As you plan out your curriculum, do you hit the hot topics your teens are dealing with? I’m not just talking about dealing with dating and world views. I’m thinking of topics like sex, homosexuality, physical abuse other issues that they encounter on a daily basis.
Now, I have a confession. In my ministry career, I have stayed away from addressing these issues for the most part. For instance, I have actually talked about sex and sexuality 1 time over the course of a month period and I have taken my students to 2 Pure Freedom Conferences. But, those 3 instances happened over a 12 year period! I have confronted sex just 3 times when on any given day, our students are learning about sex more times than that on TV, the internet or from their friends.
I don’t know why I have done this other than the fact that I feel inferior to talk about issues that I’m not well versed in. That is why I took our youth to the Pure Freedom Conference. But, as I have been encouraged by my Senior Pastor, just because I do not feel comfortable talking about it, doesn’t mean that these topics shouldn’t be addressed. These students need to know the godly perspective on these topics. Also, just because I don’t feel fully qualified to talk about these issues doesn’t mean I can’t find someone who is qualified to address the students.
Not only do these issues need to be addressed from a godly perspective, but another reason for discussing these topics is because it will draw students. I know that sounds vain, but when we address these “hot topics” at Cedar Run, we always draw a bigger crowd. Students want to hear about this and are curious to hear what God has to say about these subjects. So, if they only come out because you are talking about this particular topic, that is great! Who knows, maybe they will come to know Christ or begin to come out to more of your activities because of it.
Now, in addressing these topics, I want to offer a few things I have learned over the course of my time in ministry that could help you in addressing these hot topics.
First, make sure what you communicate to the students line up with what the Bible says and what your Church/Ministry believes. Communicating what the Bible says is a no brainer, but I think there can be times that we fail to look at our Church’s beliefs about certain topics before we share. Nothing can be worse than communicating something that your Church does not believe because when your Pastor gets that angry phone call, you will have a lot of explaining to do. Even if you believe it, you are under the authority of your Church and need to communicate their stance.
A perfect example of this for me is Baptism. I was baptized as a child and had my 2 oldest daughters baptized as infants. I have nothing wrong with Infant Baptism. However, Cedar Run does not believe in infant baptism (they do baby dedications and adult baptism). So, when I teach on baptism, I teach what the Church’s stance is, not my own. Again, I am under their authority as their employee.
Secondly, make sure the topics you are talking about are ones that the students want to hear about. Of course this sounds like another no-brainer, but, I have sometime assumed students wanted to hear about certain topics when in actuality, they did not. The best way to avoid this is to poll your students. Do a survey and let them share, anonymously, what they want to talk about. Then, compile the results and begin your discussions. Doing it this way you know for sure that they want to hear about the topics you have picked.
Discussing hot topics with your students has many benefits and it needs to be done. But, make sure you are careful and have it well planned out. The more you plan and prepare, the better the experience will be and the more the students will get out of it.
TAKE A MINUTE and…
- Pray for God’s guidance in you addressing hot topic issues with your students. How does he want you to approach this.
- Brainstorm some hot topics you think your students would want to hear about. Then, search the scriptures to find out what the Bible says about these issues. Also, find out what your church or ministry’s stance on these issues are. Even if the issues you select are not one of the top ones your students want to hear about, at least you have done some brainstorming for some possible messages down the road.
- Create a survey/form that the students can fill out at your next youth meeting. Hand it out and see what issues they want to discuss are.
- If you are feeling that you are not the best person to communicate God’s truth on these specific issues, start to look at people in your Church who would be good to share about it. Or, look at other Christian ministries in your area who could come over one night to share with your youth. I have done that before and it has worked great!
Good luck! Your students will benefit as it will be a great opportunity for you to address these issues with them.
Questions, experiences or thoughts? Feel free to post them here so we can be encouraging each other.