Activity & Discussion on Trusting God with our Next Steps!!!
I’m a planner. Always have been. From a very young age (like 5) I had planned out certain details of my life. What high school would be like, what college would be like, what sort of job I would have, and of course….my dream fairytale weddng!!! I have always been very organized and calculated with how I plan things. Lists and lists and lists. Some people call it crazy, some people call it psychotic, I call it organization and planning skills! (: Truth is, as much as I plan and have things laid out in my head, it very rarely goes the same way in real life. It might be close to the vision in my head, but ultimately, life has a way of throwing us curve balls and often we are not prepared for things that lay right smack dab in our path.
Those of us who work with high school teens see every day just how stressful school has become. Keeping grades up, applying for college, making decisions early on when you really have no idea what you actually want to do with your life. There is pressure from parents, teachers, guidance counselors, coaches, and even some older siblings which younger teens feel pressure to live ‘up to’. Truth is, as much as we plan and think we know what our futures hold, only God holds that knowledge and it’s up to us to trust that he knows what’s best for us. It’s a hard thing to accept sometimes when we have our lives all planned out, but the curve balls always get thrown in and and as Carrie Underwood would say, we must let “Jesus Take The Wheel” with our lives.
ICE BREAKER / ACTIVITY
I attended NCCYM this past December and was fortunate to be part of a session led by the fabulous Michael Marchand on using technology in Youth Ministry. He introduced an activity he uses called “What’s Next?” which uses Youtube Clips and a Power Point Presentation to generate a hilarious game. Basically, you show the first few seconds of a youtube clip and then it pauses. You let your teens guess what they think happens next in the video (which is hilarious because no matter what they guess, the videos are far beyond what they could come up with). I told my teens that I would give a prize to anyone who could guess 100% correctly what happens next. This generated a good bit of competition of course, which made things even more fun.
If you are interested in getting the “What’s Next” Presentation for yourself *FOR FREE* click on the link to the right of this post and sign up to be a ProjectYM VIP. The game will be emailed to you curtesy of ProjectYM and Michael Marchand himself!!!
Once the game was complete, we had a great discussion on what comes next for our lives and how we must trust God. We may want our lives to go according to our plan, but it is God’s plan we must trust. Below are some basic discussion starter questions I asked my teens. We went around the room for some having each teen answer. Some were random and teens who had something to share did so openly.
- How many of you are good at predicting the future or what comes next for yourself?
- Tell me what you think comes next for you? (short term, long term, etc. Bringing grades up, getting a job, finding new friends, making better decisions, applying to college, etc.)
- How many of you have thought that you knew what was going to happen and then were shocked when things turned out totally different? Share stories…
- Before you went to High School, did you have an idea/picture in your head of what it would be like? Is it like that? Better or worse?
- Have you ever been surprised at how sometimes what happens is way better than what you would have thought? What was it?
- Have you ever had something happen that was way worse? What was it? Did anything good come out of it? (learned something? stronger person? etc.)
- Does anyone have a story you’d like to share about how you trusted God at a time in your life and what happened as a result?
There are a million questions you could use to start a discussion. I had these basic ones written down and then as our discussion developed naturally, I just simply directed it and moved in the direction of what we were discussing.
I started to sum things up with this thought…
We are supposed to trust God; Our lives our in his hands, although it’s often difficult because we want to ‘drive the car’ of our own lives. Sometimes, something good comes out of something bad and we must trust God’s plan. We might become better, stronger, or more faithful people. Sometimes we don’t see the good right away, or maybe even ever, but we have to trust that God is Good and he knows what’s best for us. It’s hard for us to realize that sometimes, but that is where our faith will sustain us.
The story of Bethany Hamilton and movie about her life “Soul Surfer” is a great example of this. Bethany could have been extremly mad at God because the shark attacked her and took her arm. She could have been angry or depressed and felt pity for herself. Instead, she was thankful to God that she was alive. She decided right away that she wanted to get back in the water and surf again as soon as possible. As a result, she saw that God had something great planned for her life. Thrust into the media and press for what happened to her, she found a way to inspire others and share her faith with the world in a way she would not have ever dreamed had she not lost her arm. God had her back. She trusted him. It took some time, but something great came out of something horrible that she certainly hadn’t seen coming.
(My youth group watched this movie several years ago as a group. It’s a great movie night for your youth group and there is also a documentary with footage of Bethany immediately after the attack (in the hospital) as well as learning to surf again and interviews etc. It is a great way to show that although hollywood takes some creative liberties, this girl really was thankful and joyful and just as inspirational as the movie depicts).
I wrapped up my night with a prayer intention song called “The Unknown” by Athlete. It is on the “Soul Surfer” soundtrack and just seemed to be the best fit for the night. We had a wonderful discussion in my group and should you choose to tacklet the topic in the same way, I hope it goes just as well for you.
Special thanks again to Michael Marchand for sharing his hilarious and creative “What’s Next” Video Presentation for Free with anyone who wishes to use it. Sharing info and ideas with other youth ministers has truly been a blessing for me and my ministry and I hope it is for yours as well!!!