An Evening of Getting to Know Jesus

Last night, we spent the evening getting to know Jesus better. Here are some highlights.

  • First we had a fire drill..all went well.
  • I began by playing our “song of the week” – Shania Twain’s “Wanna Get to Know You.” (see yesterday’s post for some of the lyrics)
  • I talked about how 2 people in love want to get to know one another and explained that this is our theme for the evening: we want to get to know Jesus because of our love for him and his love for us.
  • I arranged the kids in pairs and assigned them to one of the five topics on Jesus: the world of Jesus, the words of Jesus, the miracles of Jesus, the people of Jesus, and the death and resurrection of Jesus.
  • The kids worked for about 20 minutes making their posters (using the info I provided them with…click on the 5 topics above) and then looking over the information to prepare short presentations.
  • Each group then took about 3 to 5 minutes to present their poster to the large group, providing a brief summary of their topic.
  • As each group presented, the other kids recorded at least 3 to 5 pieces of information into a little booklet I provided them titled Jesus: Wanna Get to Know You.
  • The presentations went nicely (once we got past the pair of gigglers). The presentations were by no means stellar, but I appreciated the attitude the kids had – they approached the project with respect and seemed very sincere in sharing the information as they understood it.
  • We even had some nice discussion after each poster presentation. I provided a brief summary of what we just heard about each poster and filled in some of the “cracks” and it resulted in kids asking some good questions about Jesus. They seemed particularly interested in Jesus’ healings, the fact that he associated with outcasts, the notion that he called God the Father “Abba” (Papa) and told us to do the same, and the details of his crucifixion.

In all, a productive and constructive evening that hopefully brought us all just a bit closer to Christ!

P.S. The other day in Joliet, I had a chance to chat with Fr. Don Senior, president of the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, member of the Pontifical Biblical Commission, and prolific author and speaker. I told Fr. Don that I was  doing a session with my 8th graders that was inspired by his book Jesus: A Gospel Portrait and he seemed genuinely delighted to know that his work was making an impact on our young people!

Joe with Fr. Donald Senior

About Joe Paprocki 2359 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at www.catechistsjourney.com.

2 Comments on An Evening of Getting to Know Jesus

  1. Hi Joe,
    I really like what you have developed re:getting to know Jesus. I teach 7th graders and wonder if they could really digest the info in those PDF’s enough to make a presentation. Did you have copies of all 5 topics for each group, even though each group only presented one? Did the kids have trouble getting started, i.e. were they initially overwhelmed by the task? Did you go over the material presented later to make sure all of the kids obtained the same info?
    Thanks for your help!

  2. Hi Marsha and thanks for the feedback on the Getting to Know Jesus materials. I think the young people digested just enough to be able to summarize some key points. Of course, they had their posters with them to be able to make their presentation while being able to glance at their information. No, I did not have copies of all 5 topics for each group…I thought that would overwhelm them. I did put together a little note-taking booklet for them to copy down key points while the other groups were presenting. I think because I told them to summarize key points, they were not overwhelmed…I didn’t expect them to give in-depth presentations. I filled in some of the “cracks” after each presentation. Likewise, each presentation seemed to lead to a few questions from the other kids. I have no doubt that much more can be done with this presentation. If there was more time, the presentations could be much more in-depth. Good luck with your 7th graders. Let me know how it goes.

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