Jan 28, 2019
Worship Theme Lessons For Youth
Written by top youth workers from across the United Methodist Church, these series contain weekly lessons that are perfect for Sunday School, youth worship, and small groups. Each week's lesson contains an icebreaker, a discussion based on scripture, and an active element designed to help the teacher engage the imaginations of the students. These series also serve as companions to the adult worship resources (which are found at https://www.umcdiscipleship.org/worship/worship-planning,) so by utilizing this great resource, you will be following what your pastor is preaching.
|The annual observance of the Lenten discipline among Christians is a time to seek restoration for our lives. On each Sunday of this journey, the Scriptures provide the core guidance for the work of the week to come in our own lives and with others in midweek formation groups.||Easter isn’t just a single day in the Christian Year. It’s a season of 50 days, starting with celebration of the resurrection of Jesus celebrated on Easter 1, and concluding with the celebration of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit that catalyzed the birth of the church on Pentecost (the 50th day!).|
|The Season after Pentecost is not called ordinary time not because things become normal, much less average or blasé during the nearly six months that make up this season (from Trinity Sunday through Christ the King Sunday). The ordinary or underlying purpose of the Season after Pentecost is for the church to live out its ministries fully and accountably in the name of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit.||Throughout the month of July, we encounter stories in the gospel readings that focus on the healing power of Jesus. As our worship team examined these passages, we began to see a trend that was a movement of the Spirit, binding these narratives together. Jesus’ power of healing began with the work that he was doing himself, but Jesus was also an effective leader and delegator—always extending the power to others to do the caring work.|
|In this series of texts from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, there are concrete actions that Paul suggests, and they all have their foundation in the love of God. In the first week, Paul stresses the need for unity—not that all will be the same, but that all people have different gifts that complement each other and can be used in building up the entire body in love. In the second week, we are called to a very difficult task: “Be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us” (Eph. 5:1-2, NRSV). Week three encourages a return of love from the people to God by giving thanks and being filled with the Spirit. Lastly, the well-known passage related to the “whole armor of God” (Eph. 6:11, NRSV) even has its groundings in love.||In a day when the fruits of creation are often exploited and so much chaos pervades the world in which we live, it is imperative for us to take a moment to pause and breathe in the same Ruach (Spirit of God) that was at work in the beginning of creation. God is still at work! Do we see it in the world around us?|
|Diving into the book of Job is an opportunity that comes around only one month every three years in the Revised Common Lectionary, so we wanted to take advantage of this thread of readings this year. Job is a difficult book to read and interpret, even for the most advanced Biblical scholars, but focusing on the book of Job can be an opportunity to embrace vivid imagery, human emotion, and the mysterious nature of a God who created the entire universe all together in worship.||This month begins with the end. A new heaven and a new earth become the place where “the home of God is among mortals” (Rev. 21:3, NRSV). A significant set of bookends is also prominent this month: The Alpha and the Omega is a recurring theme from All Saints Sunday and Reign of Christ. If considered linearly, there is somewhat of an inverted bell curve this month as the dwelling place of God is viewed as the top of the curve on both ends, and the sanctuary of the temple is the low point in the center. When God is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, where then does God dwell?|
|Advent marks the beginning of another year in the cycle of Scriptures that presents the narrative of the love of God revealed to the world. As is our usual fashion, we — the worship resource planning team—have chosen to take Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany together as a seven-part series to begin Year C in the Revised Common Lectionary. Each week (with the exception of the first Sunday after Christmas Day) includes two Scriptures—the Old Testament and Gospel readings—that complement one another in illustrating how we are to “prepare the way of the Lord” (Lk. 3:4).||
The season after Epiphany almost always begins with a transitional Sunday—Baptism of the Lord. When we are baptized or gathered at the baptism of others, how do we hear God’s voice affirming each new member of God’s family? The second week contains Paul’s description of spiritual gifts—how the Spirit works in and through them and how we are gifted for being a part of the body of Christ with one another. The theme for week three, “Being Needy,” centers around asserting that we all, regardless of our own gifts, need one another in order to be part of the whole body of Christ. The purpose of all these gifts is revealed in week four, in which the whole point of acting together is revealed—“having love,” which is the most important of the “marks of the new birth” (faith, hope, and love), as shared by both the apostle Paul and John Wesley.
In 2016, Discipleship Ministries began launching materials around the theme “See All the People.” This message of reaching people and expanding the church into the community then began to bear fruit as churches began launching campaigns to strengthen their own disciple-making systems. As we began preparation for this series, we noticed that one element seemed apparent throughout all the scriptural narratives: people who were always present around Jesus because of his preaching, teaching, and healing. Jesus truly saw all the people; and as a result, the people were always with him. As the church makes connections in the community to bring people to know Christ, we would do well to make note of the way Jesus responded to the crowds.
Upon reflection of the entire season after Epiphany this year, we find a comprehensive way to make connections with our communities: discover our spiritual gifts, understand our need for one another and the love of God, and know that wherever Jesus goes, a crowd is sure to follow. The question is: “Are our churches ready to go and meet the crowds as we ‘see all the people’?”
In this season of formation and preparation, we again approach the 40 days of Lent from a variety of different perspectives and points along the Christian journey. During this season, new and longtime Christians alike hear the call to return to God with all their hearts, thus entering a season historically characterized by much prayer and fasting. These works of discipline have for hundreds of years served as a means by which new converts prepare for baptism, which occurs as a part of the Easter Vigil. Using the words of Wesleyan theology, we believe all this work is initiated by God, who invites us to come before God with all our hearts.
Because of the duration of the season, this series mirrors Advent in both length and the number of Scriptures chosen this year. The incorporation of Easter Day into this series creates a departure from the form of previous years of resourcing. You will notice that Easter Day serves as a hinge point between the seasons of Lent and Easter, and the Scriptures and resources for that day connect both seasons as formation and doctrine come together in one narrative stream.