My pastor recently shared an analogy that I thought would make a great conversation starter for youth leaders. As a disclaimer, this conversation works best if served with pie (preferably homemade). But if you don’t have time to make or get a pie, an imaginary one works great!
Begin by cutting the pie into slices of different sizes. Next, ask the group to imagine that each slice of pie represents a different part of their life, i.e. school, home, church, friends, etc. Then have the teens think about which activities take up the biggest slices of the pie. Be sure to allow plenty of time for sharing. Today’s teens have busy schedules and it can help to talk about it.
After some discussion, take another look at the pie as a whole. Point out (again) how the pie is split up into slices. Make a comparison for how we often try to split up our time like a pie, doing our best to make the slices as equal as possible. And so we stay up late doing homework. And we go to the youth group retreat. And we text a friend who is having a hard time.
And despite our best efforts, we often feel like there’s a slice of the pie being neglected.
At this point in the conversation, some people in the group may assume the “correct” answer is that more time should be spent on their relationship with God and church activities. Maybe these things need a bigger slice of the pie.
Ask the group to take one final look at the pie as a whole. This time, ask everyone to focus specifically on the dish that is holding the pie (it could be made of aluminum, glass, or colorful ceramic). Ask the question: “What’s special about the dish/pie plate?”
After a minute or two, point out that the pie dish is what contains (or holds) every piece of the pie. Challenge the group to think of the dish as their relationship with God. If we think of our relationship of God in the same way, we can better visualize how our faith must impact every aspect of our lives (or each slice of the pie).
I personally found this simple analogy to be very helpful. It’s easy to remember and it encourages us not to compartmentalize our faith. It helped me get away from the mindset of having spiritual growth be just another part of my life to manage and moved me to the mindset that my faith must influence EVERYTHING in my life (my work, my play, my relationships, etc.). Ask the group how this analogy might play out in practical ways.
And, of course, don’t forget to eat the pie.