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Ezekiel 17.22-24; Psalm 92.1-4,12-15; 2 Corinthians 5.6-10(11-13)14-17; Mark 4.26-34

Young people's session

In Mark’s Gospel, Jesus shares two parables about growth, patience and hope. As Jesus continues to draw crowds who gather to listen to his teaching, these parables speak about how this teaching is heard and received. The adventure of discipleship is how faith can grow from a small seed to a colossal plant with far-reaching branches if the right environment is provided.

This week we explore the environment in which God's kingdom values flourish. 

Extra ideas can be found by using the Jump to this week's menu on the right.

 

Prepare
Young people Session

Read Bible notes on Mark 4.26-34

The idea of God’s kingdom being like a mustard seed gives a clear idea of something big coming from something small, but the seed Jesus chooses is surprising. A mustard tree wasn’t an impressive tree, it was garden shrub – a reminder that God’s kingdom will appear in surprising places and may not be what we expect. Can you think of any surprising places you have seen God at work? Who were the people who in small ways grew your faith?

Try to help the young people understand that faith is more than rules or rituals; it is an adventure and they might be surprised where they see God at work.

Gather
Young people Session

Stretch it out5 minsW E

You will need: sticky tac.

  • Give each young person an equal-sized ball of sticky tac, and two minutes to create the longest line out of the ball. They can stretch it, roll it, etc. Encourage creativity.
  • Ask if they can think of examples in their lives of small things that have grown in importance. It might be a hobby, or how they have grown (in ways other than physically).

 

First impressions

You could also use the image and following questions to help introduce the theme.

Click on image to view larger version or use the Jump menu to go to This week's images.

  • What do you like or dislike about this ‘environment’?
  • What helps you to flourish?
  • Where do you see God’s kingdom values at work in your community?
Share the Word
Young people Session

Modern-day parable 15 minsW E

  • Ask for volunteers to read the passage, then discuss: What is a parable? What do you think Jesus was trying to teach his followers?
  • Split the young people into groups to act out the story of the mustard seed as a modern-day parable, e.g. a viral social media post. Ask them to include a section about how God’s values were able to flourish in the scenario they choose.
Explore and respond
Young people Session

Enviable environments10 minsW E

Create an ideal space in which to grow

You will need: catalogues/magazines; scissors, glue, paper.

  • Give out magazines and ask the young people to cut out and stick onto paper, things to create their own designer ‘environment’ which would best help them to flourish.

    Play the track ‘You Make Me New’, The Royal Royal on The Return of the King.

  • Discuss how our environment – the places where we live and learn – can help us.

 

Decorate plant pots 10 minsE S

Create a symbol of God’s values growing

You will need: plant pots, soil, seeds, marker pens. 

  • Together, plant seeds in pots. Talk about what they will grow into and what they need in order to grow.
  • Invite everyone to decorate the pots with words and phrases about God’s values that they want to grow in their life.
  • Discuss these values of God and ways they can help them flourish in their lives.

 

Birdsong prayer5 minsW E S A

Pray for those who need safe environments

You will need: recorded birdsong.

  • Discuss how an example of God’s kingdom values is caring for others.
  • Play birdsong on a phone/laptop. Ask the young people to close their eyes and think of birds finding shelter in a tree. Then pray for those for whom the right environment is difficult to find: those seeking refuge from war/danger, those needing help with mental health issues, those who are lonely.

 

Check-inConnecting faith with everyday, real-life issues 

 

Go with God

Consider together what you have explored, what that means for each of you and how it might influence your daily lives. 

      Play the track ‘Dimensions’, We Are Leo on The Rush & The Roar.

  • Place a big sheet of paper on the floor. Ask the young people to decorate the middle of the sheet so that it looks like a beautiful garden.
  • Invite them to write/draw around the garden examples of: small actions/words that have helped them to grow; examples they can think of where they have seen God’s values flourishing; anything they could do to help others grow in faith.

 

Go with God 24/7

Read Mark 4.30-32 every morning this week as a reminder that your actions, no matter how small they might seem, have consequences. Will they reveal God’s values or not?  W E A

 

Before you finish, give out the ROOTS at home resource to encourage faith at home.

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