Senior Youth: Seasons & Soul Food

Contributed by: Karen Spoelstra and Charlie Baker, Diocese of Auckland

This talk and small group discussion guide uses the process of bread-making to teach about spiritual practices and growing with Jesus the different seasons of life. You could use it as a follow on from the Bread of Life.

Note: If you don’t have the resources or time to bake bread, you could adapt this resource to instead use the seasons of the year (summer, autumn, winter and spring) instead of the stages of making bread.

You will need: basic bread recipe, ingredients, cooking equipment (bowls, spoons, baking trays), ‘Soul Food’ cards – printed out and displayed on the wall/floor, sample batches of bread that have already risen & baked (so you can fast-track the process/demonstration).

Introduction: Seasons

We all have good days and bad. Sometimes we have a great patch when everything goes well. And sometimes we go through a rough patch, when it seems like nothing is going our way. If you can, share a personal story to illustrate this.

Read Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

We all go through different stages or seasons in life. Draw out examples from the passage you have just read.

During these seasons, we find that we need different things to feed our faith. Different types of spiritual practice – or ‘soul foods’ – will help us get through those seasons and keep growing as disciples of Jesus.

Show them the Soul Food cards, and give them a chance to look over them all. Explain any they are unsure of.

It’s helpful if we understand what the different seasons in life are like and to think through how we can ‘feed’ ourselves to get through them.

Breadmaking Demonstration and Discussion

Take them through the stages of making bread as outlined below. If you can, divide your group into 3s or 4s and give them the ingredients and equipment to do it themselves. Otherwise, demonstrate it from the front.

During each stage of the bread making process, use the following notes as a guide to discuss about the appropriate stage of the process and draw out similarities to a corresponding life season.

Invite a young person to read the suggested verses, and discuss how these relate to that season.

Incorporate the following questions:

  1. If this stage of breadmaking was a season of life, what sorts of things might be happening in your life?
  2. Share a time you experienced a season like this.
  3. What is good about this season?
  4. What is difficult or challenging?
  5. What kind of ‘soul food’ might help sustain someone in this season?

1. Mixing and kneading

Highlight that during this stage of breadmaking, you are adding in lots of ingredients, and mixing it all around.

Help them identify this with a season of life when there is a lot of input, learning opportunities, inspiring people around them. It’s a busy season with new and exciting things happening.

Verse: Acts 9:27

Soul Food examples: mentoring, journaling, confession, serving

2. Rising

Highlight that this stage of breadmaking is about waiting but also growing.

It relates to a season which feels passive or dormant, when we feel like no matter how hard we try, nothing much is going happening or changing. During this season we might question where God is; we may have doubts or feel far away from him. We don’t realise that if we stick with him, he is actually growing us in this time, just as the bread is rising.

Verses: Psalm 23:2-3, Psalm 46:10

Soul Food examples: silence, solitude, retreats, self examination, mentoring, journaling

3. Shape and bake

Use your pre-risen dough at this point.

During this stage, the dough is cut up, rolled around and put into the hot oven. This relates to a season where we are going through hard times.

Verse: Philippians 4:6

Soul Food examples: worship, mentoring, Christian friends, prayer partners, community, different types of prayer (breath, centering, contemplative, conversational, fasting, fixed-hour, intercession, labyrinth, scripture, walk etc)

4. Eat

Use your pre-baked bread at this point.

Now we get to enjoy the bread. This is a season when you feel like celebrating – everything’s going well, things seem easy, life is good.

Verse: Psalm 136:1-2

Soul Food examples: celebrate, give thanks, worship, serve, disciple others

Response

Break into pairs or groups of three and share:

  • Which of these stages are you in right now?
  • What soul food would be helpful for you?
  • What else do you need right now to keep growing in your faith?

Pray for each other.