Note to the Teacher
The key phrase in this scripture (for this lesson) is “Rejoice in the Lord, always.” The icebreaker invites youth to participate in something they already know and love. The discussion encourages students to think about all the ways in which gifts bring joy. The activity allows youth to understand that joy is contagious. Times are based on a fifty-five-minute lesson period but may be adjusted.
Icebreaker: This week, it’s you! (15 minutes)
This week, we are talking about joy! Instead of creating an activity for you, we invite you to bring your students along for the ride!
Prepare an activity that you know will bring your students joy. This may be a nature walk, a game of scatterball, or a personal favorite that you’ve been dying to try. Let the sky be the limit.
Take a vote and let the students decide. As a youth worker, invite your students to take a bit more ownership by deciding what the icebreaker might be.
Read Scripture (5 minutes)
Our scripture reading today offers words of encouragement from Paul. Read Philippians 4:4-13.
Discussion (15 minutes)
- Take a minute and list all of the instructions in this scripture passage (verses 4-9).
- Take another minute and list all the things Paul has been taught by the Philippians’ generous gifts (verses 10-13).
- What kinds of similarities/differences exist between the two lists?
- How might the lists of ways to act and the list of generous gifts affect how we create or get to share in joy?
- What things about this faith community bring you joy?
Activity & Discussion (20 minutes)
Take this lesson to the next level by getting students’ hands and imaginations involved by using canned fruit or vegetables. Invite each person to take one can of food and a utensil, sit in a circle, and eat. There is no availability to warm up the food. It must be eaten straight from the can. The idea of this exercise is to create mindfulness and appreciation for the food offered. Encourage your students to imagine the chosen canned food in their favorite way it is prepared.
**We recognize that food insecurity and food deserts are very real and potentially devastating for communities. If you serve in a place that sees one or both of these needs among your students, consider providing them a “feast” of some sort. This might be a potluck of favorite dishes from other congregants. This could be a feast of different ice creams or candies. Provide something out of the ordinary for your time together.
Points for discussion:
- Many of us are fortunate to live in relative food security. What were the things you appreciated while you were eating your food? If you had less food, how might it affect joy in your life?
- Joy is contagious. It should be in our attitudes, words, and demeanor. Would you describe your experience as joyful? If not, how could you have approached the experience differently and invite joy in?
- We invite you to close in a gratitude prayer. We HIGHLY recommend singing or saying the Doxology from the United Methodist Hymnal. If that doesn’t fit the needs of your group, Xavier’s “Prayers for Gratitude and Thanksgiving” (https://www.xavier.edu/jesuitresource/online-resources/prayer-index/thanksgiving-prayers) is a great resource for prayers of thanksgiving
TOTAL TIME: 55 minutes.
- Supplies for students’ favorite game.
- A small can of fruit or vegetables for each student
- Eating utensils for each student
- United Methodist Hymnals