Teenagers are growing rapidly physically and mentally. They are reassessing everything they've been taught both at school, at home and at church. Lectures may provide information, but teenagers need to go beyond rote lessons to understand that what they learn in Sunday School has practical applications. Interactive lessons help teenagers see how faith motivates them to reach out to meet the needs of those around them.
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He Cared Enough to Heal
Jesus was available to those who needed a word of affirmation and healing. Read the stories of healing in Matthew chapter 8 that contain the healing of the leper in verses 1-4, the healing of the centurion's servant in verses 5-13, the healing of Peter's mother-in-law in verses 14 and 15, and more general healing in verses 16 and 17. Divide the Sunday School class into four groups and assign one of the passages. Ask each group to create a skit or a creative way to share the story and what it reveals about the character of Jesus.
Try on the Character
The story of the prodigal son is one of a son who decides he wants what he wants and demands his inheritance rights, which his father provides. The son uses up all he has unwisely. Finally, he admits he goofed up and returns to his father. He doesn't expect the forgiveness he receives. Read the story found in Luke 15:11-32. Divide the Sunday School class into groups of five. Let each one in the groups choose one of the characters from the Bible passage--father, younger son, elder son, younger son's not-so-good friends and the pig farmer. Have the teens reread the passage as their character and play the story through the eyes of their chosen character. Reassemble together. List the insights discovered. How does this change the way the teenagers view the story, choices and the father?
In answering a question about being a caring neighbour, Jesus told the story of "The Good Samaritan" found in Luke 10:29-37. Discuss the modern definition of "neighbor" and what Jesus meant by being a good neighbour. Pose situations to the class and have different pairs act out the situations. Situations could include the following scenarios. A teen who doesn't wear nice clothes wants to sit at your table at lunch. What do you do? You see a girl saying mean and hurtful things to another teen. What do you do? A bully threatens another teen in the hall. What do you do? Talk about the realities of helping or not helping and how best to help in each situation. Ask the class to be a Good Samaritan during the week and report back how it went and how they felt.
Time for God and Me
Have students write down their daily schedule. Talk about how busy they are. Ask if there are things they wish they didn't have to do. On the board, list the things Jesus did each day and what kind of schedule He had. Using Matthew 13:23, show how Jesus realised the need for time away from the crowds, time by himself and with God to rest and recharge. Emphasise the need to take time for God and self. Ask the class to rework their schedules for one week, adding time for God and rest. Discuss the result the next week and the difference it made.
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