Oops, you did it again. You waited until Wednesday to prepare your lesson and you ended up spending the whole morning on Facebook and all afternoon preparing a game; now group is a couple of hours away and you have bupkis to share. What do you do?
Here are a few easy steps to try and quickly get yourself out of this mess:
Quick Step 1 – Start looking through podcasts you have listened to recently for a message that you can copy.
Quick Step 2- Realize that you don’t have time to re-listen to them and pick out all the main points and Scripture references (besides, it would probably go over your students’ heads anyways).
Quick Step 3 – Google “free youth ministry devos”.
Quick Step 4 – Quit searching because all the website lessons are either twenty pages long or require you to submit a bunch of personal information, and you just don’t have time for that either.
Quick Step 5 – Consider talking to the kids about that mission trip you took in college to Honduras.
Quick Step 6 – Remember that you have already used that one three times already.
Quick Step 7 – Start to panic because you still don’t have a lesson and you need to leave soon if you are going to pick up some Taco Bell for dinner before youth group.
Does this sound vaguely familiar to you? According to the Non-Scientific Center for Fabricated Studies, three out of four youth workers have a problem putting together a devotion. There is, however, good news! We have developed a simple five step process to truly aid struggling leaders of teens.
Real Step 1 – PREPARE! This is your biggest enemy in putting together a devotion. We all too often put off the task until the last minute and then find ourselves with a product that is by far not our best. Personally, I have a scriptural outline of the lessons I want to do the month before. This not only leaves me plenty of time to get the creative juices flowing for illustrations but also leaves me time to actually meditate on what God is saying through the Scripture I plan on using. A bonus to preparing early enough ahead of time is that I can fill parents in on the topics that we will be covering and what verses we will be using. They REALLY like this.
Real Step 2 – Pick a hook. You know your subject matter, and you know what the Scripture is going to focus on but how are you going to get the students’ brains to go there? You need a personal story, a joke or some leading questions that not only capture your students’ attention from the beginning, but gets them thinking about the theme. Let’s say you decided to do a series on parables, and the next devotion is on the Prodigal Son. Do you have a story about running away from home when you were little?
Real Step 3 – Find your vessel. Obviously the Scripture already has a message, but how do you plan on painting the picture so that kids can get it? Are you going to read it straight out of the Bible and pause momentarily to explain things, do you paraphrase it, show a video about it, have kids act it out? Let’s look back to the Prodigal Son. How do you want to expose kids to the painful realities of what it meant when the son asked for his inheritance, or how much the young man despised his life after he realized that life was better with the father?
Real Step 4 – Interpret the meaning. By now the kids have heard and/or seen the text but they need to understand what God is saying through it. With the parable we have been looking at we see that God loves us so much that He looks past the sins we have made against Him and He is anxiously awaiting our return to Him. Maybe you want to share a personal story of when your own parents showed you grace and liken it to God’s story, or perhaps you just want to pontificate on some certain points from the Scripture. Whatever you decide to do make sure that it’s bringing the point out.
Real Step 5 – Express the application. You have spelled the thing out for them, now it’s time to take something home. One last time with the Prodigal Son. We have all disobeyed God and tried to do things by our own plan, so ask the kids how they have been like the son to God, have them contemplate where their actions have landed them, and invite them to return back to the Father who loves them no matter what. Remember that if there is no application and chance for personal growth then the time you spent was all for nothing.
Remember that a devotion is a chance to speak the Word of God into the lives of youth. Be sure to emphasize God’s love and grace and His work in their lives. Also, before you give the devotion, consider running it by a pastor for his input. He might have some suggestions that will help bring God’s Word out in even stronger ways.
There you have it, with some very simple effort you can have a very effective message to share with your youth!
Good luck, and God bless!