Supplies for this Youth Bible Study
You’ll need Bibles, sheets of paper, pens, fun snacks, and your favorite music for after the study.
For this youth Bible study, have students each find a partner, then stand facing their partner far away from each other. Have all the partners at one end of the room think of three emotions they can express with their face, without making any sound. On “go,” have them make their three facial expressions, quickly in succession, as their partners pay attention and try to figure out what each one is conveying. Then turn to the partners on the other side and ask them to tell what three emotions they observed. Afterward, gather and discuss these questions:
• What made it difficult to accurately label your partner’s emotions?
• Even when we’re physically close to each other, what makes it hard to label another’s emotions?
Say: It’s difficult to relate to others when you’re distant from them.
• What does it mean to be “distant” from someone?
• Describe a close relationship—when do you feel close to this person?
• Think of a relationship that’s distant—what’s made it distant?
Then say something like: Jesus wants to be close to us, not distant. Let’s look at some “evidence” of that in the Bible.
Ask three volunteers to read aloud John 1:14; 3:16; and Matthew 11:28. Then ask:
• What could be motivating Jesus to want to be close to us?
• How does it impact us when we choose to come close to Jesus?
• What are some things we can do to get closer to Jesus, and why do they “work”?
Have kids get back into pairs. Then give each pair a sheet of paper and pen. Ask them to choose three of the following verses to read. For each one they choose, ask them to describe an insight that helps us understand what it means to be “close” to Jesus—have them write their thoughts on the paper. Genesis 6:9; Psalm 23:4; 27:10; 34:18; 145:18; Nahum 1:7; John 15:4-5; John 15:9-11; Ephesians 2:13; and James 4:8.
Gather back together and ask kids to share their insights.
• Given what we learned, how would getting closer to Jesus help you?
• If a relationship involves trusting and enjoying one another, what role does the Bible play in the process of getting closer to Jesus?
• Think about how you get close to your friends—what are things that “work” to help you deepen our relationships with others that could also “work” with Jesus?
Pass out paper and a pen to each student and ask them to draw a line through the middle of the paper. Have them mark one end “distant from Jesus” and the other “close to Jesus.” Then have them consider these questions and write their responses on the paper:
• Mark where you are on the scale—then describe what have you done that has helped you move up the scale.
• What have you done that has moved you down the scale?
• What’s one thing you’ve learned today that’s moved you up?
Gather and say something like: In John 15:12, Jesus says one way to show we are close to him is to make sure we’re growing closer to each other. Just as he loves us we are to love one another, so we’re going to wrap-up our time together with food and fun.
Co-authored by Zach Castor
For the next Youth Bible Study in this series, click here.