Session 4: Energize Your Light– People & Friends; the Power of Healthy and Unhealthy Relationships
Supplies: Camper Book, Bible, Pens, index cards (10 per group member), butcher paper, markers, masking tape
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you.” John 15:12-14
Open with Prayer
Sitting in a circle, spend several moments silently lifting up names of friends to God. For those who have healthy lifestyles giving thanks and for those who have unhealthy lifestyles asking for God’s grace to become transforming in those friends lives. After several minutes the JC should say “Amen.”
Flip the Light Switch
“So far as I am concerned, what has most often opened my eyes to my own unconscious sin is the witness of friends when they have told me about their own faults. This, let it be noticed is the complete opposite of judgment.”
“God has given us our brothers and sisters to stand in Christ’s stead and make God’s presence and forgiveness real to us.” Richard Foster
“Do not give a single thought of separating from your brethren, whether their opinions agree with yours or not. Just because someone does not agree with everything you say does not mean that they are sinning. Nor is this or that opinion essential to the work of God. Be patient with those who disagree with you. Do not condemn those who do not see things just as you do, or who think it is their duty to contradict you, whether in a great thing or small.” John Wesley
The Main Ideas of this session are that God gives us Friends to help us have healthy lives. But some friendships may not be God-given because they cause us to act in ways that are unhealthy.
As a group, on a sheet of butcher paper draw a person and label that person with all the BEST qualities of a friend. Everybody should contribute at least two (2) qualities to the picture of a perfect friend.
Hang the poster up on the wall.
“Hey! What’s that?”
Friend: n. 1) A person whom one knows, likes, and trusts. 2) A person whom one knows; an acquaintance. 3) A person with whom one is allied in a struggle or cause; a comrade. 4) One who supports, sympathizes with, or patronizes a group, cause, or movement.
Talk about these definitions of a friend from American Heritage Dictionary. Are they accurate? What is missing? Do you think this is the definition Jesus meant in the Key Scripture? Why or why not?
Write a definition of a friend in your own words here:
In your journal write a letter to Jesus asking for help in being a better friend.
Or you may want to ask Jesus to be the “perfect” friend you have always wanted/needed.
Or ask Jesus to show you how to be a friend to God.
Friendship I’d Never
- Give each member of the Family Group 10 index cards
- On each index card write 1 of the 10 most “valuable” things you have/posses/own in life.
- Starting with the person whose birthday is closest to this day of camp, each person will say 1 thing they would NEVER want to do to a friend (whether they have or not) Example: “I would never want to tell a lie to a friend.” or “I would never want to gossip about a friend.”
- If anybody in the group HAS done that to a friend at least once, they must choose One (1) index card from their pile and put it in the middle.
- Once the first person has “laid down” their most valuable things in life (all 10) the game ends.
q Who won? Why do you think that?
q How did you decide which valuables things to give up first?
q What was the last MOST valuable thing you held onto?
q How was this game like/unlike the Key Scripture verse?
q What did you learn about your self? Others?
Have a discussion about the different aspects of friendship:
- How can friends pull us into negative behaviors? (lying, laziness, drinking, sex, cheating, etc.)
- Are these people really “friends?” Why or why not?
- Why does God give us to each other to be friends?
- Is Christian friendship different? Why or why not?
- What does it mean for somebody to claim God/Jesus is their friend?
- What aspects of friendship did Jesus highlight in what he said/did?
Extra Bible Stuff
The Bible is full of examples of meaningful friendships. Here are two you may want to learn more about:
- Jonathan and David- 1 Samuel 18:1-3; 19:1, 14-17; 2 Samuel 17:26
- Naomi and Ruth- The Book of Ruth especially Ruth 1:16-17
Another interesting look at Friendship:
- Job and his 3 friends- Book of Job, starting with Job 2:11
Friendship can lead us away from God:
- James 4:4
Close with a circle prayer saying something like: “God, help me to be a better friend by ___________________.” After everyone has finished, say one loud “AMEN!” in unison.