Main Point: Life is tough enough without trying to live it alone, so let’s make a game plan to discuss life’s biggest issues.
(NOTE: This Outreach Agenda is slightly different from the others. This one is intended to be a jumpstarter for your program, for instance, your first night back from summer break.)
OPTIONAL Discussion Starter: Funny Top 10 Lists
This part of the agenda is completely optional, but since the whole point of your time together is to build a TOP 10 list of serious topics to discuss over the next few weeks, you can start with some really funny TOP 10 lists to get students going. Here are a few.
TOP 10 Ways to Start the New School Year
- Wear earmuffs. Every few minutes ask the professor to speak louder.
- Squint thoughtfully while giving the professor strange looks. In the middle of the lecture, tell him he looks familiar and ask whether he was ever in an episode of “Friends.”
- Sing your questions.
- When the professor calls roll, after each name scream, “THAT’S MEEEEE! Oh, no, sorry.”
- Insist in a Southern drawl that your name really is Vladimir Fernandez O’Reilly.
- Hold up a piece of paper that says in large letters “CHECK YOUR FLY.”
- Inform the class that you are Belgian royalty, and have a friend bang cymbals together whenever your name is spoken.
- Address the professor as “your excellency.”
- Sit in the front, sniff suspiciously, and ask the professor if he’s been drinking.
- Try starting a “wave.”
Letterman’s TOP 10 Little Known Facts About Justin Bieber: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZaMHcMUFeMM
Letterman’s TOP 10 You’re Not Gonna Win Miss America: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sm4SP5xLH9Y&feature=relmfu
ACTUAL Discussion Starter: Top 10 List of Biggest Issues
To do this, you could put students in small groups of 2-3, or just let them work individually. But the object is the same regardless of what you decide: create a list of the ten most important topics for the group to discuss, and rank them in order from #10 down to #1 (with #10 being the least important and #1 being the most important). Tell them that you’ll then take a consensus of the lists to devise the next 10 sessions at youth group.
Tell them it can be anything, but that they should have a good reason for listing the topic they chose.
Give them about 8 minutes or so to decide on what to list, and the order to list it in. You might want to walk around and take a peek at what they are writing during that time frame. It’ll help you know where to go with the conversation as you dismiss them to their small groups.
Finally, when the time is up, have individuals (or groups) share their Top 10 List in order from 10 to 1.
It looks like the whole spectrum of life was covered by some of you guys in your Top 10 Lists. As I was walking around, I saw a lot of the same stuff being covered by the different groups. That means that most of us have questions about that or are struggling with that in some way. But I also saw a few topics on some of you guys’ lists that didn’t make any other groups’ list. It’s gonna be interesting to see what gets chosen and what we have to cut. But before we get that far, let’s take a few moments to discuss what we just did together.
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.
- AROUND THE CIRCLE: As we get started, let’s all take a second to share our names and what we think should be the #1 topic to discuss.
- ASK A FEW: Were you surprised by what your peers wanted to discuss? Why or why not?
- ASK A FEW: Why do you think these issues/needs were brought up? In other words, what’s prompting that?
- ASK A FEW: Do you think there were any topics that students were afraid to say they want addressed? If so, what were they?
- ASK A FEW: What does it tell you that so many students felt the need to discuss the same topics?
- ASK A FEW: What do you hope to get out of our discussions about these issues, going forward?
- ASK A FEW: These are Paul’s closing words to the group of Christians gathered in the city of Thessalonica. Why do you think he gave so much advice at the end of his letter?
- ASK A FEW: Which of these is most important in your opinion? Why?
- ASK A FEW: Paul tells the believers to “help the weak.” Why is that important?
- ASK A FEW: How can our youth ministry “help the weak”?
- ASK A FEW: How do you think our youth ministry will change if we help each other with these Top 10 Biggest Needs?
- ASK A FEW: What do you think God thinks about our game plan to help each other?
- AROUND THE CIRCLE: What are you going to do this week to prepare for our first session next week?
Read the following passage:
1 Thessalonians 5:11-18 (NIV)
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 12 Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you. 13 Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. 14 And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 15 Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else. 16 Be joyful always; 17 pray continually; 18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
I think we wisely spent our time tonight making a solid game plan for the immediate future. I want to thank each of you for taking the time to painstakingly fill out your Top 10 Lists of Biggest Needs. Here’s what’s gonna happen with them.
Tonight after youth is over, the leaders and myself will compile all of them, and based on what YOU requested, we’ll put together a calendar of sessions that will stretch across the next couple of months. But your assignment isn’t over. We need you to do at least two more things to make this impactful.
Pray for us. Yes, we’re gonna cover exactly what you’ve asked of us, but pray that God gives us the wisdom to answer your questions with responses that please Him and bless His Kingdom. We want you to come to Christ and grow spiritually as a result of this exercise. So, to do that, we’ll need to be praying.
Invite your friends. Hey, if all of us are focused on these 10 issues/needs, I bet it’s safe to assume that so are hundreds of your friends. So, starting right away, I’d like for you to invite your friends.
If we commit to doing these two things, I think we’re going to all be helped by “doing life together.” Let’s spend a few moments in prayer together as we close out tonight.
Close in Prayer
Written by David R Smith
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.