One of the biggest changes this year has been our curriculum. The format of posing a question, exploring the question through activities and coming up with a solid answer...or maybe not a solid answer?
As adults and youth leaders, often times we feel like we cannot leave questions unanswered, as if the unanswered questions will result in our youth losing faith and then it all going "down hill from there". Or we just have an innate feeling that we need to know the answers. If we can't explain something, how can we teach it?
You may often hear a leader say, "Don't have all the answers...", but sometimes it is easier said than done. I came across a great blog today and thought I needed to share this with our families, specifically for our Confirmation Ministry.
Author and Blogger Paul Martin explores this in his post "The Importance of Tension":
Here’s the problem: I don’t think we should be in the business of giving definitive, comprehensive answers. Sure, if someone asks me if I believe Jesus is the way to salvation, I will say yes (but I will probably ask a bunch a of questions as well). However, there is just too much value in the tension of our understanding. Giving easy answers to difficult questions is not only short-sited in youth ministry, it undermines their changing perspective from a concrete to an abstract worldview. We should be teaching them how to work through these tensions for themselves, helping them make peace with the mystery of the gospel (Eph. 5:32).
Much of the research coming out of institutes like Fuller Youth Institute and Barna Group, explore why youth and young adults choose not to engage with the church. The findings often point to the church either giving a simplistic answer to tough questions, or not addressing the questions at all.
Sure we can still try to explore and understand with our youth, and when given the chance we should give an answer like Paul does above if we truly believe it. But we also need to approach questions, not as something to be answered with an easy answer, but as something to explore together!
When we're able to embrace and explore the questions, I believe we are able to be shaped more and more by God and where God is leading us in our own understanding! Then we can teach the process to our youth, which can lead to a greater exploration and connection to their faith!
Thanks for exploring this more...
Director of Teen Ministry
First Lutheran Church
This week our youth helped fill food bags for Kids Against Hunger! Thanks to church volunteer Marcy Shie for leading this venture. Here is some more information about Kids Against Hunger.
Kids Against Hunger
The mission of Kids Against Hunger, a humanitarian food-aid organization, is to significantly reduce the number of hungry children in the USA and to feed starving children throughout the world. Kids Against Hunger is not affiliated with or restricted to a particular religious group and does not discriminate on any basis when distributing its meals.
The beauty of the food formulation is its simplicity. It is made from four readily available, dry ingredients that are easy to package, keep for long periods, and require only boiling with water to prepare. Despite the simplicity of the food’s content, it is a nutritionally complex and well balanced meal.
Share a high and a low from the week so far.
35 for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’
Where did you see God at work today?
Who was involved?
How did you do God's work today?
Do you think your work helped to fulfill this Bible verse? If so, how?
Thank you God for providing us opportunities to serve those in need. Use this experience to remind us of those who are in need and to respond to their needs with your love. Amen.
(Name), you are a Child of God!
Share a high from the past week.
Share a low from the past week.
If you want to switch it up a bit, have your youth talk about a high and low from Confirmation so far this year. As a parent/guardian share about something at church that has been a high and a low.
Parents/Guardians be sure to share as well!
6th Grade- Lesson 9- Creed- Why did Jesus go to hell?
7th Grade- Lesson 9- Discipleship- Why should I pray when God doesn't answer all my prayers?
1 Thessalonians 5:15-22
8th Grade- Session 8: God With Us
6th Grade- How does this verse make you feel? How might it make you feel if you heard it when you have been lost? Where do you think God is when you are feeling rejected, sick, frightened, or downright hellacious?
7th Grade- What does prayer look like? What does if feel like if God is with you all the time? Is praying easy? Hard? Comforting? Awkward? Does God hear everyone when they pray?
8th Grade- Do you think the people would have expected their new king's entrance into the world to be different? What kind of king and kingdom do you think the Jewish people were hoping for?
Lord, be with us this week and help us to better understand your teachings in our lives and to see you at work in the world around us. Amen.
(Name), you are a beloved Child of God.
Parents/Guardians be sure to let your child bless you as well!
Short Outline of Adam's Presentation
The Big Picture Goal
Healthy, Happy, Simple
6 Principles to Help Develop Healthy Habits
Social Media Isn't New- we have always navigated social relationships. What is different is the speed, search-ability and reach.
There's no such thing as internet privacy only the perception.
Personalities tend to flip-flop online. Extrovert to introvert online and introvert online to extrovert online.
Where leads to what. Where (public or private) you use social media or media in general leads to what type of media you access.
You are the product. Advertisements and tracking are part of most apps or webpages you visit.
Your family wants to talk about social media.
What do I do?
- Learn together
- Be open about our usage.
- Friend them, but give them space.
- Form boundaries for everyone.
Good Conversations around the dinner table...
1. We talked about there being no privacy or anonymity online, but what about privacy at home? What's OK to keep private-- between my friends-- that happens online?
2. Adam said that even though social media apps are new, the action of being social is really old. Do you think that matters?
3. How does the idea that personalities flip flop online effect your friendships at school?
4. Adam shared a story about going to a football game with his son. When are times we should turn everything off and just be together as a family?
Twp Dads Walk Into Panera
Want a little more? Check out this blog post from Adam, he forgot to share this story during our presentation, but it is a great reminder and follow-up to the night!
A Similar Presentation Adam Gave...
What is this?
Weekly posts pertaining to the Confirmation Lessons for the week. A great way for families to have conversations of faith at home, on the road, or around a meal.