Enhancer of Joy
Lesson Developed by
Mary Elizabeth Moore and Yara Gonzalez-Justiniano
Tips to Prepare
This exercise is unusual in that the Gather and Engage portions of the exercise will be done with youth in advance of your meeting. When you are gathered as a group, you will Reflect on the experience.
- In advance of your regular gathering, email the outline of the exercise and list of questions to youth.
This conversational project can be especially meaningful if the youth engage across some form of diversity – a conversation that invites them into the delights, challenges, and insights that emerge as people relate across culture, ethnicity, region, class, sexual/gender identity, ability, age, or theological perspective.
Introduction for Leaders
One important approach to youth ministry can be to engage in meaningful conversations with others. In the practice described below, you can invite young people to engage with one other person in their congregation or community – another young person, or perhaps a child or adult they would like to know better.
- Begin by selecting someone to have a meaningful conversation with – it can be a family member, friend, member of your church, or someone you want to get to know better.
- Explaining the reason you are doing this – to have a meaningful conversation with another person for the sake of mutual respect. We ask you also to promise the person complete confidentiality and then abide by that promise. Please explain that you are not asking them to share personal matters that they do not want to share. This is not an analytic interview, but a “get to know you better” interview that respects the dignity of the other.
- The following questions can guide you, but feel free to adapt and change them. Because the purpose is to have a significant conversation, you can just follow the flow of the conversation without a rigid set of questions and without note-taking.
- Would you be willing to share something about your life story and important people in your life?
- What were some important turning points in your life so far?
- What values do you hold most dear? Why?
- What concerns worry you most? Why?
- When have been important moments of joy for you? What made it possible for you to find joy in that moment?
- Gather your group at your regular meeting time.
- Ask youth to give a brief overview of the person they engaged in conversation and ask them to reflect on how they felt before, during and after the conversation.
- Reflect collectively on the feelings that came up. Were there any common themes or feelings?
- How are we enriched by having intentional, focused conversations with people who are outside of our regular circle of friends and companions?
Close in prayer.