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Bible passage: Jeremiah 1:1-10
Background: Jeremiah became a prophet as a boy and spent his life being maligned and hunted down in response to his prophesies of doom against Jerusalem and Judah (which came true). The wonderful, redeeming chapters 30-33 (among 48 other chapters of wrath and destruction) proclaim God’s hope, and that ultimately a truer faith will come out of all this for his people.
Welcome the young people to the group and share out any refreshments you have. Chat together about what has happened this week, then ask if anyone has ever been asked to do something they didn’t feel ready for..
You will need: blindfolds; different food in bowls (such as jam, horseradish or brown sauce); spoons; kitchen towel
Blindfold a couple of volunteers (making sure they don’t have any food allergies). Explain that you’re going to feed them different food and that they have to guess what each one is by taste alone. Have a couple of rounds with your first two volunteers and then change over if any other young people want to have a go. When you have finished, ask the volunteers how they felt as they played the game. Frightened? Unprepared? Hungry?
You will need: paper; marker pens
Read Jeremiah 1:1-10 to the group. Mention that Jeremiah discounted himself because he felt he was ‘too young’ to be of use to God. Ask them to write down other fears, characteristics or perceived limitations young people these days might feel discount them from being useful to God (eg homosexuality, not being clever enough, not being rich enough, being unqualified, skin colour, gender, being too shy or too busy). Discuss whether these reasons are true or false; whether they are excuses or legitimate fears.
As a form of commissioning to become a voice for God in their own lives, ask them to stand up one by one and repeat the line from the scripture, replacing ‘too young’ with their own words.
“Alas, Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am __________.”
As they continue to stand, say the following, replacing their words and speaking directly and prophetically to them as you do so:
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart. Do not say, ‘I am ____________.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you.”
This could be a very powerful moment for each young person. However, if it feels too intense or inappropriate for your group, ask them to lift their cards in one go and make it a more general conversation to avoid putting the spotlight on individuals.
Take some time to discuss the young people’s questions about the passage and any issues arising from it:
- What are the common issues or insecurities that hold young people back from living for God?
- Have you ever felt God speak to you? How?
- Has God ever used you to speak to someone else? How did that person respond?
- If God was in the room now, what message would he have for your church, town, nation or the world?
You will need: several bars of chocolate
Tell everyone you are going to do a meditation using chocolate as a prop to help you engage with God is saying. Place a small square of chocolate on the palm of each hand to hold in front of them and look at but not eat.
Does it look appealing? What does the colour say to you? Can you smell it? How can we see and smell the works of God?
Think about how you feel about the chocolate. What emotions does it elicit in you? Do you feel any of these emotions about God? Why? Why not? What things about God get you excited? How could you invest more in these things?
Taste the chocolate, letting it melt in your mouth. How do we taste the ‘sweetness’ of God? What actions would make you more like chocolate to the world around you?
Does it leave you wanting more? What should we desire more of?
You will need: a table of random objects such as a torch, keys, a hammer, a toothbrush, an onion or a fork
Set the objects out on a table and have the group crowd around it. Ask them to look at the objects and choose one they can use to proclaim a message to the group. At this stage, just have fun and don’t suggest it is a prophesy or from God. For example, “The football is a picture of how our group should play more games each week”, or “Like the onion, the leader’s jokes stink!” would be fine suggestions!
Next, talk to them about how God used images such as a potter at his wheel, Jeremiah tying himself up in a belt, and other everyday objects to speak to Jeremiah and use him to speak to his people. Play the game again, but this time pray and invite the Holy Spirit to inspire them. Now ask them to imagine how God feels about them as a group and suggest positive messages the objects might inspire. Give them a minute to look at the objects a third time and privately ask God to speak to them personally through them. Encourage them to write any ideas down.
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