The most exciting Teen Bible study ideas come directly from the newspaper or news reports. It’s probably best that they do, because these stories are at the top of the teenager’s list of concerns and deal with issues they are facing every day.
Teenagers still have one foot in their childhood and one in adulthood, and since most have spent three fourths of their lives in school, they’ve had enough. If they can find a way to avoid another class, they’ll jump at the chance and there will be no one to attend the Bible study. Before you start looking for teen Bible study ideas, you must accomplish three things:
- Grab the teenager’s attention.
- Hold their attention.
- Make them want to come back for the next session.
How do you grab a teenager’s attention.
There is one crucial difference between an adult audience and a teenage one. Adults are willing to give a speaker a chance, but if you let a teenager think for one minute that this is another lesson, you will lose him before you start. The first rule for teenagers is to avoid, at all costs, a classroom atmosphere.
Instead of chairs in a row and the speaker at the front of the room, use a round table with a seat for the discussion leader among the students. Have sodas available, and a snack to which they can help themselves. If you have a portable microwave that you could bring into the room to pop popcorn, you have won one battle. Who ever heard of a classroom that smelled like a movie theater? If you don’t have a portable microwave, a bag of popcorn from the supermarket is better than nothing.
Open with an icebreaker.
An icebreaker is a trick that most public speakers use to win an audience. It consists of an antidote or a story that will make the audience laugh, and if it pokes fun at the speaker, you’ve won them, and that’s exactly what you want.
Make them want to come back next week.
You can’t make teenagers do anything, but you can make them want to do something, and this is where your preparation and presentation become paramount. The secret, strange as it may seem, is not to lecture and to speak as little as possible. The magic formula is to let the teenagers do the talking. Ask questions. Their answers will reveal the facts far better than any lecture.
How do you choose topics for a teen Bible study?
If it’s been in the news, it’s a hot topic, and bullies and bullying have certainly made the news. There are even commercials that stress the importance of kindness and passing it on.
Going online and google-ing the heading, News articles about bullies in schools, will bring up ten pages of examples ranging from the Fox News report on March 29, 2010: Nine Charged in Bullying of Massachusetts Teen Who Killed Herself, to the CBS news report on April 4, 2010, Bullying: Do Schools Need a New approach?
Other great teen issues include how to abstain from drugs, drinking and sex. “Just say no” and other mottos don’t really cut it. Cite examples of kids who don’t succumb in tough situations, and details of the means with which they did it. As with any great lesson, greatness lies in the details. Those subjects alone could take up a couple of seasons, but there’s also modesty, the value of planning ahead (they notoriously don’t), getting to know Jesus as a Person and not a religion, the hazards of gossip. Finally, as most teens love a great suspense tail, theirs is a great age to introduce the apocalyptic books and how they may relate to today’s events.
How do we tie topics into a Bible Study?
This is where the teacher’s preparation is crucial. Scriptures and parables that lead the teenagers into a discussion related to the subject will make or break your Bible Study, so have a generous supply of these tools at your fingertips.
Bringing in scripture always sows seeds. It also makes the Bible a relevant and powerful book as opposed to an archaic, dusty old book that their parents read. There are so many great web sites including Biblios.com and Bible Gateway to lead teachers to great scriptures. If a teacher simply types “[issue] scriptures,” such as “teenage drinking scriptures,” you often come up with a host of worthy articles to scour.
If a problem in your area made the local news, but not the national, be sure to include it in your study. Teenagers, while taking that final step to adulthood, need guidance more than ever. They are still young, impressionable and inexperienced, so your discussions along with Biblical reinforcement can play a leading role while they are choosing the direction of their lives. Be sure to include such a topic in your Teen Bible Study Ideas.