This week we started our new The Hunger Games: Catching Fire study. We watched about 30 minutes of the movie and talked about some of the topics below. Use the below blog post as a way to continue the conversation at home. Use all of the sections, or just a couple, it's up to you, to decide how your family uses this resource.
Share a time when you had some stress this past week. How did this affect you or those around you?
The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid?
When evildoers assail me
to devour my flesh--
my adversaries and foes--
they shall stumble and fall.
Though an army encamp against me,
my heart shall not fear;
though war rise up against me,
yet I will be confident.
How does the verses above bring you hope? Does this mean we will never have struggles in our lives?
Jesus, when all is darkness and we feel our weakness and helplessness, give us the sense of Your presence, Your love, and Your strength. Help us to have perfect trust in Your protecting love and strengthening power, so that nothing may frighten or worry us, for, living close to You, we shall see Your hand, Your purpose, Your will through all things. AMEN.
(Name), remember you are a child of God. (Mark each others foreheads with the sign of the cross from your baptism.)
I recently read a blog post about stress and high school youth and how this impacts their ability/willingness to participate in what we offer as a youth ministry as well as a church.
Take a look at the article here by Jeremy Zach, a youth minister for more than 10 years:
The Most Stressed Out Generation In History
When you read this, I'm hopeful you can see some of the ideas behind what we are doing with our High School Ministry here at First Lutheran.
Not too long ago we staged a Practicing Sabbath evening where there were prayer stations around the room for youth to come and "be still" in the presence of God. We had a handful of youth show up, and each one of them walked away feeling refreshed in some way. Sometimes we tend to think everything we do in ministry has to be some sort of activity or event of high energy and entertainment, otherwise youth won't come. While this type of ministry has some merit, it is short lived. Having a evening where youth can come and slow down will have a lasting affect on youth! We are hoping to have another Practicing Sabbath evening in the upcoming season of Advent as we lead into Christmas, stay tuned for details.
We may not "do" big events or activities on a regular basis, simply put, it's on purpose! We are trying to create a flow to the ministry and create space for youth to feel comfortable on an every week basis. Our hope is for this to give youth a place to belong, whether they have been there once, or multiple times. Everything from week to week has meaning and creates an environment of belonging, it's simple and yet powerful at the same time.
If you or your youth are looking for helpful ways to relieve stress, or address the busyness of life, please don't hesitate to give me a call or stop in the office. If you or your youth are feeling guilty about not being able to participate in our weekly Sunday Night ministry opportunities, don't feel guilty. God is at work in your life, in your youth's life! God is not confined to the four walls of the church, God reaches into our lives regardless of where we find ourselves on Sundays, sometimes we just need to be reminded!
Director of Teen Ministry
This past Sunday, we had a time of rest, relaxation and reflection in the Youth Room. It was an opportunity to "Practice Sabbath" (you can read more in our previous post.) Through the evening youth were encouraged to pray, write, draw and read at different stations set-up in the room.
One of those stations is listed below. Take some time this week and participate together in this station. Taking time to sit and listen, read and meditate can bring new life to your family.
Makes Up Me
Read: 1 John 3:1-3 (NIV)
3 See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears,[a] we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3 All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.
What would it be to walk around with t-shirts on all day that broadcast to others the basics of what makes you, you? What would your shirt say? For example: 50% confused, 30% spiritual, 5% musical, 15% distracted? Write down your response on a note card or piece of paper.
Then answer the following questions and write your response again.
Questions to Consider:
What was it like to think more deeply about who you are?
Where is God in the mix of what makes you?
What part of your life includes your faith?
What do you wish you could change or add to your make up?
Where do you see God calling you to use your make up, in ministry and mission?
The past few weeks we have talked about the trap of comparing ourselves to others, when we do this, we lose, it's stressful and we miss the opportunities we have with the things we have. We were reminded that we need to find our worth in God's eyes, as we are the handiwork of God, Ephesians 2:10.
This Sunday, we will be trying something new in our HSM Sunday Night gathering, Practicing Sabbath. Sabbath - the Old English, from Latin sabbatum, via Greek from Hebrew šabbāṯ, from šāḇaṯ ‘to rest.’ We often times miss this opportunity with the busyness of our lives. High school youth are busier than ever before, with sports, choirs, clubs, work, recreation and everything else, high school youth or youth in general rarely have time to take a breath and relax.
Practicing Sabbath is an intentional time of rest, a time set aside to relax. Through Contemplative Prayer practices, youth will be ask to reflect on a number of areas in their life. Whether it is through drawing a prayer, writing a reflection, a thank you note, or reading scripture, youth can take a breath and relax. They can reconnect with the Spirit in a new and meaningful way.
So you may be asking why this is important...In his book Growing Souls: Experiments in Contemplative Youth Ministry, the late Mark Yaconelli, through the Youth Ministry and Spirituality Project, provides some insights into how spirituality is or is not connecting to youth or youth workers. Here are some general ideas surrounding the research and discoveries.
If we want to see our youth have a healthy spiritual life and to stay connected to their faith after high school, we need to be willing to create a space for them to explore what and how God is working in their lives. Contemplative Prayer practices or "Practicing Sabbath" is one opportunity for youth to connect in a different and new way.
Next week, we will post some of the practices for you to try as a family. The spiritual life of our youth is not something we need to "get" them to do, it is an opportunity for our youth to engage with where God is already working in their lives, it is an opportunity to connect what they are doing because of God's grace!
I hope you will encourage your youth to attend this HSM Sunday Night offering, even for 15 minutes, to take the opportunity to rest and reflect on where God has been and is active in their lives.
What is this?
Each week we will post one or more blogs related to our ministries for High School youth and families. Check back often and leave a comment!