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.
- Have any selected video or music clips ready to show
- Encourage your group to listen to the podcast for this session (Share the link via email or social media)
Influencing and Being Influenced
Say something like: “We all know that TV commercials are designed to influence our purchasing decisions. Of course, you and I are impervious to such manipulations, right? Sometimes commercials are informative, while others try to be memorable using humor. I’d like to show you a collection of commercials that you’ll probably remember.”
Show this video (a collection of eTrade commercials featuring talking babies):
Are these commercials effective? Why or why not?
- What do the makers of these commercials hope happens as you watch them? (What are they trying to convince you to do or think?)
- What commercials do you most remember as being particularly effective on you and why?
- In general, what does someone need to do or say to have the best chance of convincing you to make a particular choice in their favor?
Read Genesis 3:1-21.
View the Bible Background Video.
The Serpent encourages Eve to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
– What might Eve’s thought processes have been in making this decision?
– Was the tree in the middle tempting? Do you think it was a good tree? Why or why not?
– Do humans seek the knowledge of good and evil? Do we prefer innocence? Explain.
Gather the group, play some quiet music, and make sure that everyone is comfortable and tell them: “I want to start today by thinking about all the turning points we have had in our lives. For the next few minutes, let us sit here and listen to the music while I will remind you of some popular turning points that people have. Take a moment for each of them, thinking about what happened, and imagining how it might have gone differently.”
Begin once everyone is ready, inviting them to think about three to five events, such as:
- Your first day at school
Your first date
A time you decided what you wanted to do with your life
A time when something a friend did made you cry
Your first day at work
Stop the music, refocus the group, and ask:
- To what degree was this imagining easy or difficult and why?
If you can tell us, what do you think was your life’s most significant turning point and why?
What kinds of things do you frequently think about, wondering if you’ve done the right thing?
If you could, why would or wouldn’t you go back to a turning point and give yourself advice, even if you knew that would change the person you are now?
Use questions like these to guide a closing conversation around the session’s themes.
- What light do faith or community shed on the choices you make?
To what degree might our faith community make a difference for others who face some of life’s tough choices?
What kind of leadership do you think we are called to provide to the rest of the world?
How do we help others choose wisely while respecting their differences?
Close with a prayer that you might find was to lead people to follow God’s leading during their difficult moments.