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a missions study for students

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a missions study for students
  • a missions study for students


    This curriculum is a five-session small group study ready to incorporate into a weekend retreat setting, such as Disciple Now. In addition to the five small group sessions, the curriculum also includes sermon outlines and optional activ-ity suggestions. The goal of this study is to expose students to the biblical call of missions and prepare them to reach every language, people, tribe and nation as a part of Gods global purpose.

    This curriculum focuses on Matthew 16:24-27 and examines the call to follow Jesus. Over the course of the weekend, students will see that by denying them-selves, taking up their cross and following Christ, they will not only find life, but they will also have the privilege of participating in Gods work throughout the world. The curriculum challenges students to pray, to give and ultimately to go.

    The curriculum can be used two ways:

    Broad FocusUse this curriculum to build a broad-based heart for missions in your students. Over the course of the weekend, students will be exposed to Scripture and stories about what God is doing in the world and how He desires to use them as a part of His plan. The goal is to ignite students passion for missions and set them on the road to pursue missions individually. You can follow up with a 10 Days of Sacrifice Challenge. You may plan a special night, roughly a week and a half after the Disciple Now, where students pick a missionary, project or people group for whom they will advocate. Making students aware of individual mission opportunities is also beneficial. Students should be led to pray, give and go on their own.

    Specific FocusGo beyond simply exposing your students to missions in general. Adopt a people group or project together. During your weekend event your group can:

    focus on a specific project, pray for that project give (financially) to the project plan a mission trip to work with that project

    This approach allows students to rally around one project and one goal and work together for the Gospel.


  • Theme Verse Matthew 16:24-25 (NASB) Then Jesus told his disciples, If any-one would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

    Things youll need to purchaseCandy as a prize for small group session five

    Materials available to you 10 Days of Sacrifice booklet you might want to use these after your retreat. OBEDIENT logo for use on t-shirts, banners, flyers. OBEDIENT student participant book OBEDIENT bracelets for students Email: [email protected] to order any needed materials or download from http://www.onelifematters.org/resources


    Session OneVideo: Olwetus Hope https://vimeo.com/57147439 Music: Chris Tomlin I Will Follow

    Session TwoVideo: Kingdom of Darknesshttp://www.imb.org/main/downloads/embedvideos.asp?flashvars=mvid=15375&mvidext=flv Music: Chris Tomlin White Flag

    Session ThreeVideo: One Cup of Water https://vimeo.com/43621049 Bracelets for purchase from imbStudents (see above in Materials available to you)

    Session FourVideo: Let it Shine http://www.imb.org/main/downloads/embedvideos.asp?flashvars=mvid=15464&mvidext=flv Song: Lecrae Send Me

    Session FiveVideo: I Cannot Be Silent http://www.imb.org/main/downloads/embedvideos.asp?flashvars=mvid=15372&mvidext=flv Song: Toby Mac Lose my Soul


    https://vimeo.com/57147439http://www.imb.org/main/downloads/embedvideos.asp?flashvars=mvid=15375&mvidext=flv http://www.imb.org/main/downloads/embedvideos.asp?flashvars=mvid=15375&mvidext=flv https://vimeo.com/43621049http://www.imb.org/main/downloads/embedvideos.asp?flashvars=mvid=15464&mvidext=flv http://www.imb.org/main/downloads/embedvideos.asp?flashvars=mvid=15464&mvidext=flv http://www.imb.org/main/downloads/embedvideos.asp?flashvars=mvid=15372&mvidext=flv http://www.imb.org/main/downloads/embedvideos.asp?flashvars=mvid=15372&mvidext=flv


    SERMON ONE: Philippians 3:1-14Paul is a shining example of what God can do through a life completely surren-dered to Him. This passage is an excellent text for the first sermon of a Disciple Now weekend or for a weekend centered around missions. We, like the early Saul, are often consumed with our own pride, distinctions and abilities. However, once we encounter Christ, we realize that all things are trash compared to the greatness of knowing Christ Jesus.

    Before students can deny themselves and take up their cross, they must have the same attitude and mindset as Paul. The desire to live a life of missions begins with a desire to know Christ. During this first sermon, challenge the students to focus on what Christ offers, not what they bring to the table. As Paul says in verse 12 I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Students must consider the reason Christ has taken hold of their lives and if they are willing to take hold of the task that He has given them.

    SERMON TWO: Philippians 1:12-21The second sermon should build off the previous sermon and small group ses-sions. At this point in the weekend, students will have encountered the chal-lenge to live a life that seeks to spread the Gospel. The second sermon should bring this concept to life by illustrating how Paul lived out the Gospel.

    Once we come to know and love Jesus, we become passionate about the things Jesus is passionate about, seeing the lost come to salvation. This passage does an incredible job of showing how Paul views his life through the lens of the Gospel. Pauls imprisonment is a benefit to the Gospel. Pauls opponents are serving to help him share the Gospel. Paul continues to rejoice no matter the circumstances because Christ is proclaimed. To live is Christ, and to die is gain.

    During this final message, challenge the students to see their lives as Paul saw his. If he was living, then that meant fruitful labor. And if he died, he got to be with Jesus. What a perspective! Imagine what God could do with students who had this same heart!!



    FRIDAY NIghTRegistration/dinnerLarge group worshipSmall group (one to two sessions) Session 1: COME AFTER ME Session 2: DENY YOURSELF

    SATURDAYBreakfastSmall groups in morning (two sessions) Session 3: TAKE UP YOUR CROSS Session 4: FOLLOW MELunchAfternoon activity (recreation, team building, missions)DinnerWorship (possible additional activity such as a prayer walk)Small group (one session) Session 5: LOSE YOUR LIFE

    SUNDAYWake upHead to church (possible small group/possible debriefing of the weekend)


  • SATURDAY AFTERNOON SUggESTIONSRECREATION OPTIONSYou may want to break the seriousness or intensity of the weekend by using organized games, scavenger hunts or competitions between the small groups.

    TEAM-BUILDINg OPTIONSAnother option would be to provide team building activities. This would add an element of fun but would also deepen the bonds between group members. The team-building element also forces group members to work together. The same teamwork aspect is an important part of missions and would be a great tie-in.

    MISSIONS ACTIVITIESIf the focus of the weekend is missions, why not allow the students to partici-pate in local ministry during the weekend? Options for this are limitless: from partnering with churches, ministries or food banks, to doing yard work for indi-viduals in the community. Many times it is helpful not simply to teach students about missions but allow them to serve. This allows students to immediately live out what they are studying as a group.


  • SATURDAY NIghT OPTIONSBROAD MISSIONS PRAYERWALKOne way students could put into action the things they are learning is to partici-pate in a prayerwalk. For the broad prayerwalk, different stations could be set up for different OneLife or mission sites. During the course of their walk stu-dents could pray for different people groups, missionaries, or the general needs of various OneLife projects. www.onelifematters.org The set-up could be as simple as a pasteboard with facts or as complicated as a full set design.

    FOCUSED PRAYERWALKAnother option is a focused prayerwalk. In this scenario, groups would con-duct a prayerwalk built around the needs of a specific OneLife project. www.onelifematters.org This will work well if the church or group has adopted a specific missions project. An example could be the One Cup of Water project. Students could travel a course of collecting water containers, gathering water, transporting the water, finding a fire to purify the water and finally distributing the water. At each station students could pray for specific requests related to that project.

    PRAYER FOR STUDENT MISSIONARIESTake time to pray for students who are feeling the call into ministry.

    COMMUNIONCompare Jesus ultimate act of obedience with our call to obedience.



    Option 1: Do As I Say ... Not As I DoThe group should get in a circle. The first person SAYS something that he/she likes (I like to dance), but DOES something else (shoots a basketball). The sec-ond person DOES what was just SAID (dances), but SAYS something he/she likes (jogging). The pattern then continues around the circle.

    Lesson Tie-In: We have a hard time with this because we want to copy what people do not what they say. We tend to follow peoples actions more than their words.

    Option 2: Name CircleThis option will work well with new groups whose members do not know one another. The group begins in a circle. The first person will say his/her name, an adjective and gives a motion.The next person must repeat the other persons name, adjective and motion, and then add his/her own. This process continues until everyone in the circle has gone.

    Lesson Tie-In: Its pretty easy going at the beginning, but it gets more difficult by the end. Sometimes its harder to come after someone than it is to go first. During this study were going to talk about what it looks like to come after or follow Jesus.


    Who is a famous person or celebrity you think would be fun to follow around for a day?

    Why do you think following that person would be enjoyable? Would you choose a different person to follow if you had to spend your entire

    life with him/her? Why? What characteristics make someone worth following?

    Read Matthew 4:18-22 Why do you think these men were so quick to follow Jesus?

    What did these men leave behind to follow Jesus?


  • The situation is crazy to say the least. We have four different men who are going about their normal lives when Jesus shows up and changes everything. They leave their careers, they leave the comforts of home, they abandon security, and they follow Jesus. At first glance we may think there is something special about the disciples. Maybe they had an extreme amount of faith, so leaving their lives to walk with Jesus was simply an incredible act of obedience on their part. Or, we could think that these men were easily manipulated or simple. Maybe they had nothing better going on in their lives.

    However, the more likely explanation is not that the disciples were simple or that they were incredible men of faith already, but instead that there was something drastically different about Jesus. Jesus taught like no one else, Jesus loved like no one else, Jesus was different, and Jesus was a BIG DEAL. And since Jesus was such a BIG DEAL, the invitation to follow Jesus was a BIG DEAL. This was huge! Someone so special was inviting these fishermen to follow Him and be His disciples. What a privilege! What an honor!!

    It was more of a privilege and an honor than these men could even comprehend at the moment. They had been invited by the very Son of God to walk with Him, learn from Him and be a part of His master plan to rescue mankind. WOW!! But, heres the crazy thing that invitation wasnt only to those 12 disciples, its also extended to us.

    Read Matthew 16:24-27 What requirements does Jesus place on us in order to follow Him?

    What happened to the disciples who followed Jesus?

    While the call to come after Jesus is an incredible privilege, notice how Jesus describes it. We must deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Him. While the following Him part sounds nice, the idea of denying ourselves and taking up our crosses sounds less appealing. Few people get excited about taking up an instrument of their own death. And what about the original disciples? How did following Jesus turn out for them?

    Tradition tells us that Peter, Andrew and James all suffered martyrdom, and while John appears to have died at an old age, his life was far from easy. In Revelation we find that John has been exiled to the island of Patmos due to his faith and following of Jesus. So, while this invitation at first appears to be an incredible opportunity, it is clear that the result of responding to this invitation can often be anything but attractive.


  • Why would you follow someone, no matter how great he/she was, if doing so could result in your own death?

    Why did these men follow Jesus until the end?

    Why should we even consider following Him?


    Read Colossians 1:15-20These days we become obsessed with people in an instant. Entire TV channels and websites devote themselves to following the famous people in society. Magazines publish what the stars eat, how they dress and how we can be like them. Whether its political candidates, movie stars or reality show cast mem-bers, we get obsessed, and we want to know whats going on in their lives.

    One of the biggest obsessions took place not long ago. William and Kate were about to be married, and the entire world had to be in on the action. We had to know what Kate would be wearing, how the reception would be decorated and who would be in attendance. The question is: why was this wedding such a big deal? Why did anyone care about William and his soon-to-be bride? The answer is very simple. He is a prince! He was born into the royal line, and for that rea-son alone people feel the need to follow his every move. He has done nothing significant to deserve this fame, other than being born into a royal family.

    How does Paul describe Jesus in Colossians 1:15-20?

    What are some things that make Jesus unique?

    Jesus is special. There has never before been anyone like Him, and there will never be anyone else like Him. He is the very Son of God, He was present and active in the creation of the world, He has always existed, He is all powerful, He holds all things together, and all the fullness of God dwells in Him. Why should we follow Jesus? Because there is no one like Him. He is the Son of God, and for that reason alone He is worthy to be followed.

    Who is your favorite teacher?

    What makes him/her a great teacher?

    How does this teacher influence the work that you do?


  • (The small group leader should insert a personal example to make this illustra-tion more effective.) My favorite teacher of all time was Mrs. Newman. She was my English teacher, and even though I wasnt fond of English, I loved her class. She didnt just give us assignments; she challenged us and helped us through. She encouraged us. She complimented our strengths. She made the class fun by the way she treated us. There was one simple thing that separated her from all of my other teachers: I knew that she loved us. She demonstrated that every day by the way she taught and the way she interacted with us.

    We all have had teachers. We loved some and really disliked others. We fol-lowed some with joy, and dragged our feet behind others. What mattered was not simply their position as a teacher but the way that they felt about us. Its the same way with Jesus. We follow Him not simply because of His position as the Son of God but also because of the love that He demonstrated to us on the cross.

    Read Isaiah 53:3-5 What hardships did Jesus have to endure?

    Why did He suffer in this way?

    Isaiah prophesies about Jesus, about the Messiah, and what will happen when He comes. What did Jesus suffer? He suffered insult, shame, punishment and pain. He suffered torture and death. He suffered all of this to restore the relation-ship that had been broken between us and God.

    Romans 5:8 says it like this: But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

    Why should we follow Jesus? Not simply because of His position but also be-cause of His love. Jesus died that we may have life. We love Jesus, and we fol-low Jesus because He first loved us.



    Read Luke 14:25-33 What does Jesus indicate is the cost of following Him?

    It seems like Jesus is discouraging people from following Him. Why do you think Jesus wants His followers to think twice before agreeing to come after Him?

    Following Jesus is not a quick decision to be taken lightly. Jesus tells the dis-ciples that they must consider what it will cost them to follow Him. They must decide if they are ready to sacrifice everything in order to follow Him before they even take that first step.

    While the gift of eternal life is something everyone will run toward, the idea of following Jesus to your death is less appealing. However, Jesus never puts com-ing after Him in easy terms. Hes honest, brutally honest. Coming after Jesus isnt a cake walk, it isnt a life of guaranteed ease; its a commitment to be obedi-ent no matter the cost.

    Read John 6:66-69 Why did the disciples continue to follow Jesus despite the hardships?

    Once we understand the greatness of who Jesus truly is and begin to compre-hend the vastness of love that Christ has for us, our natural response is to simply follow Him. Jesus was present when this world was created, He died on the cross to rescue us, and He offers to us abundant and eternal life. Who else offers such a thing? Who else is truly worth following? Who else is worth the sacrifice of our lives?


    The focus of this weekend is obedience, being obedient to all that Jesus is call-ing us to do.

    What do you think of when someone mentions the word obedient?

    What are some ways that Christ is calling us to be obedient?


  • When I think of obedience to Christ, I think of two passages: Jesus summation of the commandments and the Great Commission. Jesus summation of the 10 Commandments tells us that we are to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength, and we are to love our neighbors as ourselves.

    In the Great Commission, Jesus calls us to Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.

    We are called to love God, and we are called to love others. We love God because of Gods love for us and Jesus sacrifice on the cross. And because of this love for God, we must put that love into action by loving others. We love others by meeting needs and pointing others to Jesus. We are to be obedient to Christs commands and commission, BUT it all starts with loving Him. If we do not love Him, all else is wasted.


    OBEDIENT Booklet or Journal OptionUse the booklet provided, or simply give the students these questions to answer in their own journal.

    In what way has God demonstrated His love for me?

    How have I responded to that love?

    What steps can I take to share that love with others?

    Video OptionOlwetus Hope https://vimeo.com/57147439Conclude the session by showing this video and leading in a time of discussion.

    How did deciding to follow Jesus change the course of Olwetos life?

    How will deciding to follow Jesus change your life?

    Take time to pray for Olweto as well as the students.

    Pray that they will follow her example.

    Music OptionPlay Chris Tomlins I Will Follow during the closing time of reflection.




    Opener Option 1: Denied Brain TeaserBegin by saying this: Im going to the RIGHT party; to go to the RIGHT Party, you have to wear the RIGHT clothes. You dont want to get LEFT out, so you have to wear the RIGHT thing to the party. Describe something you would wear to the party, aka something the person to the right of you is wearing. Students will then say what they are wearing. If they say something the person to their right is wearing, they can go. If not, just say DENIED. Continue until most of the students pick up on how it works.

    Lesson Tie In: Whether its going to a party or getting what we want, none of us wants to be denied. But Jesus says to follow Him we must deny ourselves. Today were going to look at what it looks like to deny ourselves for the sake of Jesus.

    Opener Option 2: World RecordHave several students compete to see who can balance the most number of coins on their face in one minute. The record is 27.

    Lesson Tie In: People who make a Guinness World record have dedicated themselves to the task. No matter how strange or how dumb, theyve had to sacrifice something, either time or money to be successful in their feat. The question is: at the end of the day, was the achievement worth the sacrifice they made?



    What would you consider one of your greatest achievements?

    Did you have to make any sacrifices to achieve your goal? What were they?

    Was the sacrifice worth it in the end? Why or why not?

    Weve all had accomplishments in life that give us a feeling of pride. However, most of the things that we are proud of did not happen by chance. We made a conscious decision to pursue a goal and had to make sacrifices along the way. We all make sacrifices in life. The key question for us to answer is this: Is what I am pursuing worth the sacrifice I am making?

    The disciples made many sacrifices because of their decision to follow Jesus, but they would tell you that all of the sacrifices were worth it because the purpose was deserving and the cause was great. Jesus is brutally honest. He lets us know on the front end that following him will involve sacrifice.

    Read Matthew 16:24The first requirement that Jesus places on His followers is this: deny yourself. Deny, Denial, Denied these are not pleasant sounding words.



    Say a word, and ask students to say the first word that comes to their mind: chicken ... nugget, pizza ... party, zebra ... giraffe, etc. End the activity by asking what word comes to mind when you mention the word deny.

    (Insert personal thought here in place of the following story, if preferred. The point is simple: to be denied is to not receive what you desire.)

    When I think of the word deny, I think of basketball. The most exciting moment in basketball for me is not when a player makes a great pass or makes an incred-ible shot, but when he blocks the shot of his opponent. Theres something so exciting about one player completely stuffing the other player and ruining his/her attempt to score a basket. However, while its great to be on defense when blocking a shot, its a completely different feeling to have your shot blocked. Its frustrating, embarrassing and can cause anger or shame. No one likes to have his/her attempts ruined. Everyone wants two points, and to have that chance ruined is upsetting to a player. When a player gets packed, one word comes to mind: DENIED.

    When making this play, one player has simply denied his opponent from scoring a basket. We dont like being denied, we dont like not having our way, we dont like our plans being ruined. But, heres the crazy thing! Jesus calls us to deny ourselves. Why in the world would we restrict ourselves and limit our plans or desires? The only answer is this: we will give up our plans, our possessions and our desires only if we know we will receive something greater in return.



    Read Mark 10:17-27 What does Jesus tell the man he must do to receive eternal life?

    How do we receive eternal life? (Cross/Gospel/Jesus)

    Why was it so hard for this man to leave behind his money?

    Why do you think it will be hard for rich people to enter heaven?

    Jesus makes an interesting statement. On the one hand, He states that salvation is impossible for anyone but that with God anything is possible. But, He also points out that many people have difficulty following Jesus because they trust in their money more than God.

    Does this passage teach that money is bad? Why or why not?

    Does this passage teach that we should all give away all of our belongings? Why or why not?

    What do you think it means to deny ourselves in terms of our money?

    This passage is challenging to be sure, but it does not teach that money is bad, and it does not teach that we should give away everything that we have. What it does teach is that we should consider how we view our money and how we use it. Are we trusting in money more than God? Are we using our money for godly purposes or simply for our own enjoyment? There are times when God calls us to deny ourselves by not spending money on ourselves but using it to build His Kingdom.

    Think about these statistics. In the U.S. each year, we spend $13 billion on chocolate, $20 billion on ice cream, $74 billion on soft drinks, and $40 billion on weight loss products and services. Thats a combined total of $147 billion. Just $30 billion a year could end world hunger.



    Read Matthew 16:21-23 Why do you think Jesus responded so strongly toward Peter?

    Peter had a plan. Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of the Living God, just as Peter had described a few verses earlier. In Peters mind Jesus was to be a king. He was to be a commander. He was to rise to power, rule the Jews and return the kingdom to Gods people. Jesus would be an earthly king, and Peter would, of course, be rewarded as Jesus disciple. There was just one problem. It was not Gods plan.

    Gods plan was very different. In Gods plan Jesus was mocked, not praised. Jesus was insulted, not worshiped. He was beaten, not comforted. He was murdered, not exalted. But, we know the end. Jesus rose from the dead to rule an eternal, spiritual Kingdom. Jesus reigns as Lord of all, not simply the Lord of the Jews. Gods plan was better, but Peter didnt know it, couldnt see it and was stuck in his own plan.

    What is your plan after high school, after college, when you grow up?

    How would you feel if God changed that plan?

    How can you know if your plan is not Gods plan?

    Jesus responded harshly because Peter was focused on his own plan not that of God. As followers of Christ, we must deny our own plans in favor of His. We all have plans and dreams, but as followers of Christ we must be willing to trade in our plan for Christs. We have to be willing to deny ourselves in terms of our plans to follow Jesus. But we do know this: His plans are better than ours.



    Read galations 5:19-24 What are some of the negative things Paul mentions?

    What are the positive things?

    Which things come more easily?

    Jealousy and anger are things that can very easily surface. Sometimes it is hard to exhibit love and patience. We all have struggles in our life; we all have sins that plague us. But Paul says it like this: Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Denying ourselves is not simply about putting our possessions and plans in Gods hands; its also about pursuing holiness over our sinful desires.

    The call to come after Jesus is an honor and a privilege. But it is also a call that forces us to deny ourselves. Again, Jesus is brutally honest. He lays it all out. His way is narrow, and His expectation of our obedience is high. But Hes not asking us to do anything He has not already done.


    Read Philippians 2:5-8 What are some examples of Jesus denying Himself?

    How would you have felt in Jesus position?

    Jesus places a high call on our lives, but at the same time He has walked the road that He is calling us to walk. He has denied Himself in every sense of the word. He left His throne in Heaven, was born in an animals feeding trough, worked as a carpenter, suffered hunger, insults, beatings and death. Jesus was a human with His own desires and possessions, and yet He placed it all at His Fathers feet. He denied Himself in favor of following through with His Fathers plan. His life of self-denial was a life of worship.

    Read Romans 12:1Jesus call to deny ourselves is not a call to lay everything in our life to the side simply for the sake of doing so. It is an act of worship. We deny ourselves sinful pleasures and desires in order to think, feel and act in a godly manner as an act of worship. We deny ourselves our own plans in favor of Gods plans as an act of worship. We deny ourselves money and possessions in favor of blessing some-one else or meeting a need as an act of worship. We dont deny ourselves for nothing: we deny ourselves as an act of worship.



    Christmas List OptionOne of the most exciting things for a child is the build-up toward Christmas. As a little kid we make lists of the things we hope to get, we flip through toy cata-logs and circle the things we want, and as soon as Christmas comes we excitedly tell everyone what we have received. To be honest the build-up is great, but the excitement fades quickly as soon as Christmas morning is over. Its natural for us to long for good things; its unnatural for us to deny ourselves.

    In the same way that we make Christmas lists of the things we want, today I want us to list out the things we have.

    What are my material belongings?

    What are my skills and talents?

    What are the things I enjoy?

    What is my plan for the future?

    If youll notice something important, we list all these things out as my belong-ings, my skills, my plans. However, something crucial happens when we follow Jesus and deny ourselves. The my changes to His. They now become His belongings, His talents, His plans. The question is, how can we use what we have been allowed to hold for His Kingdom and His Glory?

    oBEdient Booklet or Journal Option God is calling me to deny these desires ...

    I can use my money and belongings for Christ by ...

    My plan is ... Am I willing to trade it for Gods plan?

    Video OptionKingdom of Darknesshttp://www.imb.org/main/downloads/embedvideos.asp?mvid=15375&mvidext=flv How has this doctor denied himself?

    Why has he been willing to put himself into danger?

    What are difficulties we may face by denying ourselves?

    Music OptionPlay Chris Tomlins White Flag during the closing time of prayer and reflection.




    Option 1: Dont MoveHave students pair up. They should stand facing one another with their feet shoulder-width apart and a foot from one another. Each person should then put his/her hands up facing the other person. The players may hit the other persons hands or move his/her own hands and fake the other person out. The first per-son to move their feet or hit the other person anywhere other than his/her hands loses.

    Lesson Tie In: The idea of this game is really simple. If you dont move your feet and dont touch the person anywhere other than their hands, you win. If you simply obey to what youve been instructed to do, you win. Being obedient isnt simple, but its a simple idea: be faithful to what youve been given to do.

    Option 2: Catch/Dont CatchHave students get into a circle. Stand in the middle and lightly toss a ball to one student while saying either catch it or dont catch it. The student must do the opposite of what you say. If he/she messes up, he/she has to go into the middle.

    Lesson Tie In: For some reason, its hard for our brain to process whats going on as quickly as it needs to.

    Do you think our natural tendency is to obey instructions or disobey? Why?



    Who are people in your life who are in a position of authority over you?

    In what ways do you show obedience to them?

    Whats your motivation for being obedient?

    We all have people in authority positions over us; bosses, coaches, teachers, parents or pastors. Our motivation to be obedient to them could be anything from obligation to fear of punishment. But, more than anyone else in the world, we should strive to be obedient to God.

    Whats our motivation for being obedient to God?

    When Jesus tells us to take up our cross Hes not calling us to suffer, although we may. He is calling us to obedience. The cross is the ultimate example of obedi-ence. As Jesus submitted Himself to His Fathers will, He calls us to take up the cross of obedience as well.

    Read John 14:15Jesus lays it all out. He says that if we love Him we will keep His command-ments. Our motivation is love. We realize all that God has done for us through Jesus Christ, we recognize His love, and it leads us to live in obedience to Him out of love.

    Why is being obedient often difficult?

    What are the benefits of living obediently?

    Read Ecclesiastes 12:13King Solomon was the writer of Ecclesiastes. Hes the most powerful, wealthy, successful man we can imagine. He had more power than we can possibly imag-ine. Yet over the course of Ecclesiastes, Solomon writes how neither wisdom, success, money or pleasure has brought him satisfaction. King Solomon has searched for joy everywhere, but he comes to a surprising conclusion.

    What is Solomons conclusion?

    Why do you think He says that obedience is the whole duty of man?

    Not only do we strive to live obediently because of our love for God, but we should also seek to live obediently because thats how we were created to live. God created us for His good pleasure. God created us for a relationship with Him. And by living in obedience to God, we experience the life that He intend-ed for us to live.


  • LOVE gOD

    Do we tend to like or dislike rules? Why do you think so?

    What makes a rule good or bad?

    When it comes down to it, we like some rules and dislike others. We like rules that dont limit our desires, and we dont like rules that keep us from doing the things that we want to do. In general, however, no one really gets excited about rules. We tolerate them, but no one perks up and eagerly awaits to hear the rules.

    As Christians we can sometimes be intimidated by the rules. There are so many commandments in the Bible that we can feel overwhelmed. We wonder what the point is to all the rules. Heres the good thing; Jesus simplifies everything for us.

    Read Matthew 22:34-40 How does Jesus summarize the commandments?

    Lets start with the first one. God tells us to love Him. Pretty simple, right? Heres the issue: we have a weird way of understanding love.

    How many different ways is the word love used today?

    How are those meanings different?

    I love God, my wife, my son, my dog, basketball, waffles, the number 12 and the mints that they give out at weddings. While I used love in every example, the way that I love each of these things is very different. In fact I probably dont love everything in that list in the true sense of the word. I do love God, my wife and my son, but even then I love them in very different ways.

    Love is not a feeling, its a decision. Its a decision to make someone else more important than yourself. I love my wife and son by making their needs more important than mine. In the ultimate sense of the word, I would lay down my life for them. I care about their well being, their needs and their joy, and I am going to do everything it takes to make sure they receive everything they need.

    What does it look like to love God?

    How do we love God with our thoughts? Our emotions? Our actions?


  • Love for God is a decision. A decision to place Him above ourselves, to praise Him for how great He is, to thank Him for all He has done, to ask Him for what we need, to think about Him, to think about His words, to act in ways that are pleasing to Him.

    The command to love God is simple, but it encompasses our entire self, our thoughts, our emotions and our actions. We are to love God not only with our words but with our thoughts and actions.


    Now we get the idea of loving God, but the second part of this commandment is difficult.

    Read Luke 10:25-37In this story we see something that is really common. The man knew the Bible, he knew the answer, but he didnt understand.

    Who was the hero of this story?

    How did the Jews feel about the Samaritans?

    The Jews hated the Samaritans. They saw them as half-breeds. They wouldnt speak to them and didnt even want to come into their presence. So when Jesus, a Jew, makes the Samaritan the hero of the story, its a big deal.

    The man does what most of us try to do. It says that he wants to justify himself. He knows Gods commandment to love your neighbor as yourself, but He wants to pick who his neighbor is. We do the same thing. We love those who are like us, live near us and who love us back.

    But Jesus flips his world upside down. He calls the man to love those who are different, who come from different places, people who he even has prejudices against.

    Who are the people in our life who are easy to love?

    Who are the people who are difficult to love?

    How do we love those people who are difficult?

    We all have people we find difficult to love, whether its people we dont get along with or people that are different from us. God calls us to love them. This means getting to know them, praying for them, talking with them and meeting their needs with the love of Christ.



    Whats the most difficult assignment youve ever been given?

    Why was it so difficult?

    Some of the most difficult assignments that we are given are also some of the most important. God calls us to love Him and to love others. Its a difficult as-signment, but its also the most important, because by living out the Christs commandments we help to accomplish another great task that God has given His people.

    Read Matthew 28:18-20 Why is this such an important commandment?

    What is our role personally in accomplishing it?

    As we talked about earlier, God created people for a relationship with Him, and it is His desire that all would come to worship Him. We return the love that God has shown to us by loving God and placing His desires above our own. So shar-ing Gods love and inviting others to worship Him are acts of obedience and acts of love. And, as we love others and meet their needs, we fulfill Gods command to love and also work toward the fulfillment of the Great Commission.

    One of the ways we fulfill the Great Commission is by loving others, and one of the ways that we love God is by fulfilling the Great Commission. They work together beautifully. If we truly love someone we want to meet their needs. And there is no other need more important than a relationship with Christ. The ques-tion is: Are we being obedient to the commands that God has given us? Are we worshipping God? Are we loving others? Are we sharing the Gospel?

    Well deal with the specifics of sharing the Gospel in the next session, but we need to examine our lives in general to see what role these commandments play in our life.



    OBEDIENT Booklet or Journal Option How does worship play a part in my life? How should it look?

    In what way am I loving others? How could I improve?

    How am I fulfilling the Great Commission? How is God leading me?

    Bracelet OptionIf your group has purchased the bracelets, now would be a good time to give them out. What Jesus is calling us to is simply a life of complete and total obedi-ence. As you wear this bracelet, think about the obedience that God is calling you to. What does that look like in your life?

    Video OptionOne Cup of Water https://vimeo.com/43621049 These women are obedient to travel daily to get water for their families because it is necessary for life. Are we willing to be obedient to Jesus and do what is necessary for them to have eternal life?

    Building Plan OptionFor a contractor to build a house, he/she has to stick to the blueprint. Without following the plan that has been set down, the house will be unstable. Its the same with our lives. Our foundation is Jesus Christ, but He has given us a plan for how to structure our lives, and for our lives to be stable we must be obedi-ent to those commands. Ask the students to draw a blueprint of their lives using Jesus two great commandments and Great Commission. How are they doing in each area?

    Worship: Am I praising God on my own/with my church? Am I spending time in prayer? Are my thoughts and actions pleasing to God?

    Love: Am I showing love to those close to me? Do I seek those who dont know Christ to show them love? Do I love those different from me?

    Share: Am I sharing Christ with people at school? Am I praying for the Gospel to spread overseas? Am I giving to the cause of the Gospel? Am I willing to go if God calls me?




    Option 1: Whos the leader?Have students form a circle. One student will leave the circle. While he/she is gone, the group will pick someone to be the leader. When the other student returns, everyone in the group will mimic the leaders actions, while trying not to reveal that persons identity. The student who left the room will have three chances to correctly guess the leader. After his/her turn, the student who was leading the actions will leave the circle to become the guesser, and a new leader will be chosen.

    What made this game difficult?

    How hard was it to mimic the leaders actions?

    Many times its not difficult to follow someone. Normally the problem is deciding who we are going to follow.

    Option 2: What Number Brain TeaserThe leader should take whatever random items are available (money, paper, pens, notebooks, rocks) and randomly arrange them on the floor or table. After doing something random with these items, inconspicuously place 0-5 fingers on the table or floor and ask the students what number is represented. Even though you are showing a number, they will look at the stuff to discern an answer. Re-peat several times before giving them the answer.

    The answer was obvious. Why did we miss it?

    In life there are only a few things that are really important, but there are a lot of other things that appear to be important but are really just distractions. One of the crucial things in life is to figure out the most important things and focus on them.



    Do you tend to be a person who reads directions or one who dives right in? Why?

    What things would be impossible to do without some sort of directions?

    How good are you at following directions?

    Some of us like directions, and some of us just like to dive right in. But there are some things in life where its crucial to have instructions or directions. Take a surgeon, for instance. I dont want to have someone operate on me who is just figuring it out as he/she goes along. I want someone who has read books, studied, practiced and has experience. I want a surgeon who knows the plan before he/she makes the first cut. Its a matter of life and death, so instructions and directions are crucial. The more important something is, the more necessary it is to have instructions.

    The Bible is sort of like a set of instructions because it serves as a guide for how we are to see the world, how we are to feel and how we are to behave. Life is important, so we need instructions. But what about not just our life but the eternal life of everyone in the world? Thats huge, and its eternally important. Wouldnt it be good to have some instructions on how we could go about taking the Gospel to the entire world? Luckily, we find that in the Bible as well.

    Read Acts 1:1-9 Whats the setting for this passage?

    What does Jesus tell the disciples they will be? What are witnesses?

    Where will they be witnesses? What direction are they going?

    What happened to Jesus?

    In Acts 1:8 Jesus tells the disciples what will happen. He tells them the plan and He gives them the instructions. What makes this passage all the more important is the fact that right after Jesus spoke these words He returned to be with His Father in heaven. These were some of the last words spoken by Jesus on this earth to His disciples.

    So, what was the plan? It was pretty simple. The disciples were to be witnesses. A witness is this: someone who reports what they have seen and experienced. The disciples were to be witnesses to what Jesus had done starting from their home and moving outward to cover the entire world.

    Challenge students to recite the theme verse from the week. (Matthew 16:24)


  • Jesus plan is a big plan, and its a plan that He expects us to continue to follow today. Christ still intends for us to be His witnesses to what He has done in our lives and what He did on the cross to those we encounter at home and across the world. In many ways, our witness can be divided into two sectors our wit-ness at home and our witness over the world.

    AT hOME

    Is it easier to witness for Christ at home or away from home? Why?

    Why is being a witness at home difficult?

    Read Matthew 5:13-16 What are some of the ways that salt can be used?

    Salt is primarily used as flavoring now, but in Jesus day, salt was used to pre-serve meat and keep it from rotting. So Jesus is basically telling the believers that they are the preservatives of the world.

    How do Christians preserve the world?

    How would your school be different if Christians refused to gossip, cheat or lie?

    God has given us rules and laws not to punish us or to rob us of our joy but to protect us. God created life and knows the best way to live it. As believers live out the commandments of Christ, they preserve the earth by bringing peace, forgiveness and order.

    What does it mean to be the light of the world?

    How do our good deeds point others to Christ?

    Our lives should serve not only to preserve the world but also to point others to Jesus. As we live in a way that is radically different from everyone else, people will notice. People will notice a love, joy and peace that cannot be explained in any other way than Jesus. When we live like Christ, we point others to Him and create a desire for them to come to God.

    Read 1 Peter 3:15 What does Peter tell his readers to do?

    Why is a verbal witness so important?


  • As believers we must live in a way that honors Christ. First of all, it is a matter of obedience. If we love Christ, we will keep His commandments. Secondly, its crucial because the way we live can either point people to Jesus or turn them away. Thirdly, we have to be willing to speak about what we believe. We want to point people to Christ by our actions, not just have them believe that we are good people.


    When you think about Acts 1:8 or the Great Commission, what do you feel?

    What do you think your role as an individual is in the Great Commission?

    When we hear the call to share the Gospel with the nations, we can experience many different emotions. We can be excited to be involved in such an awesome adventure, we can be overwhelmed at the task ahead of us, or we can be ner-vous about the possibility of stepping out of our comfort zone. Whatever the case, the fact remains that the Great Commission is something God intends for all of us to be involved in. The question is: what does that actually look like in real life?

    Read 2 Thessalonians 3:1-5 What does Paul ask for as a missionary?

    About which things does Paul ask the people to pray?

    Why is praying for missionaries important?

    How can we go about praying for missionaries?

    To be a missionary is an incredible privilege. It is a call to devote your entire life to the Gospel of Jesus. It is to leave family and friends in order to be a witness for Jesus across the world. Its an honor, but its not easy. We must pray for our missionaries and for places that missionaries are needed. We must learn to edu-cate ourselves about their needs so we can pray specifically for them.

    Read Philippians 4:14-19 What is Paul thankful for in these verses?

    Why is Paul thankful?

    Why should we want to give to missions?


  • Paul is thankful for the support and the money, but the money is not his top concern. First of all, Paul recognizes that giving to missions is an act of worship, calling it a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice. Giving to missions is not something we do out of guilt or in response to pressure; its something we do as an act of worship.

    Paul also says that he doesnt want their money, but he wants more to be added to their account. Basically, what Paul means is he wants the Philippians to have a part and play a role in the spread of the Gospel. Even though they arent travel-ing with him, they are sending their money and participating in what God is do-ing. When we give to missions its not only an act of worship, its also an incred-ible privilege to take part in what God is doing all over the world.

    Read Romans 10:13-15 Who are the people who have led you to give your life to Christ?

    Where do you think you would be without these people?

    The reason that most of us are Christians is very simple. We have known people who loved us and told us about Jesus until we fell in love with Him ourselves. Without these people in our lives, we would not know Christ unless someone else told us. The same is true all over the world. The only way people can know about Gods love is for someone to tell them.

    It is crucial to pray for missions, its important to give to missions, but we must never forget that people need to hear the Gospel, and God may want to use us in this way. Whether its a week, a month, a semester, a year or the rest of our lives, we can all be involved in Gods mission of bringing the Good News to those who are lost and dying.

    In what ways can you be a missionary now?

    How will that change when you enter college?

    How can you be involved in missions when you become an adult?



    Video OptionLet it Shine Being Faithful to Follow Godhttp://www.imb.org/main/downloads/embedvideos.asp?mvid=15464&mvidext=flv

    Ashley asked the question: How could God best use these six months? How can God best use our lives? What doors are God opening for me?

    These students went on a six-month international mission trip. Is this something youd be willing to do?

    Song OptionPlay Lecraes Send Me during the time of response

    OBEDIENT Booklet or Journal Option How is God calling me to increase my praying for missionaries?

    How is God calling me to give to missions?

    Where might Jesus be calling me to go?

    Letter OptionHave students write a letter to themselves about how they feel God is leading them to be involved in missions in terms of praying, giving and going. Have them be as specific as possible. What are the steps that they want to take? Take up the letters after the session. Instruct the students to leave the envelope unsealed if they want their student minister to read it, or close it if they would rather it be personal. Give the letters to the student minister who will mail them to the students six weeks later as a reminder of how God is leading them.




    Option 1: Simple gameBegin your lesson with a simple competition where students battle each other in Rock, Paper, Scissors or Thumb War or Leg Wrestling. Have the winners compete until there is only one winner. Give them a small prize, like candy, if you are able.

    Do you think that most people want to win?

    Does a prize affect how hard you try?


    In which areas of life is it most important to be successful? Why?

    What does it take to be successful in each of these areas?

    Do you think most people want to be successful? Why or why not?

    Most people want to win; they want to be successful. I havent met one per-son in life whose goal was to be a failure. We may all want to achieve different things, but we all want to be successful. In this session, we are going to examine what success looks like in Gods eyes.

    Read Matthew 7:13-14 What do you think Jesus means by the wide path? What does it look like to

    be on this path?

    What does the narrow path look like?

    Why do you think that few find the narrow road?

    Its kind of crazy to think about, but the majority of people are headed for de-struction. Thats what Jesus says. Many are headed on the road to destruction, and only a few find the way to life. We like to picture ourselves as individuals who each has his/her own destiny and path to travel. But when it comes down to it, we all fall into one of two paths: the way of the world or the narrow way. We can achieve success on both roads, but each is very different.



    Lets get started with the way of the world, since its the road that most people are taking.

    How do you think most people would define success?

    Is it wrong for us to desire to be successful in worldly things?

    Read Ecclesiastes 2:1-11 In what areas had Solomon achieved success?

    Even after achieving amazing things, Solomon felt empty. Have you ever had this experience?

    Weve all had moments when we achieved something that we had pursued with a lot of passion. Sometimes we are ecstatic; sometimes we are let down because it doesnt feel as good as we thought it would. There is nothing wrong with pursuing success in school, sports, hobbies or whatever. In fact, its a great thing to be so determined. However, if we are basing our success in life on our little successes we will find ourselves feeling empty and meaningless like Solomon. We will find ourselves on the wide path pursuing things that matter in this world but hold no importance in the span of eternity.

    Read Matthew 16:24-25 What do you think that Jesus means here?

    Jesus basically flips our world upside down. He says that if we spend our lives on ourselves, focusing only on our needs, plans and goals, we ultimately lose our lives. Thats the wide path, and the path that leads to destruction. But, if we lose our lives, if we give our lives completely over to Christ, we find life. Thats the narrow path. Lets take a look at it.


    We can be successful on the wide path, and all we will earn is destruction. But what do we gain from being successful on the narrow road?

    Read 2 Corinthians 5:16-17 Whats the most recent new thing you got?

    Why is it exciting to get new things?

    We love new things whether its new shoes, new clothes or a new phone. New things are exciting.

    What does it mean that we are new? Why is that exciting?


  • The cool thing about new stuff is that it doesnt have all the problems the old stuff has. New shoes smell great; old shoes stink. Old phones die easy; new phones have a million apps. Old clothes are faded; new clothes stand out. Whats the cool thing about being new? Its that God has washed our guilt away, Hes given us freedom, and we are now His children. It doesnt mean we dont have problems anymore. It means that God is going to work on our problems. We have a new life, a new hope and a new future because of Christ. The old had died, and we are a new creation!

    Read John 10:10 What does it mean to have life to the full?

    What are ways that being a Christian has made your life better?

    Christ doesnt simply give us a new life, He gives us a better life, an abundant life. As we walk with Jesus we realize that we have an indescribable joy, unexplainable peace and a never-ending hope. Following Jesus is the best decision for eternity, but its also the best decision for right now. You have the God of the universe as your Father, to help you through your day-to-day, to listen to your problems and to take care of your needs. And you get the opportunity to do what you will do in heaven already, worship the Creator of the world. Pretty awesome!

    Read 1 Corinthians 15:58 Why does Paul encourage the Corinthians to give themselves fully to the work

    of the Lord?

    What is the work of the Lord?

    Paul tells them to devote themselves to the work of the Lord because it matters, and it will have lasting value.

    Who is the top musician right now? Actor? Athlete?

    Who was the top musician, actor, athlete 10 years ago? 20 years ago?

    If you ask any child and many teenagers who they would like to be, many would tell you one of these three people. It makes sense; they get a lot of praise and attention. But when it comes down to it, many of the actors and musicians from 10 years ago are made fun of by people today, and the people popular today will be made fun of by the next generation. While they have the praise now, their work is not lasting, and it is ultimately in vain.


  • But God allows us to participate in things that are eternal. He allows us to live lives as light and share the Gospel with others. Do we realize that when some-one accepts the Gospel, its a decision that changes his/her eternity? When we pray for others, we are doing work that has eternal consequences. When we give to missions, we are making an investment that will pay off for years that cannot be counted. Christ gives us a new life and abundant life, but He also allows us to participate in His all-important, eternal work.

    Read 1 Peter 1:3-9 What are some negative things we experience because of our decision to fol-

    low Christ?

    What are some benefits to following Christ that Peter mentions?

    Peter brings it all together in this passage. If we are to follow Jesus, it will mean losing our lives. We lose control of our lives, our time, our money, our goals, our dreams. We may lose friends, opportunities or popularity. We lose. But, we gain so much more. We gain a new life, abundant life, important eternal work and ultimately the salvation of our souls. We lose everything, but we gain so much more.

    What are some things you have lost because of Christ?

    Was it worth it? Why?



    Have each person look up one of these Scriptures and then read them one after the other.

    Scriptures: John 1:11-12

    Romans 8:15-16

    2 Corinthians 13:5

    Philippians 3:7-8

    Philippians 1:21

    Galatians 2:20

    We are willing to lose our lives, deny ourselves, take up our crosses and follow Jesus, only after we realize all that we can gain. We gain Christ! There is nothing greater! And because of this great gift we have received, God has called us to take this good news to others. We must pray, we must give and we must go so that others can find the life God offers.



    OBEDIENT Booklet or Journal Option What are some ways God has blessed me?

    Who are people I can share with?

    How can I continue to live with my heart and mind on Gods mission?

    Video OptionI Cannot Be Silenthttp://www.imb.org/main/downloads/embedvideos.asp?mvid=15372&mvidext=flv

    How do you think the outside world views these missionaries?

    Why would they be willing to sacrifice so much of themselves?

    How can we have this same heart and mindset?

    Song OptionPlay Lose my Soul by Toby Mac during a time of prayer or response.

    group Debrief Option Ask the following questions to the group. Encourage them to think through the answers as well as share their thoughts with the group.

    How has God challenged you this week?

    How can you put what you have learned this week into practice?


    http://www.imb.org/main/downloads/embedvideos.asp?mvid=15372&mvidext=flv http://www.imb.org/main/downloads/embedvideos.asp?mvid=15372&mvidext=flv