Spiritual Growth Agendas, Topical Curriculum

Gulf Oil Spill

Main Point of Discussion: Sin is like a spiritual oil spillage that permeates our world, and only the gospel of Jesus Christ can cap its outbreak and reverse the effects.

The Video Clip:
This clip of the oil spill was featured on ABC News (June 2010) and contains the actual footage of the blowout. It’s a great visual to set up the metaphor of sin being very much like a disastrous pollutant in our lives that desperately needs to be capped.

Introducing the Clip:
Today I want to show you a clip about the BP spill that has released millions of gallons of crude oil into the pristine waters of the Gulf Coast and has caused untold damage to the economy, people’s lives, and the environment. As you watch it, pay attention to what feelings and thoughts come to mind as you see the degree of the blowout spewing into the water.

The Clip: http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/bp-releases-oil-spill-video-pressure-white-house/story?id=10629165

Transitional Statement:
I don’t know how you felt at seeing the gushing oil pollute the waters, but I get an overwhelming sense of urgency to cap the spillage and stop the damage. Today we are going to draw some parallels between the images you saw and the spiritual condition of the world.

Divide into Small Groups:
Let’s go ahead and split up into our discussion groups, and then afterward we’ll come back together for a final word.

CLICK HERE for a quick training article on how to maximize your small groups using our small group format—a great resource to equip your small group leaders.

Discussion Questions:

  1. AROUND THE CIRCLE: Before we begin, tell everyone your name and also about a time when you made a big mess.

  2. ASK A FEW: Did you get in big trouble? Why or why not?

  3. ASK A FEW: How does the oil spill make you feel?

  4. ASK A FEW: Why don’t they just let the oil keep spewing until it runs out?

  5. ASK A FEW: Is it worth any cost to stop the leakage? Why or why not?

  6. ASK A FEW: Do you think the people who are responsible should pay for the damage? Why or why not?

  7. ASK A FEW: What would you think about people who knew how to fix the problem but kept it to themselves?

  8. Read the following passage:

      Romans 5:12;17-19 (NLT)
      When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned. For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ.

    Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone. Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous.

  9. ASK A FEW: What similarities exist between this passage and the oil spill? (i.e. one act of disobedience caused a sinful ‘spillage’ into the human race)

  10. ASK A FEW: How was Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross the ultimate solution to the sinful spillage?

  11. ASK A FEW: What does it mean to be made ‘righteous’? (i.e. entering into a state of right relationship with God)

  12. ASK A FEW: Now that we are rightly related to God, how can that relationship help us ‘clean up’ the damage that sin has caused in our lives?

  13. ASK A FEW: What can the gospel message do for the damage that sin has done in the lives of your friends?

  14. ASK A FEW: If we don’t share the good news of Jesus with others, are we like people who know how to stop the oil spill but refuse to do so? Why or why not?

  15. AROUND THE CIRCLE: How can the gospel not only stop the spill, but make a formerly polluted life beautiful and pristine?

Wrap Up:
Tonight we’ve talked about the terrible damage that the oil spill has done in the gulf of Mexico, and how there is a parallel between this disaster and the sinful condition of the world and our lives. The great news is that through Jesus’ death and resurrection, the sinful spillage in our lives is capped, and His righteousness cleans up the mess and makes us clean and whole again. Now in closing I want to show you what this looks like.

Bring out a clear glass pitcher and fill it with water. Add a few drops of food coloring to show how sin clouds and pollutes our lives. Then pour in some bleach, and in a few minutes the water will become clear again. Read 1 John 1:9 and invite students to let Jesus’ blood cleanse them from all sin.

Close in Prayer

Written by Lane Palmer


Jonathan McKee

Jonathan McKee is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Guy's Guide to FOUR BATTLES Every Young Man Must Face; The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices; If I Had a Parenting Do Over; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers on TheSource4YM.com. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.

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