For Youth Workers Post


Ciona D. Rouse

“In the Habit” session for use with devozine meditations for December 21–27, 2015.


When I was a teen, I met Teri Hughes when her husband Chris was speaking at a youth retreat. They both inspired me in their living. As I got to know them better over the years, I was especially inspired by Teri’s joi de vivre. She lived unafraid and boldly. She had the loudest laughter that spilled all over everything she encountered in the most glorious way. She practiced loving in the way she preached loving. I remember a time when she talked about some students getting into a fight at school (she was an English and drama teacher). She stepped right into the middle of the fight and threw herself over the boy who was getting hit. That’s the kind of person she was—unafraid to step into the mire and muck if it meant protecting and loving the ‘least of these.’

“Teri died twelve years ago. Her light continues to inspire me to this day, so much so that I wrote a poem inspired by her. I use it as a personal mantra, but it has also managed to inspire others to live bold and wonderful lives: Do the Crazy Thing (

“This week, as we relish the most inspiring holiday, reflect on the people who inspire you; and think of ways you are making the world better because of who they are.” — Ciona


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Ciona D. Rouse lives and breathes and has her being in Nashville, Tennesee, where she is a poet and an author.





Ask each person to answer this question:
       On Christmas Day, where or when did you see or experience God?


Scripture: Matthew 26:6–13

To recognize and honor those who represent the light of Christ in our lives is important. Read Matthew 26:6–13 and invite discussion:
       Why did the woman in the story do such an impromptu, bold act?
       The perfume was expensive (300 denarii is equal to thousands of today’s dollars) and most often used to anoint the dead. Why were the disciples upset by her actions?
       What is special about her act? What is important about her doing this for Christ in his life and not as a burial ritual?
       Whom do you need to anoint—with words, gifts, love—while they are still alive?
       Who in your life bears Christ’s life? Why?
       Who inspires you?

Invite group members to write letters to people who inspire them. They can choose to write to someone they know or don’t know. They could write letters they will deliver personally or mail to another person or letters they will never send—but encourage group members to give the letters to people to “anoint them” in their living. What a great blessing to inspire people as they kick off 2016!


One of my favorite prayers is the alphabet prayer, in which a group prays aloud together, coming up with names for God by going through the alphabet. So the prayer may go like this:

Thank you, Lord, for coming to earth, living, and dying so that we might be free. We give you praise and glory because you are . . .

Invite members of the group to shout out their word for Christ as they think of it:
       Awesome, Beautiful, Christ, Divine, E_______, and so on.

Consider closing with an alphabet prayer as a way to anoint Christ, who inspires us all. And don’t worry, the youth will giggle when they make up a word for X (X-alted) or say “Zylophone-riffic” for Z. Making up words is the fun part of the prayer. God created us as creative beings, and I love the creative ways we can play with language to honor and glorify God.


  • Encourage group members to meet regularly with the people who inspire them.
  • Invite the group to brainstorm and make a list of ways to create a “great caper” to celebrate someone in the church. (Read the weekend article by Katy Steele in devozine!)
  • Create a small brunch event called “Toast” to which each group member invites a mentor and/or an inspiring person in her or his life. At the event, serve only sparkling grape juice in fancy champagne flutes and cinnamon toast. Invite each group member to offer a toast to his or her guest. It will be a fun, celebratory brunch and a great way to say thank you.
  • Write on little cards simple messages such as, “You inspire me” or “Keep living a beautiful life.” Give three to each member of the group. Invite them to give the notes to people who inspired them because they held the door open, they clean the toilets every day, they flashed a wonderfully sincere smile—whatever the youth see and appreciate.

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

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