Before the Session

Facilitator: In advance of the session

  • Review today’s scripture text and the session activities to help better facilitate the discussion.
  • Have the Bible Background Video ready to view.
  • Listen to the FaithElement podcast for this session.
  • Use the social media prompts on this session’s web page to help youth begin engaging the session them ahead of their gathering.

Intro

Start by telling the group that you are about to play a classic piece of Christian music that was once used as a background to extreme skiers, racing down a mountainside and sometimes crashing. Invite everyone to close their eyes for a second and try to imagine what it’s like to race down such a mountain on a set of skis or a snowboard.

Play “You Can’t Handle This” then ask:

  • How well do you think this music matches the scenario I described and why?
  • What most stood out to you about the song and how did that affect the way you feel about it?
  • When have you had a peak experience that made you feel like you were on top of the world?
  • How do you get yourself back in that kind of mood sometimes?

Context

Select a volunteer from the group and send them out of the meeting space (It might be best if you chose a leader for this, if you have enough help). Form at least two teams of no more than six people and tell the whole group to imagine that this person has been having a really hard time lately and needs a little “pick me up.” Encourage the teams to spend a few minutes working out a way to, as a team, encourage and cheer on the volunteer. This can be via consoling, cheering, celebrating, or doing anything else they can do to cheer that person on.

Give the teams a few minutes to work out what they are going to do, then call time, bring the volunteer back into the meeting area, and have each team do what they have worked up. After all the teams have finished, ask the volunteer what they thought about each team’s efforts, then ask the entire group:

  • What was the easiest or hardest part about trying to cheer another person on?
  • How did it feel to hear the responses from our volunteer and why?
  • Who tends to cheer you on in real life and how do they do it?
  • How do you usually respond to other people’s efforts to give you a peak experience when they think you need it?
  • How do we know when it’s time to cheer other people on versus time to withdraw and get a little cheering for ourselves?

Content

Read Luke 9:28-43a then watch the Bible Background Video before asking your group:

  • Why do you think Jesus felt the need to wander off to the top of a mountain with a couple of friends?
  • What led to those specific friends being chosen to go?
  • Assuming they weren’t wearing name tags, how did everyone know it was Elijah and Moses?
  • Why did Peter want to set up camp in the middle of this event?
  • Given how frustrated Jesus seemed to be with people at the end of this passage, why did he decide to leave the mountaintop?
  • What good did Jesus’ trip to the mountain do for everyone, if it didn’t seem to lighten his mood?

Closure

Share this “Spiderman Ending” video and ask:

  • While a fictional character like Spiderman can hardly compare with Jesus, how might leaving Mary Jane for one be a little like having to come down from the mountain for the other?
  • What kinds of things are important enough to call us away from peak, “feel-good” times to return to face the rest of the world?
  • Who needs us enough to make it worth giving up our personal joy?
  • What enables us to face the various difficulties we will face in life if we could otherwise avoid them?
  • Assuming that we can’t stay at church all day, after we leave, what might we do this week that helps other people?

Close with a prayer.

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