by Danielle Moushey
Step 1: Know your teens
Or, get to know them. This will help you choose materials and understand how best to structure the Bible study. It will also help you facilitate the group by understanding the personalities of the young people you serve. For example, some teens may be very uncomfortable being put on the spot with questions while others may rise to the occasion and enjoy the spotlight.
Step 2: Choose the right Bible Study
Try to select a study a little outside of your group’s comfort zone so they are stretching their understanding and growing but aren’t being set up for failure. For example, if your corps’ teens are relatively new believers, you may want to find a study that isn’t too overwhelming theologically with technical terms or questions better suited for teens who’ve grown up in a Christian home.
Step 3: Determine how to structure the Bible Study
Are your teens overachievers, social butterflies or book worms? Will they read a significant portion of scripture and come prepared to discuss it, or are they more likely to cram in a few verses right before group? These are important considerations when planning how you will conduct your study. It’s ideal to set up your study in a way your teens will be most likely to succeed and yet still challenge them to grow in their faith and as leaders. Typically, I’ve found it’s best to give them short, manageable assignments, like finishing any portion of scripture left unread at the end of study.
Step 4: Find your hook
What can you do to make your teens want to attend? Do they like to eat? If so, serve a snack or maybe even dinner. Do they love board games or gym time? Have a game planned before or after the study to get them engaged with one another. It may be more work for you, but it will be worth the effort when the teens are actively participating and finding they enjoy Bible study! It’s also important for you as the leader to have fun as well. If you’re sitting with them looking bored, it’s not likely the teens are going to be excited.
Step 5: Adjust the Bible study as needed
This is an often overlooked and uncomfortable step, and may yet be the most important. When working with teens especially, you’ve got to be flexible. Talk to your teens and find out which aspects of study they enjoy and which they don’t, and be ready to change things up accordingly. For example, ask them if they learn better by reading out loud or by listening; if they like questions printed out or asked spur of the moment. As leaders we shouldn’t deceive ourselves into thinking something which worked well for one group will work the same for another. Don’t fear changing things up.