Fundamentals of a Successful Youth Ministry, Pt 2
*** In our first post, we talked about the importance of youth ministry. In part two of this four part series, we will be addressing the importance of “preparing a Bible lesson.” ***
When my parents would go out of town, they always hired a babysitter to watch my brother and I.
Our babysitter’s responsibility was to make sure we were fed, interacted well with each other, and stayed entertained while they were away.
Unfortunately, many parents see the youth pastor as the same; a glorified babysitter for their children.
He is someone who watches their teenagers, feeds them a snack, and makes sure they get along and stay out of trouble while they attend church services.
Youth Group is not a Daycare
Youth group is nothing like that; at least it shouldn’t be. Youth group is not the place to play and goof off while the time passes; it is a time to learn, worship, and grow in the Lord. It’s very important that we do not substitute Bible study time with our teenagers for games of dodge ball.
Don’t misunderstand me. I realize it’s perfectly fine to engage in sports and extracurricular activities, but play time should not be greater than Bible study time.
Teenagers have all week to talk about sports, chat with their friends, and play fun games. They often have a whole class period at school dedicated to this!
On the other hand, many churches only have two hours a week (if that) to invest and teach young adults about Jesus; we need to make the best of every chance we get.
Our sole purpose is to teach the word of God to these teenagers, not improve their skills in childhood games.
Preparing a Bible lesson
Consequently, each week you should have a thorough Bible lesson ready for your youth group. In the coming weeks we will upload some sample lessons you can use for your own youth group.
Please don’t just “wing it.”
We have an entire generation who needs to know about the Lord. Prepare, pray, and study for every lesson. Look at areas that your teenagers are struggling with and teach on those subjects. This is the nature of discipleship; addressing things they are doing, why those things are inappropriate, and how the teens can overcome it. After all, how can we expect them to grow and improve in an area if they don’t realize what they are doing is wrong?
When going through your lesson, don’t just preach to them, but give them time for questions.
Teenagers are FULL OF questions.
Asking questions helps to eliminate whatever confusion they may have concerning specific biblical texts.
One thing I always do when preparing my lesson, is ask myself, “if I was a teenager, what kind of questions would I ask about this passage?”
Teens, by nature, tend to try to impress their friends. As such, there will always be one who tries to prove you wrong, or ask questions designed to trip you up or cause doubt in the minds of others.
I believe this attitude is learned from our society; a society which is trying to disprove the Bible and all matters concerning God.
Be prepared and have answers ready for those questions with wrong intent.
Peter stated, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear…” 1 Peter 3:15
Additionally, pray that God will give you a relevant application for the teenagers. This is terribly important. Think of ways your teens can apply the lesson to their lives, and then challenge them to do it.
Don’t be afraid to ask the following week who had an opportunity to practice what they were taught the week before.
This is a good way to get the teens talking and it helps build confidence in them as well.
Finally, remember as leaders of youth, we want to disciple the kids God has blessed us with; we want them to grow in their faith.
I can’t think of one dodge ball game that caused a teenager to grow closer to the Lord, but I do know that diligent study of the Bible and applying these principles to our lives will cause tremendous growth.
Push your teens to faithfully study the Bible lesson; you will be amazed at what they come up with.