By Jeremy Steele
Note to Teacher:
The book of Ephesians begins with a powerful, positive message: you are good, you are chosen, and you are part of a family! That positive message undergirds this lesson and invites us to help students experience a feeling of being welcomed and loved as members of God’s family.
Ice Breaker: Family Stuff Stories
Before you begin, gather a set of random items and place them on a table or in the center of your conversation circle. For example, you might have a book, a bike tire, a deck of cards, a magazine, a marker, and a picture frame. Once the items are in front of everyone, explain that you are going to be sharing fun and/or funny family stories. Ask the students to look at the items in the middle and choose one that makes a good family story come to mind. Maybe it makes them think of a fun bike ride or the time they beat their parents at poker. Once all the students have an item, go around the room, letting them share their stories with the group.
Virtual option: If you are meeting online, invite the students to get an item from their home that reminds them of a fun family story. Once they return, ask them to share with the group.
Invite students to read this passage once to themselves. When they have finished, ask another member of the group to read it out loud while the rest of the group pays attention to the verbs in the passage.
- What verbs (action words) can we find in this passage?
- When you hear people say those particular verbs, what emotions do you feel?
- Is there a time when you felt like you had been blessed by another person?
- When have you been chosen for something good?
- Whom do you consider family? Are there people who are not related to you who are as close to you as family?
- What is it about being in a family that describes being part of Christianity or a church?
- This passage describes God welcoming us into God’s family. Can you think of ways that we welcome new people into our group in the same spirit?
We are going to spend time making a chart that begins with how we act toward family. We will use those actions to think about how we act toward people in our youth group. To do this, draw a line down the middle of a whiteboard or poster board (if meeting virtually, do a screen share with a whiteboard function, or go old school and just write on paper that can be seen in your frame) and write “family” on one side and “youth ministry” on the other side. Then select scenarios from the list below and ask students first how they act with family, writing down a phrase or two in the family column to help paraphrase and shorten answers.
Once you have finished the family column by getting answers for each scenario you wish to discuss, take each family answer and ask, “If we are part of God’s family, how does this imply we should act with our church family in youth group?” Remember that there are different expectations in church, which will mean the responses won’t be exactly the same. For example, you might kiss your parent goodbye or goodnight, but you probably would not do that to random people at church.
- Ways to say “goodbye” when you leave for school.
- How *should* you respond when a sibling says something that is not true about you to your parent? How *do* you actually respond?
- How do you greet a family member you haven’t met before?
- How are you supposed to act when your parent is talking about something important?
- What do you do when you have hurt the feelings of your sibling?
- How should you respond when you can tell that someone in your family feels lonely?
Close in the manner that is typical for your group. If you offer joys and concerns, you may invite students to name their family in prayer as a joyful moment.
- Collection of random items
- Whiteboard or poster board and marker to write on them.