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Rebecca Teaches

Turning Youth Ministry Sermons Upside Down: Allowing Teens To Become The Preacher

(Title of Photo:  Rebecca Teaches  Copyright All rights reserved by Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Teens)

In our youth ministries how are we educating and empowering our teens to do ministry?

What if we created a safe, supportive, and structured environment that cultivated student preachers and teachers?

What if we let our students be the teachers in youth group?

I really wish I would have experimented more with allowing teens to be teachers.  However I did a lot of youth Sundays where the senior leadership allowed for multiple teens to become the preacher for the entire church.  I also allowed core high school students to occasionally teach the junior highers and all students were encouraged to preach whenever we were on a mission trip (either local or global).

I think that turning students into teachers is a primary way to educate our teens in Bible and how to do ministry.  Having students only “hear” the Word can only go so far.  The standard teaching model is:  watch me do it, learn how I do it, and now you do it.

So it may be time to teach students how to be Bible teachers.

Disadvantages to students teaching:

–  possibly teach heresy

–  not trained in public speaking

–  no Bible degree

–  no authority or credibility

–  to young

–  don’t have enough life experience

Advantages to students teaching:

–  learn more when having to teach it yourself

–  tests for Biblical literacy

–  allows for creativity to be unlocked

–  possibly becomes passionate about learning theology

–  many of the great Bible preachers and teachers had opportunities to do it at an early age

–  frees up youth pastor to disciple teens who want to teach

Youth workers are so discouraged with the fact that this teenage generation is BIBLICALLY ILLITERATE.  Youth workers believe in order to solve the Biblical illiteracy problem the youth worker needs to teach teens more Bible. What if we did the reverse.

We teach teens how to teach the Bible to others. Maybe they would want to learn more about the Bible if they had to teach it??

Ministry and Bible education are not a spectator sport.

When I started teaching the Bible, it made me realize how much I don’t know about the Bible, which as a result turned me into a passionate life long learner of the Bible.  So much so I am still paying off a lot of school loans because of this passion.

______________________

A Few Questions For Reflection:

(1)  Are we okay with students messing up in order to teach them about ministry and the Bible?

(2)  How are you allowing your students to be the teacher?

(3)  At what age were you given an opportunity to teach the Bible?  Is there ever a right time to become a teacher?

(4)  Do you agree that teaching others is a primary way to educate teens?

(5)  Why wouldn’t we allow students to teach?

 

About Jeremy Zach

Orange XP3 Specialist | Youth Worker | MDIV | Hot Sauce Addict | Dr. Dre Beats Lover

3 comments

  1. Man, I’ve been wrestling with this. There is no question (even looking back over my life) that my ownership and discipleship increased immensely when I actually did it (the teaching, the leading, etc). I was allowed to even when I wasn’t ready. So I understand how huge this is for growth.

    I’m wrestling with how to make this happen within the confines of a program. Maybe the answer is teaching students how to lead small groups or groups in their homes? That way, they are doing the teaching but in a smaller group.

    Hmm. I’m going to keep wrestling with this one. Good thoughts bro! Go Braves.

  2. Our karate studio incorporates verbals into their belt requirements beginning at an intermediate rank (regardless of age). Kids as young as 7 begin with a 1 minute verbal presentation. With each belt rank, they have to increase their verbal by 1 minute….so by the time my son earned his Black Belt, he gave a 10 minute verbal to his peers. He was 10 years old at the time.
    Students can choose any topic related to leadership values or karate but have to have the topic approved by an instructor. Peers and instructors ask clarifying questions after the presentation to clear up any facts missed in the presentation.
    Can you imagine what would happen to our youth if we encouraged that type of progressive teaching? Choose any topic of the Bible and start with a 1 minute verbal…..
    I have often wished I could go back to my youth leadership teams when I was on church staff and create a similar program where kids and students are given opportunity to develop skills that will help articulate their faith. In a safe context, with other peers who are invested in the same program, and leaders who are willing to gently guide them to greater and greater success.

  3. Every summer, our youth group has youth-led bible studies (YLBS). It’s not in place of the Wednesday or Sunday bible studies, but is an add-on just for the summer months (when we are not at camp or mission trip). The YLBS is held at a different home each week. This allows for different fellowship activities after the bible study (swimming, game room, video games, 100 foot long banana split, etc). The youth meet with the youth minister and is guided through how to study for and lead a bible study. The teenager is told that the study can be 5 minutes or 25 minutes… it’s all up to the teen. This has grown over the years and now we have a list of students who are wanting to lead.

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