Younger Sunday school students like to color and do simple puzzles. But teenagers are beyond simple games and activities. Teenagers need the reasons why faith makes sense. Their lessons need to share not just stories, but also biblical principles for every day. Sunday school lessons for teenagers focus on issues and topics and should be interactive.
Stand up for Right
Using Leviticus 19:11-17 and Ephesians 4:25-32, talk about ethics. Have students read from Daniel 1, which tells about Daniel and his friends refusing to eat food harmful for them, and Chapter 6, when Daniel refused to stop praying even when his prayers were against a new law. From Genesis 39, read about Joseph refusing to sleep with his boss's wife.
Discuss right and wrong, the world's standards as opposed to God's standards. Point out that doing right isn't always rewarded. Daniel was thrown to the lions, and Joseph spent years in prison. Have students discuss reasons for the ultimate results when standards are compromised. Point out government representatives who've lost their offices, families and reputations over compromising their standards. Challenge the teens to be strong like Daniel and Joseph. As them to think of two ways they can stand up for right in the next week.
Faith in Practice
Have students take turns reading the verses of James 2. Discuss the verses. Challenge the teenagers with, “If God is a God of love and care and wants us to imitate Him, what can you do to reach out to the poor, the needy and the homeless?” As a class, make a list of things the Sunday school students could do to help someone else. Explain this doesn't need to be a missions trip. It can be standing up for a student who is being picked on, or befriending someone no one likes at school.
Read Psalm 29:2 and Romans 12:1. Ask students to define worship. List answers. Explain that worship is showing respect and deep reverence and can take different forms. Explain that worship means spending time with God each day in prayer, and reading God's Word. It means praising Him in song and words. Worship means being with and learning from other believers. Worship also means telling others about Jesus and reaching out to those around them.
Divide the class into groups. Have one group prepare a short devotional on Romans 12:1. Have another group choose a song of praise to teach or share. Have a third group use John 3:16-17, Romans 3:23 and 6:23 to present the plan of salvation. Have the groups share a time of worship with their presentations.
Share Your Faith Story
Center on John 1:1-36. Have students read the passage out loud. Talk about what John went through to be the witness for the Messiah. John knew who He was and who He wasn't. No matter what, he pointed others to Jesus.
Talk about ways the class shares their faith and new ways they can share. Share your own story of faith. Talk about the value of sharing not just a Bible verse, but one's own journey to faith. Ask the teenagers to take time before the next Sunday school class to write down their journeys of faith. Have them share their stories in the next class if they feel comfortable doing so.
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Carolyn Scheidies has been writing professionally since 1994. She writes a column for the “Kearney Hub” and her latest book is “From the Ashes.” She holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Nebraska at Kearney, where she has also lectured in the media department.