Thursday, January 14, 2010

    Youth Ministers: Drop Everything this Sunday!

    This weekend, Let go of your carefully-planned Bible studies, game nights, Wii tournaments, and study programs and just sit with your youth and talk about what is happening in Haiti. Print out some of the news photos of the devastation and place them in the center of the group. Give the youth a chance to share what they've heard and seen about the crisis.  Tell about what your church or denomination is already doing and talk about what you can do together to help.  Spend time in group or silent prayer.

    Some possible discussion questions:

    • Where do you think God is in this disaster?
    • How would you respond to televangelist Pat Robertson's comments that the earthquake happened because the Haitian people are cursed for making a pact with the Devil? Is this disaster the result of sin or the shifting of a fault line?
    • Read Psalm 60, a psalm of lament. What do you make of this passage? Does it truly reflect God's character or does it reflect the feelings of the psalmist? Or both?
    • Read Psalm 143, a cry for help.  When we ask God for help, how do you think the prayer is answered? In what ways do you think prayers for help are being answered in Haiti right now?
    Consider setting out a world map and indicate the location of Haiti.  Surround the map with votive candles and sit around it in a circle. Share a little about life and culture in Haiti.  In silence, pass a candlelighter around the circle and invite each youth to offer up a silent prayer for the people of Haiti, light a candle, and pass the lighter to the next person.  Close by sharing all or a portion of Psalm 27.


    Randy said...

    thanks, brian. my thoughts exactly. except in our case, we will do this saturday night on our ski trip.

    J.Steadman said...

    Consider also the impact that the Internet and Television have on our life. It's great that we are able to know so much about what's going on in the world, but it's so easy to flip the channel, and close the browser and never RESPOND or DO anything about what we have just learned.

    We need Christians to respond in word AND deed. To fail to respond is a failure to love as we have been loved.

    Anonymous said...

    Thank you for this. We will be doing this during our youth Bible study tonight - and two Sundays from now we will be assembling Hygiene Kits for Haiti (via Church World Service). If anyone is interested, check out

    Bill Johnson said...

    Great suggestions! I was thinking of blending some of MLK's theology and action with this as well.

    Erin said...

    THank you so much! I made that very decision today to turn Sunday night into a prayer vigil (hopefully with community members also attending) and am thankful for the ideas and resources, especially doing this on such short notice!!! Much appreciated.

    Brian said...

    Glad this is of some help. I'm sure there are many other thoughtful ways to approach this topic. Connecting it to the MLK weekend is great. Connecting it with a hands-on way of helping others is an excellent way to connect the conversation of faith wth the living out of faith.

    Andrew said...

    Thanks, again, for reminding us that youth ministry is less about what we plan and more about our making room for God to empower us to love and action on behalf of others!

    Grace & peace,

    Brandi said...

    Thank you for posting this! I took your suggestion and we had some really great discussions this morning with our students.

    Ryan Smith said...

    Hey guys,

    We did this last night at our student service. It is really hard for me to drop something I have been working on for months and to replace it with something last minute but we felt as if it was something God wanted us to do. I took your suggestions and tweaked them a little to fit our students. it was absolutely an AMAZING night. Both our high school students and our middle school students had some amazing discussions on the event.

    Thanks guys for the suggestion and direction. I really appreciate it!!!

    Brian said...

    Thanks to all of you for your comments. I realize it can be a challenge some time to let go of our careful planning and just go with the moment. I guess doing so sometimes is a good way of admitting we aren't totally in control of what happens in our ministries...and I think that is a good thing! Peace.