Saved You a Seat

3 03 2013

Title Slide

Series Overview

We want Transit to be a fun and engaging place every Sunday for all students.  While it might be easy to congratulate our selves for engaging the students who come to Transit consistently each week, we want to make sure that we stay aware of one key truth – there are hundreds of students in our sphere of influence who do not have a relationship with Jesus. Over the next two weeks, we want to focus on the students who are not in Transit.  We want to talk about how our students can be better prepared for when new students who up for the first time because we want all new students to know that we “Saved You a Seat.”

Week 1 (March 3, 2013)

Isn’t it interesting that students will know someone’s favorite color, favorite movie, and what boy or girl they like but, if you asked them if their friends goes to church, they will shrug and say “I don’t know.” Students will take the time to memorize their friends’ class schedules, but ask them which friends are Christian and you’ll get a blank stare.  It seems it is not a lack of compassion on their part, but a lack of awareness. It simply has never entered into the lens of how they view people.  So, today, we want to point out to all our students that eternity is a reality, that students have been called to share the gospel and Transit is here to partner with them.

Talk with your students about how you invest in other people in your life. Ask your student who they can invite to Transit and BigStuf this summer.

Week 2 (March 10, 2013)

The natural pull of any organization is to begin to focus on the insiders.  After all, they are the ones who are there every week.  They are the ones who will tell us what they need, want, and expect.  So it is no wonder that organizations drift toward serving and anticipating the needs of their most dedicated members.  The challenge for Transit – and any ministry, for that matter – is to fight this pull and remember we are a part of the great commission to bring in new believers.  The good news this morning is that, as a whole, the students of a church love to invite their friends.  The hard news is that not every student they bring sticks around.  Why is that?  Is there something more each small group could do to make people feel more welcome?  Remember, new students are always going to be coming to Transit. We need to decide now what we want their experience to be like, so we are prepared when they show up.

Ask your student what their first experience in Transit was like, and how they can help create a great experience for a first time student in Transit.


Dirty Words

20 01 2013

Dirty Words Slide

Series Overview

For the next few weeks, we are going to tackle an area of life where we all struggle: our words. We all know that sick feeling in the stomach – you know, when you’ve crossed the line and hurt someone’s feelings with an off-hand remark. Putting a foot in your mouth is an all-too-familiar feeling. And everyone has had a day ruined because someone else just wanted to get a laugh at someone else’s expense. Why is this such a common trap that we all fall in?  Why can’t we avoid these situations? For the next 4 weeks in Transit, we will equip our students to gain a little control over their tongues. It is going to take a new level of sensitivity, an understanding of what is in our hearts, and a good dose of accountability. So, for the next 4 weeks, we are going to try to clean up our Dirty Words.

Week 1 (January 20, 2013)

We all believe that what we say can just be neutral, “that no one will care” or “it was just funny.”  However, Solomon understands that there are really only two types of words: preserving words and ruining words. The ugly truth is that each of us, with a few choice words, could get fired, be headed for a divorce, or alienated from our friends. Words carry a great deal of power. They can build up or tear down. Students are becoming acutely aware of this truth for the first time. Middle School and High School can be a place filled with hurtful insults, misguided remarks, and jokes that land too close to home. Each us of us need to realize there are no neutral words.

Talk to your student about a time when you “stuck your foot in your mouth.” Ask your student why there are no neutral words.

Week 2 (January 27, 2013)

Last week, we discussed the problem that we all have with controlling our tongues. Even as we discussed the truth that there are no “neutral” words, each of us was thinking about the time we couldn’t help but say something hurtful or cross the line. Each of us has a person or a situation where we get bumped or provoked and we feel we have to speak out. The assumption that we all make is that the person who knocks us is the problem. “They make this stuff come out!” However, being knocked around just shows what is really in your heart. When we hurt someone with our words, we might say that “we were provoked” or “I don’t know where that came from,” but it comes from our hearts. The question we have to ask today in small group is: “What is in your heart?”

Talk to your student about a time when you let your anger get the best of you.  Ask your student how they are most likely to show their anger.

Week 3 (February 3, 2013)

Sooner or later, someone is going to be honest with you and tell you about an area of your life you need to work on. It could be your attitude, your work ethic, or you words. You need to decide how are you going to react to that conversation.  Solomon suggests we value it – that we even guard those moments, because they are so precious. We all need that sort of relationships in our lives. In the same way, we want to challenge students to have the hard conversations with friends, because that is how you can truly care for them. We all have experienced the urge to tell a close friend that the person they were dating was the wrong guy, or that a habit was getting out of control, or maybe tell them their attitude is hurting those around you. However, more often than not, we talk ourselves out of those conversations, because we want to be nice, or it would get awkward, or we don’t want to rock the boat. Our students need to learn to care for their friends more than they care for the friendships.

Talk to your student about the importance of close friendships in your life. Ask your student why close friends are better than a large number of friends.

Week 4 (February 10, 2013)

As we wrap up our series on the power of our words, we shift the focus to how our words can affect our relationship with God. In Matthew 5, we find one of Jesus’ more shocking statements as we are told that calling someone a fool is just as bad as murdering someone. He is trying to remind this culture, who is obsessed with becoming holy by good deeds, just how holy God’s righteousness is. However, he is also trying to make a point about our words and their power. Every time we use our words carelessly with a friend or family member, we have the potential to affect our relationship with God. There is a strong, yet often forgotten, connection between the health of your earthly relationships and your ability to have a healthy relationship with your heavenly father.

Talk to your student about a time your words affected your relationship with God. Ask your student how our words on earth can affect our relationship with God.

The Way I See It

1 07 2012

Series Overview

What will they think of me? Will I look stupid? I don’t need to waste my time; I have too much to do. These are a few of the questions from a student who won’t want to go on your small-group service project. At the heart of each of these excuses is a heavy dose of selfishness. Students are at the most selfish stage of life – that has been clinically proven – and, to mature and grow, they have to learn to put others first. The challenge is that they cannot appreciate how serving others will radically change their point of view until they have done it.  So, this month, we want to beg, blackmail and bribe our students to engage in service – because, once they have done it, they will see the world in a different light. They have to move beyond their egocentric worldview and begin seeing other people’s worth on par with their own. So, for the next 3 weeks, we are going to look at the world “The way I see it.”

Session 1 (July 1, 2012)

There are some things that you just can’t understand until you experience it for the first time. The thrill of standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon, skydiving, or even becoming a parent for the first time. It might sound weird, but being a servant falls into this category as well.  We can talk to our students about the importance of being a servant, participating in a service project, or going on a mission trip, but until they do it, they can’t know what it is like.  You have to experience being a servant to see how it changes your world and the world around you.  Jesus knew this and that is why he put servanthood into action. By washing his disciples feet in John 13, Jesus set the ultimate example of being a servant.  You can tell others the importance of being a servant, but it isn’t until you begin serving that they truly see the impact.  We want our students to understand the importance of serving, and so we are encouraging them to find a place to serve right now.

Talk to your student about a time in your life when an experience changed your understanding. Ask your student if there is a place where your family can begin to serve together.

Session 2 (July 8, 2012)

Our students live in a world where it is acceptable to think only about themselves.  Often their friendships are subtly based on the question, “What is in it for me?”  It could be popularity or access to a lake house, but there is almost always a selfish motive behind many of our actions.  We want to challenge our students to begin changing their perspective.  We have talked in the past about how our students have influence in the lives of their friends, and now we want our students to realize that they need to be serving their friends.  This is a new idea that can be scary.  It might change some relationships, and it will give our students an opportunity to share their faith.  We want our students to start putting the needs of their friends before their own because relationships that are based on servant hood are the relationships that last the longest.

Talk to your student about the importance of being a person who is always giving rather than always asking. Ask your student who they can serve this week.

Session 3 (July 15, 2012)

Serving others is not an easy thing to do, and it is even harder when you talk about serving someone in authority.  Whether it is a parent, teacher or coach, we want our students to know that serving authority means going the extra mile.  At first, this principle sounds ridiculous.  Why should I have do to extra work?  We want to emphasize to our students that going the extra mile is part of being a servant, and it is one of the best ways to illustrate the love of God.  It might not always be the most fun thing to do, but by going the extra mile now with authorities we will gain more trust in the future.

Talk to your student about a time when you have seen them go the extra mile for you, and what it meant to you.  Ask your student what going the extra mile will look like in their life this week.

Just Like the Movies

13 05 2012

Session 1 (May 13, 2012)

We have all seen a great movie, read a good book, or been to a fantastic restaurant.  While you may have just stumbled upon this experience by accident, I would be willing to bet that you were sent or told about that experience by a trusted friend.  Whenever we experience something great, we want our friends to experience it as well. That is why the most effective advertisement for a movie or book isn’t a trailer or blurb or critic review, but it is word of mouth from a friend. This isn’t news to you or your student, but this principle it important. We want our students to realize that they have influence over their friends. Their friends trust them, and trust their recommendations.  This level of trust is why the Bible teaches us that we need to be good stewards in our relationships. God has placed us in many relationships for a specific purpose, and while it could be to make sure our friends see good movies, I believe that it might be a little more than that.  God has placed us and your student in relationships to be his representative.  This is a huge idea, and a great responsibility. We want our students to realize that they have been entrusted by God with their relationships, and this realizations should change how we interact with our friends.

Talk to your student about a relationship in your life that you feel was placed by God.  Ask your student if they feel like God has placed any person in their life for a specific purpose.

Session 2 (May 20, 2012)

Last week, we began by showing our students the amount of influence that they have over their friends. As we conclude our two week series, we want to help our students to understand how they should use that influence.  The Bible uses many analogies to help make its point, and this week is no different. We are going to look at a famous passage with a simple idea: the word of God needs to be sowed everywhere.  While farming references can be difficult to grasp for our students, this principle is simple.  A seed cannot grow unless it is planted (or sown), and our job as Christians is to being planting the seed of the word of God in our friends.  We do not want our students to think that it is their job to make someone a Christian, that is a job only for God.  We want them to realize that their job is to point people towards God and His word.  Just like referring a friend to a great movie, we want to point our friends towards a great relationship with their heavenly father.

Talk to your student about a person who was influential in your spiritual growth. Ask your student why it is only their responsibility to spread the word of God and not make someone a Christian.


8 01 2012

Series Overview

We often talk with adult groups about the three vital relationships: our relationship with Christ, our community with insiders, and our influence with outsiders.   As we launch a new name for our Sunday morning program and begin a new year, we hope to re-focus our priorities by exploring these vital relationships. Much of what we will discuss and study throughout a student’s three years “in Transit,” will re-visit these basic truths.

Session 1 (January 8, 2012)

The middle school and high school years can be a weird time of life, especially middle school. Students are definitely not kids anymore, but they are not quite adults.  They are on a journey into adulthood.  While this journey might be overlooked, it is an important part of our students development.  At Transit we want our students to know that they matter now, and that this stage of life is important.  Now is the time for our students to embrace the journey, and begin to develop a faith of their own.  1 Timothy 4:12 illustrates this fact.  Faith is a journey that takes a lifetime, and there is no better time for our students to begin then now.  Talk to your student about your own faith journey, and ask them why having a faith of their own is so important.

Session 2 (January 15, 2012)

It’s no secret that friends are vital to a student’s life.  They’re worried about who they will see at lunch, nervous about where their seats are in every class, and obsessed with texting to see what everyone is doing.  However, few students grasp the importance of true community with a group of friends.  Transit is devoted to the idea of providing every student with a small group because that’s where life change happens.  This morning we want to remind our students of the truth that we all are designed for genuine community. Talk to your student about how community has played a significant role in your own life, and ask them who are the people that influencing their life today.

Session 3 (January 22, 2012)

In our final week of this series we’ll remind ourselves of our commitment to the lost.  The bible tell us that we carry the obligation to make disciples of the world, which not only brings others to Christ, but also helps us grow in our personal faith. Therefore, it is healthy and beneficial for us to engage in relational evangelism.  This can seem like a daunting task to the average middle schooler, so today in Transit we want remind them that we are on their side.  It is our goal to partner with our students to make Sunday morning a safe place to invite their friends.  Ask your student who they know that needs to experience Transit.

New Friend Request

30 10 2011

Series Overview

We all want friends—even if we don’t want to admit it. We all want someone to hang out with, someone to talk to, someone who knows us. But friendship requires something from us. It’s not just what we get or what makes us feel comfortable or happy. There’s a smart way to do friendship, a way with intention, a way that will draw us closer to God’s heart—if we surround ourselves with the right people. That doesn’t mean our friends have to be clones of us—but it does mean that they at least help us move in the right direction.

Session One: Accept? (October 30, 2011) 

Having friends is great. Whether you want one, or you already have one, there’s just something about having other people in your life who you can count on. For many, friendships just happen. A new friend is in the right place at the right time. And while friendships may start out randomly, there is an intentionality about who we allow close to us—and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Because the people who are closest to you have influence on your life. They help shape who you are. So who are the friends closest to you . . . and how are they influencing you?

Session One Parent Cue: Who are some of your closest friends? Why are these people so important to you?

Session Two: Respond? (November 6, 2011)

Someone to listen to my problems. Someone to do stuff with. Someone to talk to constantly. Someone to hang out with. When you make a list of what qualities you want in a friend, how many of the things on your list involve what that person can do for you? Most of us would have to admit that it’s a lot. But the best friendships are ones that are not just about what the other person can do for you—the best friendships also involve how you can be there for someone else. How you can listen, instead of always talking. How you can give someone space when he or she needs it, or just hang out when your friend needs that too. In other words, the best friendships are not centered solely on you—and that’s a good thing.

Session Two Parent Cue: What are some ways you’ve been able to help out your friends?

Session Three: Ignore? (November 13, 2011)

Relationships=conflict. It’s natural. It’s part of two people relating to one another because at some point, you’re not going to agree. One person will do something the other person doesn’t like. One person will let the other person down. One person will say or do something stupid. It happens. And at some point, it happens to us—either we’re the person making the mess, or the one who is feeling the effects of the mess. So how do you navigate your way through the drama? Do you just ignore it and hope it goes away? Do you just drop that friend? Or do you find a way to work it out? The choice is yours.

Session Three Parent Cue: What is the biggest fight you’ve ever had with a friend? What was the outcome?