Enhancer of Joy
Lesson Developed by
Dave Rahn and Ebonie Davis
Test Sabbath Rest with God and See For Yourself
Tips to Prepare
- Think carefully about how to lead the GREET
- Ask a few people to pray for the Holy Spirit to lead young people into next steps (REFLECT: INVITE)
- Index cards, pens for all
- Music that energizes
- Flip chart wall post-its and markers
Setting the Atmosphere
- Welcome, upbeat music as teens walk in
- Set the space to fit for a whole group mixer, then move into a semi-circle (ideally) where all can contribute easily
- Send the signal: This is an adventure in teamwork that we want to enjoy with God
Acts 2:42: They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
Young people will commit to testing daily and weekly habits that can equip them to enjoy life with God and avoid what makes them restless.
Dorothy Bass. Receiving the Day. San Francisco, CA: Josey-Bass, 2000. (This may be our favorite book to bring it all together, a great theological dive into Sabbath practice and plenty of tips to work on. The particular notion of habits is something we’ve developed by looking at Sabbath rest through the lens of social science research. Here’s a video recording of our Yale lecture: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SHUiJxsOelI )
Gather (5 minutes)
- Distribute index cards to everyone and have them describe (briefly) the regular habit they practice that contributes most positively to joy in their lives. Then direct them to move quickly around the room, grasping hands and exchanging index cards with as many people as they can while the music plays. When the music stops they should compare cards with whomever they’ve just shook hands, and together they need to assign ten points total to each of the two cards, distributing the points based on their agreement about which habit they think would be most helpful to Note that the points could be doled out evenly (5/5), totally lopsided (10/0) or anything in between. One of the pair should write the ‘score’ on each index card. Restart the music and repeat this process a few more times so that each card has a total of 4-5 scores written. After the final round ask each cardholder to add up the scores on the card they are holding and identify which habit in the room is the ‘clear winner.’
- Ask an adult leader to pray that each person will have the courage to explore new habits with God
- Intro: “We want to put time & effort (via gritty habits) where they will help us gain prevailing joy with God. If we commit to test what works best we can all benefit.”
Engage (25 minutes)
- Pull together in one group to see what four ‘Acts Church’ Bible passages reveal about their habit practices and the passion that motivated them. Grow both lists on a flip chart as you read these passages:
Acts 2:42-47 • Acts 4:23-37 • Acts 11:19-30 • Acts 20:7-11
Reflect (20 minutes)
- Continuing as one group, record on separate pages of easel size post it notes answers gained from group responses to the following two questions:
- “If we imitate an ‘Acts Church’ passion with habits that would work for us today, what are some things we could be seen doing?”
- “What barriers would we have to overcome to practice these habits?”
- Invite each person to privately consider (and write down) what immediate step she or he could take to overcome identified barriers and test ‘New Acts Church’ habits.
Send Forth (10 minutes)
- Ask who is willing to publicly share the habit testing learning step they intend to take, and give time for this.
- If no one specifically describes Sabbath keeping as something they want to test, ask for volunteers to join you in a ‘test exercise’ for the upcoming Sunday.
- ‘Popcorn Prayer’ where all are invited to pray aloud for the habit learning to be tested. Let everyone know they can pray as often as they wish in this format, as long as they only pray out in single sentences before another takes a turn.