Communication is vital in any relationship including a Christian’s own relationship with God. Helping people understand how God communicates to us and we to Him is so important. That’s why we took two weeks in our middle school ministry to talk about just that – how to talk to God. The idea behind this short series is very simple. We wanted to our students to understand that God speaks to us through the Bible and we have the privilege of speaking to Him through prayer. The first week we talked about Bible reading. We looked at what the Bible is and a very practical tools we can use to read it better. The second week we talked about prayer. Much like the talk on the Bible, we looked at what prayer is and how we can pray better following the example Jesus gave in Matthew 6.
I wrote the talk for the first week and our two-year intern Allen Williams wrote the talk for the second week. We wanted to make this short series available to others to use in their own ministry context. As stated above, these talks were originally written for a middle school audience but can be tweaked to fit in almost any context. Click the link below to get both teaching manuscripts as well as the graphics for this series. There is also a “Bible Study Plans and Methods” handout that you can share to go along with the first talk in this series.
For the past year or so as a church we have been going through the book of Acts on Sunday mornings. We have taken a few breaks here and there for other topical series but recently have picked it back up to finish out the book. I had the privilege of preaching this past week and focusing on Paul’s approach to sharing His testimony from Acts 22 and 26. In this sermon I focused on things that Paul did as he shared his testimony that we can apply to our own approach as we share our testimony with others.
Last week in our student ministry we finished our last teaching series for the school year. Each school year we try and cover at least two books of the Bible (usually an Old Testament and New Testament book). Earlier this year we went through the book of Jonah, which was one of my favorite teaching series of all time, and for the past six weeks we have been going through the book of Acts. You might be wondering how we fit the entire book of Acts into just six weeks. I’m glad you asked. That’s why I am writing this post.
To cover the book of Acts in six weeks we combined two things: teaching and personal reading. Lets talk first about teaching. Over the six weeks students heard talks from various parts of Acts. I didn’t just randomly chose parts of Acts to teach on. Instead I looked through the book of Acts and picked out six different passages that seem to be key points in the narrative but also passages that highlighted something I felt like the students in our context needed to hear and understand. The six places in Acts we taught from were: Intro, Promise, and Call (Acts 1:1-11), Early Church (Acts 4:23-37), Stephen Martydom (Acts 6:5, 8-7:60), Paul’s Conversion (Acts 8:1-3; 9:1-9, 15), Paul and Silas Rescued from Prison (Acts 16:22-34), and Paul in Athens (Acts 17:16-34). Feel free to click here to listen to these talks from our high school ministry mid-week services. There were so many more passages in Acts I wanted to cover but with only six weeks I couldn’t. That’s why we didn’t just settle with teaching from these six places in Acts and forgot the rest. Instead, as I said before, we combined the teaching with personal reading.
For the personal reading part of this series we broke down the book of Acts into a forty day reading plan. Each day had students reading about half a chapter while a few days had them reading an entire chapter. We then put this reading plan on a bookmark sized card and called it the “Acts Reading Challenge” (click here to see one of these cards that was completed by a student). We gave these out at the beginning of the series and challenged students to read the entire book of Acts on their own before the end of the series. Once completed we asked students to turn their cards back in to receive a gift. I wish I could say all our students took this challenge but some did and I couldn’t be more proud of those students that took the time to read God’s Word.
This was the first time I have ever combined teaching and personal reading for a series and I plan to do it again next time we go through a book of the Bible with our students. Like any plan there were things I liked and things I believe we did well, but there were also things that didn’t work well and we will need to adjust next time around. However, I enjoyed being able teach from specific places in the book of Acts while equipping and encouraging our students to read the rest on their own.