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!)

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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 motivates you to get up every morning?

Youth Worship logo 2016Surely you’ve seen those on-line tests which reveal the Disney Character you are? (Or which Super Hero, or which Disney Princess?) These quizzes can be fun but if you are ranked as Belle, or Mulan, or Prince Charming, does that help you to know who you truly are? Does it push you to get out of bed in the morning?

What is your identity?

Identity is our sense of who we are in relationship to other people. Various elements affect our description of ourselves, including biological, cultural, psychological, and social.

Is there a spiritual side to our identity?

You bet there is!

Did you know that you were born a spiritual person?

(It’s the way God made us.)

some of our youth, 2015
    Some of our youth gather in a heart shape!
Join us this weekend as we explore this topic in Youth-led worship at FUMC. We will not be holding any Cool Disciple workshops on Saturday at Green Wood or downtown on Sunday, for grades 1st – 6th, so plan on attending this service!

How about a little pre-worship preparation? Around the family dinner table? (Or wherever your family is gathered together.) And de-brief afterwards!

Here are some potential discussion points/activities:

puzzle piecePlay a dinner table game of Twenty-Questions, focusing on identifying people.

chatting iconAsk your table guests: What words would describe who you are?

What if we describe ourselves as a violin player, but then, later on, we can no longer afford to play violin? Or what if we say that we are an athlete, but when we get older, we may no longer be able to participate in sports? How can it help to broaden our focus in thinking about who we are — to think beyond what we do, or what we look like?

chatting iconWhat words do you suppose Jesus would use to describe you? (Acknowledge the feelings expressed.)

I’m thinking that when we allow Jesus to define who we are, we get a much fuller picture!

open bibleHere is one way that is appropriate to see ourselves… Get out a Bible and read this verse from 1 John 3:1:

Open quoteSee what amazing love the Father has given us! Because of it, we are called children of God. And that’s what we really are!

chatting iconHow does it feel to know that you are a “child of God” – something that you never have to worry about growing out of?

“wiseFor older kids: How can we use the notion of being a child of God to protect us from society’s push to own the next best thing or to be the biggest money-maker?

“iconHere’s a potential “Write it on the fridge” project… Write on the top of a piece of paper “What I Want To Do In My Lifetime.” Allow family members and household guests to add their ideas.

Reflections from SoulFull Retreat
On the SoulFull Retreat this spring, youth answered a different sort of question.
“Reflections from SoulFull Retreat

I’m looking forward to hearing what the youth have to tell us about their identity!

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Photo credits:
Youth photos used by permission; rest of photos from my archives. Clip art from

Youth Worship: Be Still & Know That I Am God

This coming weekend the youth lead worship.

Youth worship 2014
Youth Worship downtown 2014

Why should this be a do-not-miss event?

  • Young kids need mentors – mentors beyond their parents; mentors whose shoes they will one day wear. Watching the youth (kids in 7th-12th grade) allows your kids a peek at their (potential) future self.
  • We’ll hear about being calm in situations that look far from peaceful. God is always with us!
  • We encourage attendance on Saturday and Sunday by not holding any Cool Disciples workshops.

Youth Worship 2015 Logo

This year’s theme for Youth Worship is from Psalm 46:10a

Open quote mark Be still, and know that I am God.

How about a little bit of discussion before hand? And by all means afterwards too! How about at the family dinner table (or wherever your family gathers). Use these discussion points:

  • Sit still! When did you last hear that command?
  • Why should we be still?
  • What are ways we can be still? (Be calm, quiet, silent…)
  • What are situations where being still can be especially important? (Bird-watching comes to mind. What about listening for God?)
  • How do you suppose being quiet enhances our ability to hear God?
  • What are ways we can help ourselves “be still” – both our bodies and our minds? Some ideas: Going to a quiet place. “Emptying” our mind of worries. Holding a particular item from nature such as a pine cone or a rock. Breath prayer
  • Should we be thankful for conditions which require us to be still? (I know. I know. You can’t wait to be active again, but I’ll bet now you’ll be able to think of something to do while you are waiting!)

What ideas do you have for being still? Perhaps you’ll meet God.
Youth on the Soulfull Retreat
Youth on the Soulfull Retreat, 2015

Photo credits:
Photos & logo design by FUMC members, © 2015. Used by permission.

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A Journey of (Strangely Warmed) Hearts

This weekend treat your kids to a peek at their potential future self.

the youth perform a skit during Youth Worship 2013
A scene from last year’s Youth Worship service

We won’t be holding Workshops this weekend for grades 1-6, so that our children can learn from an able group of mentors in grades 7-12. Invite them to attend the Youth-led worship service on Saturday at Green Wood and/or downtown on Sunday.

Tell them to listen for some journey stories.

How about a little preparatory discussion prior to worship? Note: Print out just the discussion questions from this Google Doc.

  • the cover of the book We're Going on a Bear Hunt

    Introduce the concept of a journey by starting off with a dinner table game! Use the book We’re Going on a Bear Hunt to pretend to go on a hunting journey – wading through tall grass, splashing through a river and squelching through mud, in search of a bear. (This is one of those stories where you can add your own adventure to your trip. See this version.)

  • Ask: What is a journey? What are some long trips that you can recall making?
  • Life can be described as a journey — we each travel a path that sometimes is straight and smooth, and sometimes windy and twisty. What are some stopping points that you’ve experienced in your life journey? (Adults: Describe some of these too-young-to-remember points for your kids such as their first birthday, or their first step or their first day of school.)
  • What faith steps have you encountered in your life path? (Adults: now is the time for you to share moments of doubt in God and times of questioning, as well as mountain-top experiences.)
  • The Bible seems to have many stories of journeys. What are some that you can think of?

This is where you can refer to our just-finished Rotation on the Walk to Emmaus! Ask your child(ren) to re-tell the story from Luke 24:13-35.

  • Why do you suppose Jesus didn’t reveal himself earlier in their journey?
  • What were they doing when they finally recognized Jesus? (hint: verse 30)
  • On our “bear hunt” would it have been as fun if we’d just gone straight to the bear’s cave and skipped the tall grass and the mud and the river? (No, probably not!) All of the parts of the journey were important. They all contributed to our experience.
  • It probably took some leading-up-to-it-time for the two disciples eyes to be “opened.” At what point in our Bible story do the disciples realize what this was?

They said to each other, “He talked with us on the road. He opened the Scriptures to us. Weren’t our hearts burning inside us during that time?” Luke 24:32

At youth worship do you suppose you’ll hear or see any burning heart stories?
And when you come back to discuss your take on Youth Worship, ask…

What burning heart stories did you hear?

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Photo credits:
Photo by Richard Rupp. Used with permission.

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Ripples of Hope: Fill My Net

Ripples of hope Youth Worship logoI hope it doesn’t rain today.

I hope I got a good grade.

I hope she’ll be my friend.

Hope is a word which gets a lot of use in everyday life. We sure could use a dose of hope these days!

Hope is also talked about in the Bible. You can find lists of verses about hope. One of my favorites is:

There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.  Proverbs 23:18

This weekend is Youth-led worship at FUMC. We will not be holding any workshops on Saturday at Green Wood or downtown on Sunday for grades 1st – 6th, so plan on attending this service!

Youth Worship 2013 banner logo

How about a little preparation? Around the family dinner table? (Or wherever your family is gathered together.)

The focus by the Youth will be hope. This even ties to our current Rotation on Peter’s story! Peter was likely down in the dumps about what he’d done to Jesus. Deciding not to just sit around and mope, Peter chose to go fishing.

a speech bubbleAsk your kids: When Peter went fishing, what do you suppose he was hoping for?

  • A diversion: Something to take his mind off of what he’d done?
  • A net full of fish?
  • Jesus’ forgiveness?
  • Your ideas?

a speech bubbleWhen was the last time you hoped for something?
Did you have to wait for what you were hoping for?

Perhaps Peter chose to go fishing because he was consumed by thinking about what he’d done to Jesus. His mind was probably racing in overtime. He couldn’t stand to be still!

a speech bubbleHow is waiting for what is hoped for, hard?
What do you do while you are waiting for hope?

a speech bubbleOnce Peter had spent time in the boat, quietly fishing, that is when Jesus called. Ask: The next time you are waiting for something, what do you think of the idea of turning to God for some quiet time?
What are ways you could have quiet time with God?

Jesus did offer Peter forgiveness. And because of that, we have hope! Jesus forgives us as well. And Jesus’ forgiveness empower us! We can have hope!

The Youth will be using this prayer in worship, adapted from the book Pray Like Hell. This will be presented in a very cool ripple effect that the youth created!

Bless to me this day the power of God to do good work.
Bless to me the power of Christ to love well.
Bless to me the power of the Holy Spirit to strengthen me for what lies ahead.
Bless to me the power of the Holy Trinity to give me hope.

I hope you’ll attend one of these worship services!

Photo credits:
Ripples of Hope logo design by Deb Wood. Used with permission.
Photos of the youth from last years youth-led worship service used with permission.

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Something in Common: Youth Worship and The Runaway Bunny

This weekend we’ll get to watch our Youth lead us in worship. Youth Worship is a spring tradition! It’s alway lively! How can it not be, when worship is led by gobs of 7th-12th graders!

photos from Youth Worship in 2012

Youth Worship always has a theme to it. This year’s subject is Grace.

Help your kids to get more out of this worship by talking about the concept of grace ahead of time. (And debriefing about it afterwards.) What is grace?

Grace is someone saying: “I love you anyway.”

Ask your child(ren) if they could say “I love you anyway” in response to some of these situations:

  • When someone doesn’t want to play with me.
  • When someone uses something of mine without asking, and then breaks it.
  • When people laugh at me when I make a mistake.
  • When someone gets me in trouble for something I didn’t do.

It is hard isn’t it!

This is what God’s grace is; God saying, “Even though you messed up, I love you anyway. It is a gift from me to you. There is nothing you can do to pay me back.”

Want another way to teach about grace? Use a popular storybook.

Cover of the book The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown

This story starts off…

Open quote markOnce there was a little bunny who wanted to run away.
So he said to his mother, “I am running away.”
“If you run away,” said his mother, “I will run after you. For you are my little bunny.”

This bunny invents all kinds of scenarios where he runs away from his mother. But, no matter what, his mother assures him that she will run right after him.

It’s just like that with us and God.
How have you noticed God loving you no matter what?

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Photo credits:
Book shot from Amazon.
Youth group photo collage used with permission.

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