Enjoying the Journey
One of the great joys of my life is the privilege to speak to young people. Recently I was listening to one of our youth workers at the Temple Baptist Church as he taught the Word of God to teenagers. He was doing a great job and the Lord used him. He is not a preacher, but he is a fine Christian and a faithful teacher.
As he spoke, I jotted down several things that the Lord has taught me through the years about teaching young people. The most important thing is: teach the Bible! Not stories. Not your ideas. Not hot topics. The Bible.
Do not try to be a youth teacher. Be a Bible teacher, and God will use you to reach youth.
The second is: never stop being a student. The best teachers want to be taught themselves. We can all do a better job, and we should. Here are a few tips that have helped me:
- Mark your passages – don’t lose the young people while you are looking for your text.
- Give people time to find the Scripture passage.
- Ask them to mark their Bibles and write down key ideas.
- Be yourself – use a conversational tone.
- Use illustrations they understand – The key is variety: stories, object lessons, etc.
- Encourage participation when appropriate – have others read, answer questions, etc.
- Never embarrass a student.
- Maintain eye contact – don’t read your notes.
- Major on beliefs and behaviors – teach doctrine but make application.
- Don’t ramble – make your point and move on.
- Use appropriate humor but never try to be funny. (If you have to try, it isn’t funny!)
- Don’t talk down to young people – how you address them, tone, etc.
- Leave students with ONE great truth – challenge them to do something with it.
- Never try to act or talk like one of the teenagers.
- Be brief and be a good steward of the time you are given.
- Always speak with enthusiasm.
- Move around a little as you speak.
- Avoid religious jargon – define Bible terms.
- Don’t call attention to time constraints, distractions, etc.
- Speak from your heart but be careful not to talk too much about yourself.
If you would like to listen to a lecture I gave recently on “A New Beginning for Teen Sunday School” go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HbcgDfZMVSo&feature=share&list=PL4ED4192997DED13C.
May God use you as you continue to reach and teach Teens For Christ.