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Discipling teenagers is a critical element of a healthy youth ministry. Part of dis-cipleship is helping teenagers learn to make decisions that will impact their lives for decades.

It’s our experience that good discipleship happens best within the context of a caring and accepting relationship. We also believe that intentional conversations are the “meat and potatoes” of discipleship. It’s no surprise that many healthy youth ministries will make sure to assign specific time within their weekly pro-grams for conversations to appear. This week, we are going to look at some ideas that may help you become better at leading good discussions with teen-agers:

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Inspire your students to take side trips into the Bible and increase their
appetite for God’s Word.

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HAVE A GOAL BEYOND JUST CONVERSATION
Dialog is great, but getting teenagers to talk can be difficult (well, it’s difficult to get younger guys talking about anything important), but to really get somewhere with teenagers you want to care that there’s something more than simply con-versation. As a spiritual leader, you want to help your teenagers talk about stuff that matters. In order to be intentional with your discussions, you’ll need to:

TAKE TIME TO PREPARE
Leading a discussion is more than having a handful of standard questions (i.e. What school do you go to? What grade are you in? Etc…). Few youth workers are good enough to facilitate a discussion without taking the time to prepare. When you’re in a small group or Sunday School format, be sure to understand the Scripture passage and/or the assigned topic and develop some specific ob-jectives for your time with your students.

Before you expect to be used to do something great in the lives of your stu-dents, allow God do something great in your life first. Can God work without you taking the time to prepare? Absolutely. But, if you go this route, you may miss out on God working in your own life as well. Since God doesn’t need you to change lives, he must be working through you, so that he can work in you. Our encouragement is to take time to prepare so that you lead discussion out of the overflow of what God is currently doing within your heart.

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Inspire your students to take side trips into the Bible and increase their
appetite for God’s Word.

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When you create the the space in your life to prepare, to really think and refelct about a Scripture text you’ll be positioned to ask better questions (which is where we will pick things up tomorrow).
 

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