Discovering your Experiences

Contributed by: Emily Paterson and Charlie Baker, Diocese of Auckland

This fourth part of the ‘Discovering Your SHAPE’ series focuses on understanding that what they have experienced in life forms a significant part of who they are. They will learn that God can use their experiences, both good and bad, to help others.

About the ‘Discovering Your SHAPE’ series

‘Discovering Your SHAPE’ is a teaching series all about helping teenagers learn about their identity, with a special focus on how they can uniquely help others and impact their church and community using the gifts and skills God has given them. See Discovering your unique ‘SHAPE’ for more information about this series.

Session 4: Discovering Your Experiences

You will need: Bibles, pens, printed copies of the SHAPE booklets – enough for one per person.

Game: Sit down if

Ask the entire group to stand. Instruct them to sit down when the statement fits them or is something they have experienced (see suggestions below). They remain seated. Last person standing wins a prize. Play a few rounds. Note: If you have trouble because most are not sitting down, give them more general experiences, e.g. you’re over 13 years old, you have tried brussel sprouts.

Round 1

  • Sit down if you have eaten chocolate today
  • Sit down if you are wearing purple
  • Sit down if you were born in September
  • Sit down if you have blue eyes
  • Sit down if you are the youngest child in your family
  • Sit down if you have broken a bone
  • Sit down if can speak more than two languages

Round 2

  • Sit down if you have ever worn the same socks two days in a row.
  • Sit down if you started a new school this year
  • Sit down if your birthday is next month
  • Sit down if you’ve never been overseas
  • Sit down if you have eaten snails
  • Sit down if you are ticklish.
  • Sit down if you didn’t use mouthwash today

Round 3

  • Sit down if you have ever been skiing
  • Sit down if you can roll your tongue
  • Sit down if you have been to Christchurch
  • Sit down if you like to sing in the shower
  • Sit down if you have performed in a concert
  • Sit down if you have moved house
  • Sit down if your belly button is an outie

E: Experiences

Recap the SHAPE theme if necessary. In this session we are focusing on E: our Experiences.

The things we experience in life are a big part of our unique SHAPE – they make us who we are. We may go through similar things as each other like starting a new school or moving house, but no one else is ever going to experience things quite like you! That makes you completely unique. What’s more, God can use the things that happen in our lives to shape us and make us more like Jesus. AND He can also use our experiences to help others.

Ask someone to read Romans 8:28. Discuss what they think this verse means.

Ask/discuss: How could a bad experience in our life be used for good?
Help draw out the following points: that we can learn from our experiences, they can make us like Jesus, we can help others by sharing what we have learnt, being understanding of what others go through etc).

Share an example of a significant experience from your own life that illustrates this point.

Brainstorm together some examples of significant life experiences (e.g. moving house/city/country, starting a new school, parents separating).
Then brainstorm significant faith experiences (e.g. an answer to prayer, a doubt or question you had about God, getting baptised).

Ask each person to think of three or four key experiences from their life so far that have made them who they are today, e.g. how you became a Christian, a past experience that you’ve learned from. Draw or write about those events on page 10 of their SHAPE booklet.

Get into small groups and have each person share about one of their experiences with the group.

Prayer

Still in their small groups, invite them to pray that God would use their experiences for good – to make them who He wants them to be and to help other people.