Study Sessions

State Goal: $1.7 million

Items to bring:
Two gym balls, Watercolor paint sets, Plenty of craft sticks, Permanent markers, TV/DVD player or computer with web access to show the missions story, Picture of a family tree

Introduction and Background

Checkerz Williams and his wife, Nicole, love seeing churches that have people of all skin colors. After traveling all over the country they decided to start a church in Baton Rouge. Because so many people prayed and gave through the Georgia Barnette State Missions Offering, they did just that!

Opening Activity

Say: We are all a part of a generation. A generation is a group of people who were born around the same time. We all were born on Earth for a reason. God has a special purpose for every one of you. You were not a mistake. God made you exactly the way you are!

For Preschoolers

Before the class, gather and bring a collection of LEGO people. Invite the children to select two or three that can make up a family. Invite them to give each family member a name and imagine what they are good at, how old they are, and where they live. Invite the children to place their LEGO kids on a LEGO floor as a family. Invite the children to share a story about their make-believe family.

Ask: Do you think God loves every family?

Say: God created every family and He loves them all. He wants them to know that He loves them and has a special plan for each member!

Share: Give children a chance to share what the mother or father does for work and what the children like to do every day.

For Older Children

Using art supplies invite the children to create a picture of a family. Invite them to create a family that they know or a family that they imagine. Point out that some families have just a mom or just a dad. Suggest that they create a background that would look like the place this family would live.

Give the children an opportunity to share about the family they illustrated.

Ask: Why do you think God created families?

Say: God created every family and He loves them all. He wants them to know that He loves them and has a special plan for each member!

Share: Give each child a chance to share their picture with the group. Ask them to share what the mother or father does for work and what the children like to do every day.

Say: It doesnʼt matter what kind of family you grow up in. God has a plan for you in the future to help change the world by sharing His love.

Large Group Time

Teacher: As you prepare to teach, mark Luke 10:30-37 and Ps 78:4,6 in your Bible.

Say: There are all types of people in this world.

Ask: What are some things that make people different? (Possible answers: they look different, they sound different, they speak different languages)

Say: Even though we are very different, thereʼs one thing that is true about everyone. God loves us all!

Open your Bible and read Luke 10:30-37. As you read it aloud, stop and explain in simple terms what the different types of people are in the Parable of the Good Samaritan. Make sure you explain that Samaritans were a different race of people that many other people didnʼt like.

Say: Jesus told this story to explain that God wants us to love everyone and that everyone should get help when they are in trouble or need love.

Optional Teaching Idea

Before you tell the story, invite five children to pantomime the story. Invite one student to be a robber, one to be the victim traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho, one to be the priest, one to be the Levite, and one to be the Samaritan. Read the story and let them act it out. Make sure the children understand that in the robbery scene, the robber shouldnʼt touch the victim. He or she should only pantomime the actions without ever touching the victim.

After reading or acting out the story, Ask:

  • How would you feel if you were the victim before the Samaritan arrived on the scene?
  • Why do you think the others wouldnʼt help?
  • Do you think there are people today who have no one to help them?
  • What would Jesus want us to do about it?

Read a missionary story. It’s one example of how Jesus reaches all types of people:

Checkerz is a different kind of name, but even more, Checkerz is a different kind of pastor. He and his wife want to see people of all colors, ages, and backgrounds come to know the bigger story of Jesus. Right now in Baton Rouge heʼs reaching people of all kinds. They all worship together even though they are all very different. Renew Church is the church he pastors and this year we are helping him build this really cool church by giving to the Georgia Barnette State Missions Offering.

Prayer Activity: Create Prayer Jars

Provide a canning jar for each child along with wooden craft sticks. Using a permanent marker, write one of the following words on each craft stick:

  • Checkerz
  • New Christians
  • Help
  • Truth
  • Georgia Barnette State Missions Offering

(Feel free to add other words that the children in your church can pray about.)

Give each child a jar and a set of sticks.

Say: We are going to paint each stick with a different color. You can take this home with you and pray every day, using these sticks to remind you what to pray about, as we pray for our church and all the other ministries we support when we give through the Georgia Barnette State Missions Offering.

Invite the students to paint the craft sticks with watercolor paints.

Guide the children in a time of prayer using your prayer jar craft sticks that you premade before the session. This will demonstrate to them how to use this tool in prayer.

Learning and Mission Activities: The Sharing Tree

Ask: Who are the people in your family tree?

Say: Moms and dads have children and those children have children. These are generations. We have a chance to learn about Jesus and then share the great news of Jesus with our generation – people our age! When we get older we get an opportunity to share that news with those who are younger than us. We call it passing the Good News of Jesus to the next generation.

Read: “… we will tell the next generation … even the children not yet born …” Ps 78:4,6

Say: This is the way God spreads the Good News from generation to generation. God wants us to share so others will know. Wouldnʼt it be sad if someone in your family tree never heard about Jesus? There are plenty of people waiting to hear the Good News that Jesus saves and we get to have a part in helping them know.

Ask: How can we begin to do this today?

Ask: Who do you know who needs to hear about Jesus?

Outdoor Relay Game: Pass It On to the Next Generation

Write THE GOSPEL on each gym ball.

Divide into two teams. Have players line up behind each other in groups of eight to ten, spreading out one armʼs length distance apart. Designate a start and finish line.

Demonstrate how to pass the ball over someoneʼs head then under someoneʼs legs.

Give the person in the front of the line a ball. The object of the game is for the group to pass back the ball either over their head or under their legs, alternating methods with each person (first person passes over their head, second person passes under their legs, third person over their head and so on). When the last person in line gets the ball, he or she runs/skips/jumps/etc. to the front of the line and starts passing the ball back again. Play until everyone reaches a finishing point (the line should have moved up with each new start) or until a specific number of turns.

Debrief: Ask them what they needed to be good at this game? (Possible answers: teamwork, flexibility, energy)

Say: Passing the gospel on to others always takes practice and teamwork.

Conclude by praying for God to let us be a part of all He is doing in Louisiana as we give through the Georgia Barnette State Missions Offering.

“… we will tell the next generation … even the children not yet born …” Ps 78:4,6 NLT

Items to Bring:
Flip phone, Smartphone, Old telephone (analog or rotary), Set of dominos (one domino for each group attendee), Whiteboard and markers, Bibles

Ask the students how far back they remember most people using flip phones.

Ask the students if anyone remembers telephones that look like the old phone you are displaying.

Share this fact: 3.3 billion people use smartphones. Things sure have changed over the past ten years!

Say: We all know that phones have different generations. As technology improves, we all wait for the next big breakthrough.

Ask: What new smartphone feature do you appreciate that wasnʼt available a few years ago?

Say: With each generation there is change – that goes for people, too. Your world is very different than the world your parents grew up in. Different generations have different advances and different problems.

Ask: What are some of the problems you see today that werenʼt there during your parentsʼ teen years? Has someone from an older generation impacted your life in a powerful way? If so, who?

Ask a female student to read the following journal entry of a high school student:

People say you can make peace with God. You see, thatʼs the problem. How do you do that? Even if God does exist, do you think Heʼd really have time to deal with one mixed up girl? Itʼs not like Iʼve got a lot to offer Him. I thought about searching for God. But I guess I was afraid that if I found God He would be like my father. You know the Lordʼs Prayer: “Our Father, who art in heaven …”? Iʼd get a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach when Iʼd pray those words. So, I just stopped praying – praying anything at all. My counselor says thatʼs the whole problem: I’ve been trying to live my life so he would accept me, even now. When Iʼm in that place between being awake and being fully asleep, I still dream he sees me and smiles. The only thing I see in the light of day is that strange, numb look – the emptiness behind his eyes that lets me know how painful I was to behold.

Why is that? He didnʼt abuse me. He didnʼt scream, yell, or ridicule. He ignored me.

He was always looking for something to erase the memory of my mom. Maybe itʼs because I was the last reminder of her. He just looks past my eyes, speaking only facts, avoiding any embrace. I could blame him for my addictions.

I could blame him for my depression.

I could blame him for my emptiness.

But what good would that do now? Maybe itʼs true. Maybe we are just lost souls on the way to an early, desperate grave. Do you believe that? So whatʼs this church to you? Is it just another club? Iʼve seen the inside of too many clubs. Is it a way to numb the pain? Iʼve been down that road, too. Is it a way to find something else to feel guilty about? Iʼd never survive.

Or, will there be an answer? Hope? Grace? Iʼm at the end of the road. Iʼm tired of the fight. I just need to be new. Thatʼs the only reason Iʼd come – if I had a chance … one precious chance to be … new.

Discuss

What would you say to a person who has that kind of story?

What impact does an older generation have on the following generation?

Say: We all are influenced by the generation before us, but we can still influence our friends – even the ones continuing to deal with issues from their past.

Invite someone to read Genesis 17:7 (NIV).

“I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you.”

Say: God is a generation-changer.

Ask: What are some ways God is changing you?

Give one domino to each member of your group.

Challenge each person to share a good thing or a blessing for every dot on one side of their domino. Explain that the things they share can be large blessings or small daily blessings that they sometimes overlook. After a member shares, take their domino and stand it up so that the dominos end up in a standing line on a table or a flat chair.

Read: Romans 6:4-13 (CSB), emphasize verse 4.

“Therefore we were buried with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too may walk in newness of life.”

Say: We can take the things God has given us and use them to change our generation, creating a domino effect.

Stand a domino at the end of the line and tip it over to create the domino effect.

Use just the audio on your computer without showing them any pictures. Ask the students what they learned. What was this person talking about?

Invite them to imagine being in a city where the only words they experienced were those words.

How would you feel?

Read the following story:

Chunhua* journeyed from China to the University of New Orleans. As a foreign exchange student, her time would be limited in the United States. Her desire for an education led to an opportunity. This wasnʼt just an opportunity to grow in her knowledge of science, literature or technology. She had an opportunity to make an eternal decision. While studying at UNO, she discovered an ESL (English as a Second Language) class.

In the midst of her studies, she had a life-changing encounter with Jesus. Just a few days before she left she accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior. We donʼt know the impact that sheʼll have in China but letʼs pray that her decision to follow Christ will be the first step in seeing her family and friends in China come to know Jesus. Through the work of believers in New Orleans teaching English as a Second Language, Chunhua has the opportunity to change generations in China.

*Chunhuaʼs name has been changed for security reasons.

  • Provide each teen with an offering envelope for the Georgia Barnette State Missions Offering, sharing with them the goal your church has set. Lead them to set a goal for the youth group. Together, share ideas about how the youth group can reach the giving goal. Lead the youth in a prayer commitment to impart truth to their friends and family.

Pray: Encourage youth to pray for Shannon Brown, the director of ESL ministries for Louisiana Baptists. Using the prayer points from GeorgiaBarnette.org or your prayer guide, write a list of prayer requests on a whiteboard or poster board. Lead youth to pray silently as you read the requests from the board.

Items to Bring:
Index cards, Picture of someone whose faith made a difference in your life, White board or butcher paper, Dry erase markers, Optional–TV/DVD player or laptop to play Georgia Barnette Here for You missions video

Ice Breaker: Fact or Fiction

As people come in, hand each participant an index card and a pen. Ask them to write on the card something that is true about themselves on one side and, on the other side of the card, something that is fictional about them. Encourage them to be creative and make the truth something others wouldnʼt expect and the fictional fact something that others might believe.

Invite each member to share with the group the two sides of the card and invite the other members to try to guess which is fact and which is fiction. Allow each reader at the end of the guesses to reveal the fact.

Debrief

Say: Sometimes the facts are hard to discern in this age of information. Thereʼs been an ongoing cultural conversation about fake news and alternative facts. Some have even claimed that everyone has their own truth, but in reality, there is absolute truth.

What is Truth?

Ask: the members to share an absolute truth. List their answers on a white board and discuss them.

Read: John 8:31b-32 “Jesus said, ʻIf you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.ʼ”

Ask: Why does this truth set us free?

Ask: What are the obstacles to finding out the truth about Jesus in todayʼs culture?

How to Impart

Read: Psalm 78:4-6 (NLT) “We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about his power and his mighty wonders. For he issued his laws to Jacob; he gave his instructions to Israel. He commanded our ancestors to teach them to their children, so the next generation might know them— even the children not yet born— and they in turn will teach their own children.”

Ask: What is the authorʼs main concern about the importance of speaking the truth of Godʼs word?

(Possible answer: So that the next generation will know the truth.)

Making it Personal

Display a picture of someone you know whose faith shaped you at a specific time in your life.

Possibilities include:

  • a coach,
  • a spiritual mentor,
  •  a friend,
  • a minister,
  • an accountability partner,
  • someone who went through an illness or adversity with great faith,
  • or an historical figure who was an inspiration to you at a specific time in your life.

Share a personal story of how this person impacted you. How did this person challenge you to have faith? What scriptural connection would you make with the person in your story? How did this relationship or connection shape you? To add more depth to this story, share a critical experience in your own life that has a connecting point with this personʼs example. For instance: “I had no idea that watching this person go through cancer would give me courage to walk through my own illness five years ago.”

After sharing your heroʼs story, invite group members to share their story of a mentor or hero. Be sure to affirm and follow up with questions about the examples that group members share.

A Grace Story

Ask: someone to read the following story featured in the Georgia Barnette State Missions Offering Prayer Guide:

Grace felt far from God because of a language barrier. She looked for a Spanish-speaking church in her community but was unable to find one. Finally, she just gave up looking. Then one Sunday morning in a moment of desperation, she prayed for God to guide her to a Spanish-speaking congregation. Later that same day, God sent a church planter to her front door. She could hardly believe the amazing timing between her prayer and His sudden answer. She started attending the new Hispanic church, Iglesia Lakeshore Español, in New Orleans, Louisiana. She hasnʼt stopped since that amazing day when God surprised her. Her whole family joined the church, and early on in their time with the church she had the joy of seeing her son baptized.

Say: This is an example of how God used a new Hispanic church in Louisiana to impart truth. Grace was the one seeking but ultimately her son was the receiver of the most important truth anyone could hear.

Money and Communication

Share the following fact: In the U.S. advertisers spent a total of $205 billion last year in digital/internet marketing alone.*

Say: Itʼs obvious that companies spend an amazing amount of money trying to market their truth.

Ask: What does it take for us to be heard amidst all the marketing noise thatʼs out there?

Say: Whether they are selling value or lies, large money is being spent to change hearts and minds. This is not a new strategy.

Ask someone to read: Matthew 28:11-15 (NIV) While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, telling them, “You are to say, ʻHis disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.ʼ If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day.

Say: Through the Georgia Barnette State Missions Offering we have a chance to share the eternal truth through the power of media.

If possible, play the video feature “Screen Time” which can be found on the GBO DVD or at GeorgiaBarnette.org.

Say: This is one example of how we are proclaiming truth among the lies. The more we give, the more these messages will be experienced on TV and through social media.

Brainstorm ways we can be creative in sharing the truth personally to the next generation.

Wrap Up

Ask: Why is it important to tell the truth today and not wait for tomorrow?

Share the following quote from Jim Cymbala:

One way to recognize whether we suffer from this disconnection is to look at our concern for people who are dirty … people who are “other” … people who don’t fit the core group’s image. The ravages of sin are not pleasant – but they are what Jesus came to forgive and heal. ʻThe Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lostʼ (Luke 19:10). Yet Christians often hesitate to reach out to those who are different. They want God to clean the fish before they catch them.

Share the definition of impart: to make known; tell; relate; disclose.

On the white board write the letters of impart vertically and ask your group to create an acrostic of the types of things we need in order to have the courage to impart the Gospel.

Examples:
I – Investment
M – Maturity
P – Perseverance, Power
A – Availability
R – Responsiveness
T – Trust in God

Provide each member with an offering envelope for the Georgia Barnette State Missions Offering and share with them the goal your church has set.

Close by leading them in a prayer of commitment to Impart. Truth. Today.

*Source: www.adweek.com/agencies/18-bullish-stats-about-the-state-of-u-s-advertising/

Children’s Study (.PDF)

Youth Study (.PDF)

Adult Study (.PDF)