By Mike Calhoun • 3rd Cord Ministries • Durham, NC • MikeCalhoun.org
Okay, let’s just say it…teaching Middle School students can sometimes be a bit of a challenge. They are not intentionally trying to be difficult, there is just a lot going on in their world. Consider a few or the battles they face:
- Fluctuating hormones
- Living in a constant state of “partial attention”
- Being wired for fun and activity
- Vacillating between childhood and adulthood
- Tiddering on the edge of being capable yet inexperienced
As if that were not enough, our society has actually told them and us they cannot understand difficult concepts. As a result, we often feel the need to oversimplify or water down Biblical content so they can “get it.” If we fall into this trap, we do them a grave disservice.
Middle School students are learning chemistry, grasping mathematical concepts and running their own YouTube businesses. This generation responds to a challenge and if they don’t find it at church, they will find it somewhere else.
Middle School students do get it, are interested in and will listen to the Bible if we will put into practice a few appropriate insights. We can make the Word of God come alive for them if we:
- Teach them from a platform of maturity. Remember, if you speak to them like children they will respond like children so speak to them appropriately. (Yes keep age appropriateness in mind)
- Never water down the Message. Be creative with your presentation and use innovative methods. Keep in mind that students know if you are prepared.
- Remember their attention spans and keep the lesson to an appropriate length for the content being covered. It is always better to finish talking before your audience is done listening.
- Realize their propensity for loosing attention and therefore use media or group dynamics at appropriate times.
- Meet their need for a challenge by thinking through appropriate opportunities for applying what they learn.
So how have you met the challenge of communicating the Word to Middle School students in your ministry?