Post by: Garrison Polsgrove
Youth Discipleship Pastor at Shepherd Church

1) Ask good questions
2) Listen, Listen, Listen
3) Affirm, Affirm, Affirm.

1) Ask Good Questions:

  1. Start questions with: “What would YOU do?” “What do YOU think?” “How would that make YOU feel? “
    It’s easy to get lost in generalizations so focus on things that pertain to each individual
  2. Try to make the stories in scripture real to them by getting them to think about how the biblical characters might have felt.
    For example: What you would have done if you had been Paul in that moment? What would it had been like if you were in Noah’s place and given such a huge task?
  3. It’s better to start with the narrative stories of the bible. Begin in the OT (Genesis) and work your way through the Bible. As you read the stories in the Bible its easier for the students to put themselves in the stories. Then, you can always pick our principles and relate them to their lives. For example: Noah was the only one who did what was right in the eyes of the Lord. Have you ever been in a situation when you were the only one doing what was right?

2) Listen, Listen, Listen:

  1. Try not to cut off a student who is answering. Also, do not let others talk over each other.
  2. Give affirming responses after a student gives an answer. (For example: Great answer Johnny! I appreciate when you give your input.)
  3. Do not preach. Allow the students to work it out. I know we may be thinking to ourselves: “I’m just going to tell them!” However, one of the keys to understanding is self-discovery. So, as a teacher, the key is to allow them to say a few dumb answers while their mind zig-zags to the truth.

3) Affirm, Affirm, Affirm.

  1. Be their biggest cheerleader. Make them feel like they are awesome…because they are. One of the greatest quotes I have heard when it comes to this is: “People will not remember what you say, but they will remember how you made them feel.”
  2. Affirm character, not performance. Tell them how much you appreciate their personal attributes.
    For example: “I really appreciate what a kind person you are. Others really benefit from your kind spirit.” Or “You are a leader and God is going to use you in great ways.”
    You want others to walk away feeling great about who God has made them, instead of them focusing on an action they did. Actions come and go and performance can be flaky, but their character is something that will last and it is the very thing actions flow out of.