Two summer ago I was placed in charge of our middle school bible study & to say I was a nervous wreck every week would be an understatement. But with some grace, guidance & prayer, the bible study was a success (if I do say so myself!).
The first thing I was asked to do was to pray about what I thought middle school girls needed to know. After prayerful consideration, God lead me to a couple ideas. The first idea happen to be my theme, & that theme was Friendship. Whether you're 6 years old or 76 years young, the desire to have friendships seems to follow you around your whole life; & to me, middle school seems to be such an important time in a young girls life when it comes to developing and maintaining friendships.
The second thought that the Lord placed on my heart was the fact that middle schoolers (& most everyone in general) are intimidated by the Old Testament. My intention was to make the Old Testament relatable to my girls with a topic they understood. I cleverly called these Old Testament accounts, "Hipster Stories", to also make them sound more appealing (haha, don't judge me!).
After taking into account how many weeks I had (6), I sought council from women who are much wiser than me (including my mom, our girls director, adult leaders, & older friends), & I compiled a list of lots of different stories all throughout the Bible exemplifying friendships. After examining these stories, & asking God what He wanted me to take from them concerning friendships, our weekly titles & passages looked like this:
1. Why Do We Need Friends?- Exodus 18 (Jethro & Moses)
2. How to be a Good Friend- Exodus 17 (Moses, Aaron, Hurr)
3. Choosing Friends- 1 Samuel 20 (David & Jonathan)
4. Confronting Friends- 2 Samuel 12 (Nathan & David)
5. Aloneness- 1 Kings 19 (Elijah)
6. The Ultimate Friend- John 11 (Jesus)
Every week we would have snacks & play a fun ice-breaker game. Whether it be Celebrity or a blind makeover, the beginning was always very light-hearted & engaging. Then we would pray & get into the scripture! Sometimes I would read and other times I would ask for volunteers. If it was a long passage of scripture, I had the girls break into small groups of 3-4 & gave them a chunk to read & summarize for the group. I made sure to switch it up every week so every girl felt she had a voice & could participate!
Once we read the scripture I began asking questions relating to the topic of the night. So if I was talking about "How to be a Good Friend", I would ask the girls to share a time in their life when someone was not a good friend. Or if we're on the topic of being alone, I would talk to the girls about the difference between being an introvert & extrovert, and then go into more detail about the actual differences between being an introvert & being alone. The most important thing I wanted to do with my questions was to get the girls thinking about the topic at hand. Once they were on track with the topic, it was easier for them to start relating their own story to the scriptures. Once we related our lives to the Old Testament, I ALWAYS made sure to jump forward to the New Testament to see what Jesus did or how he handled certain situations. Every week I tried to helped them see a problem in an area of their friendships, & by the end of the lesson, help them realize the solution always came back to Jesus.