Have you ever been completely misunderstood by someone?
One time, I was preaching a 2-part series on Church History to teens.
I got to Martin Luther and the 95 Theses that he nailed to the door.
Everyone erupted in laughter.
I stopped, confused, not understanding what was happening.
A grade 7 kid in the front row says, “why would he nail feces to a door?”
When I realized the misunderstanding, even I erupted in laughter.
How we communicate God’s Word is so important to whether a teen understands it and sees it as applying to them right here and right now, or whether they see it as an outdated religion that has no bearing on their life.
4 key areas are going to help us to continually communicate effectively to teenagers.
1. HAVE ONE MAIN POINT
It can be so tempting to include every thought that bubbles into your head.
That just ends up getting too complicated and too convoluted and when you think you are saying more, you end up saying less because nothing sticks.
Let everything you say drive home one main point from one scripture.
2. USE STORIES
Jesus constantly used parables as He taught people.
Stories help bring context and better understanding to the main point, making it come alive.
Personalize your stories so that people get to know you and trust you. It helps you appear more human and authentic to them.
3. USE A FLOW
By having a methodical flow to your message, you create structure and consistency for yourself and set the stage to be able to look at your notes less, or not at all.
One popular flow is used by Orange Curriculum:
Be quick to make a personal connection here to get people to trust you and go along with you. The idea here is to set up the tension.
This is the problem you are trying to solve, or question you are trying to answer.
The tension then flows into the truth, which is the one main point from one Scripture. Here we look into God’s Word and see what truth it can speak into the tension.
Here we need to take the truth and figure out how that can apply to our lives. What does this mean for me today?
For this part, you need to drive home your main point that you’ve already set up. It’s a good idea when doing this to try and connect back to the intro and the tension that came out of the intro to conclude well. Send them home with the ‘now what’ question answered.
We need to do everything we can to deliver the message well and remove any barriers that may impede people hearing and understanding the truth.
Here are some pro tips to deliver well:
-Transition well - Work hard on transitions, knowing how you will begin, end and transition from intro to tension, to truth, etc.
-Know your talk - Practice and go note-free, or glance occasionally. Eye contact is key.
-Remove distractions - Mannerisms, monotone or filler words.
-Explain everything - We live in a post-christian culture and can’t expect people to know who Paul is or what Galatians is. Give context to who and what you’re talking about.
-Use facial expressions - Engage with what you are saying facially. Let it be something that people believe that you’ve fully bought into as well. Smiling and laughing at appropriate moments sets people at ease.
-Strategic pauses - Don’t rush through. Schedule a few strategic 3-second pauses in your talk at key moments to let points sink in.
-Watch the time - Stay around the 15 minute mark.
-Use humour - Humour connects with people, sets them at ease and brings them along with you.
-Be authentic - Don’t try and be someone else. Be you and be authentic.
Do you have any other tips that have helped you along the way?
Share them below.
Check out the interview below we did with Mike Voll from North Pointe Community Church in Edmonton. He shares some incredible tips on prepping and delivering sermons with excellence. You can listen to the full interview on iTunes podcasts here.