Youth group overview & Discussion guide

Each week by Sunday afternoon you'll find the lesson overview and a discussion guide here!


May 22, 2022 - Music Night & Jonathan's Testimony, including plans to move away from WGC

Tonight (if not this morning) your students are discovering how God has worked in my life as well as how God is now directing our family into a new place for ministry. We're sad to leave you all--we love you! I'm also thankful for how God is working in us and for His church. This is naturally pretty hard news for many students. I'm thankful for some extra music tonight that two of our students have coordinated! Check out below for Pastor Ben's and my announcement from this morning's services. 

--Jonathan


From Pastor Ben:

This morning, I have a difficult announcement to share with the church, but it’s one I believe the Lord is at work through and will use for his glory and the profit of all involved. The elders and I have prayerfully and with humble consideration reached the understanding that our next season of ministry here at World Gospel Church will require a change in staff when it comes to youth.

 

In the role of assigning and deploying staff the elders and I have discerned that God is leading WGC and Pastor Jonathan in this next season on different paths. This is indicated by Jonathan’s gifting and the needs and development of the ministry and not a sin issue.

 

Jonathan will have served at WGC as youth pastor for 8 years by the time of his departure, and our desire is to honor him, thank him, and thank God for the good things God has done through he and his family during their time here. Jonathan will serve on the trip to Kenya and is planning to move out of youth ministry here at WGC at the end of June.

 

When plants are repotted, there’s a period of readjusting followed by a whole new level of growth. We are grateful for the commitment and availability that Jonathan and Rachel have given to WGC and fully expect and pray for the Hollingsworth’s flourishing in their next steps of ministry. In fact, it is with both their flourishing and the flourishing of WGC in our next seasons that we have undertaken this transition. The elders and I envision the next season of ministry at WGC to be one of relational discipleship, organizational development, and more deeply integrated spiritual formation.

 

So, what’s next? In our frailty and shortcomings and with a Savior who is ever present and active for our good, let’s commit these next weeks to operating by faith in God’s working, in the unity and fruits of the Spirit, in believing the best and speaking the best about each other, and in seeking God’s guiding hand and gospel fruitfulness for Jonathan and his family as well as World Gospel Church.

 

Youth, the elders and I would like to speak to you. The elders are prayerfully processing through this time. We care about you and know these next few months will bring changes. We are working on caring for you as a youth group, for helping lead you, and for your spiritual health and growth. This may be an opportunity for you to step up to a service or leadership role you have yet to step into. Your youth leaders are available as well to process with you.

 

For everyone, if you have questions about this transition, please reach out to me, Eric Beachy (Elder Chair), or one of the other members of the elder council. Tomorrow evening (May 23) at 7 PM, there will be an opportunity for parents and youth to gather to discuss the transition. We will have more detail on interim youth leadership plans, impacts on upcoming trips, ongoing youth events, and how you can help out during this transition period.


From Jonathan: 

God called us to serve here eight years ago and we’ve been very thankful for the opportunity to bring Him glory in this place. We’ve grown so much with this congregation. We’ve enjoyed many parties, celebrations, along with the funerals and really hard times. We’ve lived life together.


I appreciate Pastor Ben’s perspective on my role my strengths and weaknesses and his desire to follow God’s best for our congregation.


This started a couple of months ago with my annual job review. It’s clear that there are some things that even after 8 years, I’m not very good at. Over the years God has shown me my pride, but not until last night did I realize how much it’s probably affected my ministry here. And I’m sorry for that. I’m sorry for all of those that it has hurt, whether you know it or not, and I ask for your forgiveness.


It’s amazing that in spite of my pride and other sin, God's grace has enabled me to do some really great things in life and here specifically. That may be part of why this is unexpected to many of you. He has still gifted me and blessed this ministry. Our leaders see that some of the things I’m not as good at are pretty important for the youth pastor here to do well. And I have other gifts that could be better used somewhere else.


Us being better for somewhere else and someone else being better for here hasn’t been an easy conclusion to see or come to, and took a few weeks to be ready to submit to that. We’re going to miss you and this place where we’ve lived so much our lives. But submitting and humbling ourselves is what we’re all called to do! Submit to God and the leaders He puts us under.


Rachel and I love you all and look forward to keeping up relationships, wherever we might end up! We appreciate your prayers, as well as for the church and leaders. I still see what I have for years, that God is leading World Gospel into something wonderful. Rachel and I are sad that we won’t get to be here for that, but if our part is moving out of the way, we’re ready to do what God has in mind!


We don’t yet know where we’re headed next, though we have a couple good church contacts. And a month or two with family in Oklahoma is the current plan. Thank you, everyone. As Pastor Ben said, we’ll be around until the end of June, so we look forward to spending some great time with you all until then.





April 24, 2022 - Adversity: James 1:2-5

God allows us to go through many difficult and even seemingly impossible things. We're thinking through God's word and the attitude and activities God shows are best in going through these hard times. We can trust God is working on us for His glory and our spiritual maturity. Other great scriptures we won't get to: Romans 8:18; Phil 1:29; Hebrews 10:34; Romans 5:3-4. He knows, He's experienced, and He loves.



Questions for Discussion

  • What’s the hardest thing you’ve accomplished? (Big test, race—something more physical or mental rather than emotional.)
  • What challenges have you seen others go through? What did you can you learn from that?
  • What kinds of challenges and trials are you living through right now?
  • Have you seen God at work through them?
  • Look through 2 Corinthians 12:9-10. Have you ever thought about your weaknesses being a good thing? (Verses 7-8 give some more context.)


April 3, 2022 - Resurrection Body: 1 Corinthians 15:35-58

Paul answers two questions about the resurrection: How? And What Kind of Body? A glorified body—example of the contrast between a corn seed and a corn plant. They’re both corn, but one is so much more than the other. All believers will all be raised and death will be conquered! So while we wait for Him to return we press on toward being like Jesus and recognize that those who don’t believe will have eternal death, not eternal life. Verse 58 is our encouragement to persevere in the knowledge of our hope!


Questions for discussion:

  • Have you ever grown a plant from a seed before? What was that like? Or MS activity: identify plants by their seeds
  • Who comes to mind when you think about who needs the Gospel? What can you do for them to know?
  • Share any victories you had this week over sin/death in your life. Reread 1 Corinthians 15:58. 


March 27, 2022 - Coming Back to Life: 1 Corinthians 15:1-37

We see how the essential truth of the resurrection not only gives us hope and salvation for the future but power and victory over the sin in our lives now.

 

Discussion Questions for Groups

Middle School Starter Activity: How many parts of your body can you name that would stop working when you die? (Be specific) How do you think it would feel for those to restart?

  • Where do you see brokenness in your life? 
  • OR What relationship/task/subject is hardest for you right now?
  • OR What’s the easiest way to sin for you?
  • What does the power of God over sin mean? Or how have you seen it in your life in the past?
  • Read 1 John 1:8-10 and discuss it together


March 13, 2022 - Sex & Sexual Temptation (We have more details as you'd like them!)

Middle School Girls:

  • Sex is a good gift from God - Unique relationship (Mark 10:6-9); Babies! (Gen 1:27-28)
  • You were made for sex. Gen 2:21-25; desire and beauty to interest guys (with discussion on modesty)
  • Sex is only for marriage: Everything else is sinful and damaging. 1 Cor 6:12-20.  Flee sexual temptation. 1 Cor 6:18
  • Be patient, trust God’s timing and prepare for purity. Guard your heart and mind. Prov 4:23 Rom 8:5-6 (Discussion on protecting ourselves on social media/texting)
  • Discussion on homosexuality/gender identity: Rom 1:24-27; Gen 1:27; Ps 139:13. What to do if a friend/family member is living this lifestyle. 
  • Redemption - if you have sinned sexually that God has not abandoned you.
  • Pray for God’s good future for you! Psalm 139


Middle School Guys: 

  • Sexual desires are not in themselves bad as they are given from God. Matt. 19:4-6; Song of Songs. 2:7
  • Preparing for temptation. How to avoid, and what temptations we’re facing. Pornography; sexual thoughts about someone; Crude jokes about sex – for men or women. Matt. 5:27-28
  • It may feel like lots of "don’ts," but for your good and God’s glory. Are we pursing temporary pleasure or eternal values? 2 Peter 1:3-8
  • If you are currently falling into temptation. There is hope! Strategies to avoid, and God will provide a way out 1 Cor. 10:13
  • God offers you forgiveness - 1 John 1:9


High School Girls:

  • Our Creator designed sex specifically for the marriage relationship. Contrast to our culture.
  • What is temptation?
  • Where does temptation come from? Satan 1 Peter 5:8, Our own sinful desires James 1:14-15
  • We don’t have to give in to temptation: We have the Holy Spirit, the armor of God, this promise: 1 Cor 10:13
  • Sexual sins relevant to teens: Sex outside of marriage, Lust, Sexting, Pornography, Masturbation, Same sex attraction (false messages from our culture)
  • OVERCOMING TEMPTATION: Share, pray, guard your heart, look for a way out, resist temptation with God’s word, refocus your mind and heart with praise, be honest about falling and repent. Prov 4:23; 1 Cor 10:13; Heb 4:12, Eph 6:17; 1 John 1:8-9, James 5:16

High School Guys: 

  • What our society says about sex, and how it can be destructive
  • What does God say about it?
  • 1 Cor 6:9-20 – the non-Christian lives fulfilling sexual desires and brings destruction and hurt on himself and others. BUT as believers, we can and should be different!
  • 1 Thes 4:3-8 – abstain from sexual immorality. Don’t be like those who don’t know God.
  • Heb 13:4-7 – God is with us, so we don’t need to follow after the temptations of the world
  • Eph 4:17-24 – don’t walk as the Gentiles; put off your old self; (be like Jesus!)
  • As many things, sex is good in the right context. The world doesn’t understand the context.  
  • Knowing the temptation is there and may increase (before the sin) -> strategies and preparation for the fight.
  • How to help a brother who’s struggling
  • Grace!


March 6, 2022

Looking at Dating God's Way | Genesis 1 & 3, Song of Songs 1, Colossians 3

Overview: 

  • Our lives are about God, not about ourselves. We want to please God in our relationships, not ourselves or even others. If we do, then we move into idolatry (which can be very easy in dating). 
  • We want to work on our relationships with God as the top priority, which paves the way for good and positive relationships. 
  • Adam & Eve - a relationship established by God as good and shows who He is. We also see sin, death, separation, and broken relationships. 
  • Solomon & dating - seek people with good character; families and friends should a part of the relationship, and they should be public. 
  • Big question to ask: Will this relationship or action honor God, my parents, my friend/boyfriend/girlfriend?
  • Check out this handout on what the Bible says about relationships and sexual temptation

Scriptures about Relationships


Questions
  • Do you know how many people you’ve liked? Care to share any stories?
  • What are you looking forward to about dating? (or whatever you call it)
  • How important is good character in your relationships?
  • What role should your family play in your relationships? 
  • Do you think you can usually trust your feelings and emotions? Why?
  • What do you think about the question “How will this relationship (or action) lead me to be more like Jesus?”
  • The best relationships have Christ at the center. Is Christ the center of your life and in your focus now? Would you like Him to be? 



February 6, 2022

Small Group Breakout (SGB) - Small groups meet the whole night together

Spiritual Focus. This is a guide for each SG leader. Groups address these in various ways and sometimes have different themes. Check in with your students' small group leader to find out more!

  • Share each other’s life stories, thinking about how God was at work.
  • Making connections through this story to personal insecurities
  • Read through Ephesians 6:10-20--the armor of God and truth that our struggle isn’t against other people. 



January 30

inSECURITY: Security in God | Psalm 23 & John 10

Overview: 

The Lord is our Shepherd! We can find full security in Him, resting in Him, knowing He is with us through every hard and seemingly hopeless part of life. We can have security in any insecurity because He is with us. Hebrews 13:5 shows that He will never leave us nor forsake us. These are promises for those who trust in Christ as their Savior, which is a free gift available to everyone!


Questions: 

  • Psalm 23:1 says "I shall not want." What needs do you see in your life right now? How do (or don't) you see God providing?
  • What rest does our world offer? Is this real rest? Look at John 10:10 again. Then think through Ps 23:2.
  • Do you think God can really offer rest? In YOUR specific situation?
  • Why do you think verse 4 says “even though I walk through. . .”? 


January 23

inSECURITY: Image of God


Overview

  • All humans have been made in a unique way. Genesis 1:26-27; Psalm 139:14.
  • We are like God in many ways, but not God. He's given us authority, but we misuse this--His image in us has been messed up. 
  • We are to treat others with dignity and respect (Gen. 9:6, James 3:8-9).
  • The purpose of life is to glorify, reflect, to show God. 
  • Jesus is the perfect image of God (Col 1:15). The only way we can be the way we're designed to be is to come to Jesus and follow Him.

Questions for Discussion

  • Think about history. How has the world NOT treated other people with dignity?
  • Are you treating your friends/family/people with dignity and respect? What needs to change? (Some people lose our respect, but EVERYONE is made in God’s image and should be given respect as those who are image-bearers.)
  • Jonathan said that the purpose of life is to glorify or reflect God. What do you think about that?
  • It wasn’t mentioned in the lesson, but how does this help us understand our identity?  
  • How is having a basis for morality helpful? To you, and to a society? 


January 16, 2022

inSECURITY: Moses


Overview: 

  • God chose someone who didn’t think he was good enough, to do something important.
  • If you ever feel like you’re not good enough, there’s one way to know for sure. Look to what God says.
  • We can’t have a solid foundation based on a person. People change opinions all of the time. You need something that doesn’t change regularly. And even better, something that never changes at all.
  • God doesn’t ever change. He’s the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).


Questions for Discussion

  • Would you rather: Lead people out of slavery (like Moses), or take care of sheep (again, like Moses)?
  • Have you ever felt like you didn’t fit in? Want to share the story?
  • Do you ever feel like you’re not good enough or can’t do something, even though you know you’re supposed to? (Like…math?)
  • What’s something you know God says about you that’s hard to believe?
  • Moses didn’t think he could do what God had for him to do. Do you think God is calling you to do something beyond what you think you can do?  
  • Read Proverbs 3:5-6 together. How do you think the “and he will make your paths straight” works against insecurity?