The "Big" Idea: Refueling is not about "doing" but "connecting" with God.
Student Involvement: We had kids greeting, taking pictures, reading Scripture, working the cafe, playing on the worship team, working in the "tech" room, and passing out Bibles.
Fun Stuff: We played dodgeball in the gym (I am SOOOO thankful for our gym). We also did some Jay Leno "Headlines" that I thought were hilarious ... but didn't go over so well with our kids. So, instead of "forcing" it I tried to make light of the fact that they thought they were awful ... so we started "fake" laughing, which seemed to help things out a bit. We also used "Poll Everywhere" during the lesson and a video I pulled from "More Than Dodgeball."
Bible Verses: Ephesians 3:19, Matthew 11:28, John 8:12, John 14:3
Lesson Review: The idea behind this 3 week series is to point to the fact that our kids are very busy and in the midst of busyness, our relationship with God often suffers. I took a "Poll Everywhere" question (http://www.polleverywhere.com) and asked our students "How connected to God do you feel right now?" 33.5% said they feel "very" connected. 57% said they feel sort of "empty." And, 4.5% said they have "no" connection with God right now. It's AWESOME that we have some students who feel very close to God at the moment, but the majority of our kids were feeling rather distant. So, it's important to "refuel" and connect with God. But, connecting with God is NOT about doing more stuff. That's "religion." God's not so in to religion, but wants a relationship with us. We used the illustration of a friendship. We are friends with our "bff's" not because of what they DO, but because we just enjoy being with them. A true connection with God does not come from a "have to do it" mentality but from a "want to" mentality ... same idea behind friendship.
Throughout the next 7 days, I told our kids that are on our text list that they would all be receiving at least one text from me a day to encourage them to "make a connection" with God somehow. For example, last night I sent out the text "Pause. Take 1 minute to simply be quiet before God. God often speaks in quiet places." This morning I sent out the text "Take a second to thank God for another day and ask Him to help you make the most of it." I'm trying to push the idea that our kids can make connections with God throughout their day, just like they do with their friends. It's been cool because I've already received a few texts back from kids saying how much they like this idea. Hopefully it helps all of us refuel and get connected with God.
Personal Thoughts: I've been a part of axis for 7 years. In all of those 7 years, I don't remember a more AWFUL teaching time than during middle school this past Wednesday. I mean, it really stunk! I couldn't focus. I was all over the place. I was forgetting things and totally not making sense. When I say it was really bad, I mean it was really BAD! After our middle school time, I went to a quiet place and just prayed. Something was going on with me and I asked God to help me know what it was. I really felt like God was telling me that I NEED to be "refueled" right now. I wasn't being real with our middle school kids. I wasn't doing it intentionally or anything, but instead of really being in touch with my own feelings, I was trying to give our middle school students a good "show" instead of simply letting them know, "Hey, this is where I'm at right now. I'm feeling a little drained and empty and need to refuel just as much as you guys." So, during our high school time, I pretty much scratched everything I had prepared, stuck to the basics of it, and simply was honest with our kids. I let them know that it's OK to feel distant from God at times. It happens. The important thing is to recognize it when it's happening, be willing to share with others what is going on, and then start making connections with God. I felt like our kids responded well to it and had some people talk to me afterwards to simply say "Thanks for being real and letting me know that I'm not the only one who has felt that way." It was a good lesson for me to learn.
I'm excited to refuel this week and make those connections with God.