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Wednesday Night Teen Class Materials

Don’t Pay for These Resources–Just Let me Know How they Worked

As with the Sunday school resources on the other page, I provide the .pdf copies of all these youth group lessons as a resource for those out there still trying to teach teens in congregations intelligently and conscientiously. I do not expect any money in exchange for them; all I ask is that, if you happen to use this material (and, I hope, modify it for your own context), that you mention to the class the source of the ideas and that you come back here and let me know that you have used the materials in the comments section.? I’d like to hear your experiences, both because I love my fellow youth volunteers (and even you youth ministers) and because reading your stories might help me become a better teacher.? So take what you need, teach well, and talk to me when you’ve finished!

Apologia: One Approach to Christian Thinking

At the request of our youth minister, I taught a brief series on Christian apologetics in April and May of 2009. I didn’t know exactly how I’d approach it going in, but the end product I’m pleased with. The series starts with a self-examination lesson and proceeds to examine philosophical postulates (called -isms in the lessons), the structure of divine revelation in the Scriptures, and the actual processes and vocabularies of science. By doing things in this order, the end of lesson four can actually dig into questions like the Big Bang, how babies are made, and other such scientific questions with a bit more nuance than “Science vs. Religion” debates often demonstrate. The series wraps up with an apologia for the actual practices of a Sunday morning service in the Christian Church, a reminder that when we offer a reasoned account of “Christianity” we’re not talking about some abstract system but actual concrete practices like the eucharist, preaching, and sharing monetary gifts.

Christian Traditions: The Strange and Different People who Say we Worship Jesus

Folks looking through these should recognize immediately that the “we” in the series title is the very particular “we” that I call the Stone-Campbell tradition.  My aim in this series is to demonstrate that other Christian traditions (and I kept that category relatively broad) do in fact root their particular identities in the same New Testament that we read (if you’re familiar with the history of our movement, you should appreciate that move) but that their historical manifestations are different.

I’m sure that my representations here will not satisfy partisans of the traditions represented, and I do apologize for that: my aim here is to give my students as sympathetic a brief glance as I can without pretending that differences aren’t there, and my vocabulary and categories are all aimed at that end.

Elijah: Prophet of the North

After the Christian Traditions series wrapped up in 2011, I wanted to do something more strictly text-of-the-Bible-based.  So we fired up some of my favorite stories for a short series on one of the lesser-known great figures of the Bible.

History of the Bible and Bible Translation

The last file is actually a lesson that I used for a one-shot adult Sunday school lesson, but it fit so nicely, Miracle Max said I could keep it! No, wait…

Phenomenon, Law, Theory

I’ve been griping long enough about how church youth groups never take on science, so this little seven-lesson boogie-woogie is my attempt to do so.  PLT focuses on three parts of the scientific vocabulary in several areas of science:

  • Phenomenon: Something that happens in the world.
  • Law: A reliable and predictable pattern in those phenomena.
  • Theory: A detailed explanation for laws that also allows an observer to anticipate phenomena.

Without using any Kuhnian vocabulary, in other words, I’m teaching our teens about the theory-ladenness of scientific observation and what that means for the Christian.  The handouts here are the seven parts of the series.

Revelation

Folks might think I’m nuts.  I probably am, but I’m having fun being nuts.  These handouts are the fruits of my efforts to teach a controversial Scriptural texts to a group of teenagers.  As with all attempts to teach teens, it’s been hit and miss, but here are the fruits of my efforts nonetheless.

A Spiritual Toolbox: Four Ways to Build a Mental Life on the Rock of Jesus Christ

I put this together in more of a hurry than I would have liked, but it’s not horrible. I tried to balance the content of Christian practices with suggestions for actual daily practice. Obviously the document here, that I give to students, needs some discussion notes to go with it, but this is a page for ideas, not for lazy people who don’t want to do their own work!

A Spiritual Toolbox

Who Are We?: A Survey of the Stone-Campbell Movement

I taught this series to the Wednesday night teen class at Athens Christian Church in March and April of 2009 at the request of one of our elders. The first lesson situates the Stone-Campbell movement in a broader Church history, the second reviews some of our distinctive practices and notes their roots in the text of the New Testament, and the third briefly discusses our relationships with other historical Christian traditions and reviews the three-week sweep.