What Can I Do?
- How have I tried to help the homeless or impoverished in my community? What did I do? How was my help received?
- Who has helped me to focus on what I can do to help others rather than on what holds me back? What advice or examples have encouraged me to get involved?
- What are some simple ways teens can make a difference in their community? What suggestions would I give to others who would like to help the people around them?
- Who inspires or encourages me to discover my gifts for social action? What historical figures, books, movies, or grassroots campaigns by teens have helped me to recognize and explore new ways I can make a difference?
- How does my faith encourage me to help others? to distinguish between charity and justice? How does my church family or faith community help me to work for social justice?
Out of Bounds
- Am I co-dependent? How would I recognize the signs? Who are the people I depend on most heavily (friends, boy/girlfriends, parents, siblings, mentors)? Do I talk with them about the big issues or about every little thing that affects my life? Am I able to make a decision without them?
- Do I fall into the trap of being co-dependent because I don’t want to be lonely? Do I feel that I need someone to complete me? Why is being alone scary for me?
- When have I become co-dependent because I needed to be validated? Do my parents or other adults rely on me for validation? How do these relationships make me feel? Are these relationships healthy? fair?
- Do I have a friend who’s swamping my boat, bringing me down? who claims to be my “best friend” but really is needy or draining? How do I feel about this friendship? How do I interact with this person?
- Who or what helps me to set healthy boundaries? How does my faith help me to set and keep these boundaries in place? What is difficult about this? What takes practice? How do I know when I have set healthy boundaries? How do I feel when I maintain these boundaries? How does setting these boundaries help me to be a better friend?
- Why is alone time important to me? How do I choose to spend my time alone? How does having time alone help me to be a better friend or family member? a better person?
- Who has modeled for me a healthy practice of spending time alone? How does taking “me time” make a difference in his or her daily life? When have I learned the hard way that I need to develop the habit of unplugging and spending time alone?
- Society pressures us to spend time in groups or as couples. When have I felt “abnormal” or misunderstood for spending time alone? How do I help others understand and respect my desire to spend time with me?
- Have I ever been forced to spend time alone or gone somewhere I didn’t know anyone else? How did I learn to find comfort in my own company? How did I build community in a new and different place? What did I learn by stepping out of my comfort zone?
- What is the difference between loneliness and solitude? How have I felt God’s presence in my loneliness or solitude? How does my faith help me to think about “me time” as a positive and healthy practice? When in solitude has God taught me a valuable lesson?
- How does the Bible define worship? What kinds of worship have I experienced? What do I think worship should look like? Why?
- What elements of worship are most important to me? to my denomination or my local congregation? Why do we do certain things in worship? (For instance, why are there different types of baptism—sprinkling, pouring, immersion?) What do these different worship practices mean to me? Do I feel that one is more “worshipful” than another?
- Do teens feel empowered in worship? Why or why not? When have I felt empowered in worship? Who or what helped to empower me in worship? What can teens teach the church about meaningful worship?
- When have I experienced worship in other cultures or countries, perhaps on a mission trip? What unfamiliar elements of worship spoke to me or brought me closer to God and to other believers?
- What is the purpose of worship? Why do I worship? Is worship about me feeling good or about God? How does my participation in worship affect my faith and beliefs?
You’re So Vain!
- When have I encountered someone who is “haughty” or “arrogant”? How did they treat me? others? How did I react to their behavior? When have I been the arrogant one?
- There’s a fine line between being arrogant and being self-confident. What do I have to be arrogant about? Am I legitimately proud, or am I covering up a lack of self-esteem? What have I learned about the feelings that might cause someone to be arrogant? How does this help me to respond lovingly?
- When has someone’s arrogance changed my relationship with that person? What did I do, if anything, to restore the relationship? to encourage the other person to change?
- Who has been honest enough to confront my arrogant ways in order to help me be real? How did I react to this person? How did their honesty help me to see myself and my attitude differently?
- When have I been arrogant with God? Why? How has God humbled me or shattered my pride?
No Way Out
- When have I experienced (in myself or others) the hopeless feeling that there is no way out but death? Who has taught me that suicide is a last resort—or not even an option? Who or what has helped me to see other options for coping with the urge to escape life?
- Have I or has someone I know seriously considered committing suicide? If so, why did I or did that person decide against it? Who or what helped me (him/her) choose life?
- What wisdom or advice has been passed on to me by someone who has considered or attempted suicide? How has this been helpful to me?
- Jesus said, “I came that they might have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10, NRSV). How do Bible passages like this one help me reject suicide as an option? How does my church help me understand God’s desire for us to live life abundantly?
- What does my faith teach me about how precious life is? What hope and courage does my faith offer me in dealing with life’s struggles and with resisting suicide?
Xpress Your Beliefs
- What are my core beliefs? What do I believe without a doubt? What beliefs am I still struggling to claim or to articulate?
- When have I been asked to express my beliefs in public? Who asked me? How did I feel? How did expressing my beliefs make me more or less confident about what I believe?
- How do I express my beliefs in my everyday life? Who has modeled for me that faith is more than a set of principles, that it is a relationship, that it is active, that it’s a lifestyle?
- How am I developing a rule of life to shape, practice, and live out my beliefs? Who is helping me to do this? What activities and practices help me to live out my beliefs?
- Express your beliefs creatively! State what you believe in a creed or a poem Write your beliefs in 25 words or less, or tweet your beliefs in 140 characters. Rewrite a passage of scripture as a personal or group covenant to a particular way of life (try Colossians 3:1–14). Create a piece of art or a photograph that expresses your beliefs. Submit your work to devozine and share it as “Creative Work” on www.devozine.org.
Reel to Real
- Ever heard the saying “You are what you eat”? It can also be true of movies. When and how have I experienced the truth in the statement “You are what you watch”? How have movies influenced me for good or bad?
- What is my favorite movie? Why? With what themes or characters in this movie do I identify most closely? Why? How did the movie capture real feelings or experiences in my own life? How has this movie shaped my life or inspired me to be a better person?
- When have I received an important message from a movie I didn’t like or whose message wasn’t entirely positive? What lesson did I learn? What truth did I encounter? How did this experience change they way I think about movies and other media?
- If my life were the plot of a movie, what would the message be? Is this a message I am proud of? If not, how would I have to change to rewrite the outcome of the story?
- When have I encountered God in a movie? Did I expect to see God, or was it a surprise? What about this movie moved me? raised questions? hit me with a dose of reality? opened me to a deeper relationship with God? What impact did this have on me?
- Who has taught me the value of money? How did they teach me? What did I learn? Do I agree with their values? How am I living out those values?
- How do I feel about money? about having money? Why? How do I spend my money? budget my money? What guides my decisions about saving, spending, being generous?
- When have I or has someone I know placed too much or too little value on money or on the things money can buy? How do my priorities affect the way I spend or save money?
- When have I mis-spent, over-spent, or wasted my money? How did I feel about this misuse of money? How did my parents and friends react? What did I learn from this?
- What have I learned from scripture about the importance or the dangers of money? How has my faith taught me to spend, to save, to tithe, or to give away my money? How am I learning to be a good steward of my money?