|The John Project|
|At first glance, the new discipleship resource from Young Life, The John Project, may seem beyond the interest or grasp of middle schoolers. So many pages. So many words. But after visiting with WyldLife staff who are going through The John Project with their students, it’s clear that first glances aren’t always to be trusted.|
Middle schoolers are capable of so much more than we often give them credit for — including deep thinking and brilliant observation.
At the same time, they are still newly-formed critical thinkers, embodied in energetic bundles of developing personalities. It would be wise to engage them with The John Project on their own terms.
1. Don’t ask them to prepare in advance. Instead, do the reading, reflection, and discussion together. Some students might then do additional reading and reflection as follow-up. But even that follow-up shouldn’t be in prep for the next meeting. It should primarily be an opportunity to extend the learning experience.
2. Read the specific page/passage out loud together when meeting. Or listen to it together. (We recommend the Street Lights audio Bible available here.) As appropriate, let students read portions out loud to the group — but only if they are comfortable doing so, and only if you’ve okayed it with them in advance.
3. Focus on just a few right-page elements rather than trying to engage and complete everything.
4. Determine beforehand which, if any, of the FYI elements would be helpful and important to read together.
The best prep strategy for steps 1-4 above is for you yourself to “do” a page-spread yourself before meeting with your students. Spend enough time in the scripture, reflection, writing, and responses to impact your own heart, soul, and mind. And then from the overflow, guide your students into the same truths and their own transformative experiences. Let us know how you are using The John Project with your WyldLife friends.
WyldLife Leader, West Layfayette, Indiana
Vice President of Discipleship