Here’s some training material I use to help my youth leaders and others prepare a Bible talk. It can be adapted for any occasion and maybe it’ll help you train your leaders as well.
The same basic principles apply for writing a Bible study, so I’ll add another post, in due course, with similar content but a written Bible study application.
Special note: There’s some wisdom in here generously borrowed from Rory Shiner
Here is 5 youth Bible studies on the book of Hebrews.
It is free to download and use for any ministry purpose but not for any commercial gain.
(Links to the file on Dropbox)
(Courtesy of Daniel Higgins)
This game is a combination of T.V. show “Family Feud” and the board game “Compatibility”.
The person running the game will approach a youth grouper before youth group, and ask them to answer some questions. For each question, “Jack” must provide 3-5 answers and rate them in order of importance.
When the game is played in youth group, teams will be asked the same questions as “Jack” and they will have to try and give the same answers and in the same order of importance.
(The game can also be played live with the “Jack” person writing their answers at the same time the teams write theirs.)
Jack will reveal and explain his answers why he gave them in that order so that we all get to know him.
After about 3 or so rounds, the team with the most points win.
3 points for a correctly placed match
1 point for an incorrectly placed match
Here’s and example:
Something you would do on the weekend…
1 Go out for coffee
2 Go to cadets
3 Update planes on wikipedia
4 Go to the movies
5 Set something on fire
1 Set something fire + 1 (One point for a correct answer in the wrong place)
2 Go out for coffee + 1 (One point for a correct answer in the wrong place)
3 Updating Planes + 3 (Three points for a correct answer in the correct place)
4 Spit roasts + 0 (Zero Points for an incorrect answer)
5 MCing events + 0 (Zero Points for an incorrect answer)
[This is the Mixer Version of the same Sharing Time activity]
Give each person in the group a sheet of paper and tell them to write down (download) everything that they did, or that happened to them during the week (or holidays). Then get them to find another person or other people in the group who’s list has the most similar items to their own. Interview some of the groups or pairs then pray.
This game is adapted from the Spicks and Specks game show where it is called “Substitute”.
The aim is to teach the memory verse by singing it as many times and in as many ways as possible to help reinforce memorisation.
Split into at least 4 teams. Give the memory verse for the term to each team or have it up on the projector or a whiteboard. Each team will also need to be given three tunes to well-known songs as well – you can use national anthems, pop songs, church songs etc. This game is played in 3 rounds. Before the start of each round, each team has a minute to practice among themselves singing the words of the memory verse to the tune of one of the well-known songs that they were given.
Each team then takes turns in singing the memory verse to the tune of the well-known song while the other teams listen in and try to guess the tune of the song that is being sung. Teams only get one opportunity to make a guess and they “buzz in” when they think they know the tune. 1 point is awarded to the team that makes a correct guess, and 1 point given to the team that was singing the song that was correctly guessed. No points are awarded if no one guesses the tune of the song.
This game courtesy of Mark Schroder, youth minister at Campbelltown Anglican.
This game is based on the same game that has overtaken your news feed on Facebook!
The idea: Try and guess the word that is being represented by 4 cryptic pictures. This activity is a great one for learning about Bible characters, Bible stories and each other.
Create 3 rounds for the game. For example:
Round one: Bible Character
Round Two: Bible Story or thing:
Round Three: Youth Group Character ie. leader or member.
How to play:
- Display pictures and the blanked out word on the screen
- Allow groups to think about the answer and write it down
- After a few minutes move on to next round.
- After all pictures have been displayed provide everyone with the answers
- Finally, choose one of the categories and give a few details or extra facts about it. If its a youth group leader or member interview them and pray for them in your small groups/pairs.
If the pictures are too cryptic, you can make a round easier by providing one or two bonus letters as clues.
Below are 2 examples provided in pptx files with the following answers for each respective one:
a) Callum- (he’s a youth group leader at Campbelltown Anglican Youth)
c) The Prodigal Son
a) Nick Bull- (he’s a youth group leader at Campbelltown Anglican Youth)
c) Tower of Babel
If you chose the “Bible Focus” youth ministry model based on your theology, values and principles (part 1), and you’ve recruited the right leaders and have the systems in place to look after them (part 2), and have designed a program that looks after your families (part 3), and have structured your regular youth group gathering and how put it together (part 4a & part 4b), then step 5 is to start some regular mid week Bible study groups for your young people.
These groups form the back bone of youth ministry and you should strongly encourage every teenager to attend a group for the year. It’s a great mix of bible study, social activity, accountability, and fun, but on a more personal level than the main youth group gathering. The groups are user friendly, and a great place to invite friends!
My experience has been that we get more young people attending weekly Bible study groups than we get at the main weekly youth group gathering. It’s also the place where our young people invite most of their non-Christian friends. That might seem a little counter intuitive given that it’s a small group of young people meeting together around the Bible, but I think that’s the appeal! It’s a smaller group of people and therefore somewhat less intimidating for a newcomer, it provides a more intimate and personal setting to ask questions and explore the Bible, and it’s not just for Bible study but also for sharing life together and building friendships.
You can organise a weekly Bible study group in any way you choose, but here’s a couple of tips:
- Arrange your Bible study group around 3 components: Social/sharing time, Bible study time, and prayer time. Use these 3 components to arrange your Bible study group time roughly into thirds, let’s say 30 minutes for each component with a total Bible study group time of 90 mins. 90 minutes is long enough to cover the essentials and shorter enough to not be a weekly burden on the family time of young people.
- Use your social/sharing time to run an activity that helps you get to know them and for them to know each other. An example of a simple activity is to throw/pass around an item (like a ball or a cushion) and the person who throws the item gets to ask a question of the person who catches it, simple and effective. It’s even better if you can use the social/sharing time to gain insight into their thoughts on the topic for the Bible study and a great lead in!
- If it’s possible, use your home to host the Bible study group you run. A home is a much more relational environment to run a Bible study and more conducive to sharing life together than a church hall or meeting room. If your home isn’t available (for space or whatever reason) than see if one of the young people in your Bible study group can host it at their house. This is an excellent option for involving parents and teaching hospitality. It’s particularly valuable for young people who don’t have Christian family or stable homes to be invited into the home of a peer and witness the love of their family. However, a church meeting room will do if that’s what you’ve got! Don’t let space prevent you from starting a weekly Bible study group, they’re way to valuable.
- Start with single gender groups for junior high age youth. As far as you are able, I think there is an advantage of starting with single gender groups for junior high (years 7-9/10 in high school) age youth and then moving the groups to mixed gender by the time their of senior high school age (years 10/11-12 in high school). I think this avoids much of the competitiveness and awkwardness between guys and girls in their junior high years and moves them towards a more mature relationship to the opposite sex in their senior high years.
I like to put all the names of our young people into a table that divides the columns into gender and the rows into school year and then use this method to work out how many young people we have for each Bible study group. Because the spread of age and gender is never consistent, the organisation of weekly Bible study groups changes from year to year. Here’s an example of the table and the method.
- Just start with what you’ve got. It’d be great to have 6 groups start straight away with 5-12 people in each but the reality is you’re just starting out so don’t expect too much and don’t wait until you’ve got a minimum of 5 or 8 or 10, if you’ve only got 2 boys then start a bible study with them. It’s not ideal, but you need to start somewhere, so begin with just the 3 of you and grow it from there. Run the Bible study group at one of their homes with their parents around so that if only 1 boy turns up you can run the Bible study with the parents around – remember your safe ministry training: meet in an open visible place, and never alone.
- Resource your leaders. I think it almost goes without saying that your leaders need to be confident in running a Bible study group. They don’t have to be trained seminarians, they just need to be able to guide a group of people through a study, facilitate a safe place for relationships, and be open to dialogue about the Bible. There’s plenty of excellent Bible study resources for young people and leaders available out there (I’ve listed some below) so make the most of them, but most important however is that your Bible study leaders know the value of saying this one simple phrase “I don’t know”. Young people are in a an acute phase of testing and questioning all their previous held beliefs (not necessarily rejecting them) and they need a safe place where they can ask questions, doubt and explore the Bible and life’s mysteries without fear of being judged or rejected. A Bible study leader can do lots of good by openly saying “I don’t know” in response to difficult probing questions, and a lot of harm in trying to answer questions they’ve not thought through. So give your leaders permission to not be the source of all Christian knowledge and either take the time explore the issue properly or defer to someone who can answer the issue with consideration.
Here’s some great resources for weekly Bible study groups:
- For training your leaders to lead a Bible study group well (Highly Recommended!!):
- For material to use in youth Bible study groups: