Junior Youth: Choose The Light

Contributed by: Charlie Baker, Diocese of Auckland

‘Choose the Light’ is the third session in a teaching series called ‘Light/Dark’. Throughout this series, your youth will discover more about Jesus as the Light of the World, his victory over darkness on the cross, and the transforming power of his light in our lives… all through the lens of Star Wars!

In this session, you will give an invitation to your youth to choose to follow Jesus. Make a follow up plan and ensure you have some discipleship resources available for those who make a commitment.

Key Scripture: John 1v1-18

You will need: questions for the game (optional), AV equipment, Bibles, whiteboard/large paper, pens, battery powered tea light candles (one per person)

Game (optional)

Ask a series of ‘Would you rather…?’ questions

Choices Matter

Ask: What are some choices you made today?

Write these on a large piece of paper or whiteboard.

Then ask: What are some important choices we make in our lives?

Also write their responses down.

The choices we make can have a significant impact on our lives. Watch ‘The Downfall of Anakin Skywalker’.

Discuss the choices Anakin made, why he made those choices, and the impact those choices had on him and on others.

Say:

Anakin had his choice to make. He wanted to save Padme, the one he loved – which seemed to him to be the ultimate good and right thing to do! However, he chose to go to the dark side to get what he wanted. But, it didn’t just start with that choice – he made a lot of other choices before that one, and this was why he struggled all through his life. This was why people were so cautious about him. It was because he had a darkness inside him that he had chosen to allow to fester and grow. He had made choices for greed, a desire to have power over other people; choices to distrust people, to lie and deceive. All these little choices led to him to the big choice, to give into the darkness and embrace the dark side of the force.

In real life, darkness is sneaky! Satan tries to pretend that it sin is not actually bad at all but good and justifiable. Like you need to cheat on that test because you deserve to pass. Ask your group for some other examples (e.g. it won’t hurt to steal a phone because they can afford a new one or your need it more than they do; revenge is the best way to settle the score)

Instead Jesus reveals that the choices we make do matter. His light reveals that that our actions aren’t inconsequential. His light reveals that choosing sin is toxic to our souls. And his light reveals that choosing to follow him, brings life.

Choosing Jesus

Read or watch John 1v1-18.

As you read/watch the passage, ask them to look out for the choices that people made in response to Jesus ‘the light’ coming into the world. Invite them to share and discuss what they noticed. In your discussion, include the following:

  • Who did Jesus come for? (everyone – v9 “the light of all people… enlightens everyone”)
  • Even though Jesus is good, why do you think people chose to hide from his light? (Because they were afraid of the darkness it might reveal inside of them.)
  • What did God do for people who chose the Light? (v 12 he makes them his children).
  • What do you think it means to be a ‘child of God’? (e.g. we have a relationship with Him, He is our Father, He loves us)

We all have a choice – we can hide from the light; we can choose not to live in the light. Verse 11 says Jesus “came to his own people and they didn’t accept him”. So, like them, and like Anakin, we have a choice to make too. We need to choose a side: light or dark. Which will you choose?

To some of us, it may seem like an obvious choice – to choose light over dark – but it’s not always an easy one. It means choosing Jesus’ way. Choosing the narrow road, to follow his way of doing things, to allow him to take the lead, to turn our back on doing things just however we want to and instead choose his way of love. Choosing not to lie or put ourselves first is not the easy choice. Choosing the dark side over the light can seem easier most of the time.

But sin and darkness will do damage to our souls, and ultimately leads to death not life. Making the choice for Jesus is saying no to the darkness – no to sin, no to going our own way – and yes to the light – yes to Jesus’ way, truth and life; yes to becoming a child of God.

‘Decision Candles’

Dim the lights in your room and get everyone sitting in a large circle. Hand out battery powered tea light candles to each person.

We all have choices to make, little ones like [share one or two examples from your discussion at the start] and big ones like [share one example from above] or will we choose Jesus?

Briefly share your testimony about when and why you chose to follow Jesus.

Optional: Is the faith strong in you?
Luke says, “The force runs strong in my family”. For some of you, “Faith runs strong in your family”. Some of you may come from families where you feel like the ‘faith is strong in your family’. Maybe you all go to church, you say grace together at meal times, maybe you pray and read the Bible together. Maybe you’re mostly just here right now because your mum or dad wanted you to come. My question to you is this: ‘Is faith strong in you’? Have you made the choice to follow Jesus for yourself? Jesus is inviting you to choose him today.

Give an invitation to respond to Jesus by switching on their tea light candle. Depending on your group, you could offer some or all of the following invitations:

  • Choose the light – say yes to Jesus for the first time
  • Choose to seek the light – say yes I want to know more about Jesus
  • Choose the light – choose to follow Jesus’ way in the choices I make each day

Close with a salvation prayer or other appriorate prayer based on the response(s) you used above.

Tell them to take their candle home, as a reminder of their choice today. And for those who didn’t turn on their light, encourage them to take it home as a reminder that that they can choose anytime if they want to.

Make sure you follow up with those who made choices, especially if they chose to follow Jesus for the first time.