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Youth Ministry 101

In Youth Ministry 101, Adam Ericksen shares his experiences and insights from his work in Christian formation with middle school and high school students. His contemporary topics and engaging methods offer wisdom for all ages.

James 3:5-12: The Power of Words: Blessing, Cursing, and the Likeness of God

Youth Ministry Lesson Plan: James 3:5-12

James 3:13-4:3: The Wisdom from Above and Earthly Wisdom

Wisdom From Above and Below Lesson Plan

Spiderman, Proverbs, and Jesus: Great Power and Great Responsibility

Adam discusses a scene from Spiderman, where Uncle Ben says a proverb: “With great power comes great responsibility.” This proverb guides Peter Parker as he fights crime in his role as Spiderman. The Bible has a book called Proverbs, in which parents are instructed to provide wisdom to their children. There are two paths, one of justice, compassion, and love, and another path of wickedness and violence. Which path will we go down? Paul picks this idea up when he talks about Jesus. According to Paul, God was reconciling the world to Godself through Jesus. We have the power to participate, or not participate, in God’s work of reconciliation.

Birthday Parties and Biblical Hospitality

Adam discusses the biblical version of hospitality, emphasizing Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians 11:17-22 – and birthday parties. Paul wants everyone to be included at Communion/the Lord’s Supper. But there was division in Corinth. The early church worshiped in houses, usually owned by the rich. Well, according to Paul, the rich would show up early, party like it’s 1999, and the poor people (who likely worked all day) showed up later and got seconds. Probably bad wine, too. Paul said they weren’t doing Communion right – that they were dividing the church/body of Christ, which is supposed to be as one body. So, this leads to the question: Where in our lives are we excluding people? And how can we change that into a spirit of inclusion?

Throwing Darts and Interconnectedness

Adam discusses human interconnectedness. In this lesson, we put pictures of ourselves and the members of the youth group between two foam boards. Then we drew pictures of our enemies and posted it on the front board. We threw darts at our enemies, only to lift up the first board and realize that when we throw darts at others we also throw darts at ourselves. We are all interconnected in the web of life. Once we see that we throw darts, we can take responsibility for our own physical and verbal dart throwing. When we acknowledge that, we can become empowered to end a cycle of victimary thinking and move to healing, forgiveness, and love.

In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul claims that the church, or the body of Christ, is interconnected. So, when the toe hurts, the head feels it. When the arm hurts, the whole body feels it. How would the world be different if we acted this way with our fellow human beings?

The Prophets Eminem and Rihanna: Love the Way You Lie, Violence, and Hell

Sex Talk: Lady Gaga, Science, and Faith

Mirror Neurons, Glee, Accusations, and Forgiveness

Here’s the Glee video on youtube:


Thomas Aquinas and the Existence of God

Follow Me: Facebook, Narcissus, or Jesus?

 Sex Talk: MTV Show 16 and Pregnant

Halloween: Michael Jackson’s Thriller, Monsters, and Jesus

The Old Spice Guy and King Solomon

The newest ad campaign from Old Spice creates a new ideal way in which men should not only look but also how they should act and smell. These new ads give the ideal man not only extremely unrealistic personal qualities but also omnipotent abilities. Meaning that he is able to know what it is that women will truly want and when they’ll want it. The Old Spice Man is similar to the Bible story of King Solomon. When Solomon begins to take power over Israel he begins to take advantage of his people. The Queen of Sheba in Chapter 10 reminds Solomon of the trials and tribulations of the Israelites and how he is exploiting his people in a negative manner.

Year 2: Session 3: Alice in Wonderland: The Sword or Forgiveness

Year 2: Session 2: MTV, Drugs, and Faith

Year 2: Session 1: Burn Your Worries Away

Session 11: Rob Bell and Noise

Session 10: Sex Talk 3: Taio Cruz and King David

Adam discusses sex, music videos, and King David.

Here’s the link to Break Your Heart on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_SI2EDM6Lo&NR=1

Session 9: Seeing the Face of God

Adam discusses Jacob and Esau, Jesus and the Holy Spirit of Forgiveness.

Session 8: Satan the Accuser

Session 7: Hell

The Bible portrays hell as a place humans create on earth.  Jesus invites us to live into the Kingdom of Heaven.  Hell and Heaven are both a way of live.  We can live into one or the other.

Session 6: Jesus and Nietzsche: Dionysus vs the Crucified

Nietzsche was the first person to set the options before us: Dionysus or the Crucified?

Session 5: God’s Purpose

The Bible never claims that God is perfect, but it does claim that God is Love.  God’s telos, or purpose, is Love.

Session 4: Sex Talk 2: Sex and the Trinity

Discussing sex and the Trinity with the youth group.

Session 3: The Sex Talk 1

Our first discussion on faith and sex.  In order to understand Paul’s vision that the human body is a temple and what that might mean for sex, compare it with this scene from HBO’s mini-series Rome.  Roman cultic practices involved sex, or orgies, in order to get closer to the gods.  They would use one another’s bodies for sexual experience, with the pretext that it would get them closer to divinities.  Paul understood this for what it was: the abuse of another person’s body for one’s own self gratification.  For Christianity, sex is about mutually giving all of one’s self over to the other.  (Warning, I have cut out the bad language in the video.  Still, it’s pretty graphic, so use discretion with your group.)

Session 2: On Being

What does it mean to be a “good” Christian?

Is it a good idea to transform our competitive desires to be the greatest into a desire to serve others?

For the Christian, the point is not to be “good” but to be faithful to the love of God as revealed in Jesus.  Much that our culture understands to be “good” is not necessarily faithful to the love of God.

Download the Lesson Plan.

Session 1: The Bible and Justice

The Bible begins to transform our ideas of justice from being based on punishment to the hope of reconciliation.

Download the lesson plan and the video script.

© 2011 Raven Foundation. Site by JPMM.

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