Key Scriptures: Deuteronomy 31, Matthew 28:16-20, Hebrews 11:6, John 3:16, John 14, Acts 2:38, Acts 17:30, 1 John 1:9, Romans 10:9-13, James 5:16, 1 John 4:15, Acts 2:38, Romans 6:3-4, Matthew 28:19-20, John 14:15, 1 John 5:3, Luke 6:46, Matthew 5:16, James 2:14-18, Hebrews 13:16
Guiding Question: What does a Christian who is a “self-starter” do differently than those who aren’t?
Optional Introductory Activity: If your classroom is normally set up in a certain way, undo as much of it as you can. Stack chairs, move other furniture so it isn’t in a great place for class, etc. You may also want to leave the lights off – whatever you can do to make the room uncomfortable for class.
Come to class five minutes later than the bulk of your students. (If necessary, watch the door to make sure you don’t have kids take advantage of the situation.) Ask students what they thought when they entered the room. Have them explain the choices they made for getting or not getting the room ready for class. Don’t comment on their answers.
Lesson: What do we mean when we describe a person as a “self-starter”? When you think of synonyms for someone who is a self-starter, you may think of words like doer, dynamo, active, hard worker, busy. Notice they are all very active words. In fact someone who is a self-starter is like a spark plug. They may have instructions for what they need to do or just notice something that needs to be done.
Instead of waiting to be told and reminded to do it, they just start to work. They may even spark others to get involved, like the spark plugs in a car get it going. A self-starter initiates action. A Christian self-starter initiates godly actions, but how does God let us know in what areas He wants us to be self-starters?
Let’s look at Deuteronomy 31. What are some things Joshua and the people are told God wants them to do? God says He will be with them, but does it seem like He expects them to get started on doing what He is outlining here without be reminded multiple times first? What makes you say that?
Before Jesus went back to Heaven after the Resurrection, he gave instructions to his disciples – and us. Read Matthew 28:16-20. What were those instructions? Do you think Jesus expected us to wait until he reminded us over and over again to start doing what he asked us to do? Why or why not?
Being a Christian who is a self-starter has two parts to it. The first is to go ahead and start doing the specific things God has asked us to do. The other is to look for the opportunities God gives us to serve Him and start working on those without having to be reminded and/or pestered to do them.
So what are some of the specific things God has asked us to do? In some ways the list isn’t as overwhelming as you would think, because they basically fall into a few categories. Of course, the list within each category could be longer, but focusing on these basic areas can help you be a self-starting Christian in doing the things God has asked us to do.
- Believe. Hebrews 11:6, John 3:16, John 14 Why is our belief important to God? Why is it important to be a self-starter in our belief?
- Repent. Acts 2:38, Acts 17:30, 1 John 1:9 Why is our repentance important to God? Why is it important to be a self-starter in our repentance?
- Confess. Romans 10:9-13, James 5:16, 1 John 4:15 There are two different kinds of confession mentioned in these verses. What are they? Why is our doing both of them important to God? Why is it important for us to be self-starters in confession?
- Be baptized. Acts 2:38, Romans 6:3-4, Matthew 28:19-20 Why is baptism so important? Why is it important for us to be self-starters regarding our own baptism and teaching others about baptism?
- Obey His commands. John 14:15, 1 John 5:3, Luke 6:46 Why is our obedience so important to God? Why should we try to be self-starters in our obedience to God’s commands?
- Do good works and share our faith with others. Matthew 5:16, James 2:14-18, Hebrews 13:16 Why does God want us to do good works and share our faith? Why is it important to be a self-starter in doing good works and sharing our faith?
We said the second part of being a Christian self-starter is to look for the opportunities God gives us to serve Him and get started doing them without having to be constantly reminded and/or pestered. How can we become better at noticing when God is giving us an opportunity to serve Him? What can we do to be more of a self-starter in this area?
The book of Acts is full of stories of self-starters – the early Christians. Some were Apostles, some were just followers of Jesus who were serving God in various ways. At times, the Holy Spirit gave them pretty direct instructions, but often those people in Acts had to do what we do – notice the opportunities God gives us. (Have students flip through Acts and find a few examples where people took advantage of opportunities God gave them to serve others and share their faith.) How do you think the people in Acts were able to notice all of these opportunities? Do you think we have similar opportunities today? Do we always take advantage of them? Why is it hard for some Christians to be self-starters in serving others and sharing their faith? What can you do to become more aware of the opportunities God gives you and more of a self-starter in taking advantage of them?
Skills Activity: Review the main points of the lesson. Explain that while every area of a Christian life benefits from being a self-starter, the Church would be larger, stronger and healthier if we were all better at being self-starters in noticing the opportunities God gives us to serve Him and taking advantage of them.
Depending upon your space and your students, you may wish to take your students outside of the classroom for this activity. It may be easier for them to participate if they are seeing actual needs or things that will spark ideas in their minds and hearts.
Explain that God gives each of us different opportunities to serve Him. Some of us will have the some of the same opportunities and some of us will have very unique opportunities. The hard part is often even noticing them when God gives them to us.
Take the students on an “Opportunity Walk”. They can work silently for awhile or you can discuss things as you walk. What you want to do is get them to start noticing needs that God may want them to fill. Make sure they notice the little things as well as the big things. Brainstorm ways they can be self-starters in meeting some of these needs. Challenge them to notice an opportunity God gives them to serve Him this week and take advantage of it – become a self-starter. You may wish to have some students share their experiences during your next class.
Application Challenge: Read some of the stories in the book of Acts. How were the people in the story self-starters? Did someone have to pester them to do what God wanted them to do in the situation? Look around you carefully for the next few days. What opportunities is God giving you? Are you being a self-starter in taking advantage of them? What do you need to do to be more aware of these opportunities from God and to take advantage of them?