Be sure to first read the Bible study materials in the June issue of Baptists Today before using these resources. The Teacher Prep, Youth Teaching Guides and other resources assume that this material has been read. You can subscribe to the print or digital version of Baptists Today here.
August 7, 2011
Teacher Prep: Youth & This Lesson
Fear is something we all experience, and teens are no exception. Some teens have a bit of an indestructibility complex (“X won’t happen to me”), but that may be due more to a lack of experience and judgement than a lack of fear. Youth face many unknowns: who am I, what do others think of me, what does my future hold? Their bodies are changing and they are facing new choices and responsibilities as they grow older. For those headed toward college, there are additional fears: will I get into a good school, will I get the scholarships I need? There are many pressures on modern teenagers, and it makes sense that many lead to fears.
Youth also often struggle with low self-esteem or poor self-confidence. They wonder if they are really as talented, as strong, as smart or as good as they or others wish them to be.
Like Peter, youth face fears and storms. Like Peter, they may wonder if their faith is really strong enough for Jesus. Like Peter, youth need to discover that Jesus is there for us, and loves us, even when our fears get the better of us and our faith is wobbly.
Youth Video: What do you fear?
Encourage youth to check out this video during the week before the lesson. What makes storms frightening? What else do you fear?
August 14, 2011
Teacher Prep: Youth & this Lesson
Most youth gravitate toward role models. When they are younger, these models set standards for them to follow and act in ways that they seek to emulate. Later, youth will adopt elements of those traits they find most suitable for themselves and follow heroes who show them how to better be themselves. Sometimes, these people can affirm a path that they have chosen, showing that their hopes and dreams are possibilities that may indeed be in reach.
Hero worship being what it is, over identification with our heroes is not always a good thing. Like everyone else, our heroes are human beings, complete with all the problems that everyone else has. Their feet of clay often lead to situations where their lives become very large, public messes – much to the disappointment of the people who follow them.
Although they might not admit it, the everyday “heroes,” people who they encounter every day and whose influence on their life is less flamboyant, usually have an even more profound affect on their growth and development than the more famous people they emulate. And being disappointed by such people can hurt much more.
Jesus is one of those heroes who appeals to us on many levels, both as the “Son of God” and as the “Son of Man” who is like us in many ways. We bring a lot of expectations to our image of Jesus in both roles, and in those times when we think he doesn’t meet those expectations, it can be tough for us to deal with the way it affects our faith.
In this lesson, you have the opportunity to help youth understand that Jesus is a more complex person than the two-dimensional image we get from reading stories or hearing sermons. This is an opportunity to help youth learn to relate to Jesus in a manner that is more “real,” which is an important building block in developing their personal faith.
Youth Video: Who Inspires You?
Encourage youth to check out this video ahead of the lesson. Who inspires them? Why? Who do they trust?
August 21, 2011
Teacher Prep: Youth & This Lesson
Adolescence is a time when identity is a major issue. From “Who do I want to be like?” to “Who am I becoming?”, the teenage years feature an unbelievable amount of anxiety over identity. Of course, one of the big questions in the mix is always going to be “Who do they say I am?”
Young people want to know each other and they want to be known in certain ways. Reputation can be an over-emphasized issue, but it is still important to understand how people react when we do certain things, if for no other reason than to learn to self-regulate behavior. And it is the rare person who doesn’t ask, at some point, what someone of the opposite sex or some significant figure of influence is saying or thinking about them.
Unfortunately, many youth do not seem to realize that they have a lot to do with the things that people say or think about them. Movies and music might make much of the person who has to overcome external circumstance to prove that they’re “worthy” in some way. They don’t do so well at telling people that their actions have consequences and that they have both the ability and the responsibility to act on the knowledge that things they do will affect them later.
Jesus was acutely aware of the way the things he did and said affected people’s perceptions, and he would often use that knowledge to better spread his message. From parables to miracles to those circumstances where he did the totally unexpected, Jesus constantly managed to say things, even when he wasn’t saying anything. Still, even Jesus took a moment to ask his best friends what people were saying about him, and the answers and his reaction to them were quite revealing.
In this lesson, you have the opportunity to help youth understand that their actions speak volumes to others. As people who are working out their relationship with Jesus, the things they say and do are particularly important statements of who Jesus is. It carries a lot of responsibility and, like Jesus, they need to be aware of what people are saying.
Encourage youth to check out this video ahead of the lesson. How would you answer this question?
August 28, 2011
Teacher Prep: Youth & This Lesson
The weight of expectations can be one of the hardest aspects of being a teenager. Parents, peers, teachers, coaches, and other people in a teen’s life work to lead youth to behave in certain ways or adopt a particular set of beliefs. There are countless goals that youth are expected to work toward, and endless ways in which they might disappoint someone.
For people who work with younger youth, this can be a big advantage, since they are anxious to please and live up to the goals that are set for them. On the other hand, they often carry the weight of negative expectations that they carry from the past; get passed onto them from others; or create for themselves. Sometimes, they just need someone to tell them that they are okay as they are.
Older teenagers find themselves in a different situation, where they are under pressure to meet many of the same expectations, but face the added pressured of knowing that those expectations need to be realized soon; that they might be unrealistic; and that they are expected to be working out expectations of their own. For them, there is a great need for affirmation of the choices they make; expressions of confidence in their future; and understanding when they have to do things that must be done for themselves – even when it might look selfish.
There is a school of thought that teaches that, while Jesus was destined for the cross, the fact that people had so many disappointed expectations for him made it much easier for that to happen. People thought that he might do anything from leading an army against the Romans to bringing down God’s wrath and judgment against non-Jews and setting up some sort of “kingdom of heaven” on earth. No matter what the people thought, it is pretty evident from this scriptural narrative that they were not expecting what actually happened, and that had to have a sobering affect on the disciples, not to mention dashing many dreams for what he might do.
In this lesson, you have the opportunity to help youth understand about expectations and how holding them too tightly, for one’s self or for others, can profoundly affect their lives and their faith. It also invites them to understand their own expectations for Jesus, which can help grow their relationship with him.
Encourage youth to check out this video ahead of the lesson. What expectations do you have for your future?