Your faith Family Tree | UMC YoungPeople
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October 2018

Your faith Family Tree

By Neal Bowes

On All Saints Sunday, we remember the faithful in Christ who came before us and have since left this world and gone on to their Heavenly reward. We honor their work and their witness on behalf of God. We recognize the spiritual impact their lives have had on ours. In Hebrews 11, the scripture lists a cloud of witnesses who lived by faith and set an example for us to follow. Of course, we are not influenced only by people in the Bible, but also by relatives, Sunday school teachers, and others we’ve encountered personally.

Gather some paper and some markers and tell your group that they can make a faith family tree. Here are some questions to get them thinking:

  • Who are some people who have had the greatest spiritual impact on your life?
  • What did they do that was so meaningful?
  • Do you have any idea who guided them spiritually?

Encourage them to chart back as far as they can. Perhaps sharing your own answers will help guide their thinking.

Then ask:

  • How can you increase the impact of the people who came before you by encouraging others spiritually?
  • Who might those others be? Add them to your tree.

When everybody has had time to complete their tree, give each person an opportunity to share with the rest of the group. This is more than a get-to-know-you activity. It honors the saints while reminding us that we are all called to be witnesses for God.

Neal has had the privilege of being in ministry with the youth at Jesse Lee for the last 15 years. He also works through the New York Annual Conference to train and support volunteer youth workers in local churches. He loves speaking at youth gatherings--group retreats or conference-wide events.