Virginia Tech shootings: Small group video and discussion sheet

I just put together a quick video and small group discussion sheet for youth group tonight. Here it is for download in case any of your groups can benefit from it:




Listen more than you talk: The most beautiful thing you can do for a grieving teenager is to be a good listener. They may need to share the same stories over and over again. Provide a safe place for them to do that. Effective listening requires that helpful advice remains unspoken until the student wants input and is ready for advice. Preaching about God’s sovereignty or reminding teenagers that “things happen for the best” is not recommended and may perceived as insensitive.

Don’t place judgment on the students’ feelings: Some will be very angry, some will be depressed and others may be seemingly indifferent. Don’t offer counseling or make judgments on their emotions – just listen to them and encourage them to speak their heart. The purpose here is not to fix or correct their feelings, it’s just to listen. Their emotions are not wrong, they just are.

Don’t be afraid of silence: Don’t feel a need to fill in moments of silence with your own interpretations or as a queue to quickly move on to the next question. This is often the time when students are processing their thoughts or trying to figure out how to verbalize their emotions. Give them time to think and break the silence when they’re ready to do so. Only move on to the next question when you feel the current one has been exhausted.

[tags]Virginia Tech, small groups[/tags]

Posted on April 18, 2007

  • THanks for sharing this resource!

  • Tim

    You’re welcome! The discussion sheet is pretty basic. I only used it as a reference point to come back to last night. Our discussion ranged far and wide from what’s on the paper.

    Overall, it was a pretty effective night. All the kids took it pretty seriously. One of the girls in my group started crying, saying that she was sad, angry and scared to go back to her school. It was a good talk. I’m glad we had it.

  • tom

    Tim ,
    Great idea, we had already planned to deal with in a similar way. We cut out the games and did some worship and then led into a clip I found on you-tube .Then we ran some words on the screens to provoke thoughts to music and then opened up a time to be honest about it the tragedy. We had all our leaders come down front to help answer questions. You never know how these type services will go, we just pray for the Holy Spirit to show up. Middle school was alot of hard but honest questions about why? We answered best we could with scripture and experience. High school was completely different. They begin to have compassion for the shooter and his hopelessness. They also called each other out to sacrifice themselves to reach to the hurting and lonely in their own lives and schools. They in both services we prayed for the families. I found some buthcer paper and painted from our youth to the families of VT. During altar time many students wrote prayers to the families while others prayed with leaders. We are mailling the prayer to them. I want to thank God for showing up and still being the only one who can change lives. tom

  • Okay well I have to say that right now a lot of America’s teenagers are in a danger zone.Things like this are reminders to take off the blindness and wake up.(superchick we live) Anyways I am really hoing that some of my peers will want to know where they are going as a result to this tragedy.God Bless!!

  • Tim

    @ Tom: Sounds like God used you guys in a pretty powerful way. Thanks for sharing your ideas! Keep up the good work!

    @ Becky: Yeah, this does serve as a wake-up call. Gets students thinking about things like, “How am I treating the people around me?” and “Am I living my life in such a way that I’m ready to possibly meet God tomorrow?”

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