Youth Material Leader’s Guide
The Youth version leader’s guide will give you a number of suggestions and ideas for using The Call of the Cross with your own group. Feel free to use the ideas you’ll find here. A one-page version a downloadable PDF/ text document is also available.
- What is a group session?
- What do sessions look like?
- Session running order
- The role of the leader
- Where can I get more information?
“How can a young person keep his way pure? By keeping the word of the Lord.” – Psalm 119:9
Young people are full of life. What a perfect time to encounter the rich life that God wants to give us through his word!
All the church want to see our young people grow and develop in their relationship with the Lord. This course introduces the word of God as a vital part of the Christian life, along with prayer, revelation and worship.
The Way of the Spirit has worked with Rachel, a young person herself who saw the potential in our ministry to reach teens. When our youth are responding to God’s call to know him, they do not need more of the hype, noise, or distractions they get from the world – they are looking for the truth, for substance, and for guidance in how to find Christian meaning in what seems a chaotic life.
By giving them a structure for exploring the Bible in, and praying together with them that God will reveal himself to them, they discover that God’s word is a personal letter to them, and they learn to love reading their Bibles –giving them a solid foundation for finding their way through whatever their lives will bring.
What is a group session?
Group sessions are lively, youth-led discussions of the week’s reading and questions. Groups meet once per week, to cover readings over of 24 weeks, with a youth leader who acts as a facilitator (links to youth leader’s guide), rather than as a teacher.
The interaction within the group and the opportunity to learn together is part of the growth young people do in the Way of the Cross course. Young people discuss what they have been learning throughout the week, and encourage each other with their own testimonies.
Young people get out of the group what they put in – and – with the support of the facilitator – they are very much left to find their own way in the group. It is vital that they are encouraged in the right direction by peers who are doing the same thing.
As the Spirit begins to reveal more of himself, you will notice changes in your young people. These group sessions are a fantastic way to encourage these positive changes.
What do they look like?
You should plan to hold one group session each week. They are very simple and should be run with a consistent format.
The readings are set weekly. As most of the reading is done independently, the young people will get out of it as much as they want to.
Many groups find it useful to have the young people do the first three readings on their own, and to save the fourth to do together at the group session.
Sessions run each week so that everyone can talk about what revelation they’ve been getting. They come together to encourage each other, challenge each other, pray for each other and hear more from God together.
The Way of the Cross brings people closer to the Bible, and as participants listen to the Spirit, they will want to discuss, argue, and wrestle with what they are learning. Asking questions, talking about the reading, and asking the Lord to reveal more and more of his unconditional greatness are part of reading the Bible.
Using a regular format builds a safe place of trust and community, where we can practise listening to God, for each other and ourselves.
Session running order
You should hold one session each week. These should always include:
- Pray to start (use the 5 steps)
- Key verse
- Testimony of the week
- Anything creative
- Small groups
- Feedback and close
Pray to start
We want to begin to encourage our young people in a life of prayer. Some of them will have never prayed out loud before.
The Youth session encourages a life of prayer, by following five steps. Over the weeks of the meetings, the familiarity of these simple steps, along with their own growth within a trusting environment, will help them to increase their confidence.
The five steps are:
- Praise God for who he is and all the things he has done for us
- Ask him to forgive us so that we can come before him with a clean heart
- Silence any other voices that might want to speak to us e.g. the enemy, our own voice
- Invite the Holy Spirit to come and work
- Give him some time to speak to you and then respond to it
Step three is particularly important, as we only want to hear what God has to say.
One idea is to ask the young people to pick a number between one and five. When one of your group picks a number, they then pray out loud that step. As each one listens to their peer leading them in prayer, they will become more comfortable with the experience of group prayer. Don’t worry if some of them tend to prefer choosing a particular number. They are still growing together, each in their own personal ways.
TIP: For number five give some time to hear what the Spirit is saying, and then get one of the young people to pray to close.
After the prayer, ask for feedback. Some of the young people may have had pictures, or verses, or encouragements for the group or an individual. It is really good to share these things. It helps to create a safe environment, and to reinforce the fact that God answers our prayers.
Key verse and testimony of the week
At the end of each week’s material in the workbook is a review box. This helps your young people apply what they have learned and prepare for the group session. It includes:
- Testimony of the week – This could include anything that God has done or spoken to you about this week
- Key verse – Any verse or chapter that stood out from the readings for you personally
You’ll never know what your young people will bring to this part of the session. The main point is to have fun! God’s word is there for us to enjoy hearing from him, and the session is to help us enjoy learning from each other’s experiences as well.
It’s also important to ask the group what has happened in their week. Sharing what God is doing in their lives and the lives of their friends will encourage everyone, even you, and will bless the heart of God.
You may find that these experiences relate to the “challenges” and “more questions” that they may have been asked to complete in their week’s readings. Sharing with each other what they’ve seen in the Bible as each reads it, and then discussing what that means for them, is really key to this course. We want to encourage the young people to talk together and with us about their opinions of what they’ve been reading.
Some young people are more musical, artistic, or creative than others. Some may not want to create at all. It is important to give space to each participant’s own preferred style. Make available other methods of expressing what they are learning. They may even want to express what God is saying to them through maths or science! It is really important to give space for that and encourage it. Some may find the shift from words to be uncomfortable, but it may be just what others in your group need to free them up!
The small group part of your session is the time to do the week’s fourth reading. (Your young people should do the first three readings on their own as preparation for the weekly meeting.)
You may find it useful to separate the young people into groups. We have found that the young people benefit from keeping these groups consistent each week, so think carefully about how you divide them. Your group may like to do the reading together as a big group, before splitting up. Others may like to stay in their groups for the whole reading time.
In the first few weeks you may need to spark off the conversation, but as the young people become more confident they won’t need your input. Giving them space to do this, once they are ready, will increase their familiarity and confidence, so trust them to hear and share God, and leave them to it.
Feedback and close
After the young people have discussed the reading, bring them back together, so the larger group can benefit from others’ insights. As leader you should summarise their opinions, debates, and conclusions. Do try to get everyone involved.
This is also a good time to prepare them for the next week’s readings and clear up any confusion.
When you are ready, ask one of the young people to close the session with prayer.
The role of the leader
Good news: you are not teaching anything.
As leader of The Way of The Spirit course, you are there to facilitate the work that God is going to do in your young people.
Some leaders may find it difficult to step back from teaching, but giving that space to allow the Holy Spirit to work is exactly what gives the Way of the Spirit its anointing.
The best way for you to prepare for the course is to ask, as Paul did when writing to the Christians in Ephesus, that they might have the “spirit of wisdom and revelation” so they could know God better. In this way you will be able to allow the Holy Spirit to reveal what it is that he is going to do.
You will often find that leaving the young people to have the discussions themselves is the key.
There are things you can do to help make sure it happens, however.
Be prepared to help start off conversations for the first few weeks. At the beginning your young people may like you to lead them into discussions. As the course develops, however, they will begin to get used to discussing and debating revelation, readings and questions without you being there.
Be flexible to what your young people respond to. Every group is different so what works for one of your groups, may not work for the next. Don’t worry if it doesn’t work out how you planned, or if you have to do week one three times! Go at the pace that works for your group.
Where can I get more information?
If you are interested in running a Youth the Way of The Spirit course and want some more information, please feel free to contact us.
You may also find it helpful to read the article ‘How to run a Bible group’ by John McKay, who originally wrote The Way of the Spirit course.
- Writing to impart life, by John McKay
- How to run a Bible group, by John McKay
- Syllabus for Prophetic Bible teaching course