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Don’t Just Sit There—Do Something!!

By Carey Huffman
Our culture is becoming addicted to experience. For many young people, experience validates
knowledge. What they believe and accept is based on their personal experience--"try it before
you buy it." Although experience is not always feasible, we can take advantage of the fact that
activity and experience create a context for learning.
Effective youth discipleship includes ministry to youth, but more importantly, with youth
and by youth. Students who are actively involved in the learning process will gain interest and
retain more. If that’s what you want from your time with students, do something interactive
about it.
Grab Their Attention
If you’re going to capture attention and provoke response, you have to do it right up front.
Effective openers include:

Delivering "news and information" by creatively incorporating students’ video and acting
talents

Video or audio clips and presentations

Stories of relevant current events

Thought-provoking/opinion-arousing questions

A unique glimpse at life experiences through testimony, drama or anecdote

Appropriate, humorous activities

Engaging the senses with highly active illustrations, music and visual supplements

Scenarios that ask for opinions or preferences

Surprising, spontaneous and unpredictable object lessons or melodrama which could be
the topic of conversation Monday morning

Graphic, interactive illustrations

These methods should be incorporated throughout lesson periods to provide variety, promote
interest, and provoke student response.
Get Some Answers
Interactive discussion is still one of the most effective means of interactive learning, and teens
are usually willing to offer their views and opinions on a variety of issues and concerns. But
remember, it’s not always what you ask so much as how you ask it. Avoid questions that can be

everyday aspects of life. even if they never refer to the notes again. as Jesus did. retaining five to ten times more. Take the Time . Prepare questions that are relevant to your students and their spiritual maturity." Ask what. Reserve time at the close of sessions to plan for practical applications of truth to life at home. Extend learning beyond class-time by making outside projects and supplements available to students who desire to go deeper. Simply turn the question back to the group so you can see where your students are coming from spiritually and challenge them to consider the Christian perspective on tough issues. Youth Bible Puzzles. enhanced CD Sound Traxx. but don’t get into a question-answer-question-answer pattern. When difficult questions are raised. Often. Give students the chance to express their views on how to apply the truth. Tie spiritual principles to common. if only to see how they do. when. and how. Students are usually attentive to peers. to provoke thought. Ask questions that deal with feeling as well as fact. Take Five devotionals. Be patient when waiting for responses. role-playing (for opportunity to present personal perspectives and consider the "other side"). Your class should be a safe place for students to be honest about what’s on their minds. Use a variety of discussion starters including: agree/disagree (to rouse opinions and passionate dialogue). school. Get Into the Action Give students active leadership/service roles by asking them to prepare brief testimonies or help with a drama skit. Plan a relevant application exercise for each main point. case studies (to bring lesson principles into real life scenarios). Instead. engaging students at their "comfort level" using a variety of means—spoken and written. let students teach regularly. Providing outlines and response sheets allows students to follow along. then provoke the speakers to dialogue with each other. and on the job. followed by a lot of "why" questions.answered with "yes" or "no. and don’t be afraid of a few moments of silence. yet specific enough to apply to real-life situations. Keep them open-ended. Follow effective questions with deeper ones. ask for several responses to your question. students need time to consider a question they just heard. Helping them prepare provides you with direct discipleship opportunities. and solicit students’ views on the analogies. and study guides are cutting-edge resources available from Radiant Life that can help students connect learning to life. you don’t need to have all the answers. Also.

and may increase attendance and participation 10-20% or more. Another novel way to cover requests is to have students pray their concerns to God while the rest of the group agrees with them. regulars and absentees. Teach specific prayer that recognizes specific answers. preparing conversation-inspiring questions. Perhaps the most important lesson we could teach students is how to pray---and the best way to learn that is to actually do it. Spirit-dependant ministry. And don’t forget to call your students. Generating response and interaction from students requires time investment: delegating responsibilities. Occasionally dividing into pairs or small groups will provide time for individuals to share needs and receive prayer. for personal ministry and conversation throughout the week. We often spend far more time sharing concerns than praying for them. practical ministry. It gives you a connection prior to class. tailoring curriculum options to your group. Be sure to take time before class is over to pray for issues directly related to the lesson topic and its life-application. .Christian education must involve personal. time must be given in class for Spirit-led. arranging media presentations and illustrative props. if done on a consistent basis. and gathering supplemental materials. If we want signs to accompany ministry of the Word.