Stuff You Can Use: Monsters University Discussion

My youth ministry recently held it's 8th Grade Orientation. Wanting to give 8th graders a taste of what our high school youth ministry is like, we included a discussion. My student leadership team chose the topic - identity - and I wrote the following discussion based on a few clips from Monsters University

Identity Discussion based on Monsters University:

Clip 1: Start: 3:46 (Don't cross over); End: 4:22 “On a scare floor”

Intro to the Clip: The monsters go to the power plant to learn about scare energy.

1. After getting pushed to the back, Mike is told, “You don't belong on a scare floor.” Describe a time when you felt like you didn't belong.
a) For you to feel like you belong somewhere, what's required?
b) Which of those characteristics are present at church? How can church (or our youth ministry) become a place where more people are welcomed?

Clip 2: Start: 55:38 (Close up of Mike); Pause at 57:30 - “We're going on a little field trip”; Then resume until 1:00:19

Intro to the Clip: Mike is now a college student at Monsters University. After failing a crucial test, he makes a bet with the dean of the scare college that if he wins the scare competition, he can stay in the scare college. In the midst of the competition, a fellow team hosts a party during which they thoroughly humiliate Mike's team (and capture the whole thing on camera).

2. Mike's competitor tells him, “You're never going to be real scarers because real scarers look like us.” What are some of the different groups at your school? What do students who belong to those groups look like? Can students who fit in those groups be recognized based on their appearance? Why or why not?
a) What's an identity?
b) How much do people's identities depend on their appearance? Why?
c) Read 1 Samuel 16:7. According to this passage, what does God care more about: Our appearance or our heart? Why?
d) If God cares more about our heart, then what should we base our identity off of? Why?
How easy or difficult is that to do?

3. Sully urges Mike, “You can train monsters all you want but you can't change who they are.” Do you think someone can change their identity? Why or why not?
a) How has / did your identity change when you got to high school?
b) If you could change one thing about your identity, what would it be and why?
c) Which do you think actually changes: Your identity or your understanding of who you are?
d) What parts of our identities shouldn't we change? What parts of our identities are connected to our faith?
e) Mike reminds his team, “There's no one kind of scarer. The best scarers use their differences to their advantages.” What are some of your “differences”? Regardless of what groups you choose to get involved with, how can use your differences to your advantage?

Download this discussion here.

Jen Bradbury on Youth Ministry

Jen serves as the Minister of Youth and Family at Atonement Lutheran Church in Barrington, Illinois. A veteran youth worker, Jen holds an MA in Youth Ministry Leadership from Huntington University. Jen is the author of The Jesus Gap: What Teens Actually Believe about Jesus (The Youth Cartel), The Real Jesus (The Youth Cartel), Unleashing the Hidden Potential of Your Student Leaders (Abingdon), and A Mission That Matters (Abingdon). Her writing has also appeared in YouthWorker Journal, Immerse, and The Christian Century. Jen is also the Assistant Director of Arbor Research Group where she has led many national studies. When not doing ministry or research, she and her husband, Doug, and daughter, Hope, can be found traveling and enjoying life together.

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