Talksheet: The Breakfast Club

©1985, written by John Hughes

Note to leaders: This movie is rated R. Please be sure you provide parents ample time to sign a permission form. There is some foul language, awkward conversation and drug references. The movie is 1 hour and 37 minutes. Since it is an older movie, it is slower by today’s standards. You may want to post questions for teens to think about during the movie to try to help them stay engaged. Movie synopsis according to Wikipedia.

Before you begin the movie, ask students:

  • What are the different cliques at school?
  • Would you consider these cliques stereotypes?
  • Are you, personally, defined by your friends?

Questions to consider during the movie:

  • Pay attention to how each character is developed. How do they arrive at detention? Why are they in detention? What about their clothing styles? What are they wearing? Where do they sit? How do they speak? What do they eat? What about their behavior towards one another? How does that behavior change?
  • By the end, do you think they’ve become “friends?” What happens throughout the film that helps them bond with one another?
  • How are adults, teachers, principals and parents, depicted?

Discussion Questions

  • Beginning quote from “Changes” by David Bowie (written in 1971):

“And these children that you spit on as they try to change their worlds

are immune to your consultations, they’re quite aware of what they’re going through.”

  • What does this mean?
  • Do you think adults forget what it is like being a teenager? How so?
  • Why do they forget so quickly?

Main characters:

Claire (Molly Ringwald) – the princess

Andy (Emilio Estevez) – the athlete

Bender (Judd Nelson) – the criminal

Brian (Anthony Michael Hall) – the brain

Allison (Ally Sheedy) – the basket case 

  • How are the characters established in the beginning?
  • How are they similar/different from students in your school?
  • Do you think the stereotypes used in The Breakfast Club are relevant today? 
  • If these characters were in your school, what people groups would they be a part of?
  • We see immediately that they are not all (except for Claire and Andy) friends. Do you think where they sit is significant?

The essay they are asked to write is “Who do you think you are?”

  • Is that an easy question for a teen like you to answer? Why/why not?
  • Changing the intonation of your voice while asking that question can change the meaning. How do you think Assistant Principal Vernon meant it?

We learn early on about Bender’s homelife and eventually everyone shares. What about their stories stood out to you?

  • Is this realistic today?
  • How much of an impact do parents, teachers, youth leaders, coaches, have on your life?
  • Do you think how we treat one another is a reflection of how things are at home?
  • How can realizing this help us understand one another?

The Breakfast Club is rated R (17+), mostly due to inappropriate or foul language and one scene involving drugs.

  • What was your reaction to the language?
  • Did it bother you? How so/not so?
  • Why do you think the producers decided to allow foul language to be a part of the movie, knowing that most teens would not be able to watch it due to its R rating? What about the drug use in the movie? Is that an issue at your school?

Andy says, “We are all bizarre, some of us are just better at hiding it.” Then they all share their weird talents.

  • Do you think they would have been willing to break down their walls in this scene if Allison had said this? Why or why not?
  • Do you believe that we are all bizarre?
  • Why do we hide this part of us?
  • Where do you NOT hide your bizarre side?

One of the breaking points is when the group discusses the pressure in their lives.

  • What were their individual pressures they experienced?
  • Do you think everyone feels pressure? How so?
  • How do you personally deal with the pressure in your life? (anxiety, stress, etc.)
  • How does it help knowing that your peers struggle, too?
  • How can you help your friends and classmates when they are overcome with pressure (home life, academic, athletic, etc.)

What do you think happened Monday morning? Did they remain friends?

Do you think they would have ever interacted in any other circumstance?

How would this story play out today?

Lastly, What are some themes in the movie? Make a list. Discuss. Do you think these themes are relevant today? How so?

If we added a Christian student to the Breakfast Club, how would they interact? How would the story play out? What if one of the characters was a minority?

God created us each in His image (Genesis 1:27). How are you a reflection of God’s image?

  • How do you see the princess, the athlete, the brain, the criminal or the basket case as a reflection of God?
  • Read Psalm 82:6 & 1 John 3:1. How might our actions towards people shift if we started looking at others as Children of God, created in His loving image?

Famous Quotes to Discuss

  • “I hate having to go along with everything my friends say.” -Claire
  • “You ought to spend a little more trying to do something with yourself and a little less trying to impress people.” Mr. Vernon
  • “I could disappear forever and it wouldn’t make any difference.” -Bender
  • “My god, are we gonna be like our parents?” -Andy
  • “If you get along with your parents, you’re a liar.” -Bender
  • “Kids haven’t changed, you have.” -Carl, the janitor (speaking to Mr. Vernon)
  • “When you grow up, your heart dies.” -Allison
  • “Screws fall out all the time. The world’s an imperfect place.” -Bender
  • “We’re all bizarre. Some of us are better at hiding it, that’s all.” -Andy
  • “Dear Mr. Vernon, We accept the fact that we had to sacrifice the whole Saturday in detention for whatever we did wrong. But we think you are crazy for making us write an essay telling you who we think we are. You see us as you want to see us, in the simplest of terms and the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain, and an athlete and a basket case, a princess and a criminal. Does that answer your question? Sincerely, The Breakfast Club.”

Final Challenge/Activity:

  • Have students think about how they would answer the question, “Who do you think you are?” Come back together next week and have them creatively express their answers. You may have them write an essay, a poem, paint or do a collage. Have them share with one another.

Taking a Look at Campus Ministry: Ohio Northern University

So often youth leaders spend 4-7 years with a teenager only to send them off into the world and lose touch with them when they become young adults. It’s no fault to either party. Youth leaders have a new set of students they are trying to get to know and the young adult is exploring all the new things life is sending their way. As a youth leader, I loved each teenager walked into our youth room, so when they left, it really felt like they were taking a piece of my heart with them. So, it was never intentional to lose touch with any of them. But life gets in the way.

At the time that I was serving a local church, I was not in contact with any of the campus ministry leaders where my youth were attending. Now that I get to build relationships with chaplains and leaders, I can see how these connections could have helped me as a youth leader to transition my youth group graduates. I could have reached out and helped the teen connect with the chaplains or ministry leaders at the campuses where they were attending in order to help them feel more at ease. So, that is a new goal of mine to help build a bridge for youth leaders and campus ministry leaders in order to strengthen both ministry areas.

We are starting out by talking with Rev. David MacDonald, Chaplain at Ohio Northern University and Gwen Avery a student at ONU who grew up in Chardon, Ohio, was a member of our Conference Council on Youth Ministries and is now heavily involved in campus ministry.

Take a listen to us talk about ministry at ONU and some of the insights David and Gwen give us from their perspectives.

So often youth leaders spend 4-7 years with a teenager only to send them off into the world and lose touch with them when they become young adults. It’s no fault to either party. Youth leaders have a new set of students they are trying to get to know and the young adult is exploring all the new things life is sending their way. As a youth leader, I loved each teenager walked into our youth room, so when they left, it really felt like they were taking a piece of my heart with them. So, it was never intentional to lose touch with any of them. But life gets in the way.

At the time that I was serving a local church, I was not in contact with any of the campus ministry leaders where my youth were attending. Now that I get to build relationships with chaplains and leaders, I can see how these connections could have helped me as a youth leader to transition my youth group graduates. I could have reached out and helped the teen connect with the chaplains or ministry leaders at the campuses where they were attending in order to help them feel more at ease. So, that is a new goal of mine to help build a bridge for youth leaders and campus ministry leaders in order to strengthen both ministry areas.

We are starting out by talking with Rev. David MacDonald, Chaplain at Ohio Northern University and Gwen Avery a student at ONU who grew up in Chardon, Ohio, was a member of our Conference Council on Youth Ministries and is now heavily involved in campus ministry.

Take a listen to us talk about ministry at ONU and some of the insights David and Gwen give us from their perspectives.

Podcast:

Parenting Teens from Three Youth Leaders’ Perspectives

For those of us who have been in Youth Ministry before we were parents or even as we were parenting our own babies, we have a unique perspective on what it is like to parent teens. While being a youth leader may be easier in many instances, it has taught us some interesting lessons and helped us as we struggle with our own teens. We talk about these lessons in this podcast. Everything from understanding the emotions of transitioning out of high school, to juggling busy schedules, to handling life questions that teens tend to throw at us. We acknowledge the impact that the youth in our lives had on our children growing up and how those relationships have shaped who they have become. Being a youth leader has so many blessings. This podcast talks about one of the biggest as it shaped us into the parents we have become.

Podcast

Organic Youth Ministry

The pandemic as shifted ministry all together. As churches made the difficult decision to not meet in person in order to protect their most vulnerable members, many lost the connections with one another. We have discussed this in podcasts in the last few months. While we can grieve for what is lost, we need to find ways to move forward. In this podcast, I talk with a pastor/dad/youth leader about what youth ministry looks like in his church and home.

Joe and his wife have seven children that range in age from eight to twenty one. I admire their approach to ministry. They just do life and welcome those around them into their daily routine. They are open and welcoming to everyone and share their faith when conversation arises during meals or video games. I believe this the future of ministry. For years, we have been so caught up worrying about programs that we have lost the importance of relationships. Jesus modeled this for us as he traveled with his disciples and others. They sat together, ate together, walked together and prayed together. Somehow in the midst of “doing church,” we all began to focus on the craft, the game, what food to serve or even the best curriculum and compartmentalized life, faith, and ministry.

These are sweeping generalizations. There are some churches, some pastors, some youth groups that made sure relationships remained at the forefront; however, I continue to chat with youth leaders who are struggling to find committed adults to build relationships with our young people. If we do not take responsibility to pass on our faith and our story, then who? Organic ministry is simplified ministry.

Take a listen as Joe and I talk about how he has forged these relationships with teens of all different walks of life right in his own home. It’s an amazing testimony of life and faith converging into one.

TikTok Challenges: Being In The Know

During the pandemic, young people were stuck in their homes, unable to go to school or socialize face to face with friends. However, they did find a place to “gather” that gave them a common bond. Tik Tok, a video-sharing app owned by a Chinese company launched worldwide in 2018 according to Wikipedia. It existed a couple years before the pandemic shutdown; however, Tik Tok launched into a frenzy of popularity, especially for those of us outside of Gen Z, after March 2020. In fact, if you ask a young person, they can reminisce about all the trends that happened each month of the pandemic. One of those trends since so many families were spending all day together, all ages began working together to create dance moves and other content for the app. Celebrities got in on the fun as well. Even though we were stuck at home without new movie releases or live concerts, we did get a peek into the lives of stars like Justin and Hailey Bieber and JLo through their personal Tik Tok accounts. There are a number of people who rose to Tik Tok fame in the last two years. Here are a few with the number of followers, in millions: Charli D’Amelio (126.8), Khabane Lame (117.2), Addison Rae (85.2), Bella Poarch (83.8), Zach King (66). For a comparison of stars: Justin Bieber (22.9), JLo (14.1), Will Smith (63.4). (Please note these numbers were at the time of publishing this, they go up by the thousands daily.)

Why should we, adults who live and work with young people, care about TikTok? We barely have time to be on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat, why add another app? We need to be aware of the “world” where our young people are spending their time. While we do not have to live there with them, and be careful because TikTok can be a bit of a rabbit hole this is difficult to get out of, we do need to be aware of what they are watching and to whom they are giving their time.

By now, you hopefully have heard about the Devious Licks challenges that were going around in schools this fall. If not, Google it and take a look. It started as vandalizing bathrooms, and next was supposed to move to slapping teachers, video recording these and posting them on social media. Schools came down hard on offenders and hopefully, have put and end to the trend. A positive trend that start in response was Angelic Yields where students began putting items such as lotions, soaps and even a coffee pot into the bathrooms as their schools to oppose the vandalism trend.

A word of advice as well. TikTok, like other social media, uses an algorithm and will show you videos that match your habits. So, for instance I see videos about cooking, crafts, devotions and general soccer mom stuff. So, you will need to have a conversation with and possibly sit down next to your young person to watch their TikTok in order to be in their world. You may think that they will not want to share or will shy away from you being in their business, but the opposite is quite true. Many times, you will surprise them with your interest in their lives. Just watch and ask questions, do not criticize. If you view something you do not like or disagree with, ask the young person their thoughts or opinions and then respond with your feelings using “I” statements.

Take a listen to this podcast where a pastor, youth leader and I talk about all of this and respond to this growing social media application.

Living in Groundhogs Day

As October comes to an end, and we contemplate ministry this fall/winter, we are still faced with the difficulties of living during this pandemic in a very devasive political climate. For many church leaders, especially youth leaders, not much has changed in twelve months except the number of children and teens who are suffering from this virus. So, where does that leave us? How do we navigate a ministry when so many factors are in play?

While being out talking with youth leaders, many are struggling with similar roadblocks. Here are just a few:

  • It is difficult to know who is even a part of the youth group.
  • Volunteers are gone or those around do not want to give of their time anymore
  • Feeling weary and tired. Being creative and finding new ways to reach teens is exhausting
  • There has not been a break in 18 months
  • Do we meet face to face? Outside or inside? Wear masks or not? Social distance at youth group?
  • What does the future look like for youth ministry?

Here is one of the biggest pieces of advice I can give right now. Through all of these questions, exhaustion and uneasiness. Keep the main thing the main thing. Work on relationships. Reach out to teens, their parents and volunteers. Do not worry about how many are showing up for face to face events at the church, keep track of how many interactions (text, social media, phone calls, cards and conversations in the community) you have in a week. Use your time to reach out to them and even meet them where they are (if policies and health permits). Do not keep the expectations we had prior to March of 2020 that our “youth group” happens at the church. It is time we move away from the old model for ministry and start to shape what discipleship with young people will look like post-pandemic.

We address some of these questions in this podcast. But I will continue to address these complications in this blog as we move forward into 2022. Please subscribe and check back.

Ruthless Elimination of Hurry

Chasity and I discuss the book we are currently reading in our book club this month. It’s a great one! John Mark Comer takes us through his own struggle in finding quiet, peace and sabbath in his own life. He talks about hurry is not from God and how it can in face separate us from God. Take a listen, even if you haven’t read the book. You may be inspired to reflect on this hurried life we all lead and actually do something different.

We have monthly book clubs that meet the last week of the month. You do not need to read the book to be a part of the conversation. There are four different options and can be found here: https://www.eocumc.com/youngpeople/yln.html

You kind find the book on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/Ruthless-Elimination-Hurry-emotionally-spiritually/dp/1529308380/ref=sxts_b2b_sx_reorder_v3_customer?crid=2HVY059J268NZ&cv_ct_cx=the+ruthless+elimination+of+hurry&dchild=1&keywords=the+ruthless+elimination+of+hurry&pd_rd_i=1529308380&pd_rd_r=1be43837-fe3b-44e6-b14e-0697baaa612a&pd_rd_w=pCz2X&pd_rd_wg=bq6Qr&pf_rd_p=957bd7e3-74ac-4a2b-82e1-84ce13da595b&pf_rd_r=453QKFKMJ8J9321A3DQW&qid=1634746497&sprefix=ruthless%2Caps%2C331&sr=1-1-722db4e4-77fc-4fb6-8cee-654ad16ce1d5

Podcast: (Can be found on iTunes as well.)

Who Is Your Eli?

The story of Eli and Samuel has been on my heart a lot lately. If you don’t know it, you can find it below. But the gist of it is about Eli, who is a priest, who is taking care of Samuel, who is the son of Hannah. They are asleep (in different rooms, following Safe Sanctuary policies!) and young Samuel keeps coming in and waking Eli up because he thinks Eli is speaking to him. He does this three times before Eli says, maybe it’s God speak to him and to go back and ask God what He has to say to Samuel. By the way, I play this out in my head like a typical youth leader. After all, how many times have we been woken up by a youth? The first time, ok, the second time I hear Eli, “For the love of God, go back to sleep!” And the third time, I seriously wonder if Eli just makes up the whole God thing to shut up Samuel and keep him in his bed? Whatever the case, it works and God does speak to Samuel. This was the beginning of Samuel, the prophet, listening to God for the rest of his life.

So, what does Eli and Samuel have to do with you? Well, I bet that you can think of a time in your teenage life when an adult that you did not live with, took time to talk to you, listen to you and spend time with you. If you grew up in a church, this person may have even shared the love of God with you, taught you about Jesus and prayed that the Holy Spirit would guide you. If you are lucky, you can think of more than one adult who poured into your life. I bet you have a name and a face in your mind as you read this blog. These people are very special to us and helped shaped who we become as adults. Our “Eli (s)” are people we hold close to our hearts for our entire lives.

The next question I must ask is, “Who is your Samuel?” As adults, our story does not end with us. We have a legacy to pass on. As Christians, that legacy is our faith, and it is up to us to share our story and God’s story with another generation. As parents, it is easy to share with our own children. But that is not enough. Studies show that in order for young people to stick with their faith into adulthood, they need five adults in their lives leaving a positive impact.*(See note below.) I’m not a mathematician, but I think I can handle this equation. If there happens to be two parents in a teen’s life, it doesn’t add up. They need teachers, coaches, neighbors, friends and yes, congregational members who are engaged in their lives. And these adults need to be of all ages and stages of life. Teens today do not need us for information, they have Google. But they do need us to share our life experiences and to give them a listening ear. How will they know if the messages that are coming at them from all around are of God? Are true? Are valuable? So, again, I ask, “Who is your Samuel?”

I get the question all the time, “How do we get young people into our church?” The answer is complex and takes more than this blog to answer. But step one, if every member doesn’t have a Samuel, it won’t happen. I am sure you are asking yourself, where do I find a young person and will they want to talk to me? Start in your family. How many actual conversations have you had with a young person in your extended family lately? Especially beyond a text? What about your neighborhood? Even the young person who checks you out at WalMart or Wendy’s. Do you take time to engage them in conversation? This is the starting point. Be aware of those around and allow the Spirit to open doors for the relationship.

In the podcast today, I talk with one of my Eli’s, my Jr. High youth pastor who just happens to be my father-in-law. I was fortunate enough to have several Christian adults in my life to help shape and mold me. They are the reason I serve in the capacity I do now. These adults talked with me, listened to me, allowed me grace when I messed up and even let me cry on their shoulder when I thought my world was falling apart. Take a listen, be inspired and comment below about your Eli. Then, challenge yourself to think about your Samuel(s).

1 Samuel 3: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Samuel%203&version=NLT

Sticky Faith research: https://fulleryouthinstitute.org/stickyfaith

Listen to “Practically_Honest_Who’s_Your_Eli” on Spreaker.

Leading Into New Territory

Change is hard. We love the safety of the familiar. When we do things the same way, week after week, month after month, year after year, we know how to prepare and what to expect. But what happens when the world changes around us, even when we continue in the safety of our routine?

Our children are growing up in a very different world than we did, and it is time we develop new maps for them. I remember days of getting up in the morning, jumping on my bike, without a helmet, and taking off with my friends. I came home when I got hungry for my bologna sandwich only to take off again until the street lights came on. Adults talk about “the good ol’ days” all the time. But yet, we have created a world that is both expanding and shrinking where our maps and methods are antiquated.

Tim Elmore talks about the need for new maps in his book, “Marching Off the Map.” Ironically, he wrote this prior to the pandemic; however, it speaks even more into our situation today. Elmore does an outstanding job laying out the “Why, What, and How” for educators, coaches, youth leaders, parents and employers of the younger generations. With all the research and insight in this book, those of us leading young people are hard pressed not to change the approach we take to connect with those we seek to lead.

You can find the podcast where we talk about our responses and highlights of the book here. Do yourself, and the young people in your life a favor and read this outstanding book. It will open your eyes.

Reframing Ministry Post-Pandemic

The past year has been challenging to say the least.  The Covid-19 pandemic has changed our lives and our ministries, but we have also learned some lessons about what is truly important in youth ministry. Many of us are looking towards a relaunch of our youth ministry, because we cannot just go back to doing what we have always done. Leaders from Holston, East Ohio and South Carolina Annual Conferences have come together to create a coaching program to help youth leaders rethink, refocus, reimagine and relaunch ministries. The cohort is set up to include four group coaching sessions and in between the group meetings there will also be individual coaching sessions.  This podcast shares some insight into our thoughts on reframing ministry post pandemic as we discuss rethinking, refocusing, reimagining and relaunching ministry.

Please fill out this form if you are interested in joining a cohort:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1_G_8jsnH7vsc04w7MRMY4hN1v6gxb0JGenCiCJQbfjw/edit

Podcast: