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January Faith Formation Checklist: Teaching Conscientious Objection

1.8. 2018 Posted By: The Mennonite 223 Times read

When I meet with youth sponsors, I often encourage them to think about what they can offer youth that youth will not get anywhere else. Sharing our church’s historic teaching on conscientious objection to war falls squarely into the category of things youth are not likely to hear anywhere else!

Here are four very accessible and relevant resources that you could pick up right now to teach youth (or adults) about conscientious objection. Equip them to formulate their own convictions about whether disciples of Jesus participate in war.

Decide for Peace

This is a four-session Bible study on conscientious objection. It is direct preparation for youth to fill out the questions on the Christian Peacemaker Registration Form. The booklet is designed as a workbook for students, with lesson outlines for the leader at the back. An excellent resource that every Mennonite youth should have the opportunity to study. Available for $6.99 in paperback from MennoMedia.

Ben’s Story

This free, six-session study is based on Ben Peters’ experience as a Christian in the Marine Corps. Participants listen to Ben’s story and reflect on topics like the impact of war, competing identities, whether violence fixes things, and Jesus’ call to love enemies. Each lesson begins with the video clip, moves to questions for reflection, then to reading a Bible passage and connecting it to the prior conversation about Ben’s story.

The Good War and Those Who Refused to Fight It

This DVD offers many things: A 56-minute documentary on conscientious objectors in World War II, a viewer guide with discussion questions, a handout listing how to make a CO claim in case of a draft, an excellent CO workshop, a draft counseling manual, and many additional interviews. This DVD could be the basis for a number of activities educating youth about conscientious objection and preparing them for a possible draft.  Buy the DVD online or watch on Amazon Prime.

Behind the camouflage: A primer on military enlistment for youth pastors, mentors and counselors is a free online resource that equips pastors, sponsors and mentors to give both practical and spiritual counsel to youth who are considering military enlistment.  Authored by Titus Peachey of Mennonite Central Committee.

At AnabaptistFaithFormation.org, you’ll find a whole page of resources and advice on teaching conscientious objection, including more free downloadables.

Shana Peachey Boshart is conference minister for Christian formation for Central Plains Mennonite Conference and curator of www.AnabaptistFaithFormation.org. Each month, Shana will be providing us with a list of Christian faith formation resources for use at church, in your community and at home. 

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