Our church is a busy place on Wednesday nights – it will be nice when construction is finished in a few weeks and all of the different ministries that meet here on Wednesday nights have space to spread out! Our student ministry program has twelve small groups between middle school and high school – we basically take over the entire west wing and the gym every week! Last night was another great night – it’s been fun for me to hear so much positive feed back from leaders on the small group curriculum’s we’re using for the middle and high school students. It’s also been exciting to see the students continuing the conversation started in the groups after the night is over – a testimony to our great small group volunteer leaders! Here’s a summary of what the groups studied last night:
The middle school students covered the ‘God’s view vs. the World’s view’ lesson from SYM’s Active Bible Studies. We focused on Psalms 139:13-18, a passage that talks about God’s creation of us, His intense love and interest in each of us, and how much value that places on us – regardless of any messages we might ever hear from the world. Part of the point was to take a look at what the world values versus what God values in our lives. Some of the groups illustrated this by having the kids create collages from magazines, using words and pictures to illustrate how they feel the world views them and how God views them. It was really an amazing thing to see – a creative project like that can sometimes communicate far more effectively what a middle school student is thinking than what they verbalize. If you’re a parent of a middle schooler, here’s some follow up activities and questions you can use this week:
- Create collages with them at home. Use one side of the paper for pictures and words that represent God’s view of you, the other side for the world’s view. Then talk to your child about why you choose the images and words that you used.
- What do you think ‘the world’ or our culture wants you to be? Why do you think that? Do you feel a lot of pressure to be that way?
- Is it easy or hard for you to recognize that God created you as a custom masterpiece?
- What are some ways that you could learn to appreciate how God made you and some ways to take the pressure off yourself to live up to the world’s standards?
The high school small groups were in week two of a four week series entitled ‘Who am I?’ It’s a dvd series by Chuck Bomar that is absolutely amazing. Each lesson features a ten minute or so video, followed by Bible study and discussion, all on the topic of finding our identity in Christ. Ultimately, we are looking at different ways people are defined and some of the ways we try to define ourselves. The focus of last night was moving beyond religion – to help students move toward seeing themselves as a “child of God” more than just a member of our church. There are so many ways we can fall into the false thinking of believing it’s just about what we do. But we have to move past our typical definition of what a Christian is. Take everything away we do as a part of our “religion routine,” and who are you? Here are some follow up discussion questions from the study you can use at home:
- What do you think a personal relationship with Christ looks like? (most will probably list out things like reading their Bible, going to church, prayer) If someone is doing these things, should we assume they have a personal relationship with Christ? Can we do all those things and still miss the point?
- Read Matthew 23:25-28. The issue Jesus had with the Pharisees was they were all doing the right things, but were missing the point: loving God in every aspect of their lives. Do you think it’s possible for us to fall into the same trap? How so?
- Do you think by coming to church, serving in ministry, reading your Bible, etc., we can sometimes even deceive ourselves into thinking just by doing those things we’re right in God’s eyes? How so?
- How can you love God with everything you are beyond coming to church or Bible study?