Session 7: Finding Your Vocation

Objectives: By the end of this session participants should be able to . . .
1. describe Christian vocations as Christian service
2. list prayer, going to Church, reading the scripture, and seeking advice from others as ways each of us can try to figure out what our Christian vocation is.
3. Describe how God takes our interests and abilities and leads each of us to fulfill a special vocation
4. list some of their talents and qualities that would enable them to fulfill their vocation as a member of God's Church
5. list two or three vocations that they think God might be calling them to fulfill

Useful Texts for Leader Reflection/Preparation
Romans 8: 28-30
Col 3: 12-17 "Whatever you do . . ."
Eph 4: 1-7, 11-13, 15-16
Eph 5: 8b-10
Exodus 3:7-12, 4:10-17, 6:28- 7:2 (Moses)
Judges 6: 13-24 (Gideon)
The Story of the Three Trees (attached)

A: Younger Children (Objectives 2, 3 & 4)
Presentation: Treasure Hunt.
Take pictures of the items in parentheses below ahead of time. Choose boundaries that participants can look within and hide the pictures there.
Write the following clues on 4x6 cards omitting the answer in parentheses:
· "While I am often covered with gold the real treasure is inside" (Bible/Gospel)
· "I am often seen and kissed, sometimes cry, but am rarely heard" (icons)
· "I can be with you always, but should at least see you in the morning, evening, and before and after meals." (prayers/prayer book)
· "I am full of songs, colors, and smells, but need people most importantly." (Church/Church services)
· "Where ever two or more of you are, I am there" (Jesus)
· "We are responsible for raising you and teaching you so that you will love God" (Parents, Other People)
· "I lead by example and wear beautiful clothes while I lead God's people in prayer. As God appointed the apostles, and the apostles appointed the bishops, God through our bishop has appointed me." (Priest)
· " I swing and smoke and remind people that their prayers rise up to God. I even smell good." (censor)
· "Babies splash in me. After they are dunked in me they become part of God's family." (baptismal font)
· "When the priest brings me out people draw near" (chalice)
· "I'm sometimes loud and sometimes quiet, and have a lot of notes" (choir)
· "I burn with prayers for God." (candles)

Have each participant choose a partner.
You should have one complete set of clues for each team.
Say, "God has given us special 'treasures' so that we can listen to Him. Each clue will lead you to a treasure." Give them time to find as many pictures as possible and match them with the clues (15 - 20 minutes). Have a special prize for 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th place.
Give each team the clues. Tell them the boundaries they may search in and tell them that if they get stuck you will give them additional clues.
When everyone is done list all the treasures on a large piece of paper and discuss how God speaks to us through each of them.
If the participants are having real difficult with the activity write the clues on the chalk board and go through the answers with them.

Discussion: The Tale of Three Trees.
Read the Tale of The Three Trees.
Discuss the following questions:
· What did the three trees want to be when they grew up? [Treasure Chest, Mighty Ship, Tallest Tree in the World]
· Did they get their wish? [Yes, but not how they thought.] How? [God took their dreams and used them to glorify Him and help others know Him.]
· What are some things you would like to be when you grow up? [List all responses in one column on a large piece of newsprint.]

· How do you think you could glorify Him and help others to love by doing that? [List all responses in the second column next to their first response.]
We need to work very hard at making our dreams come true and ask God for help along the way. We might not become exactly what we want now, but if we let God lead our lives then we can be sure that it will be even better than we imagine.

Activity: Mobile
Have each participant make a mobile for their room.
Cut out a three-bar cross with the Crucifixion on one side and the Resurrection
on the other for the base.
Hang circles from the bases showing God's power to transform things.
Ideas for circles:
caterpillar - butterfly
eggs - chicks
seeds - flowers
3 Trees - Manger, Boat, Cross
small child - LOVE GOD
teenager - picture of a saint
tadpole - frog
buds - flowers
flowers - fruit

B: Pre-teens (Objectives 1, 2, 4 & 5)
Presentation: Help! I don't think I can do it!
Ask participants to share something that they like to do but quit doing (or want to quit) because it is too hard.
Say, "Doing God's will is hard sometimes. Often we don't think we can do it. Read the stories of Moses and Gideon - see texts above. Gideon and Moses didn't think they could do what God asked of them either. But God promised to be with them. He even gave Moses his brother Aaron, who was a better speaker, so that he could do what God asked of him. With God all things are possible. Think about it, if God is on your side who can win against you?"

Discussion: How is God calling you to minister, to serve and to share?
Write down the clues from Section A's Treasure Hunt on a large piece of newsprint. Tell them that these are riddles that explain ways we can hear God speaking to us. Have participants solve the riddles by themselves raising their hand when they are done. When everyone is finished ask the first person who finished to read his or her answers. When one is wrong go to the next person who finished, etc., until you have answered all the riddles correctly.
Then discuss the following:
· What kind of things does God say to us through these things? [Priest offers advice, prayers remind us to keep connected to God, icons remind us of people who used their gifts for God, the Bible tells about Jesus and shows us why He is the perfect example, etc.]
God also tells us what to do by the gifts, talents, and abilities He has given us.
· What do you like and are good at doing?
· What kinds of skills, talents or abilities do you have? [drawing, music, writing, sports, math, etc.]
· Why do you think God gave you one talent and somebody else another? [To be a special part in God's plan.]
Have participants brainstorm ways each of them can use these gifts for God and others. [For example, someone who is good at math could eventually help out managing the church finances.]

Activity: Time Machine
Depending on the size of your group this project will take about 30-40 minutes. You will need large cardboard boxes [check out a nearby appliance store], wire, miscellaneous electrical supplies, duct tape, and other construction materials.
Place all the supplies in the middle of a large room. If there are more than 7 or 8 kids in the group, consider having two or more groups do the project simultaneously.
Say: We are going to look into our futures and see what we think God has planned for us. But first, we need a time machine to get there.
Have the participants work together to construct a "time machine" with the materials. Explain that there are two requirements for the machine.
1. A person must be able to sit or stand inside the machine
2. The person in the machine must have a "viewing screen" [cut out section] so that he or she can see the future.

Allow the participants 15 minutes to create the machine. Have the participants take turns getting into the machine. As each person enters the machine, have the rest of the group brainstorm what they think the person's vocation is and act it out. Remind them that everyone's vocation is for the glory of God and is therefore positive.

C: Teens (Objectives 2, 3, 4 & 5)
Presentation: God's Calling! Are You Listening?
Bring in a boom box, tape player, tv, etc., as many as is possible. Have them all playing as participants walk in. When everyone has arrived start the class as you would on any other day. Keep talking until you notice that people see you are talking even though they can't hear you. After a couple of minutes shut all the electronics off (this will prove difficult enough with all the noise.
Ask, "Why was it difficult to hear what I was saying?" [There was too much noise; Didn't know you were talking, etc.]
Say, "We've been talking about God's purpose for our lives. The problem that comes up is how do you figure out what that purpose is?. How is trying to listen to God like trying to listen to me with all the stereos and tv's on?" [There's too much noise in our lives. We don't even know He's talking to us.]
Say, "To hear God speaking to us, first we have to listen. Now most of us haven't gotten a phone call from God where He's had a intense discussion with us. What are some ways that God speaks to us?" [The Bible, Church Services, Other People, Praying, Nature, etc.]
Ask, "How many people here read the bible daily . . . weekly . . . monthly? How many people really try to pay attention in church at every service . . . every other service . . . once and a while? How many people really listen to what the Priest says every time he preaches at Liturgy or counsels us during Confession . . . most of the time . . . sometimes? God is always trying to speak to us. He shows us the beauty of creation. He challenges us to live our lives better through our parents, priest, and the bible readings in church."
Ask, "What are some changes that we can make in our lives to try and listen to Him better." Draft a contract or commitment statement with participants outlining how you and they are going to try and listen better to God. Have all of them sign the statement, make photocopies and give each of them a copy and display a copy somewhere where people (including their parents) can see it.

Discussion: How do you want to be remembered?
Bring in a number of obituary pages from various newspapers.
Discuss the following questions:
· What types of facts are included in the obituaries?
· What do the obituaries say about the people's lives?
· What are some things that you want for your life? How do you want to be remembered?
· Why do you think we sing Memory Eternal after a person dies? [To remember is to love. It is a reminder for us to remember/love those who have fallen asleep in the Lord and keep them alive in our hearts. It is an affirmation that God will always love them, keep them alive is His memory, and grant them new life in His kingdom.]

Activity: My Own Obituary.
You may want to give this as an assignment for them to take home or back to their cabin. Hand out pages of obituaries from local newsOn one page write your own obituary. What do you want to be remembered for. What do you think your vocation might be? What will you have "accomplished"? In what ways would you have been "successful"? While you are writing constantly think about what God would say about your life and your attitudes.

Activity: Biography
Have participants read a biography of a person they admire. At the next session discuss the following:
· What were the good things that were in this persons life? Bad things?
· Did they have any difficulties in their life?
· How did they overcome them or did they give in to them?
· Do you have the same ideas about this person having read the story?
· If you changed your opinion what made you think differently about them

Teen Journal Reflection.
In anyway that you choose, write about your dreams, fears, and plans for your life. It can be a poem, a picture, a song, an essay, a list, etc. It can be however long you want. If your confused about your future, which many people are, just talk about something that you think you might be good at. Remember, this journal is for you!

Session Conclusion:
Regardless of age, read The Tale of the Three Trees. "God created each of us to glorify Him and to help others in a very specific and special way. We may have a lot of ideas about what we want to do or be in our life, but God has even greater plans. If we let Him, He'll lead us through our lives and fulfill our dreams in ways better than we can ever imagine. We just have to ask Him to help us."