If you teach twice a month for 20 minutes you are not going to affect much life change. If you recognize that learning by hearing is one of the poorest ways to get people to remember what you have taught then you may want to look at other ways to get your point across. And if you consider that beside Jesus’ excellent teaching he used other very powerful teaching methods you may want to put some of these 5 powerful teaching methods in place this fall.
Frustrated by Lack of Life Change
Pretty quickly I discovered that I could preach myself blue in the face and students were just a carbon copy of their unsaved high school friends.
I began by praying harder for life change in my students and power in my preaching. But as I studied the scriptures I discovered that Jesus did more than talk to transform lives.
1. Demonstration of God’s Power
It would be nice if our students just happened to be there when we rubbed mud in a blind man’s eyes and they began to see but that hasn’t happened in my ministry yet. However, students have been with me when I fed a homeless person, visited a hospital, went to a student’s apartment, or dropped in on a student at their work place. They have also prayed with me for a suicidal teen and grieved with me when a student abandoned their faith.
Sharing life with as many students as possible and seeing how God works in and through us has an incredible impact on a student’s life.
2. Ministry Teams
Students are familiar with sports teams. They may play on one or tried out and were rejected. So maybe they will be able to transfer the concept to a ministry team. Some writers have said that the difference between a youth group and a youth ministry is this concept of students doing ministry.
Learning by doing is the best way to learn. Sadly, except for a summer missions trip most students are not on any kind of a ministry team. No wonder so little life change occurs and for some students they move through student ministry and become less faithful to God and less moral in their behavior.
Here are a few kinds of ministry teams that I have been able to launch
Tech crew – I know, doesn’t sound very spiritual but I was blessed with tech leaders who worked with a group of my guys and wouldn’t do anything without prayer and would always share stories of God’s work in their lives with the team. On youth nights the tech guys did the small group activities from the sound and lighting booth and posted their responses on the power point screen. More and more of their friends from school joined the tech crew and without telling me they led three guys to the Lord back in the tech booth!
Worship Team is a pretty obvious one –there are so many ways to coach students into spiritual growth who have an interest in music. I had excellent worship leaders who mentored younger students and recruited students from high school to get involved. Devotions were part of every practice and pre service prayer was part of every youth night. Students were so motivated that they found other places outside of our church to lead worship. Girls and guys grew quickly in their faith and began sharing it with friends!
They were a small group but deeply committed. They made video announcements and short clips to go with my messages. They grew by taking my topics and trying to illustrate them by acting and making videos for the youth ministry. They grew closer to each other as they spent time with a leader who was passionate about film and about the Lord. The teaching went deeper because they were teaching others.
3. Let students teach
You may feel like you are taking a risk to let students teach but I know many groups in my area that allow students to lead group bible studies. I know they are learning more that the students in the studies. The great thing is that by teaching others they have to live up to it themselves. It keeps them accountable and reliant on the Lords help understand and share the content.
I ran an after school program in a low income area of Toronto for 6 years. It was run by high school students. They did the teaching, counseling, and prayer ministry. As they taught, counselled and served they grew.
4. Simulation Games
The military and aviation instructors use simulations to help prepare soldiers and pilots. Some of the excellent resource sites like Download Youth Ministry and Egad Ideas have creative activities that help students experience an important truth through a game situation. I have developed one called “Outreach” In this experience students are required to plan an outreach event but they have been given different roles to play that make planning an event very complicated.
The real value of a simulation experience is the discussion that follows. With carefully planned discussion questions student explore important issues and sometimes dig into the bible for answers.
5. Prayer Walk
On our second day in Romania, Dan McTavish brought us through Bucharest on a prayer walk. Here he explained to our team some of the history and culture of the country but he also led us in prayer groups I for the needs of the people. When returned I took other students on a walk through our own city. I was amazed by the insights students shared and the passionate prayers that they prayed
Helping students learn using other methods than the typical youth talk will help learning go deeper and stick longer. Create more avenues and opportunities for students to learn. It is difficult to discover and lead creative learning experiences but it is worth it.