Note to the Teacher
The scripture today discusses confidence and new life. The activities and discussion center on different types of confidence and where our confidence can be found. The goal of the discussion around confidence is not to dismiss all other forms of it or label confidence in ourselves as pride. Instead, it is to celebrate the one that we have eternal confidence in and how we can nurture and expand our confidence in God.
Icebreaker: Leader of the Band
In-Person: One volunteer goes into a separate room while the rest of the group decides who the “leader of the band” will be. The first volunteer is brought back into the room and has to guess who the leader of the band is.
The leader of the band leads the rest of the group by pretending to play a musical instrument. Everyone else in the group has to copy the instrument that the band leader is playing. The band leader has to regularly change the instrument, and the others in the group must follow. No band members are allowed to speak.
Virtual: Place the volunteer into a breakout room while the leader of the band is decided. All other rules remain in place; just don’t forget to bring the volunteer back from the breakout room once the leader has been chosen!
- What stood out to those guessing who the leader was?
- And what tricks did those of you in the band learn to try to stay incognito?
Say something like, “In our scripture today, we’ll explore the idea of confidence. Whatever God asks us to do as part of our faith, even if it feels as silly as leading or playing in a fake band, we can do it confidently.”
Your students may be familiar with the last verse, but chances are they aren’t nearly as acquainted with the beginning and middle of this passage. Draw their attention to the unfamiliar parts of the passage as they listen.
- What are things that you feel confident doing?
- Have you always felt confident in those things? Who or what has helped your confidence grow?
- How would you define the idea and feeling of confidence? (Share the dictionary definitions below after students have had a chance to answer.)
- The feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something; firm trust
- The state of feeling certain about the truth of something
- A feeling of self-assurance arising from one’s own abilities or qualities (Definitions from Oxford English Dictionary).
Paul seems to be talking about the “firm trust” definition of confidence in verse 6. Why does he say that we can all be confident?
Would you consider growing in confidence in a skill (like playing an instrument or a sport) similar to growing in confidence emotionally? How about growing confident in your beliefs about Christ and how Jesus asks us to act like his disciples?
Say something like: Paul’s confidence isn’t just in himself or those he is writing to. The confidence Paul writes about comes from a sense of certainty about a person of faith’s connection to the divine by following Christ. By living like Jesus, we get to play a part in the redemptive story of the world.
That kind of confidence means that we don’t need to all look a certain way, be good at the same things, or even like all the same stuff. What matters is that we can confidently say, “We are all part of the family of God.”
If anyone is in Christ, that person is part of the new creation that God continues to craft. The invitation to be a part of the body of Christ is extended to all. Our confidence is not in a building, the abilities of those around us, or even the book before us. Our confidence is the firm belief that we can rely on God and our brothers and sisters in faith, no matter what.
Activity: The Aliens Have Landed
Tell the group to imagine an alien spaceship has landed on Earth and is interested in granting you the opportunity to run a campaign for total leadership of their planet. The students are tasked with creating a simple brochure that highlights their qualifications, leadership attributes, and why they believe they should be chosen for this honor.
If you are doing this virtually, you can either have students create theirs at home with pen and paper to share; or if all of them have access to Microsoft Office suite software, they might create a quick PowerPoint, Word document, or virtual advertisement that can then be shared individually through the screen share option.
- How did it feel to try to promote yourself as a leader?
- Put yourself in the aliens’ shoes (assuming they have feet). Who made the most interesting case to you, and why?
- Did you learn more about someone in the group through this exercise?
Say something like: We may not be ready to lead an entire alien planet but recognizing our own God-given gifts, natural skills, and practiced talents is an important part of growing confident – even if we are uncomfortable with self-promotion. When we recognize what we have to share and take the chance to share those gifts with others, we can grow even more confident with ourselves and with our relationship with God. After all, we are meant to be in a community and to share. By sharing, we become load-bearing members of the body of Christ, seeking to do good in this world.
Fortunately, God doesn’t work through self-promotion and brochures, flyers, or catchy slogans. God makes God’s case about leading our world through offering chances at relationships and redeeming all things. We can be confident that God is at work, making all things new; and we can be confident that we are invited to help with the transformation of the world when we live a life patterned after Jesus.
There are many ways to learn how to rely on and connect with God: reading the Bible to learn more about others who trusted God, learning from those around us, worshiping together, serving others, even fasting and caring for those who need extra support or live on the margins of our community.
I invite you to think about something you could do to grow your confidence and connection with God this week. If you are comfortable sharing what you would like to do, leave me a note or send me a message and I’ll be happy to check in with you part way through the week to see how you’re doing with what you decide to do!
Close your time together in a manner that is typical for you. Consider taking joys and concerns, then asking for a volunteer to close in prayer.
- In-person: Paper, markers, and other craft/decorating items
- Virtual: Either paper and markers, or access to Microsoft Office suite software.