Matchstick Debate

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?

Suggestions for discussion

  • What should we fundraise for?
  • What ought to happen at (the new group/club) we are starting?
  • What do you think about the church services you go to?
  • What sort of person should be our next Vicar?
  • What would make our church more welcoming?

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.
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