Idea Swap: Teaching Techniques
Rob’s post below is a great reminder of all we can learn from each other when we gather together. Join us at the National Youth Workers Convention this fall in Cincinnati, OH to connect with and learn from the full family of youth workers.
If you are anything like me, you are always looking for fresh, creative ideas for every aspect of your youth ministry. One area I think we can explore is the weekly message in our student worship services. Not specific topics or series ideas, but the mode in which we deliver God’s word. What I’d love to do is begin a bit of an online forum via the comments section: what have you tried that has been effective in teaching God’s word to teenagers? This, by no means is an exhaustive list, just a few things I’ve tried over the years.
1. Video/On location
Have you ever had one of those illustrations in your message where you have your students imagine they were in a massive arena for a sporting event, deep in the forest, on a creek bed, or walking through a city? Rather than have them imagine it, film your message at the location of your illustration. It injects a little creativity to your worship service and allows you to have a little flexibility that night by not preaching a message.
2. Video/Message during small group
If you have your worship service and small groups on the same night, try combining the two. As you record the message break it down into 5-7 minute sections. End each section with a quick, “before I go any further, take a few minutes and talk to your small group about what we’ve covered so far.” Write your small group questions based on what you cover in each section of the message.
3. Panel discussion
This could take several different forms, but the bottom line is get a panel of people to deliver the message, rather than going solo. Maybe it’s a relationship series and you have a volunteer who is single, a young married couple, and an older married couple on the panel. Allow them to share different Biblical truths about relationships from their perspective. There are also those difficult questions students ask, “Why did my family member get cancer? Why didn’t God stop the earthquakes in Ecuador? Why does abuse happen? I’ve read some of the Old Testament, why can I eat shellfish but can’t be gay? Saying that Jesus is the only way feels pretty exclusive doesn’t it?” Get a panel of other pastors or scholars that can clearly and succinctly tackle these questions.
4. Break-out sessions
If you’ve ever been to a conference you know that there are almost always breakout sessions. Take a week, ditch the message and do breakouts. Have 3 or 4 speakers prepared with different topics and allow students to choose which breakout they would like to be a part of. If allowing the students the freedom to choose makes you break out in hives, you could also purposefully break the group down however you want (boys/girls, grades, middle school/high school).
5. Ted Talk style
Some of the most engaging messages don’t have to be long. If you have some budding teachers or student leaders you want to give a shot at teaching a message, give 4 or 5 people the same topic or passage of scripture and ask them to prepare a 5-minute message. You’ll be surprised at the variety of angles each person comes at the topic or passage of scripture.
Like I said, these are just a few ideas. Some have worked better than others. I’d love to hear what has worked for you.
ROB BERGMAN is the Pastor of Youth Ministries at The Crossing, a multi-site church in St. Louis, MO. Rob has served in youth ministry for 15 years and has a passion for leading, strategizing, and teaching students, volunteers and other youth pastors. Through those passions he has had the privilege of writing, speaking, and coaching through various national and global youth ministry organizations. He is married to Rachel and they have two elementary aged kids, Caden and Claire. You can keep up with him online on Instagram @RGB.3 or twitter @ROBBERGMAN.
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.