Sep | Oct | Nov 2020
Young Teen TEACHER GUIDE
1: Making the Grade 2: Reach Out
3: Costly Conversations
Young Teen Volume 66 Number 1 Sep • Oct • Nov 2020
Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. NIV®. Copyright©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. Scripture quotations marked (KJV) are taken from the King James Version of the Bible. Young Teen Teacher Guide (ISSN 1080-9732) is published quarterly by Gospel Publishing House, 1445 N. Boonville Ave., Springfield, MO 65802-1894. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Young Teen Teacher Guide, 1445 N. Boonville Ave., Springfield, MO 65802-1894. For information on quality discipleship resources for all ages, visit www.GospelPublishing.com, www.MyHealthyChurch.com, or call toll-free 1-800-641-4310. 65 1151
© 2020 by Gospel Publishing House, 1445 N. Boonville Ave., Springfield, Missouri 65802
Teacher Guide Grades 6*–8
• TEACHING HELPS Music Connection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Steps to a Successful Sunday School Class . . . . . . Take a Closer Look at Learning Styles . . . . . . . . . . Youth Leader Training Series. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Getting Some Answers (Tips for Effective Discussion) . Young Teen Feedback Forum . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Questions Teens Ask . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . What’s Ahead. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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• LESSONS UNIT 1 MAKING THE GRADE ......................................... 8 September 6—God’s Honor Roll.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . September 13—Cheating: Shortcut to Destruction. . . . . . . . . . . . September 20—Authority: Deal with It. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
10 16 22
UNIT 2 REACH OUT: EQUIPPING STUDENTS FOR PERSONAL EVANGELISM ................................................ 28 September 27— They Want What You’ve Got. . . . . . October 4—Telling Your Story. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . October 11—The Main Message. . . . . . . . . . . . . . October 18—Words and Pictures. . . . . . . . . . . . . October 25—What Now?: The Decision and Beyond..
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UNIT 3 COSTLY CONVERSATIONS .............................. 64 November 1—“Lord, Remember Me.” . . . . . . . . November 8—“Here I Am.”. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . November 15—“Give Us a King.” . . . . . . . . . . . November 22—“What Have You Done?”.. . . . . . November 29—“To Obey Is Better Than Sacrifice.”
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66 72 78 84 90
Printed in U.S.A. Cover photo: © Juanmonino/E+/Getty Images
* The Young Teen materials are suitable for 6th graders if they are in a combined class with 7th and 8th graders. Otherwise, 6th graders on their own might be better served by the PreTeen (Grades 5 and 6) level of resources.
<< music CONNECTION 1. Choose your music.
Unit 1 Study 1: “I’m Listening” by Chris McClarney from the album Breakthrough
Study 1: “I Am Loved” by Mack Brock from the album Covered Study 5: “Nobody” by Casting Crowns feat. Matthew West from the album Only Jesus
Study 2: “Revival Anthem” by Rend Collective from the album Revival Anthem Study 5: “Mercy in the Dirt” by Ryan Stevenson from the album When We Fall Apart
2. Download your music.
Here are a few sites you can visit to purchase music. Google Play Music (play.google.com/store/music) Amazon.com Walmart.com iTunes.com Interlinc-online.com Burn your music to CD or download it to your MP3 or portable media players.
3. Use your music in class.
Steps to a Successful Sunday School Class
Start with Curriculum You’ve made the right choice in choosing this curriculum. It provides solid biblical teaching at a level your students will enjoy and understand. The lessons are designed for easy preparation, and the activities will keep your teens interested and reinforce the lessons. As you begin your preparation, use the following checklist to keep track of all the curriculum pieces you will be using.
❏ Young Teen Teacher Guide—13 easy-to-use lessons, plus helpful hints and tips ❏ Young Teen RESOURCE—lesson helps for classroom use ❏ Young Teen Student Guide—full-color weekly take-home stories and other relevant information ❏ Take Five Plus—daily devotional with a thru-the-Bible format that encourages personal devotions
Think about Your Class Now, consider what you already know about your class. Time—How much class time do you have? Be sure to consider total time as well as actual teaching time (after greeting, transitions, etc.). Estimating the time it will take for each activity will help you decide which ones to use. Setting—What is your classroom setting like? Is it arranged in lecture style? Do you have a table? Don’t be afraid to get creative in your arrangement. Experiment by bringing in informal furniture for a more relaxed atmosphere. Teachers—How many teachers and helpers do you have? You might have them facilitate small group discussions or set up for another activity. Students—Who are your regular attendees? How do they learn best? Do you frequently have visitors? It’s a good idea to plan your lesson for the regular attendees, but be prepared in case of visitors. Next, consider what you know about your regular attendees. You may want to keep notes (sample, right) on each student describing how he or she learns best.
g at g—He’s always talkin Learns by hearin a er sw an to t en the firs the wrong time, is oft s. rie sto to listen to question, and loves
& touching—She Learns by seeing m ether,” matching fro always looks “put tog k. loo tices how others head to toe, and no at videos and looking ing She enjoys watch pictures.
ic g—She’s very athlet Learns by movin s go, so she prefer and is always on the nt. that involve moveme games and activities
g, talking, and Learns by movin ult for him to remain touching—It’s diffic at hand. He was focused on the task diagnosed with ADD.
If your regular students cover all the learning styles (like the sample note), you won’t have to plan other activities for less frequent attendees. If your class has primarily one or two learning styles,* you may want to have variations or additional activities ready for visitors. If you do not have consistent, regular attendees, plan a variety of activities to cover all learning styles. *To learn more about learning styles, see page 5.
Teacher Focus: The Teacher Focus helps you become familiar with the lesson and how it relates to your students. Use the Activities list to make sure you have all your supplies ready.
Interest Them: An opening activity will help your students become comfortable and begin to open up and interact. This will help facilitate further conversation in class.
Inform Them: Discussion questions, like the ones provided in this lesson, will appeal to your students who, like Nate, learn by hearing. Teens like to talk and interact with one another. Discussion creates a sense of community and will help them discover and develop their own ideas and better retain the lesson.
Tip: The sidebar offers additional background information and tips that will help you prepare and give you easy access to the information while you teach.
Student Guide: Using narratives like the ones in the Student Guide illustrates the lesson and helps students recognize how the objectives translate into everyday life.
Drama will involve students like Zack and Amber who learn by moving and touching. It also reinforces the lesson for your other students as they get to â€œexperienceâ€? the illustrations.
At this point, sit down with your Young Teen Teacher Guide and adapt the lesson to fit the needs of your class. Highlight, circle, or mark the activities that your students will enjoy and, most importantly, that meet their learning styles. Here is an overview of the lesson and a sample way to teach it.
Plan Your Lesson (continued) Resource Item: Activities that include “listing” and “writing,” like this one from the Young Teen RESOURCE, benefit teens like Michaela who learn by seeing and touching.
resource ITEM <<
Involve Them: Allowing time for personal reflection will help your students learn to apply the lesson to their own lives.
Inspire Them: It’s important to always leave the students with a spiritual action and give them something to consider and strive for throughout the week. This is also a good time to present the opportunity for salvation if you are unsure of the spiritual standing of some of your students.
Teach the Lesson
Take a closer look at . . . LEARNING STYLES
As you teach the lesson, constantly evaluate:
• Your students— What are you discovering about them and how they learn? • Your lesson— Are the students grasping the concepts and objectives presented in the lesson? • T he options— Are they working well with your teens? Is the order flowing like you’d hoped? • T he time— Do you have enough (or too much) material planned for the allotted time?
SEEING (visual) Miguel likes to “see” his world. He enjoys colors, contrast, posters, illustrations, and videos, but gets bored when there are no visuals.
HOW TO TEACH MIGUEL:
•D isplay posters from the RESOURCE. • Distribute Student Guides and incorporate them into the study. • Use visual illustration options.
Evaluate After each class, evaluate the lesson as a whole using the questions from step four.
EVALUATION: nt well. * The lesson we e, but had great tim of t ou an * We r . discussion charades. Note: * They loved the ! hit Drama is a
There’s no set formula for a successful Sunday School class, and there’s no guarantee all your teens will remember what you teach them and make the life applications. But God promises His Word will not return void. By following these five simple steps, you can teach biblical principles in a way that many of your students will remember and apply them. And that’s what teaching is all about.
Alison “hears” her world. She responds well to verbal interaction and enjoys being involved in discussion and debate. She becomes bored when she hears information she already knows.
HOW TO TEACH ALISON: • Discuss Bible and life application stories. • Ask discussion questions from the study.
TOUCHING (tactual) Michaela likes to get in touch with her world. She learns best through hands-on activities. She needs to compare information and make decisions based on experience.
HOW TO TEACH MICHAELA:
• Do activities from the RESOURCE. • Use hands-on illustrations and activity options. • Role-play case studies to explore feelings and opinions.
MOVING (kinesthetic) Zack loves to experience his world. He moves a lot during class and enjoys participating in active illustrations like dramas and hands-on activities.
HOW TO TEACH ZACK: •A ct out the Bible story or case studies from the RESOURCE. • Create opportunities for small group interaction. • Allow for freedom of movement.
Youth Leader Training Series
Emphasizing By Carey Huffman Sunday School’s aim is to take people deeper into God’s Word. And that makes it a natural place to teach students how to share the message of Jesus, as well as a launching pad for evangelistic outreach. Since Sunday School is often the largest weekly gathering of students outside of the midweek service and it conflicts with relatively few activities, it’s an ideal place for an outreach. Sunday School can be one of the most effective ministries in fulfilling Christ’s Great Commission by “teaching them to obey…” (Matthew 28:20). Channeling evangelistic efforts through a discipleship ministry like Sunday School also allows new believers to grow and become actively involved in ministry with others.
Think Outside The primary task of evangelism, as it relates to Sunday School, is to introduce people to the Bible—and introduce them to people who are living the Bible. An unbeliever must find love and acceptance from genuine believers before he or she can comprehend the love and acceptance of Christ. The strategy isn’t complex. If you
by Carey Huffman want to see evangelistic growth through your class, you must focus on inviting people to class and inviting them to fellowship outside of the church setting. After all, even people who are opposed to the gospel aren’t opposed to food and fun. Planning a lesson each week, caring for class members, and following up on guests and absentees are important, but your class agenda must also include regularly scheduled home fellowships or social outings, in order to provide a context in which students can invite guests. If someone develops a friendship with several members of your class by hanging around them in social settings, hopefully it won’t be long before that person wants to attend the Bible study in order to be where his or her friends are.
Prepare Inside If you’re determined to be more evangelistic with your class, you need to be ready when people arrive. We do more harm than good to people’s perception of God and the church if, after making an invitation, we aren’t prepared to receive guests when they come to class or fellowship events.
Prepare Your Place
Image isn’t everything, but perception can be. Your concern for people must be evident in the quality of all things connected to your class. Plan and carry out activities with guests in mind. Communication and publicity must be sharp. Your class setting should be conducive to fellowship and interactive Bible study. It also needs to look relevant in appearance. If people sense that you care enough to prepare for them, they will want to be around you and will listen to what you have to say.
Get started on lessons early. Give yourself time to collect ideas, illustrations, and mull over important issues. Resources will not make themselves relevant and practical, nor will they adapt to your students without your touch. Don’t expect to get more out of the lesson than you put into it. Above all, pray and seek to be directed by the Holy Spirit in all you do. Lessons and evangelistic efforts will lack long-term power and effect unless you spend time in God’s presence, discovering what He wants to do in your own life, as well as the lives of your students.
Evangelism Prepare Your Students, Structure, and Strategy
Structuring for growth means getting students involved. If they have a sense of ownership and feel good about what’s going on, they’re more apt to feel at ease about bringing friends to class. Keeping thorough and accurate attendance and prospect records is key. You can only minister effectively to the people you keep track of. In order to grow, you must bring in new people and keep the ones already there. Good records help you follow up with those coming in and those who could be slipping out. Records allow you to track progress, set goals, promote, and publicize more thoroughly.
Questions Students Ask before Getting Involved What happens during the Sunday School hour can make or break other outreach efforts. Activities, invitations, and involvement will yield little or no growth and stability unless class presentations are relevant, meet needs, and help develop relational connections. The following questions are on kids’ minds before they decide to attend your class.
Who else will be there?
The more relational connections a person develops with others in your class, the more likely he or she is to show up. The social environment must be conducive to building relationships. The activity and discussion must facilitate opportunities for people to get better acquainted.
Will I enjoy it?
Students don’t necessarily expect laugh-out-loud, action-packed amusement, but they do want to feel good about time spent in Sunday School. Even “heavy” topics are often conveyed more effectively when you “lighten up.” That doesn’t preclude being seriously passionate in your presentation because enthusiasm is contagious. But sharpen your sense of humor by being more observant in real life and relying on good resources. Using variety and incorporating technology will also help students gain and retain more from your class.
What difference will this make in my life?
People will get up and out to class on Sunday morning if they are convinced that it will enhance their lives in a practical way. If what they’re learning has a positive influence with friends, at school, on the job, with their families, and in their attitudes, they won’t want to miss. This requires teaching in relevant terms and reserving enough time in class to discuss and consider the practical application of truth.
need to be encouraged and equipped to share their faith effectively in a cynical world. If you want to know the questions on students’ minds—ask.
How can I contribute?
If you don’t give people opportunity to get into the action, they probably won’t stick with you for long. From newcomers’ initial visits, they must sense that there could be a role for them to fill if they choose.
Will I meet God there?
The most persuasive means of communicating God’s Word is to give Him the opportunity to take action in people’s lives right on the spot. If we expect signs to confirm the ministry of the Word (Mark 16:20), we must reserve some time in class for personal ministry and prayer. This doesn’t mean that we overwhelm newcomers with an intimidating display of spirituality. However, most people won’t reject prayer. The fact that you care enough to pray with them and be there when they need someone can make a strong impression on an unbeliever.
Will I get answers?
It’s easier for students to see how truth relates to life when it provides answers to their questions. Lessons should deal with a lot of “whys” and “howtos.” Unbelievers need to have their faith-blocking issues resolved. Believers
TH E School is back in session, and students are looking for ways to start the year right. Some are focused mainly on their friends. Many are into extracurriculars. And, yes, there are those whose primary concern is studying. All of these things are good and have their place. But keeping them in balance can be a challenge, especially with all the difficulties and challenges facing students today. This unit will help your teens learn how to make the most of their time in school and to take advantage of everyday learning opportunities. They will also consider how to deal properly with authority, and handle the hassles and pressures of academiaâ€”all while becoming A+ students in Godâ€™s grade book.
unit, make time for a brief in-class graduation party. Appoint or have students select a “valedictorian” to say a few inspiring words. When he or she concludes, pass out mock diplomas and cookies or other treats. Conclude the celebration in a purposeful spirit by praying that each of your students will have a successful school year and grow in commitment to Christ. You may also wish to pray for any school-related needs or issues that have been mentioned during the course of the unit.
new school year, coordinate with the pastor and other teachers to have the church’s students create their own “New School Year’s Resolutions.” For example, students might resolve to make the honor roll, earn an athletic letter, get a part in a school play, start a Bible club, or spend a half hour in prayer before school each morning. Students can write their resolutions, anonymously if desired, on small index cards or poster board to be displayed on a special board in the hallway. After a few weeks, the teachers should refer back to the resolutions and see how their students are doing in keeping them. Make sure those who are struggling get the help they need to succeed. Encourage students to demonstrate Christlikeness in all of their endeavors and pray that their activities and accomplishments can provide a platform for graciously sharing the love of Jesus with classmates.
and staff members at the local school or schools. Hold a Friday night activity in which students make cards or write brief notes thanking school employees and acknowledging them for their dedication. Make sure the students understand that their remarks must be positive and encouraging. Criticism is strictly off-limits. Provide snacks. Limit the event to two to three hours. If the work can’t be done in that amount of time, consider holding a second event or assigning homework. Drop the cards and notes off at the school office or ask students to deliver them. If your church leaders are open to the idea, invite local school officials and teachers to a special service on Sunday or Wednesday in which you take time to recognize, honor, and pray for them. A brief message in the service could focus on gratitude toward leaders and the importance of teaching and instruction.
community OPTION >>
Giving Honor: Obtain the names of the teachers
church OPTION >>
Resolution Solutions: As teens embark on a
classroom OPTION >>
Pomp and Cookies: As you complete this
SEP 6, 20
UNIT 1 >> STUDY 1
Making the Grade
Main texts for class presentation:
Proverbs 4:1–13; 9:9,10; Daniel 1:1–20; Colossians 3:23,24
KEY VERSE Proverbs 4:13
Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life (NIV). Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go: keep her; for she is thy life (KJV).
Pop Quiz • •
Trivia game Small prize (e.g., soft drinks)
Sign Me Up • Paper • Crayons
School Scenes •
Young Teen RESOURCE item School Scenes
What comes to mind when you think back to your junior high or middle school days? Making friends, feeling awkward, and trying to figure out where you fit in would top the list for most people. Learning is often the last thing on a junior high or middle school student’s mind. Things change when we become teachers ourselves. Although some students may have difficulty appreciating their educational opportunities, it may help to give examples of valuable things that you learned from your time in school. Learning opportunities surround us. Some, like learning a new song or game, are fun. Others aren’t—or at least don’t seem to be. Some students enjoy school. They like learning new things about themselves and their world. Other students see school as forced captivity; they’re just “serving their time.” Students who feel this way may be frustrated because they don’t see the reason behind what they are being taught. Others struggle because their learning styles don’t match their teachers’ presentation methods. Some may be overwhelmed by the seemingly constant challenges facing them as Christians in a post-Christian environment. As you prepare to teach this lesson, consider your own attitude about education. Are you seeking to learn new things every day? Ask God to give you a student’s heart, as well as a heart for students.
Hot Potato Habits •
Small ball or potato
Measure of Success •
Do You Have Good •
Young Teen RESOURCE item Do You Have Good Study Habits? • Index cards • Pens/pencils
Be True to Your School Music Connection •
“I’m Listening” by Chris McClarney from the album Breakthrough
the Big Idea?
Working hard in school can be a way to honor God and improve yourself.
does it matter?
God expects us to take our spiritual and intellectual growth seriously.
do I live it?
Accept the challenge to study hard, make good choices, and honor God with your attitude toward education.
INTEREST THEM Activity Option: Pop Quiz
As students arrive, ask them a few rounds of questions from a trivia >> game. Give the student who answers the most questions correctly a prize (e.g., a soft drink or new pencil). Then discuss these questions: • Where or how did you learn the answers to the questions? • Are these kinds of games easy or difficult? Why?
How would you define education? Why is it important?
Explain that learning opportunities surround us. Some we may enjoy,
like playing or learning new games. On the other hand, studying for a test may not be much fun at all. Some people enjoy school. They like learning new things about themselves and their world. Others see school as forced captivity. Regardless of how you view school, let’s look at ways you can make the most of it.
STUDY OVERVIEW Explain that today’s study considers •• •• ••
what it means to value instruction, how being a diligent learner brings honor to God, and the rewards associated with learning.
1 Doing Your Best Activity Option: Sign Me Up
Have students divide into pairs for a “Back-to-School” sign-making race. Distribute a piece of paper and two crayons per pair. Before they start, announce a few small but important stipulations (see sidebar). The first team to follow all the instructions and still produce a legible sign wins.
Sign Me Up Stipulations:
1. The sign must be legible. 2. The sign must have the words “Back to School” and the initials of the two artists. 3. They cannot use a table. 4. They cannot use their hands or mouths to write or hold the paper.
teacher HINT >>
that the signs look a bit rough but that was what you expected given the circumstances. What was important was following the instructions and completing the work.
Read or let a volunteer read Proverbs 4:1–6. ?
Why is learning important? What are some things we need to learn while we are young?
Ask students to explain why it can sometimes be difficult to keep a positive outlook about school and the learning that takes place there.
List on the board in one column what students think is easy about school.
In another column, list what they think is difficult about school. Discuss the correlation between how difficult things seem and how much we enjoy them. Point out that some things we consider difficult might turn out to be things we enjoy the most.
Explain that there are things about school that can be tough, but school
is still a necessary part of life. Choosing to make the best of an imperfect situation is one of the ways we can honor God with our attitude.
Read or let a volunteer read Daniel 1:1–7. Explain that Daniel and the other Israelites were deported as captives
teacher HINT >>
and given Babylonian names. They were to observe Babylonian customs, eat Babylonian food, and learn the language and literature.
“My students won’t talk!” A series of questions can be used just like any series of statements or points you could make. Even if your students aren’t inclined to respond, posing the questions will engage their thinking in a deeper way, even if you proceed to simply state the information that follows. But don’t be afraid of a few moments of silence. Remember that students are just hearing the questions for the first time and may need time to process their thoughts before responding. If you don’t want to use the questions, simply turn them into statements and summarize the information that follows.
How do you think Daniel felt about his Babylonian classes?
How would you feel about having to adapt to a new culture against your will? How do you think Daniel and his friends felt? (They probably didn’t like it, but if Daniel and his friends had chosen negative attitudes, they likely wouldn’t have been picked for leadership later. And they might have found themselves facing execution.)
What might have been some of the reasons that Daniel and his friends chose to be cooperative? (Possibilities include wanting to honor God, fear, and recognizing the opportunity before them. Regardless, they decided to do their best, despite the circumstances.)
Discuss with students the practical importance of education. Allow them to comment and don’t criticize if their views differ from yours.
on the board the classes or subjects your students are studying in school. Ask them what they are learning in each subject and how that knowledge might be helpful in the future.
Explain that Daniel was probably already well educated according to
Jewish standards, but his Babylonian education helped propel him into positions of leadership where God could use him to influence an entire kingdom. Even though Daniel and his friends were in a situation not of their choosing, with God’s help they acted wisely and achieved greatness.
2 Dealing with Challenges Read or let a volunteer read Proverbs 9:9,10. ? According to this passage, what’s the
learning and wisdom? Does learning automatically produce wisdom? Why or why not? (We gain wisdom by being teachable. God encourages lifelong learning. But wisdom is knowing what to do with knowledge, particularly as it relates to honoring God. Putting God’s Word into action is the first step toward gaining true wisdom.)
Explain that not all of the choices students make at school deal with Ask for volunteers to tell about a time when they were taught something in direct opposition to their Christian beliefs. What did they do? Where did they turn for advice or a solution?
Read or let a volunteer read Daniel 1:8–14. ?
How did Daniel respond to the challenge of dealing with what he considered “defiled” food? (God gave Daniel the wisdom to propose a test to the guard appointed over the four captives from Judah.)
that Daniel worked within the existing boundaries of the culture where he was but continued to give God the first priority. He followed the channels of authority and respectfully made his request.
How do you respond when you’re asked to do something you disagree with, or when you are denied something you feel you have a right to? Why is it important to try to work as best as you can within the existing situation or framework? (Although we may want to demand our rights and do exactly what we want, calmly presenting our case and showing respect for others’ authority honors God.)
Defiled Food? Your students may wonder why food from a king’s table would be considered defiled. It wasn’t that the food was full of dirt or bugs. The problem was that it wasn’t prepared according to the teachings of Israel’s Law (and may have been offered to idols). In the Old Testament, keeping the Law was one of the main ways that God’s followers showed their devotion to Him (Exodus 20:6; 1 Samuel 15:22).
background background INFO >> INFO >>
education issues. Other issues will arise, giving them opportunities to make wise choices—demonstrated by actions—that reflect their faith.
Activity Option: School Scenes
the class into pairs and use the Young Teen RESOURCE item >> Divide School Scenes to provide each pair with a case study. Allow each pair to
present their problem and solution to the class. (If your class is large, make extra copies and give the same scene to two or more pairs. If the class is small, give each pair more than one scene.)
Ask students if they think God cares about their grades. Discuss why it’s important for them to give their best effort in all their classes.
Explain that developing good study habits is one way to honor God. Activity Option: Hot Potato Habits
Give students a few minutes to think of good and bad study habits they >> or their friends use. Then toss a ball (or a potato) to a student and say “bad habit” or “good habit.” The student who catches the ball must name a habit that fits the category just named. That student should then toss the ball to another person and name a c ategory, and so on.
Explain that hard work isn’t necessarily efficient work. In many cases, hardworking students could benefit from improved study habits. Students who struggle despite good study habits can ask God for help. He knows how important learning is and wants to help them as He helped Daniel. If they remain faithful and work diligently, God will help them.
3 Learning Has Rewards ?
What determines a person’s success? (Students are likely to mention such things as luck, education, and knowing the right people. Hopefully, some will mention God and hard work. Although true success is hard to define, God’s Word tells us what is important.)
Read or let a volunteer read Proverbs 4:7–13. Activity Option: Measure of Success
Write “Success” on the board and list responses to these questions: >> •What do you think of when you hear this word?
•How do you think God measures success? Compare our criteria for success with God’s. Point out that part of God’s measure includes our response to learning opportunities He gives us.
Explain that learning isn’t always easy or fun, but as Daniel’s situation illustrates, there are rewards.
Read or let a volunteer read Daniel 1:15–20. •• Self-improvement
Explain that an obvious, but often overlooked, benefit of learning is self-improvement.
How does learning affect how we view ourselves? (It gives us a sense of accomplishment and boosts our confidence. God has gifted each of us. By dedicating our gifts to Him, we become who He wants us to be.)
Explain that the sacrifice made by Daniel and his friends paid off. The king favored them over his other advisers. While the favor of people can change, when we are faithful to God, we’ll experience His favor. God rewards hard work and dedication even if no one else notices.
In what ways does God show favor to His people? (Examples of God’s favor might include health, protection, insight, ease of learning, skill, etc. However, the best evidence of God’s favor toward all of us is that He sent Jesus to take our punishment.)
Preparation for the Future
Explain that hard work and dedication usually lead somewhere good.
There is often a direct link between hard work and opportunity. Many think of success in terms of money, power, and prestige, but true success comes when we consistently do our best out of love for God.
Ask teens to explain what they think God expects of them in various areas of their lives, including academics.
Read or let a volunteer read Colossians 3:23,24. Explain that God expects His children to value instruction and to do their best, working as if they are working for Him.
Activity Option: Do You Have Good Study Habits?
Distribute pencils and copies of the Young Teen RESOURCE item Do You >> Have Good Study Habits? Allow students a few minutes to complete the sheet and then hand out index cards. Have students write at least one good study habit they would like to develop or improve and how they plan to go about it. Remind them to make prayer a part of their plan.
INVOLVE THEM Activity Option: Be True to Your School
If your class is large, split into groups representing the various schools >> students attend. Have teens share school-related needs and then pray with their groups for these needs. If your class is small, ask students to share school-related needs and then pray as a class for each school.
Discuss with students today’s YT Student Guide story, A Teacher Named
It’s the account of a Native American who was kidnapped by >> Squanto. Europeans, became a Christian, and later managed to return to North America. By taking advantage of learning opportunities—even while captive—he grew in knowledge and became a teacher to the Pilgrims.
Activity Option: Music Connection
Play the song “I’m Listening” by Chris McClarney from the album >> Breakthrough. Discuss the students’ relationships with fellow Christians at school. Think of these friends as family members in God’s family. Also consider the role Christian education has in your life. Discuss the priorities of math, science, and other subjects compared with Bible study.
INSPIRE THEM The Basic Message: •
Activity Option: School Prayer
Have students get in pairs or groups of three and encourage each stu>> dent to share with his or her partners one prayer request related to the school year. It could be to do better in a class, make the cut for a team, be a witness to non-Christian friends, or any other issue. Encourage each group member to offer a brief prayer for one of the other requests in his or her group.
Ask Yourself: 1. Do students understand the importance of making the best of their school situations? 2. Are they aware of the rewards of giving education their best? 3. Have they had an opportunity to pray and commit to God their school-related challenges?
teacher HINT >>
WHAT: Working hard in school can be a way to honor God and improve yourself. WHY: God expects us to take our spiritual and intellectual growth seriously. HOW: Accept the challenge to study hard, make good choices, and honor God with your attitude toward education.
Conclude by reminding students the most important study they can
undertake is the study of God’s Word. Remind them God cares about every aspect of their lives, including their struggles at school. Urge them to seek God’s help and remind them their best is good enough.
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