Known as a time of self-questioning and rapid physical development, the teenage years are anything but ordinary. With many churches losing young people along all denominational lines--and a culture that prizes entertainment over content--leading teens back there is no easy task. It can be done. Here's a wonderful path to make Jesus appealing to teens.

GET THE BASICS RIGHT

Determine your potential audience. Figure out if they believe in God at all. In terms of what direction to take and how to reach them, that can make all the difference.

Get to know your audience on a non-religious level, as well as a religious one. Show you care about young peoples' hopes, fears and dreams. Context is everything, especially when it's time to present the teachings of Jesus.

Present your testimony of how Jesus Christ transformed your life, and how it relates to his biography as it's chronicled in the New Testament. Prepare a clear, coherent lesson plan to tie all these items together, so you can answer questions appropriately--teens place a premium on personal experience.

LAY OUT YOUR MESSAGE

Explain in clear, simple terms how Jesus's life and message are relevant to your audience's concerns. Ask direct questions to inspire discussions about the moral concepts you want to cover.

Compare Christianity's view of Jesus with other religions, so teens see how it squares with the Bible's description. Review all facets of Jesus's personality as shown in the BIble, such as his anger to drive the moneychangers out of the temple.

Plan activities that encourage teenagers to see Jesus as a real, ongoing presence in their lives--such as knocking on shut-in residents' doors, or talking with homeless people--as part of a local outreach effort.

Tip

  • Allow teens to ask questions about aspects of Christian beliefs or Jesus's life that seem unusual. Avoid such criticisms as, \"You're wrong to ask that\"--give Biblically-based answers, when possible, to ease your audience's concerns.\n\nEmphasize key concepts of Jesus's life that seem relevant to a teen audience, such as his doctrinal disagreements with the Pharisees.\n\nNever miss opportunities to link other historical events or places to the points you're trying to make. Point out that the first half of the Bible, the Old Testament, contains more than 300 prophecies referring to Christ in some fashion.\n\nTeach teens to pray spontaneously, and in their own words, based on the idea that Jesus can intercede for themselves, and others.

Tip

  • Activities can build cohesion, from concerts, to lock-ins, and volleyball games. Just make sure that the featured entertainment doesn't overwhelm your teaching efforts.\n\nMake sure that any lesson equips teens with the tools to face a world often hostile to Christians.\n\nWarn teens of cults whose interpretations of Jesus may dramatically differ from his portrayal in the Bible, particularly if a group's leader casts themselves as the incarnation of Christ.