Complete Meetings

It’s Your Thang – #2

It’s Your Thang – Spiritual Gifts

Scripture quotations are from the GOD’S WORD translation, used by permission.
GOD’S WORD is a copyrighted work of God’s Word to the Nations Bible Society. Quotations are used by permission.
Copyright 1995 by God’s Word to the Nations Bible Society. All rights reserved.

The purpose of this session is to introduce youth to their spiritual gifts, explain each gift, and challenge them to begin thinking of a specific ministry or ministries where they can put their gifts to work.

You may want to divide this session into two halves. During the first session, pass out a spiritual inventory quiz and allow your group plenty of time to answer all the questions. (A spiritual gift inventory is a series of questions that can help determine possible spiritual gifts based on responses to the questions. You can find one at your local Christian bookstore).

Activate Your Audience

Would You Rather…

This activity is adapted from the popular book from Youth Specialties (author Doug Fields) by the same name. Have everyone in the group stand up together. Explain that you are going to read a statement of the form, “Would you rather A or B?” Those who choose A must move to the left side of the room. Those who choose B must choose the right side of the room. Allow for a few moments of frenzied activity followed by playful and perhaps heated discussion between the two groups about which decision is best. You can use the questions found in the book, or you can use those listed below:

Would You Rather…

kiss a dog or a cat on the mouth?

eat cow eyeballs or monkey lips?

die by a fire or by a drowning?

win free tickets to a professional football game or baseball game?

live without TV for one year or be homeless for one month?

have a phone or a TV in your room?

keep your siblings or be an only child?

win a million bucks all at once today or get $1000 a week for the rest of your life?

lose both arms or both legs?

work during the summer or stay at home all day?

Bring them Closer

Groupies

Explain that everyone is alike in some ways and everyone is different in some ways, as the previous game revealed. Explain that you are going to call out a category, and everyone must group themselves according to their favorite in that category For instance, if you call out, “Pizza,” then everyone would group themselves according to the different types of pizza available. Other favorites include color, fast-food-restaurant, movie, song, TV show, band, teacher at school, etc. You could also try it with the category “worst” instead of favorite. This will set the tone for you to explain that there are categories of Spiritual gifts, and God gives each of us different gifts according to His will.

Music

Lead your group to sing some songs that focus on the power of God’s Spirit and His influence in our lives.

Communicate the Word: It’s Your Thang — Spiritual Gifts

Each time you explain a specific spiritual gift, you might have everyone who has that gift to stand so that others can see who has what gift. This will also relate back to the earlier activities. Perhaps you could divide everyone up into groups according to their top spiritual gift and have someone else lead them in a short study of their particular gift.

I. What is a spiritual gift?

A. What it is not

1. A talent (something you just happen to be good at)

2. An ability (a developed skill)

3. A personality trait (whether environmental or genetic)

B. What it is

1. You get it when you become a Christian (Ephesians 4:7, I Corinthians 12:7)

a. There are no believers without gifts

b. There are no unbelievers with gifts

2. It is a supernatural ability that works through God’s Holy Spirit (I Peter 4:11)

a. The reason you have it is to do God’s work

b. You supply the availability and God will supply the ability

3. Your gift is not for you — it is for the youth group and the Church (Ephesians 4:12)

4. God gave us all different ones so that we could all work together (Romans 12:4 – 6)

II. What are the spiritual gifts?

A. Apostle/Missionary (I Corinthians 12:28)

1. Supernatural abilities

a. Leave home/family/friends

b. Travel on the road

c. Adapt to foreign cultures/food/etc.

2. Possible worldly weaknesses

a. Demands everyone travel as a missionary

b. Thinks people who cannot handle foreign culture/food are wimps

3. Ministry opportunities

a. Missionary (home or foreign)

b. Traveling business person who adapts to and witnesses in each new situation

c. Reaching beyond your own clique and group at school to reach people different from you

B. Prophet/Preacher (I Corinthians 14:3 – 4)

1. Supernatural abilities

a. Not afraid to tell individuals and groups that they are right/wrong in God’s eyes

b. Apply God’s Word to specific situations to determine right/wrong

c. Sense the need for revival in the youth group or Church

2. Possible worldly weaknesses

a. See everything as black or white (no gray areas)

b. Hurt people’s feelings by loveless criticism (hate the sinner as well as the sin)

c. Tend to be depressed too often about the bad stuff going on in the youth group and Church

3. Ministry opportunities

a. Help individuals see that they need to turn back to God

b. Bring about revival in the youth group and Church

c. Help others resist peer pressure by encouraging them to do what’s right

C. Evangelist (Ephesians 4:11, II Timothy 4:5)

1. Supernatural abilities

a. Talk about Jesus anytime, anywhere

b. Identify with people right where they are and explain the Gospel in related terms

c. Know just what to say to people when witnessing

2. Possible worldly weaknesses

a. Too much talking and not enough doing/caring for people

b. Tend to be flighty — you cannot spend much time working with one person

c. Look over physical/emotional needs and still expect a spiritual commitment

3. Ministry opportunities

a. Form a specific witnessing effort at school

b. Win people to Christ one by one

c. Come up with new and unique ways to share Jesus

D. Pastor/Teacher (Ephesians 4:11 – 12, Romans 12:6 – 7, James 3:1)

1. Supernatural abilities

a. Strong desire to see individuals and groups learning God’s Word

b. Sensitive to people caught in sin — you want to help them get back on track gently

c. Can communicate easily and well to others

2. Possible worldly weaknesses

a. Become angry at people who don’t have the same love of God’s Word as you

b. Despair and discouragement when people don’t respond to your care

c. Concentrate more on your speaking/writing/helping than the people you are trying to help

3. Ministry opportunities

a. Lead small group Bible studies

b. Counsel Christian friends on what to do in tough times

c. Unify the youth group and Church

E. Encourager (Romans 12:6 – 8)

1. Supernatural abilities

a. Sense when someone is down

b. Help others see the bright, spiritual side of things

c. Spend time and energy cheering others up spiritually

2. Possible worldly weaknesses

a. Become down when others don’t appreciate your encouraging efforts

b. Have a lot of good intentions to encourage people, but never follow through

c. Become hard to cheer up yourself

3. Ministry opportunities

a. Christian comedian

b. Deliver or send cards/letters/gifts to people who are down

c. Spend time one-on-one in person or on phone with people who are down

F. Messenger of Knowledge/Wisdom (I Corinthians 12:8)

1. Supernatural abilities

a. Know what to do in a crisis situation

b. Know what to say to unbelievers’ questions about God

c. Know how to defend your faith on the spot when it is attacked/challenged/debated

2. Possible worldly weaknesses

a. Think you know it all and that everyone should always listen to you

b. Answer to quickly/abruptly without love to an unbeliever

c. Depend on your own wisdom instead of waiting on God’s to defend your faith

3. Ministry opportunities

a. Pull the youth group closer together during a crisis

b. Step to the front of the pack during times of persecution

c. Explain to others intellectually why Jesus is real

G. Server (I Corinthians 12:6 – 7)

1. Supernatural abilities

a. See things that need to be done and do them

b. Accomplish tasks very well

c. Work behind the scenes to take care of things others don’t think about

2. Possible worldly weaknesses

a. Become upset when people don’t notice your work

b. Try and do everything yourself

c. Criticize the way others do things

3. Ministry opportunities

a. Help set-up and tear-down for youth activities

b. Form a team to Adopt-a-Highway and pick up trash in the community

c. Ask youth workers/leaders how you can help

H. Hospitality Giver (I Corinthians 12:8)

1. Supernatural abilities

a. Sense physical needs of others

b. Give time, money, effort to helping meet those needs

c. Let go of your own possessions to help others for a time

2. Possible worldly weaknesses

a. Expect others to meet your needs the same way you meet theirs

b. Keep track of what you give and expect repayment

c. Become down when others don’t appreciate your efforts

3. Ministry possibilities

a. Collect and send food/clothes to disaster relief victims

b. Let others borrow/have your things to meet their own needs

c. Share your room with a foreign exchange student and help them fit in here

I. Giver (I Corinthians 12:8)

1. Supernatural abilities

a. Sense a financial need/burden in others

b. Give your own money to help others

c. Organize people to give money to help others

2. Possible worldly weaknesses

a. Brag about your giving

b. Keep track of how much you have given and expect others or God to repay you

c. Become angry at those who don’t give as much as you

3. Ministry possibilities

a. Donate money to help someone else go to camp

b. Organize youth to give money to help someone in the group/Church that has a need

c. Find and meet financial needs of lost people in your school/community

J. Leader/Administrator (I Corinthians 12:28)

1. Supernatural abilities

a. Sense what needs to be done and how to do it

b. Accept challenges and organize people/resources to solve them

c. Motivate people to become a part of your vision for God’s work in the youth group and Church

2. Possible worldly weaknesses

a. Think your ideas are better than everyone else’s

b. Be upset when you can’t be the leader and you have to follow someone else

c. Treat people insensitively by trying to make them do something they don’t want to

3. Ministry possibilities

a. Organize teams of people in the youth group to perform a specific function

b. Plan and lead a Backyard Bible Club made up of several youth group members

c. Take charge of problems and help solve them

K. Mercy (Romans 12:8)

1. Supernatural abilities

a. Have deep compassion for people who are in pain (emotional/physical/mental/etc.)

b. Can comfort others with ease

c. Very considerate of other people’s feelings

2. Possible worldly weaknesses

a. Become angry with those who do not show mercy toward others

b. Expect people to comfort you the same way you comfort them

c. Lash out at those who are not considerate of you

3. Ministry opportunities

a. Reach out to the handicapped in our group/church/community

b. Defend and stand by those who get made fun of

c. Instill confidence and comfort in the underdogs around you

L. Faith (I Corinthians 13:2)

1. Supernatural abilities

a. Sense God’s presence when no one else can

b. Sense that God is at work when no one else can

c. Trust in God in spite of tremendous obstacles

2. Possible worldly weaknesses

a. Become angry/upset with others who lack faith

b. Believe that you are always right

c. Believe that you are better than others for your beliefs

3. Ministry opportunities

a. Organize a prayer ministry to pray for big things

b. Challenge others to win their campuses to Christ

c. Motivate others in the youth group and Church to rely on God in tough times

M. Discernment (I Corinthians 12:10)

1. Supernatural abilities

a. Sense hypocrisy or dishonesty in the others

b. Sense when God is at work

c. Sense when Satan is at work

2. Possible worldly weaknesses

a. Tend to judge and criticize others for their faults

b. Be melodramatic about spiritual things

c. Arrive at your own conclusions about others instead of depending on God’s Spirit

3. Ministry opportunities

a. Steer the youth group clear of Satanic influences (astrology, Ouija boards, etc.)

b. Steer the youth group toward depending on God’s Spirit for guidance

c. Point out hypocrisy in the youth group and Church

Do Something About It

Explain: Everyone divide up into groups based on your top spiritual gift. If someone ends up alone, have a leader pray with him/her — emphasizing the uniqueness that God has given to this person. Or, direct this person to choose his/her secondary gift and meet with that group. Talk about specific things you could do in the following areas to put your gifts to work. Come up with at least two ideas for each area.

1. Home

2. School

3. Youth group

4. Church (outside of youth group)

5. Work

6. Other (your choice)

Then pray and dismiss yourselves when you are done. You might provide adult leaders to watch over these small groups and make sure the youth stay on track.

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It’s Your Thang – #3

It’s Your Thang – Interests and Abilities

Scripture quotations are from the GOD’S WORD translation, used by permission.
GOD’S WORD is a copyrighted work of God’s Word to the Nations Bible Society. Quotations are used by permission.
Copyright 1995 by God’s Word to the Nations Bible Society. All rights reserved.

The purpose of this session is to explain that basic interests and physical/mental abilities are tools that God has given each young person to be a light — a witness in this world. There is also risk involved. We can just be ordinary, and use our interests and abilities in average, dull ways. Or, we can be risk takers, and come out of our comfort zones, and use our interests and our abilities to do the ministry that God has called each of us to do. Ministry always involves risk!

Activate Your Audience

I Dare You To…

Have everyone sit as if you were about to start the Bible study. Then, challenge individuals to come up to the front, all alone, and respond to the following safe but risky dares. Be sure and ask someone to come up first, before you explain what the dare is. If possible, have prizes to give away to the daring souls that rise to the challenge. To increase the risk, have someone videotape each person who responds to a dare.

1. Sing the Entire National Anthem Off Key
2. Sing all that you know of one of your favorite “SchoolHouse Rock”
3. Crawl on your hands and knees to a person that WE (the group) selects and ask him/her to marry you
4. For 30 full seconds, show us what you would do if you were stranded on a desert island an you saw a plane above
5. Two people come and make up a poem as they go along — the first makes up a sentence and the second must rhyme it — for five verses or more

Optional – Who’s Bedroom is This?

Before the meeting, obtain permission from a youth parent to come and videotape the inside of the youth’s bedroom. Go through several things and areas, filming what you find. Focus on trying to discover what kinds of things this person is interested in. Then, show the video, and let everyone try to figure out who’s bedroom this is. Discuss the person’s interests/abilities based on the items you recorded.

Bring them Closer

What Do You Want to Do With Your Life?

Have everyone stand, and tell everyone to get in groups based on what they want to do the first year after high school. Break everyone up into categories (four-year college, two-year college, trade school, armed forces, travel, nothing, etc.) If more than 5 end up in any single group, split that group so that the groups are no bigger than five. Have each person in each group complete the following sentences and discuss:

1. My main interest in doing this is because…
2. My abilities that I think will help me to accomplish this goal are…
3. I already started to plan for this goal by…
4. I am ____% confident that I will meet this goal because…
5. I pray about this goal about ______ minutes/hours per week.

Music

Praise God for all He has done for us.

Communicate the Word: It’s Your Thang — Interests and Abilities

I. Introduction

A. Interests are things that you have a strong desire to do/study/experience
B. Abilities are natural or developed skills that you possess
C. God is the source of and reason for both

1. God put you in the time and place you live so that you would have your interests/abilities (Acts 17:26)
2. God created you with your interests/abilities to do His work (Ephesians 2:10)
3. God wants you to use your interests/abilities to their fullest and beyond (John 10:10, 2 Corinthians 8:3)

II. Examples of people in the Bible who used their interests/abilities for God — taking risks

A. The woman who poured perfume on Jesus’ feet (Luke 7:36 – 50)

1. Interest: Perfume, of which she had a special jar full
2. Risk: She was a sinful woman, uninvited to this man’s house, but she came in anyway and did something no one had ever thought of doing with perfume before — pouring it on Jesus’ feet
3. Results

a. Her actions are recorded eternally in the Bible
b. She did something totally unique
c. Jesus honored and forgave her in the presence of all the people who had condemned her

B. Zaccheus, who returned more than he stole (Luke 19:1 – 10)

1. Ability: To make and manage money
2. Risk: He gave money away to be happy. People thought he was nuts for sure.
3. Results
a. His actions are recorded eternally in the Bible
b. Though short and perhaps looked down on, Jesus honored Him in front of everyone
c. He received forgiveness and made a lot of other people happy (those who got money back)

C. Peter, a fisherman who became a fisher of men (Mark 1:16 – 18, Acts 2:14, 40 – 41)

1. Interest/ability: Fishing
2. Risk: He left his way of making money to follow an unknown teacher
3. Results

a. Many of his actions were recorded eternally in the Bible
b. He caught many people as a fisher of men for God (see Acts 2:14, 40 – 41)
c. He was crucified upside down for his beliefs (traditional — see John 21:18 – 19 for allusion)

III. Why use my interests/abilities for God? Why take risks?

1. It’s God’s plan for our lives (Ephesians 2:10)
2. Jesus did, and we are to imitate Him (1 John 2:6)
3. Your life will be the most fulfilling (John 10:10)

Do Something About It

Explain: Everyone divide up into groups of no less than three and no more than five. Each of you share your interests and abilities with the group. Have everyone else offer at least one way that each interest/ability could be used in ministry.

Pray and dismiss.

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It’s Your Thang – #4

It’s Your Thang – Your Heart

Scripture quotations are from the GOD’S WORD translation, used by permission.
GOD’S WORD is a copyrighted work of God’s Word to the Nations Bible Society. Quotations are used by permission.
Copyright 1995 by God’s Word to the Nations Bible Society. All rights reserved.

The purpose of this session is to explain that love is the key to ministry. To minister is to love. And love comes from the heart.

Activate Your Audience

Have a Heart

Purpose: To help youth understand it is better to give love than to receive it.

Materials: 10 heart-shaped pieces of pink paper for each group member, a pencil for each group member

Setup: Pass out one pencil and ten hearts to each group member.

Time: Approximately 15 minutes

Procedure: Explain: The object of this game is to give away the most hearts. Follow these rules:

1. When giving away a heart, write your initials on the heart so everyone will know you gave that heart away.
2. You may only give hearts away to a person one at a time. Before giving another heart to the same person, you must give another heart away to someone else.
3. If you receive a heart from someone, you may not then give one of your hearts back to the same person. You must give a heart away to someone else first.

Give your group exactly ten minutes (or whatever time you think best) in which to give away the hearts.

After time is up, instruct everyone to sit down and count how many initials are on each heart for each person. Then, go around the circle and ask each person for the total for each set of initials. Declare the winner.

Bring them Closer

Have a Heart (continued)

Discuss the following questions with your group.

1. What would the game have been like if the object was to get the most hearts?
Answer: Everyone would have just stood around waiting for someone else to give.

2. Each of you started with only ten hearts. How is it that most of you gave away more than ten hearts?
Answer: You had to get some hearts in order to give more away.

Transition: The hearts that you gave away represent love. Each time you give love to someone, you give part of your heart away. Most people think the object of life is to get the most love, so they just stand around waiting for someone to give. For the Christian, however, the object of life is to give love away to others. And, as God designed it, you can only give so much love away before you need more love yourself, but that shouldn’t keep you from giving in the first place.

The greatest thing you can ever do on this planet is love — and love comes from the heart. We’re going to look today/tonight at how to become great lovers — loving from the heart.

Music

Focus on music about loving God and others. If possible, sing “They Will Know We are Christians by our Love”

Communicate the Word: It’s Your Thang — Your Heart

A. Introduction

B. Review the greatest commandment (Matthew 22:38 – 40)

1. Giving God your heart in love is the greatest thing you could ever do
2. Giving others your heart in love is the second greatest thing you could ever do
3. Our “THANG” — our ministries — are nothing without this kind of love

C. Transition: Love must be given through actions in ministry — in your THANG

II. Yeah, you’ve got spiritual gifts. So what? (I Corinthians 13:1 – 3)

A. The gift of tongues is pointless without love
B. The gift of prophecy/knowledge is pointless without love
C. The gift of giving/service is pointless without love
D. Your THANG is pointless without love — totally useless

III. Love takes action — it gives from deep within the heart (I Corinthians 13:4 – 7)

A. Patience: thinks of the other first and waiting without thought of self
B. Kindness: to parents, teachers, enemies, friends, etc.
C. Doesn’t envy: celebrates the success of others without wanting a share of the profit
D. Doesn’t boast: doesn’t use the mouth to say, “Hey, look at me! Look what I can do!”
E. Isn’t proud: doesn’t walk around thinking it’s better than anyone else
F. Isn’t rude: treats authority figures and peers with the greatest respect
G. Isn’t self-seeking: isn’t always asking, “What’s in it for me?”
H. Isn’t easily angered: doesn’t fly off the handle when things don’t go my way
I. Keeps no record of wrongs: forgives and forgets on a daily basis
J. Doesn’t delight in evil: doesn’t listen to, watch, or participate in sin
K. Rejoices in the truth: wants to be totally honest about everything
L. Always protects: stands guard to defend others (helpless, less fortunate, friends, etc.)
M. Always trusts: doesn’t doubt God or others
N. Always hopes: always expects the best
O. Always perseveres: sticks do it — doesn’t just start fast and then fade

IV. Gifts are Tools with Which to Love(I Corinthians 13:8 – 13)

A. Again, gifts are great, but they are only tools of this present age with which to love
B. It’s time to grow up and realize that the point of the game is to give the most hearts (refer to game)

V. Conclusion (John 13:35)

Like the game with the hearts, most people think the object of the game is to get the most love. Everybody’s looking at self. But the object of the game if you are a Christian is to give away the most love. Everybody wants love, so lets start being the ones to give it. How does the Bible say that non-Christians will know Jesus is real? “They will know we are Christians by our love…”

Do Something About It

Explain: If time allows, pass out a new set of blank hearts to everyone (at least one per person). Have each person write down the name of one or more people that they need to learn to love from each of the following categories: teachers, parents, friends, enemies, siblings, etc. Have them take these hearts and place them in their Bible or at home in a place where they will see it and it will remind them of the love that they need to show for these people.

Pray and dismiss.

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Just Give It Up

Just Give It Up!

The purpose of this study is to help young Christians realize that following Jesus doesn’t require a few changes — it causes drastic changes.

Activate Your Audience

VIDEO GOSSIP

Set up a video camera in a private room to record each young person making a statement. The statement will be what was whispered to them by the previous participant. The statement is whispered only once, and the person on camera must attempt to repeat what she/he heard. This is just like sharing gossip in a circle, only you get to see how the message deteriorates with each person. There will be a drastic change from the original message to the final one, illustrating the point.

If you don’t have a video camera, play the game in a circle with each person simply whispering to the next.

Sample message: Henry Barfinsnickel, with flaming sword in hand, soundly defeated the Great Fugi monster atop Mt. Carmel before receiving his much-deserved dessert: a hot fudge sundae.

Discuss with the group how the message deteriorated and why. Then, shift gears by talking about how drastic the change was from the original to the final. Explain that this drastic change is the same kind of change Jesus is looking for in his followers.

Build a Bridge

Ask people to share what it would be like if they were suddenly blind/deaf/paralyzed for the rest of their lives. What changes would have to be made? Are those changes simple or drastic?

Constructive Communication

I. The followers of Jesus did not follow a list of rules (Like the Rich Young Ruler – Matthew 19:16 – 22)

A. They did not follow Him because they were supposed to
B. They did not follow Him because they were forced to
C. They followed Jesus because they wanted to

II. The folowers of Jesus did not become religious (Like the Pharisees – Luke 11:42)

A. They did not change their appearance
B. They did not change their language
C. They became imitators of Jesus

III. The followers of Jesus made drastic changes in their lives to follow Jesus

A. They didn’t just adjust their daily schedule — they left their jobs, homes, & families
B. They didn’t just drop a bad habit or two — they became a separate entity on earth
C. They didn’t devote a few hours a week — they lived and died for the name of Jesus

IV. What made them follow Jesus

A. He always saw good in them. He always sees good in you (Psalm 139).
B. He loved them in spite of their sin. He loves you in spite of yours (I John 1:9 – 10).
C. He was patient when they fell. He’ll be patient when you fall (Psalm 23).
D. He offered the best life of all. He offers you the best life of all (John 10:10).

V. Don’t follow Jesus for the wrong reasons

A. Duty (I’m supposed to or God will get me)
B. Force (My parents make me)
C. Habit (I just grew up in church — Christianity is my religion)

VI. Follow Jesus because you want to

A. Spend some time with him
B. Read the four gospels — listen to the message
C. No one who actually spent real time with Jesus ever stopped following him (The Pharisees and other outsiders knew about him, but his disciples knew him personally).

Do Something About It

7. Spend time with Jesus before school starts. Read the gospels. Listen to what he has to say and watch what he does. Then make your decision. You won’t be disappointed.

8. Make some drastic changes. Don’t let your Christian life be boiled down to church attendance, a cool Bible, and a few Christian T-shirts. Devote your life to him if you choose to follow him and leave everything else behind.

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Name That Tune

Name That Tune

Many of you have no recollection of the TV show “Name That Tune.” Of course I barely remember it. It first aired in 1953 (I was a young child…) and ran until 1959. The point was to be the first to name the popular song being played by an orchestra. By the way, I saw reruns, not first airings! Very funny…laugh it up…grandpa, I know. 🙂

PLAY A NAME THAT TUNE GAME WITH PRIZE(S).

What we want to look at tonight is the word Christian. Let’s say that’s our “tune.” How long would it take people to name that “tune” about us? Are we even playing the right song?

Where Christians got their name…
Christian: The name given by the Greeks or Romans, probably in reproach, to the followers of Jesus (literally “little Christ”). It was first used at Antioch. The names by which the disciples were known among themselves were “brethren,” “the faithful,” “elect,” “saints,” “believers.” But as distinguishing them from the multitude, the name “Christian” came into use, and was universally accepted. This name occurs three times in the New Testament.

Name Calling
Talk about name calling. How does it feel to be called names? Why do we/others do it?
It’s interesting to note that the first Christian’s didn’t name themselves. It was by the way they acted that others began to use the term we know today.

…and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch. (Acts 11:26)

Name Changing
Saul became Paul because of an encounter with Jesus. Talk about the conversion. Ask students if they know the story. How does that relate to us becoming a Christian? If we truly meet Him, shouldn’t our “tune” change as well?

Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?” (Acts 26:28)

Name Carrying
The bible tells us that we should stand out and be different…to be the salt of the earth. Explain what salt is for. If it was against the law to be a Christian (which it is in some countries) and a jury of your peers was formed, would you be convicted?

However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. (1 Peter 4:16)

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Overcoming the ‘Fear Factor’

(This study uses the reality show ‘Fear Factor’ as an illustration. If you yourself are not familiar with the show, you can check it out Mondays at 8:00pm? on ‘NBC’, or you can check out the website (www.nbc.com/Fear_Factor), which may also give you some ideas on a stunt you could have the members of the group try out!)

Begin the meeting by having volunteers do a ‘Fear Factor’-style stunt (i.e. race to eat a ‘disgusting’ food concoction, or find their way through an obstabcle course bind-folded, etc.

Next, if possible, you can show a clip of ‘Fear Factor’ (for any members of the group who may not be too familiar with the show) Point out how the contestants faced their fears in order to win the prize.

Engage members in discussions about some of the ‘fears’ they face (can be anything: fear of the dark, small spaces, snakes, heights, speaking in front of audiences, etc.)

Then ask: Have you ever let fear STOP you from doing something? (i.e.: fully serving God, ministering for God, WITNESSING?) If so, remembering these 3 simple points may help you overcome the ‘Fear Factor’:

1. COURAGE IS COMMANDED
– Deut. 31:1-6 (Be strong and courageeous. Do not be afraid or terrified, the Lord your God goes with you – He will never leave nor forsake you’)
-2 Chr. 32:6-8
-Ezra 10:4 (Rise up, this matter is in your hands. So take courage and do it!)

2. POWER IS PROMISED
-Acts 1:8 (you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in Judea, and to all the ends of the earth)
-Mat. 19:26 (with man this is impossible, but with God, all things are possible)
– Acts 4:13

3. WE ARE REWARDED
– Luke 18:29-30 (no one who has sacrificed for the sake of the Kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in the age and in the age to come, eternal life)
– Rev. 22:12 (Behold I am coming soon. My reward is with me, and I will give according to what he has done)
– 2 Cor. 9:6 (Remember this: whoever sows sparingly will reap sparingly and whoever sows generously will reap generously)

Conclude by having members share any stories they may have (or you may have) of how overcoming a fear proved beneficial. (i.e. someone overcoming the fear of talking to someone about God, then when they did it, the person was grateful, or helped them make a decision to follow Christ, or helped them get through a tough time, etc.)

End off by sharing the phrase always quoted at the end of each ‘Fear Factor’ episode: “CONGRATULATIONS…EVIDENTLY FEAR IS NOT A FACTOR FOR YOU!!!

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Random Discussions

The other youth leader was suppose to do the discussion for the night and she bailed out at the last minute because something came up. So there I was with about 12-15 youth without anything planned. After a couple games I had them sit in a circle and I passed out a piece of paper and pen. I told them to write down any type of discussion or question that they had on their mind. I collected the pieces of paper and discussed each topic/question that was given. Some people had hard hitting questions ranging from sex, friends, believing in God, abuse in the home, anger problems, to self-esteem. It was great that this gave an opportunity for everyone to give their own input and suggest a solution about the topic at the moment. It also helped to the youth to know that others were going through similar issues.

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Serving Others

ACTIVITY: At this point I give each teen a bowl (about 1-2 cups) of Jello Jigglers and a plastic fork taped onto a 4-foot dowel rod. The instructions are that the jello must be eaten, they must keep their hand at then end of the dowel (without the fork), whoever empties their bowl first – wins. The object is to get the teens to figure out that they can’t feed themselves, and the only way to empty their bowl is to feed the person across from them.

TRANSITION: Tell the following story. A man went to sleep and dreamed about hell. He saw everyone in hell seated at long banquet tables loaded with food but they were all starving to death – nothing but skeletons because they were trying to feed themselves with 4-foot forks. The man’s dream then switches to Heaven, where he also sees everyone seated at long tables loaded with food and having 4-foot forks. But, these people are all happy and well-fed. They were using their forks to feed each other.

Start off by asking your group how many became Christians out of fear of eternity in hell or because they loved Jesus (which came first?) Many will say it was fear of hell and then they learned to love the Lord. I took Scripture from Jude (some save with fear snatching them out of the fire) and then from 1 John 4 (there is no fear in love) to show that although it’s OK to get saved out of fear, we can’t stay in fear. Other Scripture references included more verses from 1 John 4 regarding the love of God dwelling in those that are His, and those without His love are not of Him. Also The Gospel of John (they will know you are my disciples if you love one another). I closed with Matthew, where Jesus tells of the sheep and goats at the judgement and played Keith Green’s song by the same title (off of his album Here Am I, Send Me).

My Teens really enjoyed this meeting. They tried to come up with all sorts of ways to get the jello into their own mouths and you’ll be surprised at how creative your group is. But, it really made an impact on them to discuss what love is (as Jesus loved us we are to love others) and how that should influence our daily lives.

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The Cost

Preparation:
– Ritz crackers and an assortment of “foods” to put on the Ritz. (prepare it all on a tray)
– Nylons and pencils for hairdo’s

Icebreaker:
To get into the CTC youth room you must first select from 3 activities.
1.) Put a Nylon on your head pick someone to pull some hair through and promise to wear it until worship time.
2.) Quote John 3:16 while standing on your head (if you mess up you have to do the next thing as well)
3.) EAT THE RITZ select a “Ritz Sandwich” prepared by a Youth Sponsor and EAT IT!
4.) If you won’t do one of the above then you’ll have to wear this dandy button, “I Wimped OUT in CTC”

Text:
Luke 14:25-33 — “Now great multitudes went with Him. And He turned and said to them, 26 “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. 27 “And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. 28 “For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it — 29 “lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 “saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31 “Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 “Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace. 33 “So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.”

1.) What is the most difficult thing you’ve had to endure as a Christian? Getting up Sunday AM / Being made fun of?
2.) Let’s look at what some people around the world are having to endure for Jesus sake: a.) Randal Terri – spent time in jail for protesting abortion. b.) Missionaries – leave families – beaten
Examples of what the Disciples had to go through. a.) Paul and Silas in Jail b.) John the Baptist was be-headed c.) Peter was crucified upside-down d.) Fed to the Lions e.) Burned at the stake
Examples of what Jesus went through. a.) Falsely accused b.) Beaten c.) Carried cross d.) Nailed to cross e.) Left by all his friends f.)

Phil 2:6-10 — “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, ”

Why did he do this? Because He wanted to make a way for you to get to heaven! Lets thank Him with words Lets thank him with actions!

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