We reached the end of our multi-track Youth Group month last night! Keep reading to find out what all we talked about last night and why Lingle Chapel was infested with balloons last night!
Confirmation Week 7
Pastor John joined our Confirmands and their SGLs last night to explore “the holy catholic church and the communion of saints.” These names for the Church are rooted in our God-given identity as children of God: we are joined together in a family that transcends time and place and we are made members of this family, not by anything we have done, but by God’s adoption. And like most families, we have unique traditions that remind us not only of who we are, but whose we are. Those traditions are called sacraments and, as Presbyterians, we have two of them: communion and baptism. Our Small Group conversations centered on making connections between our family traditions and the way we celebrate baptism and communion and even the similiarities and differences of other denominations. We ended with a prayer exercise where we tasted to see that the Lord is good and oriented our hearts towards gratitude for all the good gifts of God.
Bottom Line The church is Jesus’s family and our family’s traditions remind us who we belong to.
Continue the Conversation How have baptism and/or communion helped you to see yourself as a child of God?
Sticky Faith Week 4
12th Graders convened at the house of SGL Bonita Beeken last night to continue their conversation about faith after high school. We talked about small faith practices that, when done regularly, add up like building blocks for larger faith formation. From obvious things like prayer and helping others to less common practices like material denial and solitude, little things we can do in our faith add up! We also talked about reflection each day and looking for places and times where God moved us even though we may not have realized it at the time.
Bottom Line Consistent faith practices or “disciplines” lay the groundwork for faith that sticks beyond the structured discipleship of your high school youth ministry.
Continue the Conversation What are the disciplines that are most important to you? What practices would you like to improve?
I’m In Week 4
Last in our series of 4 followers of Jesus who said, “I’m in,” is Matthew. We really know very little about Matthew except that he was a tax collector. Being a tax collector in Jesus’s day was way worse than our attitudes about IRS employees. To get close you would have to add a layer of absolute disgust for two reasons: tax collectors would be lining the pockets of the occupying Romans as well as their own pockets. That meant that tax collectors lived wealthy but very lonely lives as no Jew would have anything to do with them. So, when Jesus shows up at Matthew’s tax collector booth and says, “Follow me,” all we know is that Matthew saw something worth following and left his work, his security, and his plan behind. In high school we focused on the question of whether or not it’s still worth it to follow Jesus while in middle school we centered on the sometimes-fun, sometimes-scary adventure that is following Jesus. Either way, there are things that hold us back from being “in” with Jesus and the next steps to take are not always easy. When we do let go and trust, we will find the life that God has always intended for us. To symbolize this, we wrote prayers of things we need to let go of or things we are saying yes to on balloons and let them float up to the ceiling of Lingle Chapel to symbolize our prayers of being “in.”
Bottom Lines (MS & HS)
Continue the Conversation What does Jesus want you to say “yes” to right now?