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.
- Familiarize yourself with the Ps22 Chorus and watch some of their videos (See Introduction).
- Inflate a large number of balloons and have a pen and paper for each person. (See Context)
- Listen to the FaithElement podcast for this session.
- Use the social media prompts on this session’s webpage to help youth begin engaging the session them ahead of their gathering.
- Assuming that this was your introduction to this group, how do you feel about them and why?
- What is it about singing together that seems to make these kids so happy?
- What kinds of activities might you might do with groups of other people that would make you happy and why?
- Why might coming to church be the kind of thing that would make someone like you feel happy?
View together the video “Security Alert”. Then lead a discussion using questions like these:
- What is security and why do we seek it?
- What’s your favorite way to find security? (What do you put your trust in?)
- Why is it sometimes easier to trust earthly things rather than God’s Spirit?
For this game, you will need lots of blown up balloons for your group, enough for one per every person. Form two teams (if you have an odd number of people, choose a volunteer to be the timer for this contest) and tell them that you are going to have the first team come to the middle of your meeting area, where they should work together to keep balloons in the air and moving for as long as possible. You will also do that with the second team and compare times to see who can keep the most balloons going the longest. Each team should help the official timer – if you have one- by counting and timing for the other team.
Before you start, give everyone a pen and paper and encourage each person to list the number of balloons and time kept going that they think each team may achieve, keeping those numbers a secret. Once that is done, give the first balloon to the first team and let them bounce it around, adding another balloon every twenty seconds. Continue adding balloons until one of the balloons touches the ground or otherwise stops moving, such as when someone catches a balloon. Repeat the process with the other team, giving them a chance to beat the first team’s posted time. After comparing times, invite individuals to share their predictions, then ask the group:
- What were the easiest and most difficult aspects of this activity and why?
- What was the best strategy for keeping the balloons going?
- In making their predictions, how realistic do you think everyone’s expectations were and why?
- To what degree did your predictions affect the way the activity went and why?
- What kinds of things do you typically expect to see happen when you come to a worship service and why?
- In what ways do your hopes, or lack thereof, for your worship affect what you get out of it?
Read Psalm 122, then watch the Bible Background Video.
Ask your group:
- Why was Jerusalem so important to the writer of this psalm?
- What did it mean to the people who heard the psalm?
- In what ways did people find safety while they were there?
- What place makes you feel safe?
- What about that place gives you the comfort of knowing you are safe?
- What would it be like if the whole world was just as safe?
- What else about this psalm might convey reasons for being happy to be in God’s house?
Play the Star Wars Episode IV Crawl and tell the group to pretend that you know nothing about Star wars (you might also want to identify anyone else in the group who has yet to see the movies, as well), but they talked you into watching this movie with them. Have the group tell you what they know of the Star Wars saga as of the beginning of that crawl, encouraging them the group to insert missing content or clarify points as they together tell the story. Once they are satisfied that they have told you enough, ask:
- Now that you’ve told me this, how comfortable do you feel about my preparation to watch this movie and why?
- What most stands out to you about this video and why?
- Without giving away any spoilers, in what way is the title of this movie appropriate to its content? (Note: The title of the movie is not “Star Wars!”)
- As we begin this year to celebrate Jesus’ coming, what was “the story so far” before that happened?
- If they were to do a screen crawl like this for Jesus’ coming into our lives, and titled it A New Hope, what kinds of things might we put into those blocks of text?
- In what ways does Jesus’ coming offer each of us a new hope this year?
- What can we do to ensure that Jesus’ coming offers new hopes to other people?
Close this session in prayer
Writer: Don Breeden