How to Be a Bad Friend
This is one of those things that you generally learn from first hand experience, which can be a painful lesson to learn
While considering the topics we will cover in our Wednesday night meetings we decided that spending some time on our values was important. Discussing the things that are naturally woven into our time together, but not always spoken of explicitly was something that we thought would be beneficial to dig into. One of those values is friendship.
Thanks to a great resource from our friends at Download Youth Ministry we decided that a humorous approach to the often tough lesson of bad friends would be a good way to reinforce why friendship is something we value so much. Our discussion tonight included an introduction to the ways we can be a bad friend, including by not committing to be there for people physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Throughout the month we will be trying a new approach to our teaching time together. As much as I enjoy preparing a talk or lesson, and walking students through scripture and stories to arrive at a clear point followed by a challenge to put into action, we are allowing students to play a major part in our discussion time.
The way we are hoping to do this is through breakout discussion groups. After a short introduction to our topic for the night, we allow students to self select and split into groups of 2-5, spread around the room and walk through a few guided questions or prompts at their own pace.
These are basic small group questions presented as the framework to guide the discussion group as they talk about the topic at hand. Every student was given a sheet with 5 questions on it and asked to talk amongst themselves to answer in their own ways. Some asked for a pen to help them answer the questions but my reason for this is less about arriving at any particular answer than it is about giving space for conversation and friendship as a way to put friendship into practice.
It was inspiring to sit back and watch these young people fully embrace the conversation at hand, and the level of attentiveness and engagement after we came back together for a brief condensed teaching time was amazing. After an opportunity to share with the larger group anything pertinent that came from their discussion groups we looked at a biblical example of a committed friendship and Jesus' selfless teaching of laying down your life for your friend.
I hope that we continue through this series on How To Be A Bad Friend students will come willing to share and leave with not only a stronger understanding of what friendship is, but strong friendships they can rely on and live into.