Have you ever noticed when speaking to teens that there are moments when they are completely drawn into what you have to say? They are actually hearing you, not just casually listening.
This is most likely because you have touched on something they are really hungry for. This generation is distracted by all of the options and opportunities available to them. Yet, these things happen to be more than just distractions; they are also instruments of deception. They seek to mislead young people into believing what they are promoting.
Teenagers are hungry for an answer to the emptiness in their hearts. Without knowing it, there are things they want to hear when we preach.
Here are three things your teens are looking for in your sermon:
One thing students are searching for in life is truth. They want to know what to believe in a world that is constantly telling them to believe something else. They can feel the inward tug on their hearts that has been programmed by God to point them back to him. Students recognize that there is more to life, yet it becomes increasingly harder every day as they are being challenged on what is true.
Our sermons should be immersed in the truth that can only be found in the scripture. They don’t want just to know what the Bible says, but how it relates to them and their lives. This is important to remember as they are constantly being told something completely different in their schools and even their homes. If we give teenagers the truth, the Word of God says, “it will set them free.” The Holy Spirit will help them decipher what is true and what is not.
Teens today also want to know who they are and their purpose in the world. Everywhere they go, they are being told what they should look like, what they should be wearing, and how they should live their lives. Due to peer pressure, there is socially a heavy burden put on them to meet these requirements in order to fit in.
All this says about teens is that they have a strong desire to be accepted by their friends. They use their peers as a sense of approval during this stage of life. The mindset is if they are accepted then they have socially arrived.
Most teens don’t understand that they were “wonderfully” and “beautifully” made differently by their creator for a reason. They need to know that they are enough just the way God created them to be. As students try to understand this, the enemy comes in like a thief to steal away their identity. We continually have to speak to them who they are according to the word of God.
Lastly, teens want to know that the person who is speaking to them actually cares about them. Being funny and cool is great, but that only lasts for so long. They have to know that no matter how bad of a mistake they make, that you are going to love them regardless. They need to see a picture of what God’s love looks like through you.
We can speak love through our sermons and even tell them how much we care, but it’s what they hear before and after the message that makes a lasting impression. Some simple ways to build trust with your students are:
- Call your students by name.
- Spend time with them doing what they are passionate about.
- Attend their school events, sporting events and other extracurricular things.
These are only a few things that can speak volumes into their world.
Ultimately, if we show teenagers that we care, they are more likely to be invested into what we have to say. Because we may never know the backgrounds some of these teens come from, having someone who cares about them speaks volumes. If we speak the language of love and compassion to these guys, we are now speaking their language.
These are areas we as youth leaders should seriously consider when speaking to teenagers. The more we speak to these three areas, the more they will listen to what we have to say.
Question: What other area do you consider to be crucial when speaking to teenagers?