4 C’s To A More Intentional Teaching Strategy For Youth Workers

Ben Marshall
November 25th, 2019

Time. It’s one of those things every week that so quickly slips away. I look up and it is later than I thought it was and I have more to do than I know how to do in the time left. And it seems to happen more often than I’d care to admit. At some point, time from something needs to be cut to get everything done. And, unfortunately, it sometimes gets cut from teaching prep. 

It is one of the most time consuming practices, preparing your own teaching resources, but with a strategy in place, it can make things flow much easier.

This is the 4-C Filter I try to run every teaching through.


Another word for compelling could be relevant. Is this topic or lesson compelling? Is it something my students need to hear? It doesn’t matter as much if they want to hear it, but do they need to hear it? Does it meet them where they are and bring them to a place at the foot of the cross, recognizing their need for Jesus Christ in their everyday lives?

If the teaching is not compelling, they are less likely to engage. This doesn’t mean EVERY SINGLE LESSON has to be exactly where they are, but EVERY SINGLE LESSON needs to hit them in a way they can understand. For example, teaching on marriage is not something that is the most compelling to a 6th grade boy. But talking about healthy marriages and relationships is an important topic the Bible clearly speaks much to and one we should engage. It just needs to be thoughtful and compelling for where your students are.


Once I know the teaching is compelling, I run through the filter of clarity. Is the main idea clear? Does it make sense? If taken out of context, could it be misunderstood and skewed to mean something I don’t intend? Is it clear to the 6th grade girl and the 8th grade boy? Is it clear to the 9th grade boy and the 12th grade girl? 

A great message with an unclear action step or main idea is no longer a great message. Even if it is a compelling message, if it is unclear, we are not being good stewards of the platform God has given to us. Make sure the message is clear!


This is one that is particular to when I’m teaching someone else’s curriculum. Am I passionate about it? Is it something I believe and hold strongly to? There are difficult passages of Scripture and different denominations teaching different viewpoints on the same passages of Scripture. It matters how we engage our own questions and wrestle with Scripture in our teaching. We can’t communicate with complete confidence something we’re not so sure of. We need to wade into this tension carefully. We can’t flippantly say we’re not sure about something, especially when it comes to the essentials of salvation.


The amount of time you spend teaching from the front really does matter. It’s been my experience that the less time I prepare, the longer my teaching tends to go. However, the more prepared I am, the more concise I can say something and the shorter the teaching can be. Conciseness takes time and intentionality. We have to think deeply and clearly about things, how to word them, and what is necessary or not in the particular lesson. Sometimes this filter turns a 3 week series into a 4 week series, and that’s okay. It’s better to be concise and clear than it is to be long-winded and rambling.

I hope this is a helpful method to run your lessons and teaching through. I’d love your feedback on this filter. Let me know whether it worked, didn’t work, or if you’d add or remove anything from it. Thank you for all you do for students and the Kingdom of God. Stay faithful and fight the good fight!

Ben Marshall

Ben Marshall is a Pastor at Pathway Church in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania. He works with middle and high school students. He is passionate about leadership and raising up the next generation of Jesus-followers. He is a blogger, woodworking hobbyist, guitar player and sports enthusiast. Ben currently resides in Beaver Falls with his wife Connie and their two daughters, Aliya and Sophie.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.