Weekend Rewind: We throw newbies in the pond!

Sunday night we welcomed the new sixth graders to the youth group. The fresh faces were so eager to be a part of the fun, so ready to join the group, and then we threw them in.

Ok, so we only told them we were going to throw them in the pond, but in a sense we did throw them into the middle of our youth group experience. Doing the best we could to guide them through the waters, our focus Sunday night was on telling them why we are called {2:42} and how we operate as a group. If they managed to tread water during the 45 minute lesson, the night as a whole probably still felt as though they had been tossed into turbulent waters.

So why is the group called {2:42}?

The idea is not new, and there are many other youth groups worldwide who have built themselves around Acts 2:42, and yet it still seems to be a fitting name for the group at New Life. The verse tells us that the newborn church “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” Our lesson was simple, we walked through the four main characteristics of the early church, and how we live those characteristics out as a youth group.

  1. The Apostles’ Teaching: The early church gathered to hear teaching about Jesus from the Apostles. They likely focused on understanding their scriptures and their new reality in light of Jesus.
    In our group, we seek to study the scriptures and speak of Jesus as we try to follow him and devote our lives to his Kingdom. While teens are often spoon-fed bible nuggets, our goal is to give the students who are commited to the group real meat. The world pulls no punches in attempting to build a false worldview for us, so we sometimes have to do hard work to understand it through the lens of Jesus.
  2. The Fellowship: This is a favorite among churches and youth groups. “Fellowship” is the common translation of the Greek word koinonia and while fellowship is not inaccurate, it might not be the most complete understanding of the word. The way in which the word is typically used carries with it the connotations of business partners coming together for specific purpose.[1] In the early church, that purpose was telling the story of Jesus to those around them and being his witnesses to the Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the end of the world.
    We are a group who wants to come together and build one another up so that we can tell the story of Jesus to our friends and neighbors in Fortville whenever we can so that they might know the love of God in their lives.
  3. The Breaking of Bread: In sharing a meal, the early church knew they were sharing their lives with their new brothers and sisters in Jesus. When they gathered around their table, all distinctions fell away and Jew and Gentile, slave and free, male and female could be as one.
    This is why we share a meal every Sunday night at youth group. There is a great value in being together around a table. Conversation and laughter are often the fruit of fellowship, and they bind us to one another each week.
  4. Prayer: The early church shared a relationship with God through Jesus that brought them to pray and worship together when they met. Together, they were able to cultivate their relationship with God in ways they could not alone.
    When we meet, we want to take time to come into the presence of God and be the living temple of his spirit. We often do this in a variety of ways. Sometimes we do it through praise and worship songs, sometimes we do it through prayer activities and Taizé services. However we do it, we do it together and we believe that God meets us, and that is an awesome thing.

We closed the lesson by gathering in groups and asking students, “How can we live these values out in the future?” The answers were profound and one thing remains true about this group, they have a heart to serve. Every group came back and suggested that we need to be a group that gives, volunteers, and loves others in need.

That is our group. We are {2:42} and we while we might not really throw the newbies into the pond, we also pull no punches. The new sixth graders that came last night were welcomed, and they were tossed in to the group. I look forward to watching them learn to swim.

[1] Bruxy Cavey talks more about the meaning and use of koinonia in his introductory sermon on Philippians, The Privilege of Partnership.

Advertisements

One Comment Add yours

  1. yanet2 says:

    I wish you had really thrown them in the pond. I think that would be an awesome tradition 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s