Review background information on historical youth activism, the biblical narrative, as well as general information on building agency to get a better understanding of both the content and methodology of this lesson.
Chairs should be arranged so that students can see each other, in a circle or around a large table. Students should also have space to spread out and work in smaller groups.
In this lesson, participants will reflect on their communities and lives and explore what resources they need/have to begin to address these concerns. They will also begin to explore the ways that joy emerges in/from their active engagement in the world around them. Part of the biblical narrative will push them to explore both the biblical and historical examples of youth as faithful agents of change, as well as explore how they can participate in this type of active engagement.
In this session, youth will learn about historical youth faith leaders and change agents. Youth will also begin to apply the lessons from the leaders to their own lives and work in their communities. Youth will discuss the ways that joy and faithful communal action are connected.
Gather (10 minutes)
A Prayer for Living the Gospel
God of yesterday, today and tomorrow,
we call to mind your presence within us and around us.
Open our ears that we may hear your Word.
Open our hearts that we may understand your Word.
Open our mouths that we may speak your World.
Inspire us with the Gospel message,
that we may celebrate all that is life-giving,
restore hope where it has been lost,
and work to bring about change where it is needed.
May we live the Gospel with courage,
constancy and love.
May we be open to the challenge
of your call to true freedom.
May we be faithful to you in our daily choices and decisions.
May we make your love known
through our words and actions.
May the triune God reign in our hearts, now and forever.
Engage (30 minutes)
Activity: With My Own Two Hands
Practitioner’s Note: Surprisingly, more than a few teenagers have difficulty naming their own individual gifts, talents, and strengths. It may help to bring the rhetoric down to earth. Point out that the boy in the story did not have a possession or capacity that was exceptional or not possible for others to have. Nothing in theh story suggests that he was other than an ordinary kid at the event. What gift did the boy find in himself — in addition to the loaves and fishes?
Depending on the length of the session and/or how quickly one moves through the biblical narratives, students should also be invited to engage historical examples of youth who have been confronted with serious social/communal ills and chose to act in response. A succinct list is found at:
These historical examples can be presented as a powerpoint/prezi with students being encouraged to ask questions or to do further research on any examples that they are not familiar. The leader should have some basic familiarity with each example before presenting this in order to facilitate a discussion. Again, ask students to reflect on these historical examples and what they see/learn from them?
Practitioner’s Notes: Leaders can also identify current youth led movements and find short clips that illustrate gun violence activism or environmental activism.
Reflect (15 minutes)
Responding in Prayer and Action:
Practitioner’s Note: Take a listen/look on You Tube to see if your group will resonate: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aEnfy9qfdaU
Send Forth (5 minutes)
This resource includes supplementary materials: