By Bruce Edwards
Youth Ministry Specialist, TBMB
Preparing to teach youth Bible study is a great responsibility and privilege! I think the time we spend in preparation to teach teenagers is the most important part of any Bible study lesson. We must teach out of the overflow of what God teaches us in the preparation.
Here are five steps that will help you in preparing for your next lesson:
(1) Prepare yourself through prayer. A prepared youth Bible study leader will spend time early in the week praying for next Sunday’s lesson, praying for students, and praying for God to show you exactly how to start your lesson and end your lesson with application the next Sunday! There are no shortcuts to prayer!
(2) Prepare the lesson and have a plan. I have never forgotten this quote: “If you don’t have a plan, your youth sure will … and it won’t look anything like the plan you would have had … had you had a plan!” There are three non-negotiables in preparing a youth Bible study lesson: motivation, examination, and application. Basing your lesson on these three principles brings creativity and structure to your lesson.
(3) Prepare for the needs of your students. I am amazed at how many well-intentioned youth Bible study teachers think that the Bible study is all about them. Don’t forget why we are teaching and who we are teaching. It’s not about you — the teacher — it’s about the students. Don’t come in and “instill” information for 30-40 minutes. It’s not about you. It’s about them.
(4) Prepare by connecting with students. There is no excuse today for a youth Bible study leader not to connect with their students on a weekly basis. Technology is our friend and we need to use it. It is so easy to contact every student by a short text every week.
(5) Prepare your space — be a little creative. If you already know where every student in your class is going to sit this coming Sunday, then you definitely need to rethink your room environment and chair arrangement. No wonder students think Bible study is boring since it’s so predictable. I learned a long time ago to try to change up my space about every three weeks. The change does not have to be earth shattering but change something so students (and you) don’t get in a rut of every week being the same.
So my challenge to all youth Bible study leaders in our Tennessee Baptist churches is to have a passion for God, a passion for the truth as it is found in God’s Word, a passion for study and learning, a passion to share what you learned in your preparation, and a passion for making a current application of the Scripture that impacts students’ lives.
— Edwards is youth ministry specialist with the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.