What we’re teaching the youth this Sunday, Jan. 3

Here’s what’s in store for this Sunday:

Sunday School


Journey to Freedom:  Secret scars of self-injury

Self-injury might sound like an unusual topic for a youth group to talk about, but research shows that self-injury rates for adolescents are around 20-23 percent (2 out of 10). That same research suggests the age of onset for self-injury is typically 13 to 14 years old, with increasing numbers among 18- and 19-year-old young adults.

This Sunday, our students will look to Scripture as we dig beneath the surface of self-injury into understanding our innate value, identity, and purpose. We’ll explore Psalm 139 to uncover important truths: God intimately knows everything about us, God will never abandon or forsake us, and God has rescued us and set us on a mission to help other people who are hurting.

We’ll also look at Mark 5, where Jesus encountered a man who experienced tremendous suffering. Jesus did not overreact to this man but instead entered into his suffering and offered healing. It can get messy when addressing complex problems like self-injury, but Jesus proved that he is more powerful than anything that ails us.

This week, I encourage you to spend a few minutes talking with your teenager about our lesson. Fuel your conversation with these questions:

  • What causes behaviors like self-injury?
  • What challenges do we face when the only voices we hear are filled with discouragement and negativity?
  • What are the rewards of having another person truly know you—who you are, what motivates you, and what struggles you face?
  • In light of your group discussion this week, what common lies do you hear from God’s enemy regarding your identity, value, and purpose?
  • What’s the best way to help if you’re tempted to self-injury?

If your child has struggled with self-injury or if you want to know more about this behavior, you can read about it here: “A Parent’s Guide to Recognizing Self-Injury” (available for free at simplyyouthministrycontent.com/freebies/Parents_Guide.doc).

Please let me know if there is any way I can help you or your family this week. Thanks for all your prayers for our students and our ministry!

Your partner in ministry,


What we’re teaching this week, Nov. 8

Take a look at what we will be teaching in Sunday School and Fuel!

Sunday School

6th grade, “Identified

7th grade, “God’s Proven Control

8th grade, “Silver and Gold I Do Not Have

9th grade, “Not a Timid Response

10th-11th grade, “The Discipline of Giving

12th grade, Current events and worldview


We’ll be launching a new series on the topic of lifestyle, with an emphasis on choosing and living wisely. Our goal is to provide a very practical series of conversations about issues teenagers are facing today: drugs and drinking, anger, entitlement, and laziness.

The first lesson focuses on drug use and teenage drinking and how we need to practice self-control in order to avoid the dangers they present. During this lesson, our students will discuss how Jesus is capable of radically transforming their lives. We’ll challenge our teenagers to consider what the best choices are for them and how they can listen to Jesus over other voices in our culture.

Here are some questions that can keep the conversation going with your teenager:

  • How would you summarize our culture’s attitude about drug use or alcohol use by teenagers?
  • When it comes to drinking and drugs, why do you choose self-control over listening to other voices—or why do you find it difficult to exercise self-control?
  • Tell us about the negative effects of drugs and alcohol that you’ve seen in another person’s life. You don’t have to tell us who the person is, just the results that you’ve witnessed.

Have a blessed week!

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What we’re teaching this week, Nov. 1

Take a look at what we will be teaching in Sunday School and Fuel!

Sunday School

6th grade, “Jesus’ Advance Man

7th grade, “The Flood

8th grade, “The Church’s Message

9th grade, “Without Delay

10th-11th grade, “The Discipline of Fasting

12th grade, Current events and worldview


We’re wrapping up our study on community, and so far it’s been a powerful time of encouragement about the power of others in our lives.

Our third and final lesson focuses on 2 Corinthians 5, where Paul taught about the ways our stories of freedom and transformation can impact others. When our lives have been made new through faith in Jesus, we are called to be ambassadors for Christ. We will encourage our students to see their lives as stories that invite others into relationship with God through Jesus.

As you go through the week, help reinforce this teaching in your teenager’s life by asking these kinds of questions as you have the opportunity:

  • What does it mean to be reconciled with God, and how does that change a person’s story?
  • How might you respond to a Christian who feels disappointed because his or her story is “ordinary” and doesn’t seem to feature any dramatic, life-changing moments?
  • Where and when do you find it most difficult to be an ambassador for Jesus? How do you need Jesus’ help in those places or moments?
  • How can you use your unique story to invite others into a relationship with Jesus and reconciliation with God?

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What we’re teaching this week

Take a look at what we will be teaching in Sunday School and Fuel!

Sunday School

6th grade, “Better Than New

7th grade, “Firm Convictions

8th grade, “Every Opportunity

9th grade, “Squeeze: The Enemy Within

10th-11th grade, “His plan vs. Mine


We will be covering the 5 Purposes for the first 5 weeks.  Our first purpose:  Fellowship.

Parent Breakfast on Sep. 13

We have a dynamic year planned for our youth ministry, and we want to make sure you are in the know about what is happening in “RYM.”  With that in mind, you are invited to a special parent breakfast during the Sunday School hour on September 13.  Just come to the Barn at 9:40.  You will get a great meal, see our opening Sunday School time, mingle with our youth workers, and learn about what’s new in the youth ministry.  This includes:

  • Get familiar with our existing programs:  Sunday School, Fuel, Waves of Grace (choir & bells), and Ignition.
  • Learn about our two sponsor children – Carlos and Patrick.  We take an offering for them every Sunday.
  • See the schedule of upcoming overnight trips for the year (see attached sheet).  Early bird pricing and registration is happening now.
  • Get connected – make sure you are receiving our communications so you stay in the know.
  • Learn about how you can be involved.

I look forward to seeing you there.  If you would like to bring a dish, please contact Ken Marshall.

-Rev Kev

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Youth Counter Culture

This August our youth Sunday School time will be combined in the Barn and focused on what it means to live like a Christian in our present culture.  With the massive cultural shifts that have taken place in our day, our students are being increasingly forced to choose where they stand.  The danger they face particularly is the temptation to jettison God’s truth in favor of the current culture’s ideals.  This series points students first to a zeal for God’s glory and builds a foundation of the gospel before diving into “the issues.”  That way we have the basis for engaging these things.

These are the topics we will cover in August:
Aug 2: Culture
Aug 9: Human Life
Aug 16:  Sexuality
Aug 23: Race

Youth will want to join in for dynamic teaching and discussion.  We meet at 9:40am in the Barn.  Parents, do you want to be able to discuss these important topics with your students?  Attend the Adult “Merge” Sunday School in the Chapel on the same weeks for the same Counter Culture study.

By the way, August 30 is Promotion Sunday!

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Help your teen through the storm

Want to connect on a deeper level with your teen?  Download this sheet and talk about life’s storms with them.  We all go through storms.  It’s those who are prepared who can stand strong through a storm.  Jesus taught His disciples a powerful lesson as he calmed a terrifying storm:  He is in control.

I have been impressed with these devotional handouts.  They are interactive, easy to follow, and they go hand in hand with our Sunday School lessons.  Better still, when you use them, you’ll often get to go deeper with your teen.  Let me know what you think.

The History of Words with Friends

Do you know how Words with Friends became popular?  This sheet will give you the low-down.  Not only that, it will begin great dialogue about our own speech and the difficulty of taming the tongue.

“Dear God, Help me pass this test!”

You’ve probably seen the bumper sticker:  “As long as there are tests, there WILL BE prayer in schools!”  This week our youth are discussing prayer as part of a six-week study on spiritual disciplines.  Our series takes place during the Sunday School hour.

How is your prayer life? Use this discussion sheet to bring up the topic of prayer at home with your teen.  Take the time to pray more together as a family.  One great way to do this is to get the prayer sheets from church, and pray for people throughout the week.

Core Beliefs – Creator God

This Sunday, the youth begin their Core Beliefs study.  What is Core Beliefs?  It is a series that covers the beliefs that are so central to our faith that they define us as Christians.  We cover 3 of those 6 beliefs in the fall every year, and then 3 more in the spring…well, February.

Our focus this week is on Creator God.  We do not have a family discussion sheet for this one.  What we do have is a set of study notes.  This is part of what our teachers use, and it is also distributed to our older youth.  Note that toward the end there are implications of this belief – the “so what” regarding Creation.  Use those or even the FAQs at the end to get into discussion at home.

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