Hey, Youth Ministry Nation!
Is it just us, or does it feel as if Lady Liberty has morphed into Negative Nancy?
Whenever a person thinks, neurons connect and form patterns. So if your mind focuses on what’s wrong, it will rewire itself to repeat those negative thoughts in similar situations. Neuropsychologists attribute chronic complaining to negative brain activity — or stinkin’ thinkin’. Complainers experience more frustration, anxiety, depression, and anger than non-complainers. Not to mention, no one wants to hang out with a Negative Nancy. In other words, Taylor Swift is right when she sings, “Haters gonna hate.”
The good news is that if you focus on what’s good, your mind will repeat patterns of positive thinking. That’s why the Apostle Paul advises: “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise” (Philippians 4:8). Jesus knows that people who think about what’s good, true, and pure are peace-filled, inspiring, and way more fun to be around.
So we need your help! Maybe it’s time we rewire those negative neurons so they become more thankful patterns of thinking. Inspired by the Mannequin Challenge and exhausted by all the anti-everything, post-election awfulness, we think it’s time to start a gratitude movement with the Gratitude Challenge .
The Gratitude Challenge
Form a group of at least two and no more than three million, and make a video of the people in the group taking turns saying to the camera what they’re thankful for. Have the group say as many things as possible in 15 seconds. Or, if you have a big group, allow enough time for each person to say one thing. After the video is complete, post it on social media with the hashtag #GratitudeChallenge2016.
Here are some ideas to spark your creativity:
- Post a video of your youth group doing the challenge.
- Challenge your church’s staff to take the challenge. The senior pastor will love it!
- Encourage students to make a video with their friends.
- Bring the challenge to your Thanksgiving table and post a video of your family doing the challenge. Nothing says Gratitude Challenge like Grandma giving thanks for prune juice and turkey gizzards. (Tim wanted to say “adult diapers,” but Tasha thought it was mean.)
Let’s work together to shine light on what’s good in our world. Who’s in?