Week 24 (2017) – Re-evaluating and Refocusing for our Exhibition!

When you are in the Final Showdown on your hero’s journey, when the BIG moment is about to arrive…How do you respond? Do you feel overwhelmed? Excited? Nervous? Do you make a list of priorities to see you through to the end?
This week, our heroes revisited their session goals and prioritized what they wanted to accomplish both during Core Skills and Project Time. When discouraged, everyone agreed that it is most important to focus on 1 thing at a time and get into the “flow”. Our heroes agreed that if you get into “flow” and work on the most challenging task first, you will make progress towards accomplishing something.
Accomplishments look a little different for every person. This week, we recognized that a growth mindset says that hard work pays off, and that continuing to do your best will eventually pay off. When others are doing great work, we can be encouraged and go to them as mentors instead of comparing ourselves or feeling bad that we’re not as “good”.

Interesting Discussion Topics this Week Included:

  • What do you consider the most important part of Journey Academy; The freedom to learn at your own pace, the freedom to own your work, or the freedom to collaborate with others? Which one helps you the most?
  • What is the gospel? How would you explain it to someone who has never heard of Jesus before?
  • Would you say the story of Paul and Barnabas’ disagreement has a sad ending or a happy ending? Why do you think this?
  • Which part of your project do you want to spend the most time on when preparing for our Exhibition next week?
  • Is it important to be able to find things quickly in your Bible (yes/no)? What tools can you use to help you find scriptures or stories efficiently?
  • What is a testimony? How did you hear about Jesus? How has he changed you?
In addition to working on our session goals and preparing for the Exhibition this week, our heroes had the awesome opportunity to visit Cornerstone University. We attended a worship session in the chapel there, and our heroes got to take a small tour of the University.
After the worship session, our heroes got to meet Ryan Vegh, the worship leader at Frontline Community Church in Byron Center. Ryan shared his own hero’s journey (learning to play guitar at the age of 5 and then using his own gifts and talents to serve others).
Our heroes had the opportunity to reflect on both experiences, sharing what they felt during the worship service, and what gifts and talents they might want to use in their future jobs someday. It is inspiring to hear our heroes talking about their unique gifts and praising God!
Thank you all for sharing in this journey. Have a blessed weekend!?

Week 23 (2017) – What’s the point of rules?

Chaos. The disorder, confusion, or pandemonium within a situation. During life, we all experience chaos in some way. The good news is, our heroes will be well-prepared to tackle chaos when it comes.

During quest time this week, our heroes were given a board game where EVERYONE played by different rules. Some people got to spin twice on every turn while others could switch with any player they wanted. Still, others could move players back to the START square. While the game is usually a lot of fun, our heroes found it difficult to work together, and the game was nearly impossible to play!
During our follow-up discussion, our heroes discussed the “rules” of the game, and why they experienced chaos. The rules, they decided, were super important because they made the game possible (or impossible) to play. They then made the connection to our studio contract. Without the “guardrails” in our studio, it is difficult to complete activities.
Since we had been studying the life of Moses, our heroes had already memorized the 10 commandments prior to the “broken rules” game. A few of them added that without the 10 commandments, our lives might look really chaotic. One hero mentioned, “following rules helps you to be a good Christian,” while another said, “I disagree. Following the rules helps you to have a good life, but loving Jesus and inviting him into your heart is what it means to be a Christian.”
Through experiencing chaos, learning to follow rules, and communicating, our heroes are not only growing in communication, but also in their ability to see the WHY behind the guardrails in both our studio, and in their journey through life. This brings me so much joy!
Other Discussion Topics this Week Included:
  • What are some behaviors in our studio that make it a “sacred” learning environment? What are some behaviors/habits that make it less “sacred”?
  • Would you rather have no rules, or very specific rules?
  • Can you name The 10 commandments? What does it mean to not “covet”? What does it mean to not “bear false witness”?
  • Which do you think is the MOST important commandment?
  • Would you rather get your understanding from the Bible, or from your pastor?

Week 22 (2017) – The Hero’s Journey

What is the Hero’s Journey?? It is the WHY behind everything we do at Journey Academy. It is the reason for every task of everyday-the heart behind every process. You see, we are all on a journey. Whether you are being called to raise a family, start a career, learn to add & subtract, or climb a mountain… there is something that God is doing in your life to shape you into the person he’s created you to be.

This week, our heroes revisited the Hero’s Journey (Call to action, meeting with a mentor, friends/allies, the road of trials, the final showdown, the return home, and the change). Though we have seen the Hero’s Journey before, and recognize it as the common theme in almost every story ever told, sometimes our own Hero’s Journey is forgotten in the process of discovery.

I have been convicted of this in my own Hero’s Journey. In the midst of facing the everyday trials, I forget WHY I am traveling sometimes. I need to slow down and recognize the WHY. WHY I am doing what I am doing. At Journey Academy, it is the understanding that everything I do is ultimately to help our heroes discover God’s calling in their own lives.

We’ve encouraged our parents to talk to their heroes about their Hero’s Journey this week and perhaps share their own. What is it that God is doing in your life? What are some of the trials you are facing? What are some failures you’ve had before? And WHY do you keep going despite resistance? Would you feel the same satisfaction if you gave up on your journey?

The Hero’s Journey is a beautiful struggle. There are ups and downs, emotions, success, and failures..but ultimately, it changes us. I encourage you to watch this clip on the Hero’s Journey if you haven’t already.

I am SO excited to see our heroes digging into the stories of some Bible heroes during this quest (discovering their ups and downs on the road to change), and I am looking forward to seeing what kinds of connections they make to their own journeys.

Apart from reflecting on our Hero’s Journeys this week, our heroes spent a significant amount of time refining the tools they have developed to self-manage their studio. They revisited the purpose behind some of these tools, revised them, and have taken their roles in the studio to an even higher level. I was highly impressed with the levels of ownership that our heroes embraced on their journeys this week!

Discussion topics this week included:

  • What is the Hero’s Journey (Call to action, meeting with a mentor, friends/allies, the road of trials, the final showdown, the return home, and the change)?
  • Do you experience joy during your trials? Is joy chosen or discovered?
  • What tools do you use to manage the studio? Which ones are helpful? Which ones aren’t helpful?
  • What makes a great leader: someone who is kind, someone who listens well, or someone who empowers?
  • Was it wrong for Daniel to disobey King Nebuchadnezzar? Why or why not? What are some appropriate ways to resist authority? Inappropriate ways?
  • What skills/experience do you have that can help others on their journeys?

Quotes of the Week:

  • “Let’s try the hardest one there is (while working on No Red Ink).”
  • “If you don’t have joy during your trials, you need to remember what your spark is.”


Week 21 (2017) – Diving into God’s Word

Learning about the heart of worship, reading God’s word, and re-enacting scenes from the Bible have all been highlights of our Journey this week. On Tuesday, we began learning about the life of King David. Each day, our heroes would listen to a portion of 1 Samuel or 2 Samuel, and act out a character to retell that particular story. This got super silly at times, but our heroes did a wonderful job working as a team (designating roles and using conflict resolution when needed).
As we learned about Kind David, we talked a lot about worship, and how a person can put God first in life. We sang songs and learned the heart behind the words. We also talked about other ways to put God’s Kingdom first in our lives (through serving others, spending time reading the word and praying, and using the gifts and talents that God has given to each of us).
Today, our heroes each picked a Bible character they will study and create a Hero’s Journey map for. They are all very excited to use their artistic skills in this quest!

A few discussion questions this week included:

  • How many women can you name in the Bible?
  • If you could experience life without ever feeling sadness or pain, would you?
  • What is social justice? What are some examples of people in your community who work to make life better for others?
  • What does it mean to have a lifestyle of worship?
  • Does God care about our wants, or does he only answer prayers based on our needs?
  • What part of David’s life stood out to you? What was the most valuable lesson you learned from his journey?
  • What does it mean to have, “the breath of God”? What does it mean in the song, Come Alive when the lyrics say,”We call out to dry bones/come alive, come alive”?
  • What most helps you remember scripture? Do you prefer to write it out, sing it, or draw it?
  • Is it better to understand someone else, or for them to understand you?
  • Would you rather have everything you want by taking care of your needs first, or make occasional sacrifices and have closer friends?
Quotes of the week:
” I can see how reading the Bible makes you notice the power of God.”
“This is against my principles, but I am beginning to love math.”
“I wouldn’t want to never experience sadness because if you never felt sad, you would never learn.”