Bible Study & Prayer

My Soul Worth

Purpose: We often do not appreciate the value of things such as possessions. Often teens do not realize the value of character and the role their parents take in protecting their character. In this lesson you will discuss the importance of the parental role in protecting their valuable character. Teens complain about overbearing parents and lack of freedom often saying their parents are just “Old fashioned”.

Tools needed: Bible, pencil, paper, cell phone, and money

In opening the class, ask the students to list in order their 10 most valuable things. Ask the students to share their responses and ask why the items listed are important to them. Ask them if they know the cost of each item they listed. Share some of your important things (cell phone, driver’s license, and car keys) and briefly explain what they mean to you and their value.

More than likely no one will list valuable things/possessions as being their character, virtue, trustworthiness, Christianity, or family. We often only place a value (monetary) on inanimate objects and have a hard time placing a value on our own self worth.

Ask the students who is responsible for the protection of the items they listed. Ask them ways they protect their possessions (keeping it locked up, keeping it in their pocket or within arms reach, and insurance). Ask a student who listed their cell phone as a valuable possession and if you could keep it for a couple of days, if the response is no, ask them why. Ask your students to consider ways their parents protect them (as a valuable possession) and how that can come across as being overbearing or overly possessive. Would they just leave their possessions in the parking lot over night and expect it to be there the next day unharmed. We take care of what we love.

There are many scriptures that can be used such as: “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it”, Titus II talks about the teaching of good character, Noah is a great example of a fathers protection (most children today would think their parents were crazy to do such a thing as Noah did)

Explain to your students that their parents lock their valuables up, some have home alarms, insurance but all of those things are corruptible/temporal. Explain that each one of them is far more valuable, to be exact “priceless”. Express that their parents should and will protect their most valuable possession, them. Christ also paid a price for them, and they are equal to the price that was paid (Mathew Henry).

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Airing Out Dirty Laundry

Tools needed: Rope, clothes line/rope, clothes pins, dirty laundry (old soiled clothes), paper, and magic marker, Bible.

Purpose: To encourage teens to share their burdens through prayer and Godly counsel, not on social network sites or through texting.

Before your class arrives hang a rope across the classroom and hang your dirty clothes up. Make signs which state gossip, rumors, personal information, personal failures, family problems and personal relationship problems. Leave some blank paper for you to solicit responses from your students.

When your class arrives someone in the group will more than likely ask what is going on with the clothes hanging up. Explain to the class that you brought your dirty laundry in so they could see it. More than likely that will get a negative response from the class and you can tell them you thought that they would want to see you’re your dirty laundry.

There are a lot of young people who do not know the term “Airing out your/my dirty laundry out”. Explain to the students what the term means, or used to mean, it’s unacceptable to talk in the community about ones personal affairs. It used to be unacceptable to share information about someone else’s personal affairs. Ask those ways people are airing out their “dirty laundry”. Ask your students if media is being used to air out dirty laundry. Explain to the class how the internet, Facebook, and other social media sites are being used to air out dirty laundry. Just as we would not hang our dirty clothes out in front of our houses for all to see, especially under garments, we should not hang out our personal information for all to see through texting and other electronic means.

Most states have laws now concerning cyber-bullying which can be interpreted by others as being when we put out negative information about others using electronic means (refer to your local state laws).

On each piece of clothing attach the words and the responses from the class. Explain each word and how it can cause damage to the person their talking about and to their own personal testimony. Explain that the internet is a powerful tool but is and can be used for the wrong purpose.

With my class I used Gal. 6:2 “Bear ye one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ”. You can also use James 5:16 “Confess your faults one to another”. It should be noted that this should be done with fellow Christians or to Godly counsel, not on a social network site. The purpose of this sharing is so Christian’s can pray for you, and when they share with you, tell it to God and not others. There are many scriptures that address rumors, gossip, ect…. encourage your teens to bring topics to you that burden them so you can show them through the Bible how to resolve or get the answer to their problems/burdens.

NOTE: Today’s teens are faced with many challenges. Explain to your teens that if they receive information about someone hurting themselves or others it is their responsibility to tell a trusted adult who will help resolve the problem. Create an atmosphere in your classroom that your students will share with you but let them know you are obligated to share harmful information also.

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Jumble Group Prayer

This format of group prayer came out of our youth night one week.

After devotion, we commonly share our prayer requests, I write them down, and we dish them out with volunteers offering to pray each request. Spontaneous, out loud group prayer is something that’s not really comfy for a lot of our kids, and so it can be a real challenge for them.

On the night in question, we had spent so long talking about the prayer requests that we were running out of time to actually pray them. Somehow, we decided that one youth would open the prayer simply, “Dear God, hear our prayers…” and then we would all pray out loud at the same time. When it got quiet, we had another youth ready to close with “In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

It worked really well. We talked about it afterward, and heard comments like, “I didn’t feel as awkward praying out loud like this” and “I didn’t have to worry about making it sound right, because only God was listening and He always understands”. Another comment was, “That was cool, because maybe that’s how prayer sounds to God.” It’s definitely something we will be doing again.

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Don’t Forget Your Spoon

I constantly have to remind and pressure my teens to bring their Bibles to church. One Wednesday afternoon, I sent out text and Facebook messages to all the teens asking for their favorite cereal. Before class, I went to the store and bought the top 4-5 choices of cereal, milk, foam bowls, and plastic spoons. I then setup everything in the teen room, but I hid the box of spoons.

When the kids came in to class, I announced the number of votes for each cereal. I let them all fix a bowl, but did not provide any spoons. Several kids asked if there were spoons, but I ignored them until everyone had cereal. Then I asked them why they did not bring spoons to class, which they all gave me puzzled looks. I said that I had asked them about cereal earlier in the day, so they should have known we would have it and class and brought a spoon.

I then applied the lesson to how we need to bring our Bibles to class. Coming to eat cereal without a spoon is like coming to church Bible study without a Bible. I then pulled out the spoons and let the teens eat. Now, almost every week the kids tells one another “Don’t forget your spoon!” meaning to bring their Bibles to class. It was a simple but effective lesson, and I hope it works for you.

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Generation Text

Tools needed: White board and marker, pens/pencil blank paper.

Start lesson out by writing on the board that no one can talk. Do not tell the students what to do with their paper and pens as some will figure it out.

Write some of the following, “I have seen your Facebook or MySpace account, I know what you said. I saw the text.” or something along those lines (before teaching this lesson you should check the internet for your students if you feel comfortable doing this don’t be surprised by what you find, you do not have to do this).

Write “It hurt my feelings, I can’t believe you said that. Was it true what you said?” (Erase after each time you write as if you are e-mailing or texting). As students start responding by writing on their paper and asking things like “Who me”? or “What are you talking about?” Continue to write vague responses.

Write scripture on the board related to days of our youth such as I Tim 4:12. Have them read it and then write on their paper a response as to what it means. If someone writes the correct response tell them that they are right but don’t indicate why it’s right.

Write the words, angry, mad, upset, followed by gossip, lies, no emotion. The purpose of the lesson is to get the young people to realize what they put on the internet and what they text can affect many people. Some say things by electronic means that they would never say in person. God realizes that as young people we do things without full understanding of its lasting consequences. Adults do read what they put on the internet and some do for the wrong purpose. A good site to review before this lesson is Netsmartz.org.

The teens responded well to this lesson and some even tired of the writing and reading even though a good estimated average for them is 120 text a day. Some of our teens had text some hurtful things to other teens and I was aware of some of the teens putting personal info on their profiles.

I used the time to talk about internet safety, how to report and the importance of talking to their parents even when they receive unsolicited text, e-mails or images. Many law enforcement agencies will present internet safety classes to your teens or their parents. This issue is tearing apart youth groups and churches with Facebook being the main contributors. Talk to your teens about the internet not being reality and how texting doesn’t share true emotions or express an individual’s true intent. (My background, School Resource Officer for 15 years, Juvenile Investigator for 10 years, Teen Youth Leader for about 15 years, I have enjoyed your site and used it many times)

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Bible Search

This is a good idea to get kids in the Bible. Look up random verses in the Bible that has \”things/nouns\”, like rock… door… table… etc. Then write the verse down on a piece of paper. Then go to church early & find all of these things & put a piece of neon tape on it. Next give the kids a list of bible verses to look up to find the word. Tell them that there is a word in each verse they must find. When they find the object they must bring the neon tag back to the youth pastor.

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Comic Strips & The Bible

Give each student a comic strip which has the words in the conversation balloon removed (or paste balloons over the words). If you study a biblical passage, students are asked to rewrite the passage then write the new dialogue in the conversation balloons. If you discuss an ethical or moral question, the comic strip characters are used to suggest the student’s opinion about the subject. Discussion usually follows spontaneously from the use of this enjoyable medium.

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Foto-Match

Hang up 20 or so photos of all kinds of people. The 1st week, have the kids write descriptions of each person based on what they see in the picture. Collect them and during the following week, combine the descriptions into a single paragraph which reflects the group consensus. Attach the descriptions to each picture for the next meeting and have the students look at the photos with descriptions carefully (make sure they’re numbered) and then answer the following questions:
1.) Choose 5 people you would want to travel with for 1 year. Why?
2.) Is there any one person who you would not want anything to do with? Why?
3.) Who, if any would you be willing to marry?
4.) Who, if any would you worship with?
5.) Which person do you think you could really like? Why?
6.) If only 5 others and yourself were allowed to live and the others executed, which 5 would stay with you? Why?

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Cleaning Up The Mess

I had my group of VBS 5th graders pair up. I gave each pair a card which had a “nasty job” written on it — “being on a road crew that picks up dead skunks”, “changing a baby’s messy diaper” — you get the idea. The groups each had a turn to silently act out the nasty job, while the rest of the class shouted out what was being depicted.

When they were done, we turned to the narrative of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet. I wanted them to grasp what a lowly job foot-washing was. Then I asked them to count how many of the nasty jobs were ones that involved cleaning up after someone or something else. All of them were.

I then showed them that Jesus’ work on the cross was the ultimate act of cleaning up after our mess, and that, as we come to Him daily, asking for forgiveness, that He lovingly and gently cleans up our mess again. What a wonderful Savior we have, what a beautiful example of service, and what a responsibility we have to try to live up to that example.

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Reflections on Death and Life

This may sound odd, but it was a very powerful activity. If your church has access to a graveyard, take senior high kids, I wouldn’t suggest any younger, and explore death. Have the kids just walk through the cemetery and look at the headstones. If any kids have people of special meaning to them buried there, encourage them to look for that person’s grave. See if they can find the oldest, newest, and a person close to their age that is buried there. Remind them that this is holy ground and to be very respectful. Gather in a large group and listen to some relaxing music. (we used Titanic) Before you start the music, ask the kids to think about the graves they saw, how it made them feel, and encourage them to share their thoughts about death. Explain to them that although it’s a scary topic, it’s something that affects all of us, and those around us. Then go around the group for sharing. When everyone is done talking, sum up the feeling of the group and feel free to add any scripture verses you feel are applicable. As I said in the beginning, it sounds very morbid, but many in our youth group were seen with tears rolling down their faces, and it was a great group strengthener. We did this 5 days before Halloween, and went in the dark, so we had flashlights. I think that doing it in the dark was a powerful thing, and even though we were in a group, helped make it a more personal event because you couldn’t really see other people’s faces.

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