Leadership | Programming

• Transition by Saying: Pick any 100 youth leaders, put them in a room together, and you’ll hear stories that aren’t that far from what we just saw…. It’s easy to feel alone, isolated, weak, disconnected, ineffective in youth ministry—some of you are right now feeling worn out and thirsty for hope. Of course, desperation is not a new theme for those involved in advancing the Kingdom of God on earth…. The author Brennan Manning has a favorite story about desperation—we decided to bring that story to life by creating this little animation. Let’s watch….

• Strawberry Story, Part 1: Onscreen, an animated version of Brennan Manning’s “Strawberry” story… A man’s smooth life is suddenly plunged into chaos when he is chased by a tiger. Desperate to get away, he comes to the edge of a cliff. He notices a rope hanging over the edge of the cliff. He grabs it and scrambles down—he is saved, for the moment. He looks down—500 feet to the bottom, where jagged rocks await. He looks up, a crouched tiger waiting to eat him. And also he sees two hungry mice, already gnawing away at the rope above him. Above him is a hungry tiger, below him is a fall that will certainly mean his death…..
-Say: This is, of course, a story about David, and it’s a story about Paul, and a story about Peter, and a story about Jesus, and a story about…you and me….

• Activity: (We have a baggie under every seat that has a 36-inch piece of yarn and a cheap pair of scissors in it.) Ask everyone to pull out their length of yarn and pair of scissors.
-Say: Ever feel like the man in this story—danger and discouragement all around you? Let’s say this 3-foot piece of yarn represents your life. If you’ve ever had a parent get angry at you for something you’ve done, or not done, cut off half of your yarn (like this, draping yarn over the blade)—hold onto one half. (Pause) Now, if you’ve ever hurt or disappointed your family because you couldn’t say no to a ministry or work expectation, cut off half of your remaining yarn—hold on to one half. (Pause) Now, if you’ve ever poured your heart into a lesson or an event or a retreat that really didn’t work out the way you’d hoped, cut off half of your remaining yarn—hold onto one half. (Pause) Now, if you’ve ever felt so overwhelmed with the needs of your ministry that you wondered if you should quit, cut off half of your remaining yarn. (Pause) The tiny piece of yarn you’re left with is often what our heart looks like—tiny and inconsequential. What do you do when the cuts come fast and furious? Who will rescue us, and will that rescue come in time?

• Strawberry Story, Part 2: We rejoin the man hanging on the side of the cliff. His doom is imminent. He cries out for rescue, for someone to save him. He is desperate and afraid. But all looks lost… In that moment of realization he notices a strawberry growing out of the side of the cliff. He reaches out, plucks it, and eats it whole. Then he says, with exuberance, “Yum! This is the most delicious strawberry I’ve ever had!”

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-Say: The rescue we crave is not always the rescue we’re offered. Sometimes we’re not rescued at all…but God shows up in the strawberry–He gives us a taste of His beauty and His love and His greatness—a taste of Himself. And we are redeemed in the middle of our discouragement and fear, not after we see it in our rearview mirror. If we’re preoccupied with the dangers all around us, we’ll miss the treasure God has for us right in front of our noses—and that treasure is His presence, His nearness. Funny how we mostly sense the gift of His presence when the tiger is above us and the rocks are below us. Something about the taste of that strawberry makes us want to worship Jesus, not because of what He’s done for us, but because we’ve tasted Him, hanging on to the side of a cliff, and we’ve discovered He’s the best thing we’ve ever known.

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  • Kevin says:

    would love to get this video. where can i find it?

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