The First Things semester establishes God’s existence and how we know about God.
Units included in the semester:
a. God’s Existence
Youth Group Meeting: This semester on the ‘First Things’ establishes the foundational themes of Christianity. We will establish how we can be certain that God exists, and will give the principal sources of our knowledge of God. In this session, we will show how God’s existence can be proven through reason and individual experience. We will see that not only does God exist, but He is all loving and He cares for each one personally.
Going Deeper Meeting: This ‘Going Deeper’ session will examine the philosophical underpinnings of atheism. Atheism is rooted in a philosophy that denies the existence of anything beyond the observable world. We will look at the Christian response to this philosophy, showing that reason and human experience point very clearly to God’s existence. We can have certainty that God exists. This certainty will help cultivate our response of faith to God.
b. The Purpose of Man
Youth Group Meeting: It can be accurately said that this semester is a short course in Christian philosophy. In this session we continue to look at modern society in light of the Christian understanding of man. We will examine what our culture says the meaning of life is, and compare it with Catholic anthropology. We will see that man’s purpose, according to the Church, is to know and love God. Our life on earth finds meaning when we enter into relationship with God and grow according to His plan for us.
Going Deeper Meeting: Our ‘Going Deeper’ session will help teens establish a Christian anthropology of the human person. We will see that our dignity is connected to our relationship with God, and that modern society has cut off its understanding of man from our innate desire for God. We will examine the different segments in society that claim of have the meaning of life, come up with strategies about how to avoid them, and have the teens come up with a plan to let God into every part of their lives.
c. Divine Revelation
Youth Group Meeting: In this ‘Youth Group’ meeting, we will clarify the Church’s understanding of God’s Word. For many Christians, ‘God’s Word’ refers exclusively to the Bible. We will see that the Church’s definition includes Scripture, Tradition and the magisterium (teaching authority) of the Church. This definition of God’s word will be more effective at safeguarding the message Christ originally intended for the Church.
Going Deeper Meeting: The ‘Youth Group’ meeting established the relationship between Scripture, Tradition and the magisterium (teaching authority) of the Church. In our ‘Going Deeper’ session we will look at the Church’s understanding of Sacred Scripture. We will examine the primary characteristics of the Bible, how it is different than Tradition, and how it is to be interpreted. We will be saving the basic understanding of the division of the Bible and God’s use of covenants in the Bible for the last meeting of this semester.
d. Attributes of God
Youth Group Meeting: This session will examine the principal attributes of God, but will focus primarily upon His great love for us. The teens will be challenged to respond to this love and to overcome anything that is holding them back from experiencing His love, especially our own sin.
Going Deeper Meeting: Our ‘Going Deeper’ meeting will examine the most important revelation that God has ever given us of Himself. We will examine in the Church’s basic understanding of the Trinity, that there is one God made up of Three Divine Persons (Father, Son and Holy Spirit). We will look at how God Himself is a community of Persons, and how that community aspect impacts all we do as Catholics.
Youth Group Meeting: This meeting will introduce teens to faith. Faith, our response of obedience to God, is necessary for salvation. We will see how faith comes from Baptism, and how it helps us to give our lives over to Him even though we do not see Him clearly. We will invite the teens to take a step in growing in faith, allowing God to transform every part of their lives.
Going Deeper Meeting: This session will help the teens examine Biblical passages that describe faith in Christ. We will see how faith is a gift given to us by Christ, and that faith calls us to obey. We will challenge the teens to allow God to speak to them through the Scriptures passages by challenging them to give their lives more deeply to Jesus.
f. God’s Plan of Salvation
Youth Group Meeting: This session will help introduce the teen to the Bible, perhaps for the first time. We will outline the general characteristics and divisions of the Bible; help the teen get comfortable with opening the Bible; finally, we will challenge the teens to read the Bible on the daily basis, giving them their own Bible.
Going Deeper Meeting: Our ‘Going Deeper’ session will give the teens a preview of the next semester on the Old Testament. We will briefly outline for the teens the major covenants of Scripture, from Genesis through the New Testament. We will define ‘covenant’, showing that God uses the covenants to regather His broken family that has been separated by sin, culminating in the world-wide covenant established by Jesus.
In the YMCentral Store, you can purchase each semester individually or you can purchase the Complete Package that includes all 12 semesters.