School Christian Groups: What makes a good program?
Meeting together as Christians involves 1 key thing - what is it?
Has anyone seen that great episode of Friends where Rachel is trying to make a traditional English trifle for thanksgiving dessert? The pages of the recipe get stuck together and she ends up putting beef sautéed with peas and onions in with custard and cream? It’s hilarious! Ross says ‘it tastes like feet!’
When you’re making a dessert, it’s important that you put the right ingredients in! It’s a dessert. It’s supposed to be filled with cream and chocolate and all things sugary and delicious! Not beef! Knowing what you’re making helps you work out what ingredients you need.
It’s similar with your Christian Group. If you’re going to work out what to do, you need to remember why you’re running it. That will tell you what ingredients to include. So lets recap the big ideas from our first article Why run a Christian group?
Reason 1: Meeting together with other Christians is encouraging.
Your school Christian group gives you an opportunity to meet together with other Christians to encourage each other to keep living for Jesus as you wait for him to return (Hebrews 10:25).
Reason 2: You’ll be able to help each other be a light to those around you.
Remember 1 Peter 2:12? When Christians meet together, the way we relate to each other is very different from the world around us. We love each other like Jesus loved us. This can make you a great light to those around you as you reach out to them with the gospel.
So if the point of meeting together is to encourage each other and to be a light to those around you, then every element of your program should be trying to make that happen.
What’s the key ingredient to a School Christian Group?
The best way to encourage each other to keep living for Jesus is to read his word. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says:
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
When we open God’s Word together, God speaks. His Word is more powerful to teach, encourage, rebuke (when necessary) and train us to be more like Jesus than anything any human might have to say. Reading God’s Word together should be the KEY ingredient for your Christian group.
However, teaching the Bible can not only be a very daunting task, but also one that comes with a lot of responsibility. So it may not be a job for you or your friends who are running your group. Here are a few suggestions of others who might be able to help teach God’s word at your Christian group:
1. Ask your Scripture teacher or a Christian teacher to help.
Ask them if they would be happy to do some talks at your Christian group. If students are doing the teaching maybe that teacher would look over their talks and offer some suggestions?
2. Ask faithful adult Christians from your church to help.
Ask your youth minister if he might come and do some teaching. He could even do some talks that he’s done at youth group before. Maybe some of your youth leaders might come in a do some talks. If you have a minister that is good at teaching the Bible to young people then ask if he’ll come in and teach. Or there might even be some faithful older Christians that might come in and read God’s word and share their wisdom with you.
3. Check out some Youthworks resources that might help you.
Youthworks has a bunch of different books, youth Bible study materials and high school resources that you might be able to use to teach the Bible at your Christian Group. Check out these links below:
God’s Word is not only good for encouraging each other to keep following Jesus, it’s also what people need to hear in order to start following Jesus. Your Christian group will be a light to others who need to meet Jesus and be changed by him. The only place to do that is in God’s Word! That's why it should be the KEY ingredient in every school Christian group.
The rest of the ingredients on the list
There are heaps of things you can include in your recipe for your group! Always remember what your aims are (encouraging each other and being a light) and they will help you work out what ingredients to include and what to leave out.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- I don’t know what it is about food but when you share it with each other it bonds people together
- It’s also important so that you have enough energy for the rest of they day so don’t skip it!
Have someone MC
- It’s their job to welcome everybody, make sure each segment flows onto the next one and everyone who is doing something knows when they’re up
- They also close your time together
Run a sharing activity or mixer game
- Make it up or find one on the Internet
- Some of my favourites are found here (http://www.thesource4ym.com/games/default.aspx?Search=Mixers)
- The aim is to get people chatting, sharing and encouraging each other
- If you’ve got musical people in your group, and you’d like to sing praises to our great God, then sing a song or two
- Try to sing songs that the majority of your group will know
Play a linking game or activity
- You could do an activity that links to the Big Idea from the Bible passage that you’re reading that day
- This is fun and can help some people engage with what they’re learning
- Pray for each other, for personal prayer points
- Pray for your friends who don’t know Jesus
- Pray for your school
- Pray for world events
- Pray for what you’ve just learnt about
- Pray for anything!
- This is both encouraging and a light to those around you