Week 1: April 19 - Indescribable & Glorious Joy
1 Peter 1:3-9
Note to the Teacher: Learning Outcomes: Students will understand that the gift of salvation brings joy. Sometimes that joy fades. We need a reminder of just how wonderful this gift is to each of us and how it should be celebrated often.
The key phrase in this scripture comes from verses 4 and 6: “This is a gift that can never be destroyed” (NIRV) and “You have joy even though you may have had to suffer for a little while” (NIRV).
The discussion (below) encourages students to think about the gift Paul speaks about and helps students understand how and why this gift should be celebrated. It is compared to a “mountaintop experience” in their own lives.
The ice breaker and activity allow youth to experience the joy of receiving a gift, even when they did nothing much to deserve it.
Times are based on a fifty-minute lesson period but can be adjusted.
1. Ice Breaker: The Joy of Receiving (10 minutes)
Option 1: High Tech (If not in the same room, have students look up on their devices as well.) - There are several videos on YouTube of kids ecstatically opening presents on Christmas morning. Show some of these to your students.
Option 2: Low Tech - Ask students to remember a time when they received a gift that brought them to tears or when they were so excited they screamed like little girls. (If you have less privileged students, ask them to name a gift that would cause them to respond this way if they were to receive it.)
Ice Breaker Debrief:
- How would you describe the emotions of receiving a special gift?
- Has anyone ever responded this way to something they have given you?
- How did that make you feel?
- What is so special about receiving something special from someone?
- What emotions do you have for the gift giver?
- How long does that joy for that gift usually stick around?
2. Read Scripture (5 minutes)
Our Scripture reading today comes from 1 Peter 1:3-9. Please read from the New International Reader’s Version (NIRV) and the New International Version (NIV).
3. Discussion (15 minutes)
- What message is Paul trying to get across to his audience?
- What “gift” is Paul referring to in verse 4? (NIRV)
- “inheritance” (NIV)
- How will you receive this gift?
- Why will you receive it?
- What should our reaction be to this?
- What are some ways our church celebrates Easter? (not egg hunts)
- What could we be doing to keep up our excitement beyond Easter Sunday?
- How many of you have had a “mountaintop” experience? (You may need to explain: camp, retreat, mission trip, event)
- What about that experience brought you joy?
- How long did that feeling last?
- Why do you think it fades away?
- How do those experiences shape our faith journey?
4. Activity and Discussion (20 minutes)
If you are face to face:"Hot Potato"
Use a nicely wrapped gift that can easily be opened. You can decide what to put in it. If your students respond well to tangible gifts, include a gift card or another item they may like. If you think your students are mature enough to not need a gift (or if budget doesn’t allow), just write out “Salvation” or “Jesus” or “Unconditional Love” on a card and place in the box.
Play traditional “Hot Potato.” Sit in a circle and pass the box around while playing music. Once the music stops, the person with the box is out. Continue until one person is left. The last person gets to open the box and receives the content.
If you are gathering virtually: "20 Questions"
Wrap a gift. Put something in it. This may also be a gift card or another item you will give away the next time you are together. Then take turns playing “20 Questions.” Whoever guesses what is in the gift wins the item. Change the discussion to make it appropriate for your game.
- How did it feel when you were “out” and knew your chances of receiving the gift were over?
- Ask the second to the last player, “How did you feel when you were so close to winning?”
- While it is fun to receive tangible gifts, the gift God promises isn’t something we can see or touch or even experience on this earth. How can we keep one another excited about this gift and share that joy with others?
- YouTube clips of children opening gifts (high-tech option)
- Computer with speakers or TV
- Beautifully wrapped present (content is up to you)