For Youth Workers Post


Ciona D. Rouse

“In the Habit” session for use with devozine meditations for November 30–December 6, 2015.


“One of my favorite scriptures has always been John 14:12 (NIV) because it challenges me to be much more than ordinary. We’ve been told that we can do what Christ has done: ‘Whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.’ The teens in this week of devozine inspire me because they are using their gifts and graces to further the kingdom of God.” — Ciona

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Ciona D. Rouse, a poet and an author, lives and breathes and has her being in Nashville, Tennessee.




  • Two weeks before the session, invite guests to meet with the group. Invite, for example:
  • an inspiring local teen who isn’t a member of your church
  • four or five teens from your group who have specific talents they can teach or talk about as they would in a TED talk.
  • One week before the session, check with your guests to see what supplies they might need
  • a Bible
  • pens or pencils
  • index cards
  • an offering plate
  • Print-Friendly Version of this session


  • Nichole Nordeman: “Legacy
  • Nooma: Dust — Rob Bell asks: “Faith in Jesus is important, but what about Jesus’ faith in us?”


Bring group members together. Ask each person in turn:
       Who is your favorite celebrity?
       What is one of his or her characteristics that you like?

Invite discussion about how we put celebrities on a pedestal when, actually, they are ordinary people who do their art, craft, or job especially well.


Scripture: Matthew 2:9

Refer to the devozine meditation for December 23: “Following a Star.” Some stars are worshiped, the article says, while others bear witness. Read Matthew 2:9 about how the star in the sky was bright, but not as bright as the One it pointed to. The star’s purpose for shining was to bear witness. One of the most important ways we can bear witness to our Creator in our ordinary lives is by shining in extraordinary ways. When we use our talents for God’s glory, we magnify the kingdom of God.

At this point, either ask a guest speaker from the community or one of the teens from the group to bear witness. Or invite someone to give a TED talk. Here’s how the TED talk option works:

  1. Select ahead of time four or five teens who have a specific talent or gift that they can teach or talk about. (You may want to reach out to a few of the youth who are not typically the stars of the group.) For example, a teen in the group may know how to do calligraphy, to play football, to make no-bake cookies, or to write songs.
  2. Explain to these teens that they will have up to five minutes to talk about what it is they do well. They can talk about why they love it, how they got involved, how they have used or could use their gift in the church. They can teach a bit of their talent to others in the group. For example, the calligraphy writer may want to teach how to write a few letters in the word legacy or Christmas. The football player may teach everyone a throwing technique. The no-bake cookie baker may bring ingredients and have the group make the cookies together. The musician may play a song he or she wrote or teach how to write a chorus.
  3. Give the rest of the group another three minutes to practice what they learned. For example, the teens may all have blank cards and decorate them with the word they have learned in calligraphy. They may finish the no-bake cookies and package them in plastic baggies. They may practice throwing the ball to each other. They may write the chorus of a song.
  4. Then help group members brainstorm ways they can use what they have learned to glorify God in the world—to leave a legacy in the world in a seemingly ordinary way. They may want to give their cards to strangers or to take baggies of no-bake cookies with a note (in calligraphy) thanking the janitors at the church or the clerks at a store across the street from the church. Maybe they’ll plan a football day with some refugee children in the community. Maybe they’ll write a complete song and invite the congregation to sing it in worship.


Close by playing “Legacy,” by Nichole Nordeman. Invite group members to reflect on the song:
       What kind of legacy do you want your life to be?
       How will you choose to love and to point toward God’s light?

Distribute index cards. Ask each person to write a commitment to use a gift or talent they have been given to point toward God’s light. 

Close with a time of silent prayer in which group members place their commitment cards in an offering plate. Conclude by saying, “Everything we give is your gift to us, God. Please use us as you see fit. Amen.”


  • Whatever ideas came out of this session, help make them happen.
  • Consider creating a legacy award at the church. Once a quarter, highlight a young person who is using his or her gifts in extraordinary ways to point toward God’s glory. The presentation of these awards will remind the youth that they have the ability to bear a beautiful witness to God love and light.

—from devozine In the Habit (November/December 2015). Copyright © 2015 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.

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