How to prepare to hear youth champion choosing love?

Youth Worship 2017 LogoThis weekend, the Youth in grades 7-12 will lead worship at both Greenwood on Saturday evening and downtown Sunday morning. Why should you make sure that you and the kiddos attend one of these services?

Three reasons:

  • Little kids need to espy big kids in action. (Hey, I get to do that some day!)
  • The viewpoint the Youth will promote is wise: Choose Love.
  • There will not be any Cool Disciples workshops for grades 1-6 this weekend!

Do you suppose the “open door” in their logo, parodies to a degree, that old TV show Let’s Make a Deal – where contestants picked either door number 1, 2 or 3?  (The Bible story the Youth will reference does have three characters making choices about showing love.)

But choosing love is not random. And it is more than just choosing to love and care for someone else – it also involves choosing to allow God to love us!

This door opens two ways: to receive God’s love and to show love to others.

A little preparation for worship may be helpful. (And certainly a debriefing afterwards!) How about using three ways – all involving stories and song. (Something I’m sure that we’ll hear lots of in worship!)

the number one  The Parable of The Good Samaritan is depicted in artLet’s start with a review of a familiar Bible story: The Good Samaritan.

Read the story in Luke 10:25-37.

Which of the three in this parable that Jesus taught – the priest, the Levite, or the Samaritan – chose a loving response to the beaten man by the side of the road?

What were the risks that each person faced? Why do you suppose the Samaritan chose love?


the number two  The cover of the book Forever Young by Bob DylanNext, how about a storybook based on a song? Forever Young by Bob Dylan (yes, THAT Bob Dylan) for ages 5 – 10, is about a young boy who is given a guitar by a street singer; his story shows how a gift to another can impact countless lives. (Ann Arbor District Library has this book. See if it is available!)

Do you suppose a simple act of giving (and loving) can still have an impact in today’s world?
Do you think it is better to give love or to receive love? Why?

the number three  And the third choice is a song by Pete Townshend: Let My Love Open the Door. The Youth have been learning this song and we’ll hear it this weekend.

Consider how these words could be God speaking to us, reaching out in love.
“I have the only key to your heart
I can stop you falling apart
Try today you’ll find this way
Come on and give me a chance to say
Let my love open the door
It’s all I’m living for
Release yourself from misery
There’s only one thing gonna set you free
That’s my love
That’s my love
Let my love open the door
Let my love open the door.”


The Youth from FUMC at Soulfull Retreat 2017
Youth at Soulfull Retreat at Lake Louise Retreat Center, 2017

Come experience the youth as they share their faith in music, drama, and liturgy. Members of the senior class of 2017 will share their journeys with the congregation. (Always a tear-jerker for me!)

a blue line

Photo credits:
Choose Love logo designed by Wendy Everett. Group photo of youth at Soulfull Retreat at Lake Louise Retreat Center, by Peter DeHart, © 2017. Used by permission.
An icon of The Good Samaritan, photo by Ted, licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-SA 2.0). Orange Numbers in the Public Domain via

What happens when jubilant children lead us in worship?

cast of the Jonah musical

We experienced a treat this past Sunday: kids leading us in worship!

Children in worship, the Cherub Choir doing the response to Psalm 8Children executed all parts of worship – ushering, conducting the Call to Worship, playing hand chimes, singing in choirs, and reading scripture. Here the Cherub Choir — representing our youngest — provided the musical reply to a responsive reading of Psalm 8.

Baptism Tucked into the service, was also a baptism of a young child. An appropriate opening to the musical that the kids put on about the story of Jonah! In a baptism, the sprinkling with water in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, signifies a new life and becoming a child of God. Did Jonah experience his own sort of “sprinkling” to help him see his faith journey?

Being baptized means you join in our community of faith. One of my favorite parts of a baptism is when the pastor takes the child down the center aisle amidst everyone — parents usually in tow — where the congregation repeats their promise to nurture the faith of the child being baptized. Surrounded by love!

Baptism in the center of the congregation

On to the musical portion of the service! The Children’s choirs presented “Oh Jonah!”

You know the story: Jonah is a reluctant prophet who at first chooses not to follow God’s instructions. He ended up in the belly of a big fish.

I like how the kids portrayed Jonah (dressed in red) as being “inside” the big fish — surrounded by kids who were the “whale.” That’s a group of angels in orange, hanging out near by to offer guidance to Jonah.

Jonah in a big fish watched over by angels

This is a story about choices and responsibility. When he was “spit out”…with gusto, it was a second chance!

Jonah is almost spit out   Jonah is spit out of the big fish

This time Jonah went to Nineveh and gave the people God’s message. (Look at all of those cool Ninevehites!)

Jonah goes before the King of Nineveh

How does the story turn out?

a blue line

Photo credits:
I created Oh Jonah from a claymation video by Riley Marchand, shared under a Creative Commons License on YouTube. (I altered this screen shot to make Jonah appear much smaller than the big fish.)
Rest of photos from my archives.

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