Church of Christ History

We teach young people all about scripture, but at times when they bring up questions about how and why we do worship the way we do, sometimes we forget the importance of explaining those pieces to them.  From the use of musical instruments, to multiple cups versus one cup in communion, women’s roles in the church, and so much more; young people want to know why we do the things we do, and they deserve to have it explained to them!

Renewing-Gods-PeopleUsing the book Renewing God’s People: A Concise History of the churches of Christ, I created a 14 week lesson plan.  The teens have enjoyed the open discussions created through each lesson.

Each lesson includes:
~ A scripture to start the class with questions based on that passage
~ Notes over a time period in history: not heavily date focused, but focused on the actions of what occurred at that time.

Google Doc – 14 Lessons

Confusing the Gospel

Twitter seems to be the social media outlet where teenagers express their opinions more than any other platform.  I often observe teenagers who strongly profess being a Christ follower, portraying a completely different message on social media than the message Jesus gives to people.  They are confusing the message of the gospel.

There are two things I think we can attribute this confusion to.  The first is the adult examples being displayed for teenagers.  The second is our desire to combine the gospel message with the messages portrayed by our nation.  We want a Christianity that makes sense, and is accepted by media, but Christ calls us to a life removed.  Different.

This is the topic I covered in a Bible class I taught at a youth conference.  The only preparation work I did was I had one of the teenagers in my local youth group make me a big poster with the following quote written on it:

“People aren’t confused by the Gospel. They’re confused by us. Jesus is the only way to God, but we are not the only way to Jesus. This world doesn’t need my tie, my hoodie, my denomination or my interpretation of the Bible. They just need Jesus. We can be passionate about what we believe, but we can’t strap ourselves to the Gospel, because we are slowing it down. Jesus is going to save the world, but maybe the best thing we can do is just get out of the way. ”   – Casting Crowns

This quote was posted on the wall as students came in the room.  For the rest of the lesson, please refer to the attached google doc or you can access it in PDF Form.

Also included in this lesson: Luke 7:36-50, Ephesians 3:1-14

This class is suggested for High School or Adult ages

Culture and Christ

When the teens within the church come from so many different families, there are numerous cultural beliefs held throughout the group.  As teens question places they are allowed to hang out as a Christian, what activities they are allowed to participate in, and behaviors they are expected to conform to they seek guidance from scripture, their families, and their cultures.  Laws are constantly changing in America raising the question of if something is acceptable in American law, does that make it acceptable according to God’s law?

Teenagers and young adults ask these questions as they are thinking about what their family environment will entail as they begin to create their own family units.  The problem is so many of these questions focus on correctly following law, which wasn’t the message of the Gospel.

The Lesson
I prepared the lesson by printing out and cutting out rank sheets, individual numbers, and the large category words.  All these items can be found in the document link below.  Pencils will be needed as well.  The document is created for 20 participants.
To begin, each individual in the class filled out a rank sheet.  They ranked 10 categories, 10 being least important to them and 1 being most important.  Numbers were not allowed to repeat in their list and they had to use all numbers.  See the hand out sheet here: Culture vs Christ Activity Sheet 

When they had their sheet ranked, participants took a group of the cut out numbers (1-10) and laid out their numbers that matched with each category on the floor around the room.  The purpose of this part was for the participants to be able to see how similar/different their rankings were.

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As an activity follow up, the group gets back together and we discuss a few questions:

What category did you rank number 1? Why?
What was your lowest ranking? Why?
Are there categories you feel like fit together?
Which categories were closest for you as you were deciding your ranking?
Are you surprised about where others ranked some of these categories?

Following this discussion, the group reads together from Romans 14 stopping every few verses to highlight the main points.

verses 1-4 – People hold different values and different lives
5-9 – What matters most is that these values are geared toward Christ
10-12 – God is the only judge, we answer to His judgement (our attitudes should reflect this way toward one another) – concern for one another
13-15 – Our differences should not be a stumbling block
16-21 – righteousness, peace, and joy (our attitudes focused on helping others)
22-23 – everything not from faith is sin. These differences can cloud our view or we can look past them to the important things.

The point: Our differences are not what we need to focus on as much as our attitudes.  If everything we do is done for the glory of God, we are all alike, even in our differences.  The glory of God should rank number 1, everything else falls behind that.

This was about an hour long lesson what was included in a lock-in that was held for the church youth group in 2017.  Here are more details on that lock-in including the schedule.

Desiring Christ

I long to have the time to be able to do all of my hobbies.  As a matter of fact, I would rather not have to work at things I do not enjoy doing, but instead be able to spend ALL of my time on my hobbies.  Reading and watching my beloved Red Sox are hobbies I desire to do. As I observe others, and the hobbies they enjoy doing, I notice Christ isn’t often a hobby for people.  We don’t desire Christ like we desire our hobbies.

Many times when teaching a class, I try to teach something I know I am seeking at the time.  The goal of the five class lesson series below was to discover how to better desire Christ in our day to day lives.

Knowing ourselves and our desires so we can cut out the negative desires and replace them with positive, spiritual desires and putting all of that into action were practiced within this series.  To help the teens get to know themselves, they took the Five Love Languages Personality Test for Teens on the first day.  This was a huge help as we progressed throughout the rest of the class.  The test is free to take at this link or available as a download here. (This download is free as well from the five love languages website, this is not something I have stolen)

I also purchased and began reading The 5 Love Languages of Teenagers: The Secret to Loving Teens Effectively by Gary Chapman, but I noticed while teaching the class that it did not assist much in the class preparation.  Most of the information I used was the basic information about the Love Languages listed at their website.  (The book link above and image below are affiliate links)

I hope this curriculum challenges you as well as your teenagers to better understand what it means to desire Christ in their personal walk with Him.

Lesson 1: Knowing Yourself

Lesson 2: Love: A Choice and a Feeling

Lesson 3: Wanting God and Needing God

Lesson 4: Craving Christ

Lesson 5: Rest

Entire Series: PDF    Google Doc

The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel

Youth in today’s generation are attacked harder and earlier with questions about belief and faith. In a culture of spiritual tolerance, it is becoming more difficult to see the truth of scripture. The Jesus in scripture becomes less and less clear to them. Although spiritual clarity is more difficult to determine, it creates one large, important question: Who really is Jesus?

Lee Strobel penned a novel in 2004 titled The Case for Christ. As an atheist, he sought to deny the reliability of scripture and Christ. That novel, and more to follow, give great detail of what became his journey to belief in the support of scripture and a strong desire to find who Jesus is.

The purpose of this 10 class series of lessons is to show the evidence of the reliability of scripture, a look at who Jesus is, what makes him the only way to God, and where faith comes into play with all of this. The youth will be immersed in an overwhelming amount of information, but will hopefully find confidence in faith, in scripture, and Jesus himself.

Class Goals:

  • Give youth tools to defend against an unclear presentation of scripture coming from culture.
  • Challenge youth to always seek Jesus and find out who he is in scripture and in interactions with their own lives.
  • Encourage youth to find confidence in their faith and comfort that God loves them as humans; with doubts and questions.

The below curriculum was built by myself, but I would suggest using the curriculum without also reading the books by Lee Strobel that the curriculum is based off.  Those books are available to purchase at the links below.  (The links included are affiliate links.)

                

“The Case for Christ”

Study Outline

Lesson 1 – Introduction to Study – How can we trust this ancient book called the Bible? Eyewitness Evidence

Memory – Acts 2:32 – “God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it.” NIV

Lesson 2 Documentary Evidence

Memory – 2 Timothy 3:16 – “All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” NIV

Lesson 3 – The Corroborating Evidence

Memory – John 20:31 – “But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name.” NIV

Lesson 4 The Archeological Evidence

Memory – John 2:25 – “He [Jesus] did not need any testimony about mankind, for he knew what was in each person.” NIV

Lesson 5The Rebuttal Evidence

Memory – Colossians 2:6 – “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him.” NIV

Lesson 6The Scientific Evidence

Memory – Revelation 22:13 – “I am the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” NIV

Lesson 7Eight Big Questions

Memory – John 14:6 – “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” NIV

Lesson 8It is offensive to claim Jesus is the Only way to God/Heaven**

Memory – Ephesians 1:22 – “And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church” NIV

Lesson 9Faith Questions Week 2**

Memory – 1 Peter 5:8 – “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” NIV

Lesson 10I Still Have Doubts, So I can’t be a Christian

Memory – Hebrews 11:1 – “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” NIV

**These weeks should be moldable based on the questions asked by students in Lesson 7

Full curriculum document: PDF      Google Doc