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Bible passage: Mark 1:1-15
Background: Here we see Jesus launching into public ministry in Galilee. Unlike Matthew and Luke, which start with Jesus’ birth, the Gospel of Mark starts with his baptism. Mark famously focuses more on Jesus’ actions than his words.
Invite the group to gather and share what has happened during the week. You may want to share refreshments. You can explain that you’re going to start looking at the Gospel of Mark, starting with an account of Jesus beginning his ministry. 5
You will need: a large enough space to do warm-up routines in; music and the means to play it
Split the young people into small groups of about three or four. Ask them to prepare a two-minute warm-up routine for the rest of the group. Ask them to think about movements, motivational phrases they might shout out while they’re warming up and a song to go with their warm-up. Encourage them to use their imaginations, and be available to help each group get into the activity!
Give them a small amount of time to go away and prepare their warm-ups, then come back and let each group take turns in leading the whole group in their routine.
You will need: Bibles; large sheets paper; marker pens
Read the passage out together as a group. Then split the young people into smaller groups and give each one a portion of the passage: verses 1-3, 4-8, 9-11, 12-13 and 14-15. Give out the paper and pens. Ask them to read over their portion of the passage and consider what kind of news this would have been to the people of Galilee.
Ask them to create the front page of a newspaper with headlines and an article about these events. Again, encourage them to be creative and funny! They can think about extra details, such as what they would call the newspaper, which adverts they might include and what pictures they might need to illustrate their story. Give the groups some time to design their front pages, then take some time showing and explaining to the rest of the group what they have done.
Bring the group back together and ask them to discuss ideas about the passage you have looked at together. Ask them the following questions:
- What was most important to Jesus as he started his ministry?
- What part did John the Baptist play in helping to launch Jesus’ ministry?
- Why do you think Jesus got baptised at the start of his ministry? What did that mean?
- What part did the temptation in the wilderness play as Jesus prepared to begin his ministry?
- Jesus was 30 years old when he started his ministry. What do you think he did before then? What do you think it would have been like for the people who already knew him when he started his public ministry?
You will need: large sheets of paper; marker pens
So far we’ve looked at what it meant for Jesus to prepare for his ministry. Christians understand that they are Jesus’ disciples. This means we try to learn from him, living with his intentions, teachings and promises at the centre of how we live and what we do. This activity aims to help us prepare or ‘warm up’ our faith muscles to live for Jesus. To help the group think this through, you’re going to make mind maps of what this might mean in your lives.
In the middle of a large sheet of paper write: “My training plan for being Jesus’ disciple.”
From this central theme create a mind map by drawing branches that lead to themes you think are important, such as ‘loving others’, ‘learning about Jesus / God’, ‘prayer’, ‘developing my ministry skills’, ‘loving God’, ‘telling people about Jesus’. Spend some time with the group discussing what their themes would be.
Then from these branches ask the group to think about things they can do in their everyday lives to develop these ideas. These could be so many things, such as ‘helping my parents with housework’, ‘reading my Bible with friends’, ‘taking the time to pray on my way to school’, ‘keeping fit’, ‘being kind to people at school’, ‘giving some of my money to charity’, ‘praying for my friends’, or ‘raising money to support work that helps people tell others about Jesus’. These are different kinds of ‘warmup’ routines from the ones you did at the start of the session!
It would be really helpful if you could draw your own mind map of a training plan for your life of faith to demonstrate the idea, and to demonstrate the way you live out a practical faith as a disciple 2,000 years after this passage was written!
While the group members are writing out their training plans, give them space and time to discuss and ask questions if they’d like to.
You will need: training plans from ‘Creative response’
Ask the group members to look at their training plans. Say a prayer to commission them for their warm-ups and training for a life of faith. You can say each line and then ask them to repeat it:
Jesus, 2,000 years ago you started something amazing.
You gave us an example of how to live.
Help us today to follow you.
Help our faith muscles grow strong.
Help our hearts to love the people you love.
Help us to resist temptation.
And stay close to us
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