Choosing the Right Path
(Part 1 of a 2 week meeting topic)
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we had an internal gps? We could set it for ‘God’s Path for Our Life’ and just let it guide us along without much thought or effort on our part.
Teens have it so easy these days…they get their liscense, jump in a car, and type in the address where they would like to go. A voice will then ‘magically’ direct them to their destination, sometimes even routing them around obstacles, traffic, or accidents. When I was their age, you literally had to either KNOW where you were going, or find your own way. If you took a wrong turn, you found your way back and tried again. No gps to guide you, no cell phone to call anyone, and if you were REALLY lost, you actually had to stop the car and get out at a gas station to ask someone!!! (Gasp!)
The idea of this meeting came from a pin I saw on pinterest one day last year. I saw this cute diy keychain idea. The girl who had pinned it had done a map and also some decorative ones using pretty scrapbook paper. It was a simple craft idea. No ties to youth group at all. I pinned it thinking, ‘I could come up with something for that and the kids could make keychains to take home’. Then, the light bulb went off! The following meeting is what I came up with.
I used this meeting to discuss with my High School Youth Group how to go about finding the ‘Right Path’ for their lives. It combined a key chain craft which they could make and take home, and a wonderful discussion which was ‘Part 1’ of a 2 week series I did with them. You could, however, choose to do each meeting separate and not together at all.
What You’ll Need:
– Jenga Blocks
(I purchased and used ‘jumbling towers’ which is the generic version. “Real Jenga” was $15.99 in Target and ‘Ghetto Jenga’ (as my teens call it) was only $4.99) You will need 1 block for every student.
– Eye Screws (1 for each block – I put the screws in each block before the kids arrived to save time)
– Maps (enough for all of your students to cut their pieces from)
– Mod Podge (sealer/glue finish…found in any craft store)
– Sponge Paint Brushes (about 1 inch wide…cheap to purchase in any craft store or walmart)
– Printed Out Bible Verses
– Pencils or Pens
How I ran the meeting:
(Day before preparation)
The day before the meeting, I went ahead and put all the eye screws into the jenga blocks. This took longer than I expected so I would definitely recommend doing this ahead of time. I also had pre-printed 6 bible verses which I had picked out. I printed them on a faded map background which was on a goldish color paper (I was trying to make it look like a map that was from biblical times…and to offset the regular map colors for the keychains) I also pre-made my own keychain so I could show them an example of what they would be making.
When the teens arrived, I gave each a jenga block (with the eye screw already attached). I instructed them to select a map (I had multiple different maps/looks/terrain) and a bible verse. I chose 6 different ones so they could pick which they felt the most connected to.
The verses I used are:
“In his mind a man plans his course, but the Lord directs his steps.” Proverbs 16:9
“You guide me along the right path for the sake of your name.” Psalm 23:3
“I will instruct you and show you the way you should walk, give counsel and watch over you.” Psalm 32:8
“Make known to me your ways, Lord; teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my savior.” Psalm 25:4-5
“For I am the Lord, your God, who grasp your right hand; it is I who say to you, ‘fear not, I will help you.'”
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, on your own intelligence rely not; in all your ways be mindful of him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6
Once they had chosen their verse, I instructed them on how to make their keychain. Directions are as follows…
1) Trace with a pencil or pen the size of 3 sides of the jenga block and the bottom piece from the desired part of your map (some chose roads, mountains, coastline with water, etc.)
2) Cut the pieces out a smidge smaller than the actual block side size
3) With a sharpee marker (preferably black) put your initials on the top next to the screw
4) Using mod podge, lightly brush the jenga block side once
5) Gently position the map / bible verse piece over the mod podge and press smooth
6) Once the map/bible verse portions are stuck to all of the sides, generously brush the entire block with mod podge to seal. (It goes on white, similar to elmers glue, but dries clear).
7) Since all of the sides will be wet with mod podge, I used push pins in the wall to hang the keychains to dry.
I set up a table with plates for easy application of the mod podge
Hanging on the wall to dry while we have our discussion. By the time the meeting ended, they were still tacky, but dry enough for them to take home. I suggested letting them hang at home until the next day before putting them on a keychain.
ONCE THE KEYCHAINS ARE MADE….YOU CAN BEGIN THE DISCUSSION PART OF THE MEETING
I started out by asking a few simple questions. At this point, I continued to make it all about ‘directions’ and didn’t actually reveal that we would be going into a deeper discussion. I find that it is easier to segue into the deeper meaning than to hit them with it up front, but that is just my preference. I usually have a list of pre-thought discussion questions/starters, and then I let the meeting/discussion take shape as we go along. Here are some samples of good discussion starter questions….
Do you prefer a gps, a map, to ask someone, or to figure out how to get there on your own?
If you are not already driving, what do your parents prefer? Mom asks a friend? Dad refuses to stop and ask for directions? Leave it up to gps?
What do you do when you’re lost?
We are supposed to follow Jesus’ path…what does that mean for us?
Is it different / harder living in this high tech and modern world of ours?
What keeps us on the right track? (kind of like a gps guide voice)
What happens when we get lost? (Does our inner gps guide voice ‘re-calculate our route?)
Where are you now? Happy Place? Not Happy Place? Faithful Place? Not faithful place?
Does God allow us to get lost so that we can find him again and have a deeper relationship with him? More faith?
Why are you ‘here’ in ‘this’ place right now? (either literally or spiritually)
Do we remember to thank God when we are ‘found’ again?
“The Wizard of Oz”
& God’s Yellow Brick Road for your life!
A hundred years ago, when I was a high school youth group member, our church held a confirmation retreat each year which included different talks/witnesses during the weekend. For 3 years straight, I was asked as a teen peer minister/retreat leader to give the last talk of the weekend which was called “Where Do We Go From Here?” It varied bit by bit each year with personal details, however, I always used an analogy to “The Wizard of Oz” which was one of my favorite movies as a young girl. I will spare you the long version and details, but the basic points are below….
Glinda the Good Witch puts Dorothy on the Yellow Brick Road and tells her to follow it to the Emerald City, for there she could find her way home. Glinda told her that she must STAY on the yellow brick road in order to reach the Emerald City. Along the way, she met some wonderful friends who helped her. She encountered some scary and dangerous things. (Evil flying monkeys, talking trees who threw apples at her, etc.) She shared some good times with her friends. She helped others (the tin man needed oil). And at one point, she got tempted to take a short cut through the poppy fields. It seemed like a great idea, it was a much shorter route and the poppys were so beautiful and what could be wrong with that? As we all know, by not staying on the Yellow Brick Road and taking the short cut through the poppy fields, she was put under a spell. She had to find her way back to the yellow brick road in order to eventually get to the Emerald City. There were no short cuts, only 1 path.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR US?
Well, think of it this way….
We all eventually are trying to get to our “Emerald City”….Heaven.
We need to stay on our own “Yellow Brick Road” to get there.
Along the way, we will encounter good, bad, happiness, fear, and temptation.
At some point, we will be tempted into our own ‘poppy fields’ and go away from the right path for a time. But, we can always go back to our own “Yellow Brick Road” and stay on the right path which will lead us directly to our beautiful destination.
Obviously, there are many details you can go further into regarding the movie analogy. There are countless variations of discussion questions you can come up with to fit your group/meeting accordingly. I seem to always have a small set of questions, but then just let the meeting discussion take a natural direction.
How it Went:
My teens really enjoyed making the keychain and were all excited about the meaning behind it (after the discussion wrapped, I overheard a few mumbles about how it was a cool keychain, but they would know that it had a deeper meaning and be a good reminder for them to choose the right path). They loved the “Wizard of Oz” analogy as well.
I finish each meeting with a song before prayer intentions. There are probably hundreds of choices on this topic, so I will leave that part up to you.
The following week…my second part was basically “How To Stay/Know You Are On The Right Path” I will also post about this meeting so stay tuned for my next blog post!!!
Should you decide to try this meeting idea with your group, please send me a comment or note after and let me know how it went. I’d love to hear your feedback!!!
May God Bless You & What You Do!