Summer is over, and a new ministry year is here! Sixth graders are moving up, parent meetings are happening, and the calendar is filling with activities. With another new year comes the hopes that ministry will not be interrupted as it has been over the last 2 years. We are hoping that our “big activity” will be able to happen. We are hoping we can play games that don’t require social distancing, and frankly, we would just like to do ministry without fear of it all coming to a screeching halt again. These are great “hopes,” but let’s not let these “hopes” keep us from focusing on our most important objectives. For example, what are you teaching this year? How much time have you given to that? Here are three things (not exclusive) to consider as you put your teaching plan together for the year.
1. Doctrine matters
Having worked in youth ministry for a quarter century (wow, I’m old), the issues young people are facing have changed so many times that it makes my head spin. You know what hasn’t changed? The truth of who God is and the principles we learn in His word. When your students graduate and go to college, the issues they face will be different than they are now. If all we ever do is talk about topical issues, when the topics change, our students won’t know how to navigate. However, when we teach them who God is and what God’s Word says, they can tackle any issue.
2. Be relevant
I just finished writing about covering more than just topical issues. Now, let me back up and say, you do need to talk about topical issues (just not exclusively). We live in confusing times and your students need to know what the bible has to say about the major issues of today. “What does the bible say about sexuality?” “Is God concerned when my parents divorce?” “Does God care about my entertainment choices?”
3. Answer their tough questions
This summer after speaking at a camp session, I had a teenage girl come up to me with her notebook and start peppering me with questions. Hard questions. As I attempted to answer her questions according to the scriptures, I started thinking about how out of 500 students at camp that week, these were just a few of the hundreds of questions these teenagers had. However, most students don’t ask, they just think about them until it starts to bring doubt into their mind. Apologetics are as important in student ministry now as they have ever been.
Students need to know how to defend their faith, not only to others, but also in their own mind. As you put together your teaching plan, consider a combination of these categories. Let me know in the chat below what else you put in the mix of your teaching. As you teach these different issues, be sure you are continually giving the gospel. What our students need more than anything is the gospel. As your students invite their friends to youth group, they should be confident their friends will hear the gospel through your teaching. See how the curriculum in the Fifty1 student ministry can help you do just that.
Brian has been in youth ministry for 23 years. He is passionate about communicating truth to young people and the leaders that work with them. Brian loves to play, watch and talk about all kinds of sports. He and his wife Lynn have three awesome teenagers and live in upstate, NY.