JHM Material, 3/20

“ Lord, help!” they cried in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He calmed the storm to a whisper and stilled the waves. What a blessing was that stillness as he brought them safely into harbor! Let them praise the Lord for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them. Psalms 107:28-31

Leader Tip: Signs to Spot and Steps to Take to Prevent Suicide

Angela’s note: This is an important topic that is essential to talk about. I took an excerpt of this article for the helpful stats, things to look out for and suggestions of what to do. If a student in your group has signals of needing help, please let AJ, Kevin or myself know immediately. We do not want you to walk this alone! 

Question: Does it surprise you that teen suicides are going up in our state?

Answer: It does not surprise me at all. While I am no futurist, we’ve been tracking the patterns for more than a decade now. In 2007, the American College Health Association surveyed the largest sampling of college students ever and discovered that anxiety and depression were on the rise:

94% of students say the first word that describes their life is “overwhelmed.”
44% say they are so overwhelmed it is difficult to function.
Almost one in ten students have thought about suicide in the past year.

Unfortunately, in the years since, it’s gotten worse. I’ve written recently about Robert Leahy, PhD, who reminds us that almost half of the U.S. population has a history of anxiety, depression, or substance abuse. The average teen today experiences the same level of anxiety as a psychiatric patient in the 1950s. Coping with life is more difficult than it was when I was growing up.

Question: Does social media play any role in the rise in suicides?

Answer: I believe the vivid parallel between the introduction of social media platforms and the rise in anxiety, depression, and suicides are not a coincidence. I did a podcast with researcher Dr. Jean Twenge, and she said the connection between the two is uncanny. And it may have little to do with cyber-bullying. Our human brains were not wired to consume and process the countless amounts of information (much of it unnecessary and meaningless). Too often, our young slip into survival mode, and soon become overwhelmed. This is step one to angst and eventual hopelessness.

Question: Should parents and teachers talk to kids about suicide?

Answer: Yes, absolutely— but not in a traditional fashion. Few parents or teachers get an honest answer by merely asking, “How are you doing?” or, by routinely asking, “How was school today?” Find a place where you and your student can be actively working alongside each other before you spark a conversation. The preoccupation of activity helps most people slip into a transparent discussion.

Also, find language to help them articulate what they are feeling. For instance, often I find words like “light” or “dark” periods of the day helpful. I may ask, “At what point in your day do you experience your lightest times? How about your darkest times?” At other times, I would share an article on the topic with my children or with a student, then get some coffee and talk it over.

Any of us can play a parental role in a student’s life, even if we’re not parents. The word “parent” comes from a Latin root meaning: “To draw out” or “to pull out.” It simply means we are pulling out the ideas, feelings, or potential that’s buried inside your child or student

Question: What are some signals that a young person may be considering suicide?

Answer: The signals may vary, depending on the personality of the young person. However, common signals are:
Withdrawal from socializing, even among family
Hiding information from others
A lack of motivation or incentive
Giving possessions away
A pattern of lying

Question: What can a parent or teacher do to help a teen that’s suicidal?

Answer: I don’t have any magic wands for this one, but if you see a student showing signs of angst or depression or just feeling overwhelmed, some of these steps may ease their anxiety:

Encourage them to do a “technology fast.” If their phone is a source of angst, the most liberating act they can perform is get time away from it.

Encourage them to turn “screen time” with peers into face-to-face time. Kids who socialize in person (without using a screen) are more emotionally well-adjusted.

Help them find margins in their day. It’s easy for any kid to feel overwhelmed at the pace they keep. Enable them to cut some of their time demands.

Talk about the unintended consequences of Social Media. This will spark honest discussion about our lives today.

Collaborate on a service project. When we give our time in service to others, we find hope and purpose and stop dwelling on personal negatives.

Suggest they see a counselor. Therapy doesn’t have the stigma it once did. Many kids are open to talking to a professional who listens and understands.

Question: Does leadership development play any role in suicide prevention?

Answer: Actually, I’ve seen leader development play a tangible role. At first, I felt it was simply a diversion for a teen or young adult who might be considering suicide. At present, I believe equipping a student to think and act like a leader actually fosters the best kind of mindset in every kid, including a potential suicide victim. When they learn to see the bigger picture (not just their own situation) and can envision a better future, relate to people face to face, plan ahead, and prioritize the steps to take students may feel equipped to face their futures with courage. Not only does our world become better, our kids become better in the process.

Upcoming Stuff:
3/25 – Baptism Weekend

3/27 – Serve Day 9-12pm

3/28 – Combined JH & HS Service

3/30 – Good Friday Service 5:30pm

3/31 – Easter Service 5:30pm

4/1 – Easter Service 8, 9:30 & 11:15am

4/4 – Combined JH & HS Service

Remember to take attendance through the email you receive weekly, and before the end of the night. Thank you!

Leader Meeting:
Please make it a priority to be at the wherehouse by 6:30pm to go over the details of the evening and to pray together. Send a message through GroupMe or text AJ at 906-7157 if you’ll be late or won’t be there.



Opening Game: Human Etch a Sketch

Students form teams of 5, a judge calls out an object for the teams to form. They then must lay down and form that object as a team. The first team in formation wins.


Lesson 3: The Death of Jesus

What we want students to learn: Jesus’ whole life and eventual death on the cross was all an act of service toward others…including us. We will look at several ways that we have been served by the life and death of Christ.

What we want students to do with what they’ve learned: To be challenged to respond to the ways Jesus served us. We’ll see direct responses to the ways that Jesus serves us, and how we fit into those responses.

Scripture Focus: Mark 15:20-38


The following is what will be on the outline that students will be given for service. The part labeled “Front” is what will be taught during the message/teaching time. The part labeled “Back” is for your group to work through in order to dig deeper into the highlighted scripture.


Mark 10:45
For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.


The Death of Jesus – Mark 15:20-38



Mark 4:39-40
He got up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Silence! Be still!” The wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And then he said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”


John 19:16-17
Then he handed him over to be crucified. Then they took Jesus away. Carrying the cross by himself, he went out to what is called Place of the Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha.


Mark 15:33-34
When it was noon, darkness cam over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And at three Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which is translated, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”

Mark 15:38
Then the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.


Luke 23:39-43
Then one of the criminals hanging there began to yell insults at Him: “Aren’t You the Messiah? Save Yourself and us!” But the other answered, rebuking him: “Don’t you even fear God, since you are undergoing the same punishment? We are punished justly, because we’re getting back what we deserve for the things we did, but this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom!” And He said to him, “I assure you: Today you will be with Me in paradise.”




Hebrews 12:2
For the joy that lay before him, he endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Galatians 5:1
For freedom, Christ set us free. Stand firm then and don’t submit again to a yoke of slavery.


Mark 15:21
A passerby named Simon, who was from Cyrene, was coming in from the countryside just then, and the soldiers forced him to carry Jesus’ cross.

Ephesians 4:32
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.


John 16:12
I still have many things to tell you, but you can’t bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth.

Acts 1:8
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.


Mark 15:39
When the centurion, who was standing opposite him, saw the way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!”



Scripture of Focus:

Mark 10:45
For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

• What is one thing that stood out to you in this passage?


• Why do you think it stood out to you?


• What can you apply to your life from this passage?


Discussion Questions

Use the following questions to further your discussion as a group. You can either do these after your Scripture of Focus time or you can use them within your scripture focus time to add to the conversation as a whole. As always you are welcome to guide the discussion the best that you and your co-leader think fits your group.

Have you been guilty at times of thinking that you deserve to be served, rather than to serve others?

How does it change our view of other people to know that Jesus gave his entire life for everyone else?

What do you need to do to treat others more like the way that Christ treats you?

Close in prayer at 8:25ish