Note to the Teacher
The key phrase in this scripture (for this lesson) is “Give thanks for the kingdom.” The icebreaker invites youth to participate by showering others with gratitude. The discussion encourages students to think about how Jesus’ miracles induced gratitude. The activity allows youth to read and/or create a creed unique to them about their thankfulness. Times are based on a fifty-five-minute lesson period but may be adjusted.
Icebreaker: In the hot seat (15 minutes)
Have a person sit in the “hot seat.” At some point, every student will get a turn. Explain that the person sitting in the “hot seat” will get a few minutes in the seat (you may need to figure out your time). While the student is in the hot seat, the rest of the group will tell that person the ways that they are thankful for him/her.
Consider having the student in the hot seat share two or three things he/she is thankful for.
Read Scripture (5 minutes)
Our scripture reading today involves the stories of people who give thanks. Read John 6:5-23.
Discussion (15 minutes)
- If you could have one final meal, what would it be and why?
- Have you heard about either of these miracles before? Are there lessons or ideas that are memorable for you?
- How does witnessing a miracle change the way people describe Jesus?
- Have you ever felt like you’ve had a crisis and Jesus came to your aid? If you are comfortable doing so, share your story with the group.
- In the first miracle in verse 9, there is a boy who remembered to bring a lunch, and the miracle grows from there. Have you ever been in a place where you felt that “you were the only one who remembered lunch”? (the only one who was prepared, etc.). Were you ever inspired to share because you were prepared?
- What do you think of the idea that miracles can happen when you are ready to share what you have?
Activity & Discussion (20 minutes)
Creeds, or Affirmations of Faith as we call them more generally, help us declare the Christian faith. They affirm our unity in Christ with those followers who first wrote them, the many generations who have recited them before us, and those who will recite them after we have gone.
The United Methodist Hymnal contains nine creeds or affirmations. Only two of these (Nicene and Apostles') are strictly considered to be creeds, and only one of them (the Nicene Creed) is the result of an ecumenical council.
The remaining affirmations are taken from Paul's letters (Corinthians, Colossians, Romans, and Timothy) along with affirmations from the United Church of Canada, the Korean Methodist Church and the World Methodist Social Affirmation.
Written by the Rev. J. Richard Peck and the Rev. Taylor W. Burton-Edwards
The Rev. J. Richard Peck is the former editor of Newscope and United Methodist resources including The Book of Resolutions and the Daily Christian Advocate. The Rev. Taylor Burton-Edwards, director of worship resources with Discipleship Ministries from 2005-2018, revised and updated this article in 2018.
We invite you to either recite a creed from the hymnal or create a creed as a group. The creation of a creed may take extra time.
Points for creating a creed:
- Creeds are often written in three parts: confession, proclamation, and affirmation.
- Confession is the “we believe” statement; proclamation is the “joy that can be shared” statement; and affirmation is the “scriptural elements essential for salvation.”
- A creed does not require long or “churchy” words but something from the heart.
I had a dear friend who used to do this exercise when she took her students to participate in a high ropes course. Many of them started with “The Lord is my high ropes harness. I have all I need” to mimic Psalm 23. Don’t be afraid to get creative.
TOTAL TIME: 55 minutes.
- United Methodist Hymnal