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Scripture Search and Discussion: Living by the Spirit of Jesus

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This activity helps young people explore the four aspects of discipleship: knowledge, prayer and worship, community and service.

(25 minutes)

Before the session. Ask one of the participants to serve as a reader. Then, write each of the four following words or phrases on a separate sheet of paper. If your group is large, you might want to use newsprint so you can write large enough for everyone to see the signs. Post your signs and cover them until instructed to reveal them, or wait to post them.

  • knowledge
  • prayer and worship
  • community
  • service
  1. Tell the young people that the book of the Bible known as the Acts of the Apostles is the story of the beginning of the Church. The writer of Acts wanted to show how Christianity rose out of Judaism and how early Christians grew in the faith. The story begins with the Ascension of Jesus and includes what we have come to call Pentecost, the event during which the Holy Spirit came to the disciples, as Jesus had promised. This event is often called the "birthday of the Church."

    Ask the participants to form small groups of three or four. Give everyone a sheet of blank paper and a pen or a pencil. Tell them that they will hear a passage from the Acts of the Apostles that summarizes the activities of the early Christian Church. They should listen carefully and write on their sheet each different activity that is identified in the passage. When you are certain that the participants understand the task, ask the participant you recruited earlier to read Acts 2:41-46. Remind him or her to read slowly and deliberately to allow the others to listen and take notes. If the participants request it, have the person read the passage again.

  2. Explain that the task of their small group is to come up with four categories that the activities of the early Christians seem to fall into. They should do this by comparing their lists and then logically grouping the activities together under four different headings. If they seem confused by the directions, explain that if they were to group the activities of a typical group of teenagers under four headings, the headings might be "studying," "social life," "sleeping and eating," and "family time." Announce that they have about 5 minutes to decide on their headings.

  3. When the groups are finished, ask them to report the categories they came up with and the activities that fall under each category. The categories that emerge from their work should be roughly equivalent to the four listed below. But you may need to make connections for some of the categories. For example, the groups may not use the terms community and service. You may have to supply these terms in your discussion.
    • growth in knowledge ("They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching" [Acts 2:42].)
    • prayer and worship ("Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple" [Acts 2:46].)
    • community ("All who believed were together and had all things in common" [Acts 2:44].)
    • service ("And distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need" [Acts 2:45].)

  4. Uncover or post the signs you prepared before the session: "knowledge," "prayer and worship," "community," and "service." Comment as follows:
    As you discovered through the reading from Acts, early Christians regularly engaged in these four categories of activity. Their hunger for something that brought meaning to life led them on a search. In their search they were awakened to the fact that God truly lived among them in the resurrected Christ and the Holy Spirit. Their response took the forms of growth in knowledge, prayer and worship, community, and service as a means of living the message of Jesus, strengthened by the Holy Spirit. These activities helped them grow spiritually and deepened their hunger.
  5. Give each person four self-stick notes. Tell the young people that they are to brainstorm at least one concrete thing under each category that young people their age might do to engage in that category of activities today. They are to write the activity on a self-stick note and post it on the sheet of paper with its respective category name. To clarify, elicit from them an obvious answer in each category, such as the following:
    • knowledge--going to religious education classes
    • prayer and worship--attending Mass on Sunday
    • community--doing things with the youth group
    • service--helping out at the parish chili supper
When everyone has posted their suggestions, read them aloud and discuss them.

Acknowledgments

(This activity is adapted from The Challenge of Discipleship, a core course in the Horizons series, by Marilyn Kielbasa [Winona, MN: Saint Mary's Press, 1997], pages 27-28. Copyright © 1997 by Saint Mary's Press. Permission is granted for this activity to be used for classroom or campus ministry purposes. This activity may not be republished in any form without written permission from Saint Mary's Press. To order this book, contact Saint Mary's Press at 800-533-8095, or visit our online catalog at www.smp.org/catalog.cfm.)

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