Before and After Word Play | UMC YoungPeople
Connecting young people and their adult leaders to God, the church, and the world
September 2021

Before and After Word Play

By Chris Wilterdink

Use this activity as an icebreaker for virtual or in-person gatherings. You can choose whether to allow internet searches. These clues may require someone with pop-culture awareness for generations slightly older than your youth, along with some biblical knowledge.

Allow participants up to five minutes to figure out the answers to each of these “before and after” clues. These can be done individually, in pairs, or in small groups.

The first part of the clue corresponds to the first part of the answer, and the second part of the clue to the second part of the answer. The multi-word answer always shares a word or series of words.

For example: The twelfth U.S. president who topped the pop charts with "Shake It Off" would be . . . Zachary Taylor Swift.

Once your youth get into the groove of answering these word plays, consider asking them to make some new ones using current popular culture and famous figures.

Best of luck!

  1. Without Art, he created the “Graceland” album, while also getting a new nickname from Jesus . . . that rocked.
  2. Arguably the most famous student at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry who purchased a plot of land used for burials using the money that had been paid to Judas.
  3. The ice hockey goaltender who won the Olympic gold medal with Canada in 2002 and enjoyed a musical run because of the garment that Jacob gave him.
  4. Arthur’s kingdom’s salty pillars.
  5. ABBA song recorded in honor of Ahasuerus’ wife.
  6. Folk trio behind “Puff the Magic Dragon” who would become a quartet if they jammed with Lazarus’ sisters.
  7. The home of the Whopper, which fed Israel’s first male monarch.
  8. Symbol on the modern Israeli flag that feels “Under Pressure” with Freddie Mercury.
  9. 2 Timothy 4 says that Jesus is coming back to judge this Robin Williams’ film with the message “Carpe Diem.”
  10. Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling “jazz hands” their way through Exodus, Chapter 3, in order to live where God promised.
  11. South African host of the Daily Show’s boat that carries the 10 Commandments.
  12. Nature Valley Crunchy Oats 'N Honey Snack enjoyed during a thirteen-year-old Jewish boy’s rite of passage.
  13. The Old Testament Prophet who starred in “21 Jump Street” and “SuperBad” and founded a charismatic Christian megachurch based in Australia.
  14. Chicago legend who dunked in the same place where Jesus was baptized.
  15. Lead singer of the Four Seasons shaded by Psalm 23.


  1. Paul Simon Peter
  2. Harry Potter’s Field
  3. Curtis Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
  4. Camelot’s Wife (Lot’s Wife)
  5. Dancing Queen Esther
  6. Peter, Paul, and Mary and Martha
  7. Burger King Saul
  8. Star of David Bowie
  9. The Quick and the Dead Poet’s Society or The Living and the Dead Poet’s Society
  10. La La Land of Milk and Honey
  11. Trevor Noah’s Ark of the Covenant
  12. Granola Bar Mitzvah
  13. Jonah Hillsong
  14. Michael Jordan River
  15. Frankie Valley of the Shadow of Death
Chris serves as Director of Young People’s Ministries for Discipleship Ministries of the United Methodist Church. Chris has a BA in English Education, and an MS in Project Management, and over 15 years of local-church youth ministry experience. He is passionate about leadership and faith development in young people and helping ministry leaders understand their value in the lives of young people. A Stephen Minister, Chris is a native of Colorado living in Franklin, TN with his wife Emily, 2 children, and sausage-shaped beagle.