A Course of Study

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I know that many of you are planning out your curriculum for the fall and winter. Let me encourage you to do five or six weeks on social justice. There are so many directions the discussions and study could go. Based on my experience your teens will be thinking, questioning, and challenging their faith in ways they might not have before. Which is always a good thing.

This summer our group spent time thinking about how we are called be just in a world that is very unjust. We didn't find too many easy answers, but we did learn from the journey. One of the things we did was show a movie called Invisible Children. I showed the film to my teens and we decided to put on a film festival and showcase the film. IN conjuction with the screening we did a mini children's film festival during the day where parents could dropped their kids off to watch movies and do crafts. We raised almost $1,000 by selling baked goods to the kids and audience at both events (admission to both things was free). I also got one of my kids to do a painting that we auctioned off. My youth group kids were ecstatic and the church was very moved by the whole event.

I write this post on this blog because when I was trying to figure out where to send the money (we settled on the "Invisible Children" fund) I wrote to some missionaries in Uganda asking them for some direction. One of the missionaries wrote back and recommended Invisible Children because he had heard good things about the guys who made the film. But he added a couple of sentences in an e-mail to me that have stuck in my brain. He wrote:
Thanks for your work! It is rare to see a youth ministry do more than devo's and church camps, not that anything is wrong with those things, but to here about your youth organizing a Childrens Arts and Film Festival for the sake of raising awarness and money for Acholi children is quite refreshing! To hear that a youth minister is exploring God's justice in the world and His concern for all creation, especially the marginalized, is fantastic. I only know one other youth minister in the CoC who is doing something like this and he lives in Oregon. So, praise God for your work and thank you, thank you, thank you!
One of the things that the Invisible Children movie encourages a person to do is use their time, talent, and resources to tell the story of these children. I hope to influence you to use your YM budget to purchase the movie ($20) and just take an evening and watch it. Then show it to your teens on a Wednesday night, and at the end ask them "What can we do." I believe you will be surprised by their answer.

Of course studying justice doesn't have to focus on just Africa. It could be Asia, South America, or even your own backyard. I challenge you all to find time in your curriculum schedule to teach, question, and explore the theme of Justice in scripture.

Thanks - Jason

Dateline just did a segment on Northern Uganda. You can read about it here.

3 Responses to “A Course of Study”

  1. Blogger CL 

    Thank you brother for this information. I am planning to do something like this in November with our kids. Thanks a lot for the movie resource. I will check it out! Great job brother!

  2. Blogger J-Wild 

    Please let me know how it goes.

  3. Blogger David Moss 

    Thanks for the links and the thoughts. I am in the "throws" of curriculum planning - and after reading your thoughts i think we will try devoting one Sunday a month to Social Justice - it should be a great experiment. Maybe show parts of the movie, other stuff, have the kids make a video/interview of local homeless teens.....share it and see how they (and I) respond. I am being so blessed in our fall planning...thanks again!

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