Help Teens Influence Their World

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Last Monday we considered the various areas in a teen’s life. As a small group leader for teens, I need to understand their world as much as possible. You can read that article here. But, this is not the place to stop as we guide teens in Bible study.

We need to understand what influences teens but we need to also help teens understand how to influence their world. As Christians, we are to influence those around us for Jesus as we minister and witness. Bible study should equip us to do kingdom work, and we disciple teens now to do kingdom work now. Let’s look at the areas of teen life we examined to explore how we can lead students to minister.

  • Parents. Parents are the greatest influence in a teen’s life. The Bible teaches us to obey parents and to honor them. As you lead small group, you can frequently ask teens to apply the Bible passage to their homes and parents. Encourage teens to minister to their parents. Some teens in your group will have parents who are not Christians. Help teens see they can witness to their parents with love and honor, realizing how important their behavior and attitudes are when witnessing to lost parents.
  • Family. Encourage teens to apply Bible truths to their siblings and other family members. Ask teens to make plans to minister to their siblings. Encourage “secret” acts of kindness and love.
  • School. Challenge teens to make seating charts of all their classes with the names of the students in the class. Encourage teens to use these charts as prayer lists, praying for their classmates. Ask them to identify five different students to cultivate as new friends with the goal of getting those five new friends into church and youth group.
  • Extracurricular Activities. Teens can also treat their teams and clubs as groups that need Jesus. Help teens plan events at church that they can invite their teams and clubs to attend. Feed the basketball team or hold a club meeting at church. Seriously, let them do everything for the events and you simply help advise them. They can do it.
  • Media. Teens can learn to wisely use media in discerning ways. Help them think about how media helps or hinders their walk with the Lord. Challenge students to think about movies, TV shows, music, and games from a Christian perspective. Students can learn to ask, “What would Jesus watch?”
  • Community. Community is the place where your small group can work together in ministry. They can be lunch buddies for kids in elementary school. They can work in the community festival as volunteers. They can help with the local food bank. The volunteer opportunities are limitless. Help teens learn the joy of serving in Jesus’ name.
  • Work. As teens begin to take jobs, you can help them understand how to respond to a different level of authority than parents and teachers. Help them learn to work as unto the Lord. As teens begin to work, take the opportunity to help them think through stewardship, giving money, and saving money.
  • Church. We to love and serve the household of faith. Helping teens serve in and through their church helps them understand their church as God’s family and a community where all are loved and valued. There are members who need ministry in all kinds of ways: single moms, widows, families with special need children, sickness, physical challenges, economic needs. Your pastor can help your small group discover ways to serve in and through the church.

In small groups, we want teens to learn the “facts” in each passage we study, but we cannot settle for imparting only head knowledge. We also teach to the heart, to the things teens value. And, we can help teens develop ministry and witnessing skills as we teach. We move youth from knowing about the Bible to knowing God himself and serving him when they discover what he has done for them. Teach and lead teens in ways to helps them put feet, hands, and voices to the Bible truths they learn.

Scripture: Read Ephesians 4:15. How are you teaching teens to grow up in every way in Christ?

Dig Deeper: Read “Why You Need Daily Discipleship” by Dwayne McCrary. How can you apply this article to leading your small group?

Now It’s Your Turn: How do you help your small group find ways to serve in various areas of their lives? Please share your ideas so we can all grow together.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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