Junior high students have questions… about everything!
Within your ministry, you can provide a safe place for students to ask the questions that are on their hearts and minds.
And when they share, you can offer encouragement and understanding.
Use this junior high lesson on dealing with doubt, based on Jude 20-22, to teach students that doubts, fears, worries, and unanswered questions provide an opportunity to grow in your faith.
– Nick Diliberto, Junior High Ministry
JUNIOR HIGH LESSON ON DEALING WITH DOUBT
Bible: Jude 20-22
Bottom Line: Doubts, fears, worries, and unanswered questions provide an opportunity to grow in your faith.
- 2 Packs of copy paper
- Painter’s tape
- Slips of paper and a pen
- Optional: Bedsheet
OPENING GAME: TWISTED PAPER AIRPLANE WARS
Divide students into two teams of equal size.
Set up a divider across the center of your room.
Teams will be required to fly their paper airplanes over the top of the divider throughout the game.
Optional: Have two leaders hold a bedsheet up as a barrier between the teams.
Use painter’s tape on the floor to mark an area about 5-feet behind the divider on each team’s side – the students must stay in that area.
Then, use the painter’s tape to mark another area 5-feet straight behind that area.
Give each team a pack of copy paper.
Write the following on slips of paper, fold them, and place in the bucket:
- Jump up and down
- Sit down
- Turn around – throw your planes backwards
- Lay down
- Stand on one foot
HOW TO PLAY THE GAME
Say: Raise your hand if you think you are a master paper airplane builder.
Each of your teams have been given a pack of paper and assigned one side of the room.
I’m going to give your teams 5 minutes to create as many paper airplanes as possible from your stacks of paper.
Give students five minutes to make their paper airplanes and put them in a pile on their team’s side.
On each of your team’s sides there is a DMZ – a De-Militarized Zone.
That is located between the two taped lines right behind where you are standing.
No one is allowed to go into or reach into the DMZ.
If you do, then your entire team will have to sit down for 30 seconds and stop throwing paper airplanes.
When I say GO, your teams will have 5 minutes to land as many planes in the opponent’s DMZ as possible.
They can block or intercept opponent’s planes and try to then send them into the
But, remember, you cannot physically enter the DMZ airspace.
There’s a twist to our “Twisted Paper Airplane War.”
I have a bucket full of commands that I will choose at random throughout the game.
Whenever I read a command, you will have to change how you are playing the game, until I read another command or say “Go back.”
When I say “go back,” you will return to the regular game play.
The commands will make the game more challenging, but I know you will do a great job!
If you didn’t finish creating paper airplanes before the game began, you can designate a few teammates that can keep creating more planes while the war is going on.
At the end of the game, we will determine the winning team based on how many airplanes are sitting inside, or at least 50% inside the opponent’s DMZ.
Say: That game would have been much easier without the extra challenges!
It was hard enough just to keep up with the paper airplanes that were being hurled at your team.
For some of you, it might have felt a little overwhelming, almost like you couldn’t catch up.
Sometimes our minds can feel like that – overwhelmed with questions, fears and doubts.
It might seem like things are being coming at you so fast that you can’t get control of your thoughts.
Ask: Have you ever laid down at night and as soon as your head hits the pillow you begin thinking about every single thing going on in your life – all at the same time?
Things like problems at school, struggles in your friendships, problems in your family, etc.
What does that feel like?
Allow a few responses from students. Share a personal story about a time you experienced overwhelming thoughts. What did you do?
Read Jude 20-22.
But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit,and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love.
And you must show mercy to those whose faith is wavering.
This scripture shows us the importance of being around those who will build us up, especially during those times when we are dealing with doubt or questions about our faith.
When a friend comes to you, expressing doubts about whether God is really there, does He care about their needs, will He answer prayer – that is an opportunity to encourage them.
You can reassure a friend or loved one that all of us experience moments of questioning God and the Bible instructs us to show mercy when we share our hearts with each other.
Maybe this verse is a reminder because it’s not something that we do instinctively.
Ask: Have you ever felt discouraged when you share an area that you are struggling in your faith? What happened?
Allow a few responses from students.
Doubts, fears, worries, and unanswered questions provide an opportunity to grow in your faith.
So, let’s take a quick look at each of those “opportunities” and see how we can encourage each other.
People experience doubt when they aren’t sure of something – when they have uncertainty.
Often, our doubts are simply moments that we are trying to figure things out because we can’t see evidence of how, what, or who we should believe.
We might doubt God’s love for us or wonder if he really cares and that could even be affected by how other people love or care about us – there’s always a reason why we feel a certain way.
But having doubt always leads to a choice – will I choose to believe, even though in my mind there isn’t a reason to? – that’s called faith.
Or will I give into my doubts and end up in a place where I am choosing to live in that feel of uncertainty.
God can meet us in the middle of our doubts.
When we come to him, sharing the areas that we are struggling to have faith, he understands and can provide guidance through his word, other people he sends our way, and peace and assurance that only he can give.
Fear always lead to an opportunity for our faith to grow.
How? Because the opposite of fear is faith.
Fear says, “something bad could happen and I don’t know what to do.”
Faith says, “no matter what happens, I can trust in God.”
God can give you the strength to overcome any fear you face when you choose to trust him.
Worry is allowing our mind to dwell on trouble or the possibility of trouble.
Proverbs 12:25says, “Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up.”
When others are struggling with worry, it’s an opportunity to encourage and build each other up.
When you put your mind and focus on God, and off of the things you are worried about, your faith will grow.
4. Unanswered Questions
As you go thought life you will have unanswered questions and you probably have already experienced a few…
Why did someone I love die?
Why did God allow my family to go through that tough situation?
Why doesn’t life seem fair?
In those moments you can either trust that God knows the reasons why to every situation in our life, or you can become stuck in the feelings that you don’t know what’s going on.
You will never have the answers to every question in your life, but you can know that God does and he is working his plan in your life as your trust in him.
This week I want you to think about some of the areas of struggle we talked about today – doubt, worry, fear, and unanswered questions.
Remember that God is always with you and walking beside you, even when you struggle or have doubts.
And you never have to suffer alone.
God has placed people in your life that love and care about you and are committed to helping you whether you are full of faith or facing your doubts.
Close in prayer.
SMALL GROUP DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
- How do you encourage others when they struggle with doubt? How do you show them mercy?
- How do you work through your feelings of doubt and unbelief
- Who are people in your life that you talk with about your doubts? How do they help you?
- Why isn’t it always instinctive to encourage one another? Do you think people like to see other people struggle? Why?
- What do you do when you feel overwhelmed with questions? What are some things you can do that will help calm your mind?
- How could surrounding yourself with the wrong people in times of struggle affect your relationship with God?
- In which area do you struggle the most: doubt, fear, worry, or unanswered questions?
- Name a person in the Bible or in your life that you have seen overcome their doubts and stand firm in their faith.
- Re-read Jude 20-22. Explain those verses in your own words. How does that scripture encourage you?
- Share an area that you feel like God has already given you strength to overcome. How are you different today than you were in the past?
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