I remember being 14 years old and just starting to “have an attitude problem” (as my dad put it).
Yep, that attitude thing lasted all through high school.
Now, I’ve got 14 year old son of my own. And when I can pry him away from his iPhone to initiate a conversation, it’s like pulling teeth. That “attitude thing” is a barrier that constantly needs to be overcome.
I’m thinking that just about all teenagers can use some help in this area.
Sure, those hormones are going full force. They’re fighting for independence. Those factors (among others) certainly contribute to the problem.
Us youth leaders and parents, can’t press a magic button to improve students’ attitude.
In reality, it’s even tough for teenagers to improve themselves by will power alone.
But God is bigger than all that.
When students focus their heart on God, he changes them from the inside out.
He gives them an attitude like Jesus.
So, then our job is to continually point teenagers to Jesus. Because he’s the one who transforms them.
That’s the heart behind this youth group lesson on “attitude”.
Nick Diliberto, Ministry to Youth
Youth Group Lesson on Attitude
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Bible: Ephesians 4:31-32
Use this lesson to teach students that they need to get rid of bad attitudes and instead have an attitude like Jesus.
Two clear containers
Cereal—enough to fill one of the clear containers all the way up
Sand or dirt—enough to fill one of the clear containers all the way up
OPENING GAME – Cereal Pour
Before the game, place a piece of tape about three-quarters of the way up on each clear container.
Split the group into two teams. Have each team line up in front of a clear container. Give each student a bowl.
Set the cereal and sand or dirt up (either on the floor or on a table) behind the students. The student at the end of the line must run to the table and fill their bowl with cereal. They then must pour it from their bowl into the next student’s bowl, who then pours in into the next student’s bowl, etc. This continues until it gets to the final student, who has to pour it into the clear container.
Once the final student pours it into the container, the student at the end of the line must run and fill their bowl with sand or dirt, and it must make it’s way the all the students’ bowls, just like the cereal did.
Continue this, each time alternating cereal and sand/dirt.
The first team to fill their clear container to the taped off line wins!
After the game, discuss these questions:
Do you normally eat this kind of cereal?
Would you have eaten that cereal before the dirt got mixed in?
What about after we played the game—would you eat it now?
After the game, say:
Well, that cereal certainly doesn’t look so good now, does it? Now that’s it’s all mixed in with the dirt, I don’t know that I’ll ever look at it the same way again!
Have you ever had an experience where a bad attitude just really ruined your day? I think we’ve all had those types of days. It didn’t matter what else had happened, once the bad attitude came, everything was ruined.
Just like the dirt in the game we played, when you add a bad attitude to the mix—even if it’s a really good mix—it turns things sour.
Read Ephesians 4:31-32
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
Bitterness, rage, anger, slander…those things all sound like a bad attitude, don’t they? And if we’re honest, those are all things we’ve experienced every now and then. I know I have!
But those are the kinds of things that our attitude should not reflect. And do you know why that is?
Because Jesus didn’t have that kind of attitude! At the end of that verse, it says we’re supposed be kind and compassionate and forgiving. Why? Because that’s how Jesus was!
Hold up one of the clear containers. Now, what if I were to pour you up a nice, big bowl of this cereal. Would you want to eat it? Of course you wouldn’t! It would taste gross because it has been tainted by the dirt and sand. It doesn’t matter that this cereal is actually really good on it’s own, because it’s been ruined by the dirt.
It’s the same way with our attitude. It doesn’t matter if we’re acting like Christ—being kind and compassionate, obeying our parents, and coming to church on Sundays—if we also have a bad attitude. Bad attitudes ruin everything else. Just like the dirt, they mix into every other part of your life and take away from how good things are.
So what are you supposed to do?
Focus on Jesus. Keep your eyes on him! When you do, he begins to transform you to become more like him. The Holy Spirit does his work in you, changing you to become more like Jesus in your attitude (and actions).
He rids you of anger, bitterness, and anything like that that causes your attitude to be bad instead of like Jesus.
When you focus on Jesus, he gives you a kind and compassionate attitude. An attitude like Jesus is full of love and grace instead of hatred and bitterness. Which attitude would you rather have?
SMALL GROUP DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
If we’re supposed to have an attitude like Jesus, what are some things we should be doing?
Do you think the attitude you have now is one that Jesus would be proud of?
How can you focus on Jesus in your everyday life?
How can you work on having an attitude that is more kind and compassionate?
Do you have any of those things that the verse talked about—bitterness, anger, those things—in your attitude right now? Do you want to get rid of them
As Christians, we model our lives after Jesus. This includes our attitudes as well as our actions.
When things don’t go our way, it’s always going to be easiest to just have a bad attitude. That’s why you’ve got to make the decision to have a Christ-like attitude and to get rid of your bad attitude, once and for all! And the way to do that is to keep your eyes on Jesus. Focus on him.
When people look at you, they’re going to see someone that makes Christ look appealing to them—like the cereal before the game—or their going to see someone with a bad attitude mixed in, which makes Christ seem less appealing to them.
You are the only one who gets to choose what they see! So choose to have a Christ-like attitude. You won’t regret it!
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