Teens who have been in the church for a long time will have heard of how God works through His Word and Sacrament. Hopefully they have been taught and engaged in prayer, reading Scripture, confession and absolution, worship, and service. Yet as the busyness of their lives increase, it can be difficult for them to prioritize these spiritual practices. This study is designed to help teens to deeply understand these practices and discover how God desires to serve each of us through them. It should also give language, modeling, and ideas for practice so that as the Holy Spirit empowers them, they may regularly engage God’s gifts in these practices.
This curriculum is designed to fit into the 7 Practices of Healthy Youth Ministry. This includes helping each young person…
- Deeply understand their Baptismal Faith as youth recognize the work of the Holy Spirit who brought them to faith, gathers them into God’s family and works through them.
- Deeply understand their Baptismal Faith as youth regularly worship, study the living and active Word of God, pray together, and receive the Lord’s Supper.
- Develop a Resilient Identity in Christ as youth identify with the life and mission of the Christian church and seek to serve others.
While this curriculum focuses on these aspects of the 7 Practices, previous curriculums have covered the other outcomes. We recognize that all the practices are vital to the discipleship of young people and should be covered regularly throughout the high school years.
Session One – Introduction and Confession and Absolution
This session introduces what we mean by “Spiritual Practices” and how they are connected to God’s good gifts for us. It then transitions into talking about the practice of confession and absolution. Whether corporately or privately, confession and absolution help us to admit our sin and receive God’s forgiveness that will strengthen us in faith.
Session Two – Reading Scripture
This session talks about how what we consume shapes us. By regularly spending time in God’s Word to us we are shaped by the living and active work of the Holy Spirit. This session will give a variety of ways that reading the Bible can be incorporated into a daily routine.
Session Three – Prayer
In prayer, God invites His children to call on Him regularly, especially in times of trouble. This is a gift, but prayer is not always something with which we are comfortable. Often, we are nervous or unsure of how to pray. This session will focus on different ways to think about prayer so that they can be more easily incorporated into daily life.
Session Four – Divine Service
This session helps participants consider how God serves us in worship. The service we receive in God’s Word and Sacrament in worship empowers us to go out and serve others in Jesus’ name.
This curriculum was originally designed for the 2023 YouthLead training. From its very beginning as Lutheran Youth Fellowship, YouthLead Training has had teens at heart. Teen representatives from various districts asked LCMS Youth Ministry to create a leadership development training designed specifically for teens. Each year, a new group of teen representatives from various districts and congregations gather and consult on the training for the upcoming year. In this way, the themes and topics of the trainings reflect the needs and concerns of teens. Each training combines an aspect of leadership development and spiritual growth.
Not only are the resources written for youth, they are intended to be led by youth. Every three years, teen participants at the training event elect five of their peers to facilitate the training sessions for the next three years. This executive team is trained and mentored throughout the three-year term to develop their leadership skills and prepare them to serve.
Participant and Leader Guide
The leader guide walks teens through the process of facilitating the training. It gives detailed instructions to help teens effectively lead the training and develop their leadership skills.
Each teen leading the sessions should have a leader guide, and each participant should have a copy of the participant guide. For ease, all the same questions and space for notes in the participant’s guide are included in the leader’s guide so you don’t have to go back and forth. The information provided just in the Leader’s Guide is labeled or indicated in green.