Intersection Summary

January–April 2021

Epiphany

Focusing on Matthew 2:1-12, this single session deals with the opportunities for change and growth that occur with the beginning of a new year.

Unit 1: Champions of Faith

The pages of Christian history are filled with numerous believers through whom God has accomplished extraordinary deeds in ordinary ways and some ordinary deeds in extraordinary ways. The three champions of faith that young people will meet in these sessions are anything but boring historical figures. Francis and Clare of Assisi inspired people all over Europe to unite in turning upside-down the thirteenth-century world. Teresa of Avila, a woman in a male-dominated sixteenth-century society, wrote books about Christian thought and prayer, and reformed a four-hundred-year-old religious order. These highly honored heroes were basically ordinary people who simply gave their best to God, and ones worthy of immolation.

Unit 2: Spirituality—The Less Traveled Path

No matter how large your church congregation, spirituality is hardly a frequently traveled path. In this unit, we’ll explore aspects of this journey, as well as its lonely nature. Session one will focus on achieving personal wholeness. Session two helps teens realize the importance of having other believers check in with them and seek accountability. Session three focuses on the endless pursuit of spiritual wisdom and the insight of God. Session four challenges the popular misconception that while individuals can know God in a corporate sense, God is too big to relate to each of us on an individual basis. Finally, we will dwell on God’s message to us through Moses, that spirituality is a relationship in which God will also speak to us face to face, as one speaks to a friend (Ex 33:11).

Unit 3: Role Models of Faith

From slaves to monarchs, seamstresses to saints, mothers to military leaders, history is filled with amazing women of faith. These women were strong and knew how to speak up for the truth, loved God and served others, taught and fought and risked their very lives. In this four-lesson unit, youth will learn about female biblical figures alongside women regarded as saints in the years since the New Testament was written. These women include: Tabitha and Olympias, Deborah and Hildegard of Bingen, Priscilla and Mother Ann Lee, Queen Esther and Sojourner Truth. In such women, youth can find role models worthy of their admiration and emulation.

Unit 4: Being Changed by Jesus’ Death and Resurrection

For believers, Easter is the most important event in the entire history of humankind—and not for any reason involving chocolate candy or colored eggs. In short, Christmas brings God to the people, but Easter brings the people to God. This five-lesson unit begins by lifting up Jesus as the prime example of facing responsibility regardless of the consequences. Session two guides teens to consider how they resemble the crowd that greeted Jesus during his triumphal entry into the Holy City of Jerusalem. The next lesson shifts from personal examination to ways we practice our faith by examining. Session four discusses how Christian community is accomplished through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. Finally, we’ll explore how the evidence of resurrection overhauls one’s lifestyle, moving a person beyond mere acceptance to relationship.

May–August 2021

Unit 1: David—After God’s Own Heart

The Bible presents us with an all-too-sinful figure in King David, while also holding him up as “a man after God’s own heart.” As we study the events of David’s later years, we may well wonder why God chose David. We may think that God surely could have found a leader with stronger moral character and greater competence. God, however, is not limited to what we see. Despite his mistakes, David accomplished great things for God and for his people. In four sessions based on scriptures from 2 Samuel and 1 Kings, we will see that if God can use David with all his faults, surely God can use young people today.

Unit 2: First Peter

During adolescence, youth grow in so many ways, including spiritually. This unit finds in 1 Peter five elements of Christian life to help youth travel through these changes—hope, holiness, love, suffering, and humility. Peter advised churches in the first century to abide in these attitudes and actions during times of uncertainty and opposition. Through time with Peter’s teachings, youth can explore their own experiences of uncertainty and suffering, learning to engage difficult people and circumstances with a spirit of love, hope, and holiness.

Unit 3: Jonah—The Reluctant Servant

When God calls the prophet Jonah to bring a word of condemnation and redemption to Nineveh, he packs his bags and heads in the other direction before God and a fish turn him around. These four lessons ask youth to consider their own stories in light of Jonah’s. In the process, they will consider the tensions inherent in God’s commandment to love all people. Reflecting on their lives as God’s people will invite participants to remember gratitude and regret in their own discipleship, ultimately challenging youth to look at their communities with the same eyes of restoration.

Unit 4: The Sermon on the Mount

In this five-lesson unit, teens will encounter Jesus through his own words. In the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew, Jesus speaks for himself and gives us a window into both who he is and what it means to follow God. These chapters also contain themes central to the gospel. In studying them, youth will be encouraged to examine their relationships with God as they seek an authentic life of faith. Each session in this unit allows youth to see their religious life as much more than simply following a list of “do’s and don’ts.”