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.

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.

Post-Truth

As we turn the calendar to February, and celebrate Black History Month, we start with this podcast about Post-Truth. What is it? It is this time we are living where “alternative facts” have replaced scientific facts and feelings have more weight than these facts.

Post-truth is an ideology where people try to compel others to believe something without regards to the facts or evidence. Some believe this era that we are living started 20 years ago when people didn’t believe facts about smoking, vaccines, or climate change. Couple this with the use of the internet and now social media, and the conditions are perfect for post-truth.

What do you believe? Who do you believe? Where do you find your truth? What shapes you? What do you believe as “truth”? Is it politics? Science? Theology? All questions we should be asking ourselves and the young people around us.

This could make a great discussion for a small group or your friends. Let us know your thoughts and your conclusions.

Dictionary definition of Post Truth https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/post-truth

National Geographic article referenced in podcast: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2015/03/science-doubters-climate-change-vaccinations-gmos

Barna study referred to in podcast:

/https://www.barna.com/research/six-reasons-young-christians-leave-church/

Podcast:

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/practically-honest-with-kaye-wolfinger/id1434070440?uo=4

Youth Ministry in Disruption

Book Response and Review

This book emerged during a time we were all reeling and trying to find our grounding in ministry. There are 26 chapters written by 26 different authors that cover everything from historical and theological encouragement to issues to think about, missteps and learning and what we are trying. Here are some of the words that inspired me and some of my thoughts and reactions. I have also included a few of our Regional Coordinators’ reviews.

On page 29, Dr. Andrew Root writes, “At this time, Youth ministry needs to be exposing young people to stories of people in their church communities who have found God in moments of long and loss, of hope and hardship.” This is a perfect example of a way to create community between our young people and older congregational members. Why not invite these members to share these stories either on a live Zoom or recorded to share with your teen/young adult small groups? How can you do this very thing in your groups? What ideas do you have to create community and connection between generations?

“Loneliness & Human Connection” is the title for Chapter 3 written by Crystal Chiang. This is a vital topic. While Generations Z and Millenials continue to isolate themselves from face to face interactions, this pandemic has only amplyfied this problem. Chiang says that youth leaders need to reimagine how, when, where and why teenagers gather. (p. 34) We know that teens gather in places where there are others teens, this isn’t anything new. However, how can we create places and spaces for these gatherings given our current climate?

Sam Halverson, in Chapter 5, talks about teens as the treasures of our churches. He says, “[W]hen we refuse to use our young people, we miss out on enjoying the investment.” (43) Online worship is a perfect time to invite teens and young adults to become involved. Something as simple as recording themselves readhing scripture, sharing their gift of music or sharing their stories and all be incorporated into the online worship experience. Don’t miss this opportunity to engage them in the life of the church, even now during this pandemic. How are you giving teens/young adults opportunities to serve?

Chapters 8-14 make up a section of the book titled, “Missteps and Learning.” These authors remind us to give ourselves grace as we begin to navigate ministry during this unprecedented time. In fact, one of my favorite quotes comes from Kevin Libick on page 61, “Don’t focus on what you can’t do, focus on what you can do.” It is important for us to redefine success based on our values, on input not output. Celebrate all students, not just those who are showing up. Focus lesson production and more on connection. The one complaint I received constantly was the lack of time students had for church. Now they have more time, but we can’t be physically together the way we are used to. But there is no reason you can’t connect. How will you change the way you define success in ministry?

The final chapters share some great ministry ideas that have worked for some. Everything from a Late-Night Talk Show to a Virtual School Study Hall and rethinking Confirmation. All these ideas motivate us to rethink ministry in our own context. What have you tried that has worked, even for a short while? Are there other attempts that didn’t work?

Mark Oestreicher’s book has come at an important time as we are all searching for ways to continue youth ministry during this disruption. It is a quick read with several different voices that inspires us to move forward in new ways to spread the gospel message of love and grace to our teens while creating community.

Book Reviews: (From Regional Coordinators. 1-5 pizza slices, 5 being the highest.)

🍕🍕🍕🍕”This book is such a timely, relevant resource that is so needed in what is surely a season of disruption! Loved the great, practical advice, stemming from both losses and wins, coming from youth leaders who have been serving in this season and know the struggle.” Chasity Opphile, Regional Coordinator


🍕🍕🍕🍕”Full of practical steps,Youth Ministry in the Season of Disruption includes a slew of ideas that will both encourage and inspire any youth leader as they face the continued uncertainty of ministering to teens in the covid age. More importantly, this book reminds any leader that they are not alone in their pursuit of hope, navigating with care the frustration and lament wrought by a global pandemic. General Editor Mark Oestreicher assembles a variety of unique voices who provide innovative insight and timely truth. It’s a breath of fresh air that just might assist in the needed transformation of student ministry in the 21st century.” Tim Beck, Regional Coordinator

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/practically-honest-with-kaye-wolfinger/id1434070440?uo=4

Calling for Unity

***Disclaimer…I do not intend for this post to be politically charged or meant to support any political biases***

Given the recent madness and violence in our country, I do not believe that it is ironic that this is the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity and that the Inauguration falls in the same week. As I have watched in horror the videos of everything that happened in Washington DC on January 6th, and all the social media rampage in the aftermath, I couldn’t help but wonder how our political afflictions gained priority over our Christian call.

I realize that because of our faith convictions, we tend to support one political party or candidate over another; however, how in the world, brothers and sisters, have we got to this place in our country? The amount of hate spewed at one another at one another on social media is appalling. We have allowed those platforms to be a place of hate for our fellow Christians for the whole world to see. How is this being a witness for Christ?

As we also celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King today, and his message of unity, be inspired by this quote from him. “We have before us the glorious opportunity to inject a new dimension of love into the veins of our civilization.” While he was addressing the importance of unity between races and ethnicities, I suggest that we also use his words to motivate us to seek Christian Unity no matter where our differences lay.

Let’s focus on some scripture to pull us back together. After all, we are on the same team and need to work TOGETHER to further the kingdom of God because we have been called by God, no matter your gender, race, ethnicity, or political affiliation, we are ALL CALLED. If you lead, live or work with teens or young adults, you can use this as a time of devotion with them or allow it to be a conversation starter. They are watching and learning from the adults around them, may we be a positive example for this generation.

John 15:16-17: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John%2015%3A16&version=NIV says that God chose us, we don’t choose Him, He picks us to go and bear fruit that lasts. Meaning, when we spread love, peace, kindness, gentleness, (Fruits of the Spirit: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Galatians%205%3A22-23&version=NIV) they last.

  • What are some ways we can do this? Especially now we we can not always be with people physically?
  • What are some ways to handle a situation with someone when we don’t agree with them?
  • What are some ways that God has called you to spread “fruit”?
  • How has politics and faith intersected in your life? Has your faith shaped your political views?
  • This week is Christian Unity Week, how can we become a part of unifying Christians? Is it too big of a chasm for us to do anything about repairing?
  • Since this is MLK Day, what do you know about his work that helped to unify people/Christians?

Prayer: (Modified for young people from the link below)

God of love, Jesus told us that you did not chose me, but I chose you. You pursue us, and invite us into a friendship with you. Show is how we can deepen this friendship with you so that our lives may be more complete.

God of live, you call us to be light in this world of darkness and to welcome those around us as gifts of your grace. May your loving gaze, which rests on every single person, open our eyes to loving one another just as we are.

God who gather, you weave us together as one vine in your son Jesus. May your loving Spirit move in us, no matter where we are or who is with us. Grant that we can come together in joy to praise your name.

God of one vineyard, call us to act in your love in all we do and say.

Touched by your goodness, grant us the ability to be the reflection of that love in our homes, schools, work places, and on social media. Use us to pave the way for bridging rivalries and overcoming tensions in our world.

Spend some time in silent prayer. Allow God’s grace to fill you as you rest in Him.

Reference: https://www.oikoumene.org/sites/default/files/Document/ENG%202021%20Booklet.pdf

Ideas when balancing Children & Youth Ministries

EEK! Here we are, already in the Advent Season, and we are tapped out. If you are still searching for something to do with Children, Teens or Family Ministries for Christmas Tide or after the New Year, we share lots of ideas on this podcast. Below are a few links of resources that we discuss. If you are not connected with anyone in a network to share ideas, please send a message. If you have some great ideas, please share in the comments. This will become a resource where we can send people to who are looking for ideas. We need to lean on one another as we lead during these unprecedented times!

One Room Sunday School Curriculum: https://www.deepbluekids.com/store/one-room-sunday-school/

Cokesbury Resources: https://www.cokesbury.com/Curriculum-Children

Linc (Living In Christ): https://www.cokesbury.com/linc?pagenumber=1

Alpha Youth Series: https://www.alpha.org/youth/

Discipleship Ministries Resources/Curriculum: https://www.umcdiscipleship.org/worship-planning/companys-coming/first-sunday-of-advent-year-b-lectionary-planning-notes

Podcast:

https://www.spreaker.com/episode/42147498

Youth Ministry Post- Pandemic

We can’t tell the future, but we do know that we are not “going back to normal” once we are on the other side of this pandemic. A few youth leaders talk about what they see as the future of Youth Ministry, post pandemic. The key to all ministry is relationships. This was true pre-pandemic and it will hold true post-pandemic. As we move through this time of social distancing, be creative on creating community and keep an open mind on the definition of “community.” It is time youth leaders focus on relationships and discipleship and less on programs. We know that we can become “zoomed out.” Our students, after a long day on the computer for school, don’t want to be back on in the evening for youth group. This is difficult and requires us to be creative. This creativity is what needs to carry us into our time post-pandemic. Whatever you decide, leaders, do not simply think you are going to go back to what you were doing before. We are all changed people from our experiences from this pandemic; therefore, there will be a new norm. Our lives will be different and ministry will be changed.

Podcast:

https://www.spreaker.com/user/10737179/practically-honest-youth-ministry-after-