Expression Session

Evaluating commonly used expressions so that we may have godly speech. (ie. “it’s not fair.”, “that’s gay.” Etc…)

Have the groups think about some of the commonly used expressions that they hear regularly and/or use themselves. Write some of them up on the white board. Ask the group to reflect on what the use of these expressions say about our values, ie. “that’s gay!” is an expression that devalues gay people, “Eshays” might be a sarcastic way of mocking lads. Reflect together on whether the values that lie behind the expression agree with Christian values. Finally, ask how the use of that expression might affect the people who hear it and should we keep using it. You might even be able to create more helpful expressions to use as replacements.

In summary, this segment has 4 phases:

  1. What common expressions are we using/hearing?
  2. How does the expression show what we value?
  3. How does it compare with Christian values?
  4. How does this expression affect those who hear it and should we keep using it?

Finish the segment by reading these words from Ephesians 4:29 “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” And James 3:9-12 “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.

Jesus Tweet!

This is a sharing time that would work well with reflection section.

The idea is simple: Get the young people to create a one line summary of the bible teaching and/or a personal application from the bible teaching and tweet it on twitter or facebook. Now all their friends can read how the gospel is impacting them. Easy!

Bible Spot

This segment is an opportunity for people to share with the group what they’ve been reading in the Bible lately and what challenges and/or encouragement they’ve received from reading the Bible. This segment can be done spontaneously or someone may be notified before hand to do a Bible Spot. After someone has done a Bible Spot, prayer for them in the group.

Spotlight

This segment is about getting to know a member of the group more intimately. Have every body stand up and then begin a process of elimination through statements ie. sit down if you have blue eyes, sit down if you have enclosed shoes, sit down if you are in year 8, etc. when there is only one person left standing, ask that person to stand in front of the group on a chair and then ask them a series of questions that help the group know them better. Start off by asking general information questions (ie. Name, school, age, etc.), and follow withy some light hearted questions (ie. If you ran off to join the circus what type of entertainer would you be?), and then finish with some deeper questions (ie. What’s the best thing about being a Christian? Etc) obviously, if you’re not sure whether they are Christian or not use appropriate alternatives (ie. What’s one question you’d like to ask God?).

Testimony

This segment is for sharing someone’s personal faith journey with the group. Can be done impromptu or prepared. It’s good to mention 3 elements in a testimony:

  1. Where you’ve come from? (how you became a Christian?),
  2. How you’re life is changed now? (what’s it like being a Christian at the moment?), and,
  3. Where are you going? (where is you’re Christian faith leading you?).

Always, a testimony needs to focus more on Jesus rather than the sins you’ve left behind.

Represent

Have individuals in the group share a time during the week when they’ve been able to represent (or fly the flag for) Jesus. I could be something like not gossiping while all your friends were or supporting scripture at school by turning up or telling someone about Jesus. Cheer and encourage those people that share their ‘represent’ and pray for the group to represent Jesus where ever we are, and in every situation.

Voice

Being a voice for those people who don’t have one. A focus spot on social justice near and abroad. A range of topics from persecuted Christians to undeveloped countries, and corrupt political leaders, are just some ideas of what can be covered. Include practical suggestions on what can be done or is being done about the situation so that the youth group feels empowered to bring about change. Finish the segment with a prayer time for the country or situation that was being voiced.

The Download

This share time is to give the group an idea of all the things that are happening in each others lives and some things to be praying for. Give each person in the group a sheet of paper and tell them to write down (download) everything that they did, or that happened to them during the week (or holidays). Whoever can write down the most gets to share their week with the group, and whoever has written the least. Choose 1 other person to also share their week with the group. Finish by praying for those 3 people.

Here’s a couple of slide images a friend of mine made for the activity:

the download  the download 2

Confession

To remind us of our sinfulness and the salvation we have through Christ Jesus. The first 2 orders of confession are taken from the AAPB.

#1: Take a moment for people to reflect on their lives and pray this confession silently using the singular personal pronouns “I” and “me” and “my”. Then after a few minutes pray this confession together as a group using the plural personal pronouns “we” and “our” and “us”.

Most merciful God, we humbly admit that we have wandered from your way: we have done wrong, and we have failed to do what is right. You alone can save us.
Have mercy on us: wipe out our sins and teach us to forgive others. Bring forth in us the fruit of the Spirit that we may live as disciples of Christ. This we ask in the name of Jesus our Saviour. Amen.

Have someone declare God’s forgiveness:

God wills that all people be saved and in response to his call we acknowledge our sins. He pardons those who humbly repent and truly believe the gospel. Therefore we have peace with God, through Jesus Christ, to whom be all blessing and honour forever. Amen.

#2: Read out Mark 12:28-33 (the greatest commandments) and give people time to reflect on how they have kept or rather, no kept these great commands. Then confess together:

Almighty God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, maker of all things, judge of all people, we acknowledge with shame the sins we have committed, by thought, word, and deed, against your divine majesty, provoking most justly your wrath and indignation against us. We earnestly repent, and are heartily sorry for all our misdoings. Have mercy on us, most merciful Father. For your Son our Lord Jesus Christ’s sake forgive us all that is past, and grant that from this time forward we may serve and please you in newness of life, to the honour and glory of your name, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Have someone declare God’s forgiveness:

Almighty God our heavenly Father, who of his great mercy has promised forgiveness of sins to all who with hearty repentance and true faith turn to him: have mercy on you; pardon and deliver you from all your sins; confirm and strengthen you in all goodness; and keep you in eternal life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

#3: Use the psalms of confession: Psalm 6, 32, 38, 51, 103, 130, 143. Perhaps read one and then have each person write a confession of their sins on paper and then burn them up in a fireplace as symbolic of how God has dealt with our sin, or even write them in the sand at a beach and let the ocean wash them away…

Reflection Section

Reflecting on the Bible teaching. First get people to think about the Bible teaching and how it would particularly impact their life: something they may need to change, repent of, confess, or something they could start doing. Get them to write a short prayer to God about their reflection. Some people will feel more comfortable doing this by themselves, others will prefer to discuss personal application in small groups, so make it clear that those people who would like to discuss it in a group should form a group and those who would rather do it individually can do so by themselves. Give this segment about 5 minutes. (obviously this will need to come after the Bible teaching).

Victories and Arrows

This is an opportunity for the youth group to notice the hundreds of victories over temptation and sin that they have everyday, and also to identify the “flaming arrows of the evil one” (Eph. 6:16) that we face and how we might avoid/deal with them. Run this segment by getting everyone into groups of 2-3 people and give them a bit of paper. Give them a couple of minutes to reflect and then get them to write or draw their victories on one side of the paper, and the “flaming arrows” (temptations and distractions they face) on the other. Finish by sharing some of them with the larger group and then the leader should pray that we would continue to grow in faith, and Jesus’ victory over sin.