based on Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Download a PDF of the Living Love(d) Together Leader’s Guide.

Download a PDF of the Living Love(d) Together Participant’s Guide.

Neither love, nor living love, nor living loved, is possible in isolation. By definition, love involves life with more than one person. It begins with God’s love for us in Christ. Love that was shown on a cross. Love that was confirmed by an empty tomb. Love that gives us forgiveness and life and salvation to all who repent and believe in Jesus. As Christians, we live constantly loved by God in Christ. This love unites us to all Christians of all times and places.

Live Love(d) is not just a catchy theme for a National Youth Gathering. It involves relationships and communication with others. It involves shared joys and sorrows and struggles. Because we are all sinful, it also involves regular confession and forgiveness. This basic truth is the foundation for this pre-Gathering Bible study. Based on an important little book called Life Together, it examines what it means to live together as sinners who have been loved and forgiven by God in Christ.

The concept for this study is simple. Each group coming to the National Youth Gathering is coming as a group. This means that Live Love(d) begins with the relationships that already exist in your congregation’s youth group. This study explores various aspects of these relationships. It is designed to help the youth (and Adult Leaders) understand the communal nature of Christianity. In this way, it will serve them at the Gathering as well as throughout their lives as members of the body of Christ.

While it is not absolutely necessary, it is recommended that the leader of this study read Life Together along with the study (or even better, before the study begins). It is only 122 pages long, and can be purchased from Amazon for just a few bucks. (Be aware that the first chapter is kind of challenging and abstract. If you do not often read theological books, it might be a little intimidating at first. But stick with it! It becomes more readable as the book progresses.)

The book consists of five chapters. In a corresponding way, this study consists of five parts (in addition to an optional introductory study). Each study explores issues raised in the corresponding chapter of the book. Studies may be done in succession, or you might choose several of them to do in any order. If the leader reads the book alongside leading the study, he or she may find more ideas or quotes to enhance the group’s study. (Each study will include page number references to the book for the leader.)

We have included a sixth study which might be used as an introductory study. It is based on Bonhoeffer’s own life and ministry—which is both fascinating and inspiring in its own right. Even if you choose not to use this study with your youth, it is worth reading through as an Adult Leader on your own. Bonhoeffer was a brilliant scholar and Lutheran pastor in Nazi Germany who ran an underground seminary and participated in a plot to assassinate Hitler. After being caught, he spent a year and a half in a concentration camp before being executed just days before the camp was liberated by American forces. The purpose of this introductory study is to help expand the participants’ appreciation for what Bonhoeffer wrote. It will also help youth consider their own calling to serve the Lord in a hostile world.

May God bless you and your youth as you learn and grow in Christ!