Teaching on the Trinity

Again, all of my attempts at writing are failing. (That’s false. I’m actually 50 pgs deep into my book project, and I just wrote something for Fare Forward to be published. But all of my regular attempts at blogging have been stymied again – by travel and illness and other projects.)

In January, I joined my high schoolers mid-way into a series on the Trinity. I decided that I wanted to do three things you probably won’t see in most youth groups:

1. Not dumbing down anything.

2. Actually asking them to analyze scripture thoroughly by themselves.

3. Giving them worksheets.

I’m not sure how they feel about the third one. Obviously it’s still much easier than a class in school, since much of it is fill-in-the-blank. But it’s more “work” than the standard listen-to-a-feel-good sermon. I’m making them actually write stuff down for two reasons (a) I’m trying to eliminate the fluff, so actually all of the ideas I want them to record are theologically significant / powerful and (b) they’ll remember better if they actually take notes and have to find the ideas in the text for themselves.

I’m including my two worksheets for anyone else seeking decent resources. (They aren’t perfect, but I found them personally more helpful than anything else I found. If you want to rework it for your own, I’m happy to send you the google doc directly if you email me or send me a message through this site.) There are answers in red included on the second set.

Here’s the one on the Holy Spirit. Here’s the one on the The Humanity of Christ. (Don’t worry! They covered his divinity already! I promise I’m not a heretic.)

They seemed to handle these two lessons well, and especially enjoyed the Narnia reference in the latter. There was also a very promising moment…

One of my students declared, during our sharing of how God has worked in our lives, that nothing had happened and God hadn’t worked at all. I gave him “a homework assignment” to try during the next week to live out his faith and to be more diligent in trying to see God at work. He reported back the following week that he decided to stand up when another kid was being picked on. To his frustration, this caused him to be punched. But – he didn’t fight back! He turned the other cheek! I prayed as we closed that we might all follow this student’s example of non-violence to become more like Christ. I said how proud I was of him, and I hope that more good stories like this will soon follow.

Introductory Bible Study – Part 1

A friend of a friend was interested in studying the Bible to learn what it’s about. As I reviewed two potential introductory Bible studies to go through, I realized I disliked each of them for different reasons. The first one was too focused on personal salvation (the typical start – create the problem of sin and resolve it with forgiveness), a method I think is ineffective and narcissistic. The second one began by trying to demonstrate the authority of Scripture with… Scripture itself! (And used the typical evangelical debasement of 1 Timothy 3:16)  I decided this just wouldn’t do. So I’m going to post here the verses I’ve pulled for each week.

Week 1 – Who is Jesus?

Genesis 1 (God created the Universe)

John 1:1-18 (Jesus is this creator God – logos – incarnate in the flesh)

Colossians 1:15-20 (All things are created through Jesus and for Jesus)

Mark 1:14-15 (Jesus came to declare, “Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand!”)