The Source for Youth Ministry
Jonathan's Resource Ezine

Weekly Resources, Ideas and Articles from The Source for Youth Ministry
Tuesday, March 28, 2000

In This Issue

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Hangin' Out With Scum: A Biblical Discussion Starter

By Jonathan McKee
March 28, 2000

Many of you run outreach programs or do events where you target outreach or "seeker" kids. I'm always looking for good discussion starters and ideas. This is one I used that promoted great discussion, and opened the door to share the Gospel with tons of students:

I often ask "unchurched" or "seeker" students, "If Jesus was walking around our city today, where would he be?" Most students guess "church" or "hospitals," which aren't bad answers. If it's not addressed, I introduce the fact that "Jesus also hung around people whose lives were pretty messed up!"

Read Passage: Luke 5:27-32
Later, as Jesus left the town, he saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at his tax collection booth. "Come, be my disciple!" Jesus said to him. So Levi got up, left everything, and followed him.

Soon Levi held a banquet in his home with Jesus as the guest of honor. Many of Levi's fellow tax collectors and other guests were there. But the Pharisees and their teachers of religious law complained bitterly to Jesus' disciples, "Why do you eat and drink with such scum?"

Jesus answered them, "Healthy people don't need a doctor-sick people do. I have come to call sinners to turn from their sins, not to spend my time with those who think they are already good enough."

Small Group Questions: (The following questions work best when you divide into small groups and give everyone an opportunity to answer each question)

1. Why was Levi called scum?
2. Share a time when people treated you like scum?
3. Who stuck by your side when people treated you bad?
4. It has been said that a friend is someone who knows all the bad things about you and still sticks by your side. What would you do for a true friend like that?
5. What reason did Jesus give for hanging out with "scum?" (Because they needed help)
6. Jesus says he has come to help everyone including those who are not perfect. Does this mean you and me too?
7. How could Jesus help you?

Wrap Up:
Jesus doesn't look down on us for our past. He understands that all of us need help. All we need to do is accept his help and he will stand by us like a true friend.

For more outreach discussion starters, ideas and programs, check out Jonathan's Outreach material page:

7 Years of Dust: Newsweek's Perception of Jesus & Understanding the Unchurched

If you caught the very one-sided (or three sided, just not Christianity's side!) article in the March 27, 2000 issue of Newsweek, you read how "confused" Christianity has the whole Jesus thing! The article has great insight on what other religions believe about Jesus, the author just neglected to give Christianity a chance to share their case.

After reading that article, many of us might have some questions we'd like answered. Well, if you haven't already checked it out, take a look at Lee Strobel's "A Case for Christ," a great book that builds a solid case, supporting the accuracy of the Gospels.

Strobel, an ex-journalist, has been writing books for years. Back in August of 1993, somebody recommended a book to me, "Inside the Mind of Unchurched Harry & Mary- How to Reach Friends and Family Who Avoid God and the Church" by some guy named Lee Strobel (well, what do you know!). Well, 7 years ago I bought the Harry and Mary book and placed it on my shelf. There it has sat in memoritorium for 7 years, like a Disney Film.

Over the last 7 years, I have put my foot in my mouth about 4,818 times (that's about twice a day) to "unchurched" people. You would be surprised how condescending we, as Christians, can be without even knowing it. For the last couple of years, I've trained numerous staff and youth how to reach the "unchurched," learning from many of the mistakes I've made. About 6 months ago I started writing a book about this.

Well, three weeks ago I was rearranging some books on my shelf and I saw the Harry and Mary book, covered with 7 years of dust. I brushed dust off the cover and saw the name Lee Strobel. I immediately started reading it . . . and wow! Good Stuff! So far, I'm enjoying it more than "A Case for Christ."

Lee's entire book thoroughly covers what I only touch on in my chapter, "Understanding the Unchurched." I only wish I had read Strobel's book 7 years ago. If you haven't read "Inside the Mind of Unchurched Harry and Mary," pick up a copy. It's a fun read!


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