Here’s an illustration I used during small group time at our Winter retreat this weekend.
1. I grew my facial hair out into a nasty out-of-control mess for a couple of months leading up to the retreat for this to work.
2. I opened this illustration by warning my cabin guys that this would be a goofy illustration, but to go along with me as I gave it.
The illustration kept my promise of being goofy, but they will remember it, and hopefully the principle behind it. Since these guys are also in the Bible study I teach each week, I’ll be able to refer back to their commitment at camp and ask how “shaving off the beard” is going.
Memorable can equal impactful.
Good luck with this if you choose to use it. Please tell me how it goes.
1. I asked why I have a beard on my face. After they gave a couple of answers (one of which was “because I’m awesome” – I gave that guy more respect after that).2. I told them I have a nasty beard on my face because I let myself go for a while and it just kinda grew there.
3. I said all of us figuratively have a nasty full grown beard on our faces – stuff in life that we have done, allowed to happen, or has happened to us, that we haven’t dealt with… and it’s gotten worse over time.
4. Then I held an open pair of scissors to the whiskers on my chin and cut off a chunk of my beard.
5. I said we come to camp and cut off a small portion of our beard and think we’ve done some serious business with God. The truth is there’s still a lot of beard to deal with when we return home. Many of us will let the part we cut off at camp grow back as we continue on our way through life as it’s always been. Before long, we’ll forget we even began to deal with the nastiness in our lives at camp.
6. I asked what nastiness they need to deal with, let them share, we prayed for each other, and closed the cabin time.
7. After we dismissed, I finished cutting off the beard, shaved, and enjoyed having a smooth face again and getting strange comments from people like, “Did you do something to your face tonight at camp?”
Dennis Beckner is a volunteer youth worker who trains volunteer youth workers. From 1999 to 2020 he was a leader at Saddleback Church’s Student Ministry. He is the author of Volunteer Youth Ministry, A Roadmap For Effective Leadership, and owns VolunteerYouthMinistry.com.
Graduated from Point Loma Nazarene College in 1994, BA Religion