If your class is meeting online, invite students to bring supplies with them.
If desired, view this video tutorial on how to create a mini-booklet so that you can share directions with your students when the time comes for them to make their mini-journal. An alternative would be to show the video to your class at the appropriate time, stopping after each step to allow your students time to keep up.
Watch the following tutorial [1:10]:
How to Make a Quick and Easy 8 Page Mini-Book from One Piece of Paper
Loneliness is a very real emotion for young people. To diminish their need for community is to ignore how God created them for deep connections with others. Use this step to encourage even your most isolated students to find comfort in Jesus’ humanity and empathy.
Did you know that you don’t need a million friends to feel included and valuable? Sometimes just knowing that one or two people understand you is all it takes to feel like you belong. Let’s think about the people that God has placed in your life so far.
Let students “popcorn” names of people in their lives who offer comfort and connection. Encourage your adult leaders to participate as well, speaking out names of friends, family members, and other Christians who care for them.
When you are finished, provide each student with a piece of paper and walk them through directions for creating a mini-journal. Or, you may choose to let your students watch the tutorial; stop and start the video after each step to allow your students time to follow through.
Jesus knows exactly what it feels like to be all alone. His response? He talked openly with His Father God in the middle of His feelings. Some people like to use personal journals to pray and talk to God. Let’s spend a few minutes by ourselves, writing down the following sentences in our journals.
On the whiteboard (or screenshared document), write down the following sentence frames for students to copy. Encourage students to write in their journals by filling in the blanks in a personal way. If time allows, encourage them to use each sentence as a prompt to continue sharing their thoughts with God.
When I feel _______________, I know that Jesus __________________ me.
I am so thankful that God is ____________________.
Jesus hears my _______________, and He always gives ________________.
I am never alone because God ____________________________________.
Even when I am ____________________, Jesus is ___________________.
When your students have had time to construct their sentences, gather everyone together to answer the following questions:
- It’s easy to feel sorry for ourselves when we feel lonely. But how can we identify someone else who might be feeling the same way? What are some signs? (Attention-seeking behavior like loud humor or inappropriate outbursts can sometimes be a sign of loneliness. On the other hand, extra quiet or isolated students may be hinting that they need love and affection.)
- If you identify someone who is feeling lonely, what are some things you might do to share Jesus’ love with them? (Answers will vary. Students might think that coming alongside with an encouraging word, eating lunch with them, or inviting them to youth group might be a good plan. Sometimes just offering a listening ear and praying for them is the best idea.)
- Can feelings of loneliness ever be a good thing? (Sometimes sad feelings drive us back to Jesus. It’s good to depend upon Him, even if it takes some sad feelings to get us there.)
- Should you feel responsible for “fixing” a lonely person at school or church? What can you do if someone is really going through a hard time and they can’t feel the love of Jesus? (Discuss the importance of sharing concerns with a trusted adult or parent. Emphasize that they’re not responsible for keeping secrets or trying to solve someone’s problems alone.)
As you close, remind your students that even though Jesus lived on the earth thousands of years ago, He is still right beside them to comfort, listen, and love.