The issues teenagers struggle with are much different than those faced by most adults. Therefore, generic adult Sunday school lessons will be ineffective in reaching them. Many a Sunday school lesson has been doomed by irrelevance. For Sunday school lessons to really reach teenagers, each lesson must be tailored to resonate with their struggles and issues.
Lesson on Favoritism
Ask the following questions to start your lesson: What's your favorite television show, your favorite song, your favorite junk food? Who is your favorite person on earth? The purpose of these questions is to expose your students to some situations where showing favoritism could be detrimental. After this, read James 2:1-13 and discuss the following questions: What does verse 1 say about favoritism? Why do you think it says that? Why is favoritism harmful? How does our group handle outsiders? Break into small groups and discuss these questions.
Bums or Angels
Invite someone new to class. It is preferable that you find someone close to your students' age. Ensure that the new person comes in plenty of time to meet students. Tell the new person to use a fake name and fake story. Do not introduce the new person to anyone. Make your students befriend the new person on their own. Teach Hebrews 13:2 to your students and then reveal the new person you brought and have them share their experience. Break into small groups and discuss the following questions: What could our ministry do differently that would keep us from showing favoritism to people coming in for the first time? What could our ministry do differently that would keep us from showing favoritism to people who have been around for a while? In your own life, do you play favorites? Why do you think you do it?
Responding to the Word of God
Read Second Timothy 3:16 and lead a discussion about how the students have responded to things in the past. Remind them of the year 2000 and how everyone was anticipating a disaster. Show them how we are eager to respond to tragedy, but we don't know how to respond to the word of God. Return to Second Timothy 3:16 and teach them the verse focusing on the differences between teaching, rebuking, correcting and training. Break into small groups and discuss the following questions: Why is it important to read the Bible? What does the Bible do for you?, How often do you read your Bible? Why do you read your Bible? Do you study the Bible or just read it? How do you study it?
Point out that, according to the Christian Answers website, more than 50 percent of girls and more than 40 percent of guys never date in high school. Share stories about dating from your high-school experience. By sharing your own stories, your students will be more willing to share their stories and struggles. Read First Corinthians 13:4-7. Discuss the following questions with your group to explore what they expect in a boyfriend or girlfriend: Are you patient with each other? Are you kind to each other? Are you ever envious of each other? Do you keep no record of wrongs? Are you truthful with each other? Do you protect each other? Do you trust each other?
Andrew Fontenot has been a journalist since 2003. His first job was covering the tension between rural villages and cities in India. His work on India has been published in a development magazine called "The International Proclaimer." Fontenot has a Bachelor of Arts in education from the University of Tennessee.