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Current SERIES: Keep it Weird
A SERIES ABOUT OUR UNIQUENESS

Series Summary: If you’ve ever watched a circus, Cirque du Soleil, or America’s Got Talent, then you’re probably convinced that humans are capable of some pretty amazing things . . . and some pretty bizarre stuff too. Seeing these things, you might have wondered: Should joints really bend that way? or Is it normal for a grown man to be that into puppets? But the reality is, we all have things that make us different. And, especially in middle school, there’s a lot that can make us feel weird. When God created human beings, He made us to be different—different from the rest of creation and different from one another. In this series, we’ll discover that “keeping it weird” is a good thing. After all, what makes us weird is what makes us both valuable and wonderful. 


WEEK 1
October 1, 2017

Hey Small Group Leaders! Welcome to the first week of our two-week series, Keep it Weird. This week we’ll start the series by talking about being different. Being different—especially in middle school—can make us feel alone, uncomfortable, and maybe even worthless. It can be a hard time for your students! But when we look at the book of Genesis, we remember that we’re made in God’s image. And we’re the only part of His creation that can reflect His image and glory—so we are different from the rest of creation. Maybe we’re even a little weird! But when we recognize that we have tremendous value as God’s greatest creation, we start to be more okay with those things that make us feel weird. And when we know that God loves us, made us, and likes us just the way we are, we begin to see the value in others as well. So this week, encourage your students to remember their value as God’s creation . . . it may just change how they see themselves and others. 

 

SCRIPTURE

  • Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
  • So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them (Genesis 1:26–27 NIV). 
  • God saw all that He had made, and it was very good (Genesis 1:31a NIV). 

GOAL OF SMALL GROUP

  • To help students grasp they have worth simply because God made them.

THINK ABOUT THIS

  • Your most significant job as a middle school Small Group Leader can be summed up in one word: Affirm. In this phase of their life, the pressure for middle schoolers to try to earn value or worth is extremely high. Breaking records, achieving academic standards, or gaining popularity are all real pressures our students are facing. Next week, we’ll talk about unique skills and personality traits that make us different from one another. This week is about being set apart from the rest of creation. We don’t have to earn God’s—or anyone else’s—favor. Simply by being human, God sees us as valuable.

JUST FOR FUN

  • In three seconds, what’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word “weird”?

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

There’s a lot about life that’s weird, right? But it feels pretty different when we’re the ones who feel out of the ordinary.

  • What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever seen someone do?
  • In what ways can being weird be considered a good thing?
  • If someone thought you were weird, how would you want to be treated?
  • Why do you think God made humans different than the rest of creation—like animals and birds?
  • What’s one way people try to make themselves more valuable?
  • What’s one way someone’s life might change when they start believing God loves them and values them no matter what?
  • This week, what’s one thing you can do to remember you’re valuable? 

TRY THIS

  • Sometimes when we think we’re weird or different, we just need to be reassured that others have their own quirky qualities as well. So to get everyone in your group feeling “weird”, have an unofficial competition among your group to see who can take the weirdest selfie, or have students show selfies they already have on their phones. Students can do this as individuals, in pairs, or as an entire group. This will serve as a great reminder for students to not take themselves too seriously . . . after all, being weird not only gives us value, but it’s also a lot of fun! 

WEEK 2
October 8, 2017

Hi Small Group Leaders! It’s our last session of our Keep it Weird series, and this week we’ll talk about how what makes us weird—or different from everyone else—also makes us wonderful. Sometimes we think that the things that make us weird are bad . . . especially in middle school when students often try to hide or minimize what makes them unique so that others don’t notice. After all, it feels good to fit in and blend in.

In the Old Testament, David was the youngest and most inexperienced of his seven brothers. On the outside it didn’t seem like David had much to offer: He was so different and maybe even a little weird. But Samuel saw David’s value and the wonderful way God created him, and David was proclaimed God’s chosen future king of Israel. Just like David, God made each of us—including each of your middle schoolers—unique and special. And those unique qualities— those weird characteristics—make us wonderful. So this week, encourage your students to think about what makes them wonderfully weird. Although they might not realize it yet, God just might use that weirdness for something big. So celebrate your students’ weird this week. God sure thinks it’s wonderful! 

 

SCRIPTURE

When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed stands here before the Lord.”

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

Then Jesse called Abinadab and had him pass in front of Samuel. But Samuel said, “The Lord has not chosen this one either.” Jesse then had Shammah pass by, but Samuel said, “Nor has the Lord chosen this one.” Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, “The Lord has not chosen these.” So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?”

“There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered. “He is tending the sheep.”

Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.”

So he sent for him and had him brought in. He was glowing with health and had a fine appearance and handsome features.

Then the Lord said, “Rise and anoint him; this is the one” (1 Samuel 16:6-12 NIV).

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well (Psalm 139:13–14 NIV).

GOAL OF SMALL GROUP

  • To help students identify ways their unique skills and personalities can be used to help others. 

THINK ABOUT THIS

  • The middle school years can be pretty difficult. You remember, don’t you? That intense desire to fit in, but to also stand out? As you prepare for small group this week, remember the middle schoolers in your group are right in the middle of it. That’s why what we’re talking about this week is so important, especially during this phase! This week, you get a chance to remind your few of something that has the potential to change everything: What makes them weird and different from everybody else is what God calls wonderful.

JUST FOR FUN

  • What’s the weirdest animal combination you can think of?

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

Wow, those are some interesting choices—each one as unique as all of you.

  • What’s one thing that makes you different from your closest friends? Siblings?
  • Talk about a time when you first realized you might be a little weird.
  • Share about a time when you didn’t do something because you were afraid you’d be called weird.
  • Why do you think people try to hide or minimize the weird things about themselves?
  • How might believing that God thinks you’re wonderful change the way you see yourself?
  • What’s the difference between thinking you’re wonderful and thinking you’re better than others?
  • This week, how can you use the skills you have to make the world better?

 

TRY THIS

  • To help your students recognize and celebrate the things that make them wonderfully weird, you’ll complete the XP for this series called What Makes Me Weird. You’ll introduce this XP by saying something like this:

    One of the coolest things about God is that He made us all unique—and He made us that way on purpose, for a purpose. Sometimes it’s easy to feel bad about yourself because you see the unique ways God made the people around you, and you become blinded to your own wonderful gifts and talents. Today, we’re going to spend some time celebrating what makes you wonderful! I bet as we fill these out together, a lot of the answers will be different. And they should be because God made you that way on purpose.

    Then, take the time to do the What Makes Me Weird worksheets together in small group or encourage students to take them home to fill it out. We recommend that you do the sheets together so your students can share some of their favorite answers. 


WEEK 1: October 1

Session One

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SUMMARY
In this two-week series, we’ll be talking about what it’s like to be weird. After all, even the most normal among us are still weird in our own ways. Sometimes feeling weird can make us feel worthless or alone. But the truth is, God created us to be different from the very beginning. When God made man, He created us in His own image. As humans, we’re pretty different from the rest of creation. In God’s eyes, this unique characteristic is exactly what gives us value. And when you recognize your value as God’s greatest creation, you begin to be more okay with the things that make you feel weird. 

SCRIPTURE So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.  (Genesis 1:27 NIV)

God saw all that He had made, and it was very good.  (Genesis 1:31a NIV)

BOTTOM LINE
What makes you weird is what gives you value. 

 


WEEK 2: October 8

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Session Two

SUMMARY
Last week, we talked about how God created us in His image, and that makes us valuable. And not only are we different from the rest of creation, we’re different from one another too! There are unique things about each of us that make us different from everyone else. And when we realize those things about ourselves, that’s when we really start to feel weird. This week, we’ll learn from the story of Samuel anointing David as the future king, that when man looks at the outside, God sees the heart. And we’ll discover that not only does our weird make us valuable, it also makes us wonderful. 

SCRIPTURE
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well (Psalm 139:13–14 NIV). 

 

BOTTOM LINE
What makes you weird makes you wonderful.