First, things I feel as if we've already been doing for a while and are generally doing well:
- Discuss scripture. This was on every group's list in some shape or form. Discussing (and elaborating on) scripture is something that we do every single week. A few of the groups put interesting modifiers on this topic, however, by adding "open discussion" and "participate in discussion". It seems these two groups were onto something -- we can teach scripture as much as we want, but students must be involved more than that. We need our students to be open and honest in their discussion (if not being real, then what's the point of having a talk?), and more than that, we need our students to be active participants. I believe that students will always learn more through and from each other than they necessarily will through any of their adult leaders.
- Make friends. Pretty self explanatory -- we do introductions every. single. week. Everyone is included here. And if you don't feel included, we need to know so that we can check ourselves. Seriously.
- Community Service Opportunities. We try very hard to set up opportunities for our students to be able to serve others. Outside of the many opportunities at Second (Bazaar, Christmas Benevolence, IHN, etc.) we try to set up group outings to places such as Gleaners Food Bank. Your next opportunity as a group will be on September 17th, so be on the lookout for info about that. We are also always glad to help individual students or small groups to set up mission and service opportunities whenever they're interested!
Ok, so how about some things that we might not do enough, or might not do at all?
- Silent confession and meditation. We've done more than a few silent meditations and lectio divina times on Sunday mornings, and I think students have generally enjoyed having that time to reflect personally on scripture and have a moment away from the usual fast pace of the world. Could we possibly integrate this on a more regular basis into our Sunday morning lessons? The other question I have is based around the fact that students have the opportunity for silent confession and meditation in worship every Sunday morning. Are they missing this?
- Journals. I really, really like this idea. I'm just not sure how to implement it. Envisioning a time where students could write in their journals as part of our weekly curriculum is exciting to me, even possibly allowing them to do so as part of a silent meditation time (see above), but I still have a few concerns. Would the students bring their own journals every week? Probably not; only a select few would actually remember. Is the alternative that we keep journals here? Seems impractical and messy with so many potential students. I'm open to suggestions...
- Students/Youth lead. Best suggestion (in my humble opinion) of any of the lists. For the record, I'm counting "be God's hands and feet" in this category. Some of our students have long past realized that they can lead by doing things that we've already listed in this post, namely participating and pushing and leading discussions by example on Sunday mornings. However, for some students that's not what drives them or where they feel they fit. So we're starting (re-starting, really) a leadership team for high school students. Sunday evenings throughout this school year, students can expect to spend time in study, discussion, reflection and planning that will help prepare and equip them to be leaders in their communities, whether here at the church or otherwise. Part of this leadership education will probably (see: definitely) include "communicating with the older crowd" and "not letting anyone tell you that you can't".
What's left? There are a few things that must be mentioned that didn't quite fit these lists:
- 10 minute focus on real life application of scripture. This one is tough, because I'd really like to hope that the entire time we study and discuss together that it would be centered around "real life application". If we aren't talking about real life application, then we're missing the point of talking about scripture at all. That being said, if there is a want for a weekly moment in our lessons where we deliberately focus on how we take what we've learned out the doors with us, I'm all for it.
- Church spirit days. And Tacos! Don't know how we're going to integrate these, but if we manage to go the entire school year without having a church spirit day then you can all point back to this blog and be really angry with me. As for the tacos, not sure that 9:30 am is the perfect time, but I'll see what we can do. :)
Until next time...click here if you'd like to be a part of the leadership team!