Happy Tuesday parents!
This past Sunday was a nice slowdown from the more serious topics that last week brought. This week in Sunday school we talked about how churches that "grow young" tend to be churches that are prioritizing young people and families everywhere. This doesn't mean that we are throwing away the traditions of the older generations, only recognizing that the only kind of sustainable growth within our church is growth that brings in younger people. Luckily, this is something that I think FRCZ does pretty well already. We definitely have room to grow, but we need to celebrate our victories when we can :)
Youth group was a tad more casual to offer time for some students to continue processing what we talked about last week. We talked about God and his sense of humor in the old and new testaments. Things like Elijah telling the prophets of Baal that their god was "relieving himself," or little details about the language that both Jesus and Paul use throughout their ministry. The takeaway from this is that we often take ourselves a little too seriously as Christians. Sometimes we tend to be a little like the pharisees and interpret scripture more as a rule book than good news. I made sure they understood that this was me encouraging them to abuse mercy or go crazy, but sometimes its ok joke with one another.
Next week I hope to talk about why certain topics impact us more than others. We may be diving back into something that causes some foundation-shaking, but I feel like this is the best place to be shaking a foundation.
Thanks for checking in on what we are doing! I appreciate you all!
This week during Sunday school, we emphasized the need for a warm community instead of cool programs. The Fuller Youth Institute found that churches who were focused on being relational instead of being exceptional were growing more consistently. "Cool" programs and tons of available activities doesn't make a church a cut above the rest, it tends to leave them exhausted. Instead, we hope to find ways that we can offer less rigid structure and encourage more relational learning. Our youth group has done this since before I was even here! We have half an hour of fellowship time every week designed to let students get to know one another and their leaders better! Next week we are going to talk about how we can prioritize young people and families everywhere without making it seem awkward!
Youth group was a bit heavier than I intended for it to be. We have started to talk about some OT stories that people have probably heard if they were brought up in the church, but have probably never read and understood. Last week we talked about Esther and the reality of the fear she must have felt to stand up before the king. We talked about Haman and his arrogance, and the irony of Mordecai's honoring. It seemed to go very well and we received a lot of positive feedback! So I thought, "The book of Daniel would be perfect for something like this!" I may stand slightly corrected.
This week we talked about Daniel. Daniel would have been an upper class Jew who was stripped from his family at 18, and basically brainwashed into a Babylonian. Except he wasn't brainwashed, and neither were his friends Shadrach Meshach and Abednego (Those are their Babylonian names, but we are most familiar with them, so I will use them here :] ). Daniel and his friends are seen standing up to the culture they live in time and time again. When told to eat the royal diet, they ask to be fed vegetables instead. When told to bow to a statue the king erects, they don't.
What we see in these young people is an absolute priority on the faith they have. There is nothing that they value more! They have had their families stripped away, culture brainwashed, and still refuse to give up on their faith, even in the face of being hurled into a blazing furnace. The practical application I was going for was "Faith should be our number one priority." I think that what was heard was "You need to be ready to lay your life on the line for your faith RIGHT NOW" and that was a little much for some of our students. If your son or daughter came home late, its probably because we stayed a little later trying to dry some tears and calm some fears. While faith DOES need to be our number one priority, we do not need to live a life in fear that someday someone is going call our lives into question because of our love for Jesus. Too often we forget that the same God who spoke the world into existence from nothing, who raised up the Jewish people and cared for them throughout history, who exists outside of time itself is the same God who knows us by name and loves us dearly. So while we may need reminding of this fact, I promise to try and be a little more gentle in the future :)
Friday night is back on! At my house this week, and there will be pizza!
Happy Tuesday parents!
This past Sunday we spent our Sunday school time together talking about empathizing with today's young people. We all know there is nothing new under the sun, and all the issues that students today face have been faced before. The problem with that though, is we tend to assume the conditions under which these things happen are the same - and they aren't. Students today live in a technology saturated, oversexed, selfish world in ways that even I didn't 8 years ago. Broken families are becoming the norm, a friendship is measured by likes and streaks, and role models are more often found in the media than the nuclear family. So instead of bemoaning our differences, we encouraged all generations to try and be more understanding of one another. To "sit on the curb of one another's lives and listen." This might be weird or awkward at first, but I truly believe it's the first step towards a truly unified church.
IMPACT was a bit of a doozie. I had a student text me a bunch of questions regarding out Sunday school class and thought it might be interesting to talk about it for a little while before we jumped into our lesson. Boy was I surprised. It seems like a majority of our students are feeling like Sundays are not for them. They feel like they are specimen under a microscope, feel pressure to accurately represent a whole generation, and worry that the questions do more to divide than unite. While it was really good to hear all of that, I certainly did not expect to spend our entire 45 minutes on that, so our new teaching method will have to wait one more week!
On the opposite side of the spectrum, we have heard nothing but praise from the other people attending Sunday school, so we are going to press on!
Thanks again for stopping by! Have a great week!
Good morning parents!
This past Sunday we had our second "Listening across generations" class and we talked about Keychain Leadership! If you weren't able to attend, the basic idea behind keychain leadership is simple - to identify the things or areas you have control over, and to begin empowering young leaders to do those things alongside you. Eventually, there will have to be someone or something doing every job that currently exists, so why not begin to train our youth now? It also has the added benefit of giving our youth a sense of purpose and belonging when they are able to help with and in the Church.
Our Impact time slot was pretty standard. We had a new face, some rousing super smash brothers, and I talked for longer than the kids would have liked :) We spent our lesson time talking about how the church views doubt and how doubt isn't something that we need to be ashamed of. We read about Thomas and really tried to put ourselves into his shoes as we mulled over the things that cause us to doubt. Hopefully, if we remove that stigma our students will be more likely to come to us in times of doubt to seek answers.
Next week we will be talking about empathizing with today's young people in Sunday school, and trying out a new teaching method on Sunday night that is a little more scripture focused than we have been. Ill be sure to let you know how it goes!
Thanks for checking in and have a wonderful week!
I'm Noah. I do High School things. Expect this page to update every Tuesday morning!