The entire church I serve at is doing a study on the attributes of God. This means my senior pastor will give us a curriculum that he wrote to follow the sermons he is preaching. We do this every Fall. As I was looking at my preaching calendar in my youth group, I saw there was a two week gap between the time I finish the series I was doing in the Summer and the series my entire church was doing. So I did a 2 part lesson from Ephesians 5:1-14 called “Why We Should Live Righteously”.
In this series this verse popped up:
Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. (Ephesians 5:4 ESV)
I sat on this verse for a while and talked about how we have trouble doing this. The way our guys encourage each other is by putting each other down. “You Suck!” & “Fail!” is common speech for our kids. I think my youth group are also professionals at being sarcastic. If I asked, “What did Jesus accomplish by the Resurrection?” A reply of, “He stopped being dead” isn’t too far off.
I realize I am not the best example of this and even confessed in this part of the lesson that I am really sarcastic and have gone toe to toe with some of the guys in being sarcastic or condescending. I never tell kids they suck but I have laughed when another kid condescendingly mocks another kid after scoring on them in Madden.
I made a challenge to my youth group. I told them to find one person this week and tell them that they encourage you or that you appreciate them. In all my time doing youth ministry I have rarely ever heard one youth encourage another youth or tell them they appreciate them. So I posed this challenge and if I can be really honest, I didn’t think much about it.
I don’t know if it is them being ironic or just trying to be funny but I started seeing them go up to people and say with a smile, “you encourage me” or “I appreciate you”. My favorite moment is when one student instagramed their interaction with another student over texts and the other student “Encouragement Juked” them.
I don’t know how long this will last but I hope it keeps going. The Bible is clear. God cares about how we talk with each other.
1 Thessalonians 5:11, 1 Corinthians 12:26, Hebrews 10:24-25, Ephesians 4:29, Proverbs 27:9, 1 Thessalonians 5:14, Proverbs 27:17, Romans 14:19, Romans 15:4, Ephesians 4:31-32, Ephesians 4:25-26, Proverbs 10:11, James 1:19, James 4:11, James 5:16, Romans 15:5, Philippians 4:8, Psalm 19:14, Hebrews 3:13, 1 Thessalonians 4:18.
This was a lesson I needed for myself. Now I have to go find someone to encourage. How are you doing with this? Do you see corrupt, perverse, condescending, or sarcastic speech going on in your youth group? What have you done that seems to work? What have you done to be more encouraging and uplifting to others?