A few years back, I was watching TV and a commercial came on for McDonalds.
My mouth started watering and in that moment I believed my greatest need was a Big Mac.
So what did I do?
I hopped in a car and drove to McDonalds and got a delicious burger.
The message in the commercial gripped me in my hunger and caused me to take action that went beyond the room the message was heard in.
It’s what you want every message to have isn’t it?
To get teens to take what we talk about on a youth night beyond the four walls of the church and walk with it.
Teenagers are transitioning from concrete thinking where everything is either black or white, to a more abstract way of thinking where there are multiple possibilities and outcomes.
This way of thinking is such a massive shift for them. They are trying to understand truth and piece together their own thoughts, opinions and viewpoints.
With this shift in their cognitive development, one of the worst things we can do when we preach is to just preach.
If we are simply just telling them what’s right and wrong, what’s black and white, what’s up and down, that can only go so far.
At this stage in adolescent development, teenagers need to be called into the thinking process to own it, and not to be forced into it.
They need to be able to speak into things and to be given space to question things, to have doubts, and to be loved through it.
Youth Ministry should be the safest place for a teenager to talk about and question all of the issues they are wrestling with.
So don’t just preach, but give space for students to own and make personal what was talked about.
That’s the only way teens will move after a message.
Give them space to discuss God’s Word in small groups.
Don’t look down on them for their doubts, but encourage them to talk them through.
We can help put the wind in their sales, but allow them to help steer the boat to shore, or else they will never be fully convinced they are in the right harbour.
When they own it, they believe and are fully bought in.
This will help us to transition from message to movement.
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.