began the Golden Age of Greece.


  1. Discussion: There are many ways of pressuring others into what you want of them: How did Haman pressure the king? (lies and deceit) Mordecai Esther? (the “guilt trip”) Esther the king? (the sweet-talking wheedle?) What other methods might you have tried if you’d been Esther?

Every day someone’s trying to pressure us one way or another. Name some ways: TV ads, peer group, sales people, parents, fear of punishment, promised reward,… Have teens brainstorm and list on the board. Which one pressures you the most? Are you easily pressured? Was Ahasuerus? Esther? To get ahead in life, do you have to fit in with the crowd? How effective are you at persuading others? Do you tend to give in to people who continually pester you to do something you don’t want to do? Esther? Does sweet talk help to loosen people up when you want them to do something? If you’re right, is it OK to use a little deceit to persuade people to your side? (Esther and Ahasuerus?) Or send them on a “guilt trip” when they don’t want to do what you want? (Mordecai to Esther?)

Can Christians use pressure to Christ’s advantage? Is it right? Like Esther inviting Ahasuerus to dinner, how can we effectually invite others to Christ, to church? Can peer pressure help us do the right thing? Why is it sometimes difficult to make wise decisions when with non-Christian friends? What can we do to prepare for times when friends pressure us to do wrong?


  1. Close with prayer: Let’s try some positive pressuring this week: each student figure out a way to invite someone to church and Sunday School next week.