Texting Your Sunday School Students Keeps It Real

Statistics show that 82 million people are texting regularly, and from what parents say, 80 million of those people are kids.  This new means of communication has taken the youth by storm. And you’ll be surprised what will happen if you text your Sunday school students a couple times during the week.

Text Sunday School students to keep lessons alive all week

Texting is the way kids communicate with each other in their own world, using their own lingo.  Most are well aware of adult intimidation, which only makes texting more attractive.  With this vast difference in attitude about texting among youngsters and adults, if you text your students, you are proving two points that will make them sit up and take notice.

1. You’re not siding against them
2. You not only text, you know their mindset

Learn texting Lingo!  It’s fun!

If you simply send a sentence “blast” to your class it will have a reverse effect and do more harm than good.  Unless you can put your sentence into their language, you will come off as a bit phony, and it would be better not to send any message at all.

How to learn the texting lingo.

Texting is mostly abbreviations and acronyms, and an Internet search will bring up dozens for you to study. Many lists are available on the Internet.  Here are some examples:
• & = And
• NE = Any
• AML = All my love
• BRB = Be Right Back
• BCNU = Be seeing you
• BC = Because
• B4 = Before
• BFF = Best friends forever
• BF = Boyfriend
• BTW = By the way

And so it goes through the entire alphabet.  If you don’t have time to do all this translating, you can also have your computer translate your sentence for you.

Your computer can find the right lingo.

By typing the following question into Google, the results will surprise you:  Can you translate this sentence from English into texting lingo?  It will bring up several sites that allow to you type the regular English into a window, and the site will produce its text-lingual equivalent!  One such site is www.lingo2word.com, which translates on one click after you type.

Sometimes it’s best to make a simple statement to students like “Do not forget to pray…like we talked about!” That way you’re not threatening to “use their brains for something else” after a long day in school.  However complicated questions can fun sometimes because they use a variety of text lingo that the students will have to translate off their heads.

For example, let’s say you sent the following message through the text translator of www.lingo2word.com: “Which character from the Old Testament do you consider someone you admire for their achievements and admirable qualities?  Students would see this:

wich char frm d Old Testament do you considA yr hero? plz B prepd 2 tel me on Sunda

To text your Sunday school students, you need to ask for their cell phone numbers.  You ought to have these handy anyway for other purposes.  Use your own cell phone’s instructions to create a blast text “list” of your students, so that you only have to hit SEND once.  Then, twice a week or so, put Jesus back in front of them.  Use what you know about your own students to dictate how often you text them and what you will say, because the most important thing is to keep it fun and entertaining!

u shd txt yr sunday skool stdnts whnvr uv somit QL 2 sA!!

Teen Bible Study Ideas

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


teen bible study
Try using an icebreaker to get your teen bible study started

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.

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