Thinking back, you may personally remember just how difficult adolescence can be. As we grow up, however, we can often lose touch with that experience, especially when we take into account how times have changed how different teen experiences are now. Despite this, it’s important that we’re able to connect with the teenage members of our congregation to help guide them into young adulthood and beyond. If you want to make sure that you’re properly connecting with and making the right impact on the youth in your organization, here are some tips that’ll help you better understand the teenage members of your congregation.
1. Host Bible studies to tackle their questions.
Every age group has its own unique questions and issues that they’re dealing with. Much like you’d talk to children or adults about different topics that pertain to their lives, learning more about the teenagers in your congregation begins with finding topics that pertain to them. Ask your teens more about some of the things they’re looking to explore in their own lives and come up with unique Bible studies that’ll help them answer these questions as well as establish a better relationship with themselves and those around them. It can also be helpful to find students or teen Bibles that are written in a way that encourages exploration of the Bible and its lessons easier.
2. Provide resources that can help them navigate the difficult times.
Some teenagers will have a more difficult time navigating adolescence than others. For example, some troubled youth may be highly-impacted by their home life or social situation, causing them to manifest symptoms of mental illness that make functioning in their day-to-day lives difficult. Although this can be difficult to witness, the good news is that you have the capacity to help. For young people in your congregation who may be struggling with mental illness, provide their parents with resources like local troubled teens programs that can provide them with the support they need. Whether they’re dealing with depression, anxiety, or other psychological disorders, there are excellent organizations out there dedicated to providing teens with the experiences and treatment methods needed to thrive.
3. Take the time to make them feel comfortable in church.
The church needs to be a safe space for teens if you’re looking to help them open up and get the most out of their experience. You can do this by making sure that you listen to teens in your congregation, engage with them, create space for them so that they feel comfortable speaking out about their problems, and guaranteeing that their time with you and their peers is enjoyable. As time goes on, they’ll become much more open with themselves and with you, providing you with more insight into what their individual needs are and how you can address these in church.
4. Find ways to incorporate their interests into your discussions.
Teens are naturally going to be interested in different things than the adults in their lives. Because of this, you will want to make sure that you are integrating these interests into bible studies and sermons in order to spark their interest in church. If they feel like you’re making an effort to connect with them and address the things they’re most interested in, they’re going to reciprocate that energy and invest more interest in the time they spend at church.
Engaging with teens can be much trickier than engaging individuals in other age groups, but it’s more than possible! If you’re looking to understand and connect with the teens in your congregation, use the tips above to create more engaging environments and lessons that’ll create the rapport you need to develop a meaningful connection.