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An Heroic Ministry
Verse of the day
YWI - working with...
YWI is pleased to work in association with
Fuller Youth Institute, US
Sophia Network, UK
A new kind of lifestyle
MEETING AIM: To challenge young people about the lifestyle choices they make, exploring where we get our self worth, what we project in our behaviour towards others, and respecting authority.
BACKGROUND PREPARATION: Gather together the pictures needed for the guessing game, pens and paper, a CD player, copies of The Message (this paraphrase works best for this session), and the DVD Over the Hedge, plus the means to play the clip. You will also need a large enough area to have small prayer stations, as well as cards prepared to hand out at the end.
What’s it worth? (Colossians 3:1-4) (10 mins)
In a similar vein to the classic TV show, The Price is Right, have pictures of a selection of products available for the young people to try and guess the values. Include in the game suggestions of the type of person who would own what is shown. Types of products shown could be: an iPod, a pair of trainers, a mountain bike, a car, a house etc (you can download pictures from the internet, just make sure you know the price).
Then have another set of pictures of non-material possessions, (for example a group of friends, a person laughing, a sunset, a beach with palm trees) ask the same questions as before and it will be a lot harder for the young people to put financial worth on these. A discussion about this could develop from the exercise.
As a close to this discussion, show the final scene in Over the Hedge, which looks at who we are and where we belong being more important than our possessions in defining who we are. (Some explanation as to what has preceded this in the film may be required)
Following this read Colossians 3:1-4 together.
KEY POINT: The first part of the scripture is about focusing on Christ, not what is around us. When we focus on what is around us we start to measure our worth by the worlds standards, just as we did with the pictures and describing the type of people who may have those things. What we are challenged to do here is be content with what God has given us, such as the examples in the second half of the exercise, and it is through those things that we start to find happiness (as shown in the film clip).
Upside down living (25 mins)
Ask the group to split into twos or threes, and give each of them a copy of Colossians 3:5-18. After reading through, ask them to come up with a list of negative and positive words that Paul is using to talk about the lifestyle the Colossians should have. Have the group come back together and talk through those negatives and positives (one point easy to miss in this scripture is around equality in Christ, verses 9-11).
Go back into the two’s or threes and hand out a magazine to each group. Ask them to choose one or two of the positive words discussed (examples are love, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline etc) and using the magazines that they have, create a collage that represents those attributes (these will be used later in worship so it is important to get as wide a range as possible). Bring the group together once again and show the work created.
Submit? (5 mins)
Read Colossians 3:18-25 together and ask the group whether they think this is a difficult reading to understand. How do words like submit and obey make the young people feel?
KEY POINT: Wives, children and slaves may be told to obey, submit, do as they are told; which is what we can focus on in this passage, however, the message Paul wants to put over is that husbands, parents and masters are told to love, respect and not take advantage. Do the young people think that the first or second group of people have the tougher challenge?
And there’s more! (5 mins)
The very last bit of this scripture is about doing our absolute best in everything, and not just what we enjoy. To demonstrate this message try asking the group how they would react in certain situations, some examples could be:
· Mum asks you to tidy your room
· Little brother wants to join you and your mates playing footy
· Teacher asks you to do some extra work
· A friend needs to talk and you are getting ready for a party
If we are called to serve, do we act as Paul suggests and do our very best, or do we moan and grumble and do half a job?
KEY POINT: From start to finish this scripture challenges us to choose a new kind of lifestyle, from taking the worldview of ‘we are what we own’ and challenging it, to how we treat our family and friends and those who have authority over us.
How can we respond to this? (10 mins)
Take the collages of the positive statements from this passage that the young people made earlier, and lay them around the room. Playing worship music, ask the young people to walk around and look at the collages individually. Looking at those positive choices that they can make, challenge the young people to take a moment to pray at each collage, asking for God to show them where in their lives they need to change. Ask the young people to pray for a confidence in Gods love that will inspire them to share it with others through their words and their actions. It is important the leaders do not separate themselves from this time of response but join in.
As the young people leave, give each one a card with some of the positive words from this scripture on it. A business size card fits easily into a purse or wallet and can be carried around as a reminder of the choices the young people could make.
Notes for adapting:
For younger groups: An explanation of some aspects of the text will be required, and be prepared to answer questions such as what sexual promiscuity and lust is.
For older groups: Ensure the role-play questions in the section entitled ‘submit’ are relevant to their situations.
For unchurched young people: Lots of what is being shared today will be very counter cultural for those not used to a ‘church’ environment. Be prepared for the discussion times to take a longer than normal.
For churched young people: Focus the discussions on the young people and encourage them to talk in the first person as opposed to others around them. Churched young people know the right answers, but are they living them? Be ready to pray with, or talk to young people who have been challenged by this session.
Mads Morgan is the youth pastor at Tove Valley Baptist Fellowship in Towcester, Northamptonshire.
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