Key Scriptures: Acts 9:1-19, Galatians 1:11-20, 2 Peter 3:18, Colossians 1:9-10, Galatians 5:22-23, 2 Timothy 3:16-17, 2 Peter 1:5-8, 1 Peter 2:2, Hebrews 5:11-14, Psalm 1:1-3, 1 Corinthians 11:1, Colossians 3:16, Ephesians 4:14-15, Acts 17:11, Ephesians 6:10-18, James 1:5, 1 Thessalonians 5:17
Guiding Question: What tools does a Christian need in his or her toolkit to grow as a Christian and be spiritually resilient in tough times?
Introductory Activity: This activity can be adjusted to take as much or as little time as you would like. Find an item for a service project that needs to be built, like a bird feeder that can be donated to a senior citizens living facility. Choose a project that requires multiple tools to complete. Place the wood, nails and other materials in front of students, but no tools. Give students the instructions and tell them to build the item you have chosen. When they ask for tools, tell them that you know they are smart, savvy young people and you are sure they can figure it out on their own. You can stop the activity at this point and ask them why they are frustrated. Ask them how likely they are to complete the project pictured without the help of tools. (This activity will be completed as part of the skills activity.)
Lesson: (Questions to students are in bold italics.) Read Acts 9:1-19. Was Saul ready to be the missionary and writer of New Testament books immediately after his baptism? Why or why not? Read Galatians 1:11-20. What did Paul do after his conversion? We don’t know exactly what happened or the specific place Paul was in Arabia (which includes modern Jordan), but most scholars agree that Paul underwent three years of preparation for the work God would have him do for the rest of his life. It is important to remember that Paul knew what we call the Old Testament scriptures very well before he became a Christian, because he had studied under one of the most famous rabbis of all time. Evidently, God knew he needed additional preparation to be ready for the difficult, but important road ahead.
Paul is not unusual in his need to learn and grow after becoming a Christian. Read 1 Peter 2:2, Hebrews 5:12-14, Ephesians 4:14-15. What do we learn from these verses about being “baby” Christians and maturing as Christians? Does God want us to stay spiritual babies our entire lives? Why or why not?
Growing as a Christian is also similar to building a ——— like we tried to do at the beginning of class. We need to use certain “tools” to build a strong faith foundation and build our God given potential. Read the following scriptures. What are some of the tools these verses suggest will help us grow and mature as Christians? What are some signs we are maturing as Christians?
- 2 Peter 3:18
- Colossians 1:9-10
- Galatians 5:22-23 (Note: A later lesson in this unit covers this passage in depth.)
- 2 Timothy 3:16-17
- 2 Peter 1:5-8
- Psalm 1:1-3
- 1 Corinthians 11:1
- Colossians 3:16
- Hebrews 5:11-14
- Acts 17:11
- Ephesians 6:10-18 (Note: A later lesson in this unit covers this passage in depth.)
- James 1:5
- 1 Thessalonians 5:17
Don’t forget what we have studied in previous lessons, at baptism, Christians receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is provided by God to help guide and counsel us.
Skills Activity: Review the main points of the lesson. If you would like to complete the service project begun in the introductory activity, try giving students just one tool at a time to underscore the need to use all of the tools at their disposal to mature as much as possible as a Christian.
The skills activity you use will depend in part on what your students will find most useful in helping fill their toolbox. Below are some ideas you may want to use.
- Invite various adults who are mature Christians to come share tips about how they use the various tools studied to continue to mature as Christians. Try to have variation in how long they have been Christians. Emphasize the importance of using the tools every day of your life to continue to grow and stay strong spiritually.
- Have students make things that can encourage them to use the tools available to them – like prayer journals, Bible reading plans, scripture art and other items can serve to encourage young people to do the things necessary to grow spiritually.
- Have a discussion – perhaps in smaller groups led by adults or with mentors. How do they believe they will know they are growing spiritually in light of the scriptures they read? Do they feel like they are a spiritual “baby” now? A toddler? Preschooler? What are the next steps they need to take to become more mature? For teens who are not yet Christians, the discussion can revolve around why it is important to make a decision – reinforcing that stalling for years in the belief they can disobey God’s commands, but still be “safe” because they are “undecided” is not supported by scripture. Care must be taken to avoid using undue pressure, but still making them aware this is an important decision that cannot be avoided. Interested teens may want to study more about how to become a Christian.
Application Challenge: Read the scriptures from the lesson. What do you need to do to become more mature spiritually? Make a plan to do something daily to help you mature as a Christian.