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One Good Idea for Teaching Youth and Teens

They are part of the group known as Generation Z (also known as Post-Millennials, the iGeneration, or Plurals). They live in a world of continuous updates, and their brains process information faster because of apps like Snapchat and ever-changing posts on Instagram. Their attention spans can be much shorter than those of the generations before them.

So what’s one good idea for teaching the Gen Z teenagers who may sporadically pop into an adult Bible study? What’s one good idea if you are a teen Bible study leader?

Be genuine. Be real and authentic with them.

Milennial-HS-Graduates

Here are some suggestions of what that may look like:

  • Teach them as you would teach an adult. Be genuine in giving them that kind of respect. Watch how readily they engage in small group discussions or learning activities at their table just like the adults. They’ll jump at the opportunity to step up.
  • Don’t be fake or try to be something you’re not as a gimmick. Be who you are. The real you. Generation Z has been pitched to throughout their lives. Their ears are very sensitive to detecting something not authentic. An example: my teenage daughter heard someone speak at a teen gathering. She said she didn’t really like his presentation. I asked her why. Her response was that he seemed fake. The content may have been good, but she couldn’t get past what she perceived coming from the presenter—something not genuine.
  • Talk about what is going on in the news today. It shows a genuine interest in what they are seeing, hearing, and watching. They don’t want to listen to your references about John Wayne, Seinfeld, Friends, or even Justin Bieber. Every reference you give dates you. They might not be able to connect with your illustration or analogy because they’ve never watched an episode of MASH or The Office, or seen the plethora of 80s movies you can quote by heart.
  • Get to know them outside of the Bible study. Show a genuine interest in what’s important to them at this time in their life. Go to their games, plays, school activities, or community events. Teens notice which of their teachers go to their activities and which ones do not.

Reaching teens can seem intimidating. No need to be scared. Just be yourself . . . and be genuine with them.

Dan Schroeder

Next time: One Good Idea for Teaching Adults