We live in a sarcastic world… and tv, gifs, and social media jump at the opportunity to profit from it.
Sometimes a one-liner can have us rolling on the floor, and other times it cuts to the heart.
In our youth groups, we can promote an atmosphere where students come and go feeling valued and loved, rather than dodging word bullets.
Use this lesson as a reminder to be kind to others, and to encourage your students to be encouragers. 🙂
-Nick Diliberto, Junior High Ministry
JUNIOR HIGH LESSON ON ENCOURAGING OTHERS
Written by Brian Preiser
Bible: Hebrews 10:23-25
Bottom Line: Christ calls us to be encouragers; the way we live and treat others can either build them up or tear them down.
None – Just Students!
OPENING GAME: FAST FACTS
Have your students stand in a circle.
If your group is larger, it may be best to divide the group into smaller circles.
Circles should be no more than 10 students at a time.
Each student must share a fact about him or herself; it is helpful if the leader gives them a topic start with.
For example, it may be favorite food, favorite sports team, language they wish they could learn, etc.
Each person will go around the circle, and share their fact.
The goal is to be able to memorize what each person has said.
Each person must memorize the answer of the person on his or her RIGHT.
Continue and see who can name the most facts from the group correctly.
The winner of the game is the student who gets the most facts correctly without messing up.
Optional: Give each student 30 seconds to name as many facts about the group as they can.
Award a prize to the student who can recall the most facts.
It’s no secret that many of us desire to make a difference in the world.
Whether we want to become a business leader, a teacher, a plumber, a police officer, a mom, a dad, or a pastor, whatever else you desire to do – many of us want to make an impact.
Often, we limit ourselves from making the impact that we know God has called us to make because of fear.
Maybe we think that if we act different, then people will make fun of us.
If we treat people kind, then people will think it’s weird.
If we compliment someone or tell someone something nice people will assume that we are only acting that way to get something out of them for ourselves.
We live in a world where it can be awkward to receive a compliment.
In fact, it has become easier for us to take an insult from someone then it is to accept a compliment.
Jesus calls us to be different.
Our job, of course, is to point people towards Jesus Christ.
But our job also is to show love those in our ‘world’.
In today’s verse, the author of Hebrews talks about encouraging each another.
By a show of hands, how many of you would admit that you are good at encouraging each other?
I love to encourage others, but sometimes, if I were to be honest, I can also be discouraging.
Whether it’s the way I act, or the way I talk, I sometimes find myself saying and doing things that aren’t the most encouraging.
This message isn’t about being encouraging 100% of the time.
I know for a fact that that isn’t possible.
But instead, we should try to encourage people, to be an encouragement, and a light in the dark world that we live in.
Read Hebrews 10:23-25.
I like how the verse starts with “Let us hold onto the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful” (NIV)
You see, even before this verse talks about encouraging each other it starts out with this idea of hope.
We know that the hope we have is because of what Jesus did for us on the cross.
He was a sacrifice for our sins, and because of His death, burial, and resurrection, our relationship with God is restored and we can experience eternal life.
But, if you don’t know this and truly understand it – then you can’t really encourage others.
The verse says that “He who promised… (Promised our hope) is faithful!”
That means that what Jesus said, He really meant.
So, as a result of understanding the hope that we have in Jesus, we are to “consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” (NIV)
Or in other words, because we understand what Jesus has done for us, let us now go and encourage others to experience the same thing.
Someone once said, “You might be the only Bible a person will ever read.”
This is so true.
Although the Bible is the #1 bestseller of all books in human history, there are still millions of people who will never read it.
In fact, most people who aren’t Christians judge what they think about God and Christianity, not based off of what they have read in the Bible, but instead based off of what they have seen in the life of Christians.
If you are the only Bible someone will read, do you look like Christ?
I don’t mean physically speaking, but does your life reflect the God you claim to worship?
The verse concludes with encouraging us to continue to meet together (to fellowship as believers) and to “encourage each other all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
By “Day” the author of Hebrews is referring to the day when Christ returns.
No matter what you believe about end times there is one thing that is true – Jesus is coming back.
Will we be a generation that waits for Jesus to return, and then once we see Him, start making a difference?
If we are going to be people that live out what we believe, then we must be willing to be encouragers.
Encouraging others should never be done out of obligation.
Most of us know what it feels like when someone says something nice to you, but you knew they didn’t really mean it.
Being an encourager comes from a true desire in one’s heart to care for others.
We encourage others because we want them to be the best at whatever they are doing.
We encourage others because we know that Jesus desires the best for them.
We encourage others because we love and care for them because Jesus loves and cares for us.
When it comes to being an encourager it may be hard, but it is crucial to making a difference in our generation.
Since we don’t know when Jesus is coming back, it is important that we strive to be an encouragement to others every single day.
God has placed you next to that student on the bus for a reason.
God has seated you next to certain people in your classes for a reason.
God places us in specific situations so that we can make a difference in the lives of others.
Don’t spend your whole life, treating each situation as if it doesn’t matter.
Instead, walk into every situation with the clear understanding that God has placed you there to be an encouragement to other people.
When we step out in faith, and are encouragers, even though it may be uncomfortable and awkward at times, that is when we will see God do amazing things.
SMALL GROUP DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
- What is the best compliment someone has ever given you?
- Why is it hard to be an encouragement to other people?
- What are some of the fears you have when it comes to trying to encourage someone?
- Where do you think these fears come from?
- How has God equipped you to encourage others?
- How are you encouraged when you read God’s Word?
- What is a Bible verse you could share with someone to encourage them?
- What is a way you can be an encouragement to your teachers this week?
- What is a way you can be an encouragement to your family this week?
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