Week 3: The Joy of Home
Note to the Teacher
This week, we will be diving into the radical welcoming of the good news. Though John’s words in Luke begin with a lot of bad news, they end by letting everyone know that no matter what they have done, Jesus is coming for all of them.
1. Ice Breaker: The Christmas-est (10 minutes)
This icebreaker will invite students to share stories of the less than perfect side of Christmas. If you’ve saved the box from week one, you can pull it out again. This time, give the box to a student and ask the student to pull out an item. You can use the same items from week one or add some new items to the mix. Once the item is pulled out, the student will share a story of “weirdest, grossest, smelliest, or most awkward.” That means if they pull out a Christmas ornament, they can talk about the weirdest Christmas ornament they have. Or the grossest one. When the student has finished the story, he/she passes the box to the next person, who picks a new item and shares a story.
2. Read Scripture (5 minutes)
This passage has an interesting tone. Invite two different students to read the passage out loud, one after the other, so that different tones can be heard. The “tone” is meant to convey a particular feeling by the author. If students are unsure of how to read in different tones, invite them to read in a caring way versus an authoritative way.
Read Luke 3:7-18.
3. Discussion (15 minutes)
- The beginning of this passage contains a lot of critical, difficult, and dare we say . . . bad news. Look back at the scripture. What is some of the bad news John delivers?
- All these groups of people have things they need to work on. Who are the groups named in the passage? Choose one group and attempt to translate what John says into words/ideas that make sense today. How would it be the same? How would it be different? (For example, what would Jesus say to today’s soldiers?)
- What are some things that people think are bad/sinful today? Do you think there is a correlation between bad behavior and sinful behavior? Who has the power in your life to say what is bad or sinful?
- Do you think people who regularly do bad or sinful things feel uncomfortable coming to church? Why or why not?
- What are some other things that aren’t bad or considered a sin that make some people feel they shouldn’t come to church?
- The “good news” part of this message comes at the end where John talks about Jesus coming. Jesus is coming to all those people who aren’t perfect and—spoiler alert—that is everyone. There is no one who is perfect. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you’ve done, Jesus welcomes you into his family. How is that good news? How might that news feel something other than good?
- How do you think our church tries to share that good news? Are we good at it or not? How do you think people would feel about our church if they knew that Jesus is for everybody and that no one is perfect?
4. Activity: Welcome Home Signs (20 minutes)
To help the group process the radical welcoming that is present in the Bible, we are going to make some “welcome home” signs for people who think they are disqualified from faith. Begin by revisiting the answers to the last two questions in the discussion above. Explain to students that you are going to make posters that creatively communicate a welcome to each of the types of people or activities we discussed in those questions. Give each group a piece of poster board, markers, and other art supplies. Then assign each person or group a topic and let them develop a poster. Once they are done, bring everyone back together and ask them to explain their poster. This could be done virtually as well, with individuals creating their own posters and sharing them via video conference or social media. Encourage youth to use both words and imagery in their posters.
Total time: 50 minutes
- Poster board
- Art supplies