Matchstick Debate

Page Summary

This activity includes using matchsticks to ensure everyone has a say in group discussions.

Good For...

  • Conducting a discussion
  • Allowing quieter group members have their say

You Will Require

  • A pack of matchsticks or equivalent
  • Container to collect them in


  • Decide on your discussion topic there are suggestions below

What To Do

  • Give each child/young person 6 matchsticks.
  • Explain that each time they speak in the discussion, they put a matchstick into the container. Everyone must use at least two matchsticks. When you run out of matchsticks, you cannot say anything else.
  • Introduce the discussion topic.
  • When the discussion has finished, give everyone one more matchstick. This is so that they what they thought the most important thing was that they heard.
  • Reflect - what have you learned? How might that feed in to what you (or the church) do? Who can help things to change?

Related Questions

What should we fundraise for?

What do you do at your group? >

What should we do at the new group / club we are starting?

What's the one thing we (you) could do to make church now more like your dream church?

Why do you go to church? >

What might stop you going to church? >

What does your church mean to you? >

Is there anything you don’t like at church? >

How do you feel when you are at church? >

What do you think of the church you go to?

What things do you not like doing at your church? >

What would the perfect church look like, use words or drawings?

If you could change one thing about church, what would it be? >

What do you think our new vicar could do? >

What do you think our new vicar should be like? >

What three words would you use to describe our ideal new vicar?

What would be the three main things you would like in the new vicar? >

How can we make our church more welcoming to children, young people and young families? >

How can our church be more welcoming to people who don’t normally come to our church? >

Do It Differently

  • Allow one of the matchsticks to be placed in the container to show agreement rather than having to say something.
  • Use an egg timer to limit the length of contributions.