Youth Group Lesson on Missions

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Bible: Acts 1:1-11

Bottom Line: Missions is more than a trip in the summer, but our calling as Christians – Right where we are.

SUPPLIES

A map of Ancient Palestine including Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and beyond.  A good site is http://www.bible-history.com/maps/southern_palestine_judea.html

Poster boards for small groups

Markers for each small group

Leaders: This lesson is a great group preparation for summer mission trips or projects, and will hopefully inform that ministry. 

Missions is more than a trip. 

It is a way of living to witness about Christ. 

This can happen far away, but it should truly be happening right where we are, every day.

Be in prayer in your own life as you prepare for this lesson about the ways that Christ might be challenging you to live on mission for him. 

Be open to how Christ might be challenging you, your family, and the ministry. 

OPENING ACTIVITY

The opening activity this week is a challenge is to bless the church where you meet.

This could be a project that has needed to be done or a creative way to show them the love of Christ.

Below are some ideas that you can choose beforehand or even give your group the opportunity to choose.

If your group is larger, prepare different projects for smaller groups beforehand.

‘Missions’ ideas:  (choose options that are ‘close to home’ such as in your church, but not moving out to the community necessarily, as that will be the next challenge)

Clean the outside of the church doing yardwork, landscaping, etc.

Paint a room of the church needing sprucing (be sure to get this approve with necessary church leadership and let the students know to wear painting clothes prior)

Clean windshields of church member’s cars who might be present for other meetings and leave a note that they are loved.

Send notes to elderly or those in the hospital.

Make posters sharing how God loves them to put around the church.

Hold up signs outside the church if it sits on a busy street that say that God loves them for those driving by.

Be creative.

After the Opening Activity ask:

How did it feel doing the ‘mission’ to bless people that you know?

How would you feel if they didn’t notice?

TEACH – Missions

When I say ‘missions’ what other thoughts or words come to mind?

Give the group time to really brainstorm and write down their ideas.

Today, as a group, we were on a mission.

We did (talk about the project) and did it to bless those closest to us.

Jesus gave his disciples and us a very specific mission.

Read Acts 1:1-11

If time allows, divide the group into smaller groups.

Give each group a poster board and markers.

Here is your mission: I want you to create a ‘meme’ for the mission that Jesus gave to his disciples in the scripture that I just read.

His words in verse 8 are really important.

Invite the youth to use their cell phones to look up Acts 1:8 – which they will use for this activity.   

Be creative, but really try to get ‘at the heart’ of what Jesus is saying is the mission that he was leaving with his disciples, but also with US.

Give the groups 10-15 minutes to create their ‘meme’ poster.

Have each group share their poster ‘meme’ and post them around the room. 

Jesus had some very specific things to say to the disciples right before he left.

Jesus knew that these were the last words that he would say before he ascended into heaven, so you know that these words were chosen carefully.

They were important.

Jesus knew that life would be very hard for his disciples, or the apostles as they were called following his resurrection.

He had been killed and those who killed him would not stop with him, especially if his followers continued his teaching and ministry.

Times were very dangerous to follow Jesus.

So for Jesus to say that they were to be his witnesses – that was serious.

What do you think it means or looks like to be a witness for Jesus?

Give the group time to share their thoughts. 

The Book of Acts is a very cool book to read because we see just what it meant to be a witness of Jesus.

Basically, his followers just did what Jesus did.

They ate with people, they healed in his name, they shared his teachings, and they lived as Jesus lived.

They were witnesses to all that he had done, and their LIVES spoke his witness.

Let me ask you this: Does your life LIVE as a witness to Jesus? 

Do your friends and family know that you love Jesus?

That you follow Jesus?

Because, even today, following Jesus can be challenging.

What will people think of you?

Will it change the way that you live your life?

It should.

But, I want to challenge you about what living as a witness of Jesus could look like.

It doesn’t mean that you are standing on a street corner with a sign or that you carry about a big huge Bible at school.

It is about being a witness.

About living as Jesus lived.

Loving those around you, but especially those who are outcasts.

Forgotten.

Ridiculed.

It means that you eat with those that nobody else will eat with, and yes, those that will cause others to talk about you.

That’s exactly what happened to Jesus.

It means that you care deeply about those who are hurting.

What if being a witness for Jesus meant that you loved others, cared for their needs, listened to their heartaches, and prayed for them?

Notice that Jesus said some very specific places, though: We are to be his witnesses in “Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth”.

Does that mean that we need to get on an airplane to go to Jerusalem in order to be his disciples?

I think that Jesus was saying something very deep here, but something that really does apply to us today.

Show a map of Ancient Palestine. 

Point out Jerusalem. 

Jerusalem was the city where the apostles mostly lived.  It was ‘home base’.

Judea was the country…think of it like the state where you live.

We live in (name your city) which is in the state of (where you live).

What was Jesus doing?

He was saying:  this is where you are (point at Jerusalem on the map).

Widen the circle.

Go to ‘Judea’ (point to Judea area on the map).

Don’t just stay in Jerusalem or (name your city).

Go out.

Share that witness beyond where you are right now.

And then he said to go to ‘Samaria’.

Point out Samaria on the map.

What do you notice about Samaria?

Yes, it’s farther away.

But what you might also not know is that Samaria was a place that Jews would definitely NOT want to go.

Is there an area you can think of that isn’t too close, but definitely not a place where you would feel comfortable going?

That’s Samaria.

It’s not home, it’s not next to home, but it is close enough that not going there is definitely saying something.

Jesus said that once you’ve gone to Jerusalem and Judea, you must then go to that place where you think “Oh no, he wouldn’t want me to go THERE’.

Yes, he does.

I want you to think about where is our ‘Samaria’.

We need to pray about where Jesus is calling us to go after we love our church, like we did today.

And then love our city, which we will be doing the next few weeks.

Then we need to really spend time thinking and praying about where is ‘Samaria’.

And Jesus didn’t stop there, did he?

Where else did he say that we need to go?

To the ends of the earth.

What do you think that Jesus is saying here?

He is saying this: Be my witnesses EVERYWHERE.

Jesus knew that is was a challenge to his disciples and to us.

It can be very scary.

But the main point is this: You cannot stay where you are to be his witness.

A deep part of being a witness of Jesus is NOT STAYING WHERE YOU ARE.

This amazing life you’ve found in Christ is NOT JUST FOR YOU.

But for the whole world.

Now, THAT’S missions.

Close in prayer.

SMALL GROUP DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

What do you think that Jesus meant by telling us to be his ‘witnesses’?

How can you be a witness to Jesus?

For the next questions, please write down your answers and share them with your leader as they can be used to pray about where God is leading the group in mission. 

Think about where would be your ‘Jerusalem’: A place nearby that you feel safe. How could you be a witness of Christ there this week?

Think about where would be your ‘Judea’: Maybe the town that you live in. It’s close but not your ‘home’. How could you be a witness of Christ there this month?

Think about where would be your ‘Samaria’: Somewhere that feels ‘far away’ and even dangerous or foreign.  How could you be a witness of Christ there in next few months?

How is Jesus challenging you to be on mission for him?

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