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Youth Ministry 101: Session 2: On Being a Good Christian Lesson Plans for Grades 7th-12th Adam Ericksen Education

Director, Raven Foundation (www.ravenfoundation.org) Youth Pastor, First Congregational Church of Wilmette, UCC

Lesson: Students will explore what it means to be a good Christian. Teaching Point: To emphasize being good can easily lead us into a competition to see who is the best. We can then accuse one another of not being good enough. The point is not to compete for goodness but to be faithful in Jesus call to follow him. Scripture: Mark 9:33-37 Supplies: Bible, flip chart, markers, paper. There is an option to break into two groups, so you may need to find another space for one of the groups. Before class, write on the top of two large pieces of paper, What does it mean to be a good Christian? Time: 45 minutes Say: Today we will discuss what it means to be a good Christian. Lets create two groups. Group one will stay here and group two will go into the other room. Each group will have 10 minutes to brainstorm at least 10 things that make a Christian good. Do: When I create groups, I usually count off by twos, but if there are new people in the group, make sure they are in a group with a friend or someone they know. Give each group the large sheet of paper you created before class and markers. Ask them to brainstorm What does it mean to be a good Christian? Possible responses include: 1. Faith 2. Respect everyone 3. Follow 10 Commandments 4. Loyalty 5. Belief 6. Love 7. Think of others before thinking of self 8. WWJD 9. Help others 10. Forgive

11. Be supportive 12. Try to be good, but realize no one is perfect 13. Read the Bible 14. Save sex until marriage 15. Keep promises 16. Go to church 17. Remorse for sins 18. Do selfless acts 19. Accept others 20. Pray for others Say: (After about 10 minutes) Okay. Lets all come back to the room and discuss the things we came up with. Do: Tape both lists next to each other on the wall Ask: What are your thoughts on our lists? If theres not a lot of discussion, ask your own questions like: 1. 2. 3. 4. What is the difference between faith and belief Is it always good to forgive people? What happens to you when you dont forgive? Should we respect everyones beliefs? What about someone like Jim Jones, a cult leader who told his followers that the end of the world was near, so he led them in mass suicide. His beliefs led to the deaths of 909 people. Should we respect his beliefs?

Ask: Can being good at something become a competition with others? How? Accept all responses. Ask: Could any of the ideas about goodness we came up with become competitive? Could they become a chance to say, Im a better Christian than you? Accept all responses. Say: Lets look at what the Bible says about being good. Turn to Mark 9:33-37. Who would like to read for us? Ask: What are the disciples doing in this passage? Accept all responses Conclude: They argue about which one is the best.

Ask: And how does Jesus respond to the disciples? According to Jesus, what does it mean to be good? Accept all responses. Say: The disciples wanted to be good in a way that boosted their own ego. They wanted to be recognized as being the best. According to Jesus, being good is not about being better than others, but about serving others. Ask: During the time this story was written, many people viewed children as a burden. They were another mouth to feed and they couldnt help provide food. What does Jesus say about children in this passage? Accept all answers Conclude: He identifies with them. He is like a child. So, it is good to identify with the vulnerable, those who are not recognized, but often ignored. Ask: Have you ever felt like you werent wanted because of your age? What would be a faithful response to someone who made you feel like you werent good enough to be around them? Say: Much of our culture tells us that being good is about recognition. I dont want you to worry about being good. I want you to pay attention to being faithful to what Jesus says about being a servant of all people and caring for the vulnerable. Ask: Do you have any questions? Ask: Would anyone like to lead us in prayer? Suggested prayer: Hi God. Thank you for today and for bringing us together. Help us to relax about being good and better than other people. Help us to become servants of you and one another. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.