Opening activity: Balloon Encouragements
Required materials: balloons, large garbage bags
Instructions: Have students blow up balloons by yelling encouraging words into them. Tie them off, then place them into a garbage bag for later use in the evening. Suggest phrases like “way to go”, “good job”, “I appreciate you”.
Contest variant: have each student yell their encouraging words into the balloon, and see if the group can tell what they said.
Transition: Tonight, we’re going to look at Encouragement Under Pressure. How do you feel when you’re under pressure (at school, at home, etc.)?
Does it ever help overcome the pressure you feel when someone says or does something to encouage you? If so, how?
Bible Study: For this meeting, we’re going to take a look at what the Bible says about Encouraging each other. We’re going to try and answer three questions – HOW, WHEN, and WHY should people encourage each other.
HOW do we encourage each other?
We must also consider how to encourage each other to show love and to do good things. We should not stop gathering together with other believers, as some of you are doing. Instead, we must continue to encourage each other even more as we see the day of the Lord coming.
Activity: Encouragement Brainstorm
Instructions: In keeping with the phrase from this text, “let us consider how…”, have your students brainstorm different ways that they can encourage one another. Help them see that encouragement can take on many different forms – verbal, physical, emotional, spiritual, etc.
WHEN do we encourage each other?
Encourage each other every day while you have the opportunity. If you do this, none of you will be deceived by sin and become stubborn.
Optional Activity: Weekend Breathing
Instructions: Have a couple of students (preferably the ones who like to “ham” it up) pantomime what it would be like to decide on a Saturday morning that they were going to get all their breathing done for the week on just that one day – and then they would just “coast” on that one breathing session for the rest of the week.
Activity: Feeling the Pressure.
Instructions: Have each student stand on ONE filled balloon – it will probably pop. This demonstrates the concept that only one single encouraging thing, while helpful, might not be enough to counteract the pressure that each of us faces.
WHY do we encourage each other? (two reasons – )
1) makes us stronger
I Thessalonians 5:11:
Therefore, encourage each other and strengthen one another as you are doing.
2) builds up each other
You must let no unwholesome word come out of your mouth, but only what is beneficial for the building up of the one in need, that it may give grace to those who hear.
ENDING activity: Encouragement Bean Bag
Required materials: large garbage bags filled with balloons (from opening activity), duct tape
Instructions: Tape the big garbage bag full of balloons shut. Have one student at a time sit on each filled garbage bag. It should not break, and this demonstrates that a habit of encouragement, done frequently and consistently, can help others withstand the pressures that life faces.
Remind students that we, as followers of Jesus, are not about tearing others down, but about building people up. Encourage them to consistently encourage each other, and point to your brainstorming session results to remind them of their own ideas on how to build others up.
Close in prayer, having each student thank God for the person on their left.