To the Lost Sheep

Because God

Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost, Year A

This week’s topic is difficult. It is so difficult the worship team might be inclined to choose a different text. Both Paul’s letter to the Romans and Matthew’s Gospel present to us complicated texts that will be hard to wrestle into an easily digestible form for a comfortable Sunday morning. Yet, this is precisely why it is worth the struggle.

Romans 11:1-2a, Mathew 15:21-28

Note to the Teacher:

Learning Outcomes: Students will understand one another’s differences. They will also see that the gospel is for everyone, no matter their culture, race, or other attributes.

Needed Resources:

The Icebreaker: The ice breaker is meant to help students learn a little bit about one another and acknowledge their differences and similarities.

Discussion: Students may have difficulty understanding Jesus’ response but help them see the change by the end of this passage. Also give them the opportunity to see the diversity (or lack thereof) in the congregation/youth group, school, and community. Take the time to talk about the implications of not reaching EVERYONE for Christ. This may be a good time to have a guest speaker, or really dive into racism as a discussion with your group.

Activity: This will give you an opportunity as a group to brainstorm ways to become more knowledgeable in the areas of diversity and to have a concrete plan for implementing your ideas.

Times are based on a fifty-minute lesson period, but may be adjusted.

1. Icebreaker - Human Bingo (10 minutes)

Give every student a “bingo card” that asks for them to get signatures of other students based on different attributes/experiences. You can create your own cards or download them from the internet. Make sure you add a question about where students were born. Give every student a bingo card and have them go around the room and get signatures for each of the blocks.

If you are not meeting face to face, then you could ask them the questions, or you could have them do a “show and tell” of sorts, asking each of the attributes and getting students on the conference call to raise their hands when the bingo card describes them.

  • What are some of the differences you found among group members?
  • What are the similarities?
  • How do students’ family traditions and heritage play a part in who they are as people?
  • Do you tend to seek out friends who have similar backgrounds as you? Do you think about that when befriending people?

2. Read Scripture (5 minutes)

Our scripture comes from Matthew 15:21-28 and Romans 11:1-2a & 29-32.

3. Discussion (15 minutes)

  • Let’s retell this story in Matthew in our own words. What is going on?
  • Why do you think Jesus responds the way he does at first?
  • What do you think his reply in verse 26 means?
  • How does his response change by the end of this passage?
  • How does this story make you feel?
  • What message is Paul sending through the passages in Romans?
  • How does this message speak to those who are not Christians or Jews?
  • Do you think this is relevant to us today?
  • How diverse is our congregation? Youth group? Do we represent our community?

4. Activity and Discussion (20 minutes)

Watch this short video. Talk about how you, as a group, can become more aware of those who are different from you.

  • Come up with a list of things you can do individually and as a group to become more aware of other cultures and races.
  • Create an action plan and/or a timeline.
  • Write a pledge together about how you will become more educated and compassionate toward those who are not like you.

In This Series...

Ninth Sunday After Pentecost, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Tenth Sunday After Pentecost, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Eleventh Sunday After Pentecost, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Twelfth Sunday After Pentecost, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Thirteenth Sunday After Pentecost, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes