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Sermon Ideas for Teens on Service

by Flora Richards-Gustafson

In Matthew, chapter 25, verses 35 to 40, Jesus shares that when you serve one another, you serve God. Sermons for teens about service can highlight the various ways that teens can honor God by helping others -- a valuable lesson to help them see the struggles of others and come closer to God as they continue to work on figuring out their own identities and talents.

Different Types of Service

To help teens understand that they can serve God and others in their everyday lives, your sermon could provide ideas about the different people that teens can serve, like family members, classmates, the needy or siblings. Then you could highlight different ways that teens can serve others, like by helping a parent with dinner, volunteering at an animal shelter or helping a struggling classmate with homework. As you talk about different ways to serve, give examples from the Bible about how different characters served. For example, Aaron and Hur held up Moses' arms when his people fought the army of Amalek, and Mary washed Jesus' feet. Explain to the teens that when people in the Bible served others, they did so because they wanted to. Emphasize that service is an act that comes from the heart, and that there is no act of service that God considers too small.

The Best Reasons to Serve

Teens sometimes serve others to be seen and praised because they're at an age where they seek attention and recognition. In a teen sermon, explain to teens that they should serve because they want to honor and serve Christ. Share with teens the concepts that theologian Richard Foster explains in his book, “Celebration of Discipline.” Foster says that a person serves for the wrong reason if he does it to impress others, expects rewards or recognition, expects certain results or serves to make himself feel good. Explain that service that is Christ-focused welcomes all opportunities to help others, even if there are no rewards or recognition. Remind the teens that when they serve others, they should do so because they want to serve God.

Never Too Young

Share Jeremiah chapter 1, verses 1 to 10 with the teens. In this passage, God calls Jeremiah to serve as a prophet. Jeremiah argued with God about the divine call because of his young age. God tells Jeremiah that a person’s young age is never an excuse to not serve. God also tells Jeremiah to not be afraid to serve because He will always be with him and will rescue him. Share with the group that teens can make a big difference in the lives of others, even when a particular type of service seems hard or scary -- just as God chose Jeremiah, He chooses all young people to serve as part of His church.

Service as Worship

Share with teens that just as there are different ways to serve, there are various ways to worship God. For example, in 2 Samuel 6: 14 to 16, David worshiped God by dancing. As young people develop their cognitive abilities and communication skills during the teen years, they may feel confused or unsure about how to praise God. This may be particularly true for teens who don't like to sing or are just learning how to pray. Share with the teens that worship is about loving and respecting God, and that acts of service can be an effective way for teens to praise God in their everyday life as they grow as Christians because they are following Christ's example.

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