As a youth leader, you already know that teenagers love to talk. So why not harness all that vocal energy by using debate topics for youth at church? In-depth conversations and lively debates get kids thinking while sharpening their faith and evangelism skills.
Young people need to know how to apply their beliefs to their day-to-day lives. In today’s secular culture, they also need to be able to defend their faith against challenges. As they do so, young people will be sharing Jesus with other people who need him too.
When you’re considering using a debate format at youth group, be sure to set ground rules for fair, respectful back-and-forth discussions. Many of these debate topics for youth at church are called “hot-button” topics for a reason: They push people’s buttons!
Also set aside plenty of debriefing time after a debate. Encourage kids to share their reactions and feelings. Ask if anything they heard during the conversations changed their opinions at all, and why.
Most importantly, when using debate topics for youth at church, turn to Scripture. Take time to dig in and see what God says—or doesn’t say—about each subject. And end each session together in prayer, asking for wisdom, patience and a gentle spirit as kids learn to respectfully engage in controversial issues.
Choose From These 46 Debate Topics for Youth at Church
- Creation vs. evolution (Did God make the world? How old is the world? Did evolution occur? Did God play a role in evolution through Intelligent Design?)
- Is faith in Jesus the only one way to heaven? (Are all religions the same? Are all gods the same? Can you get to heaven by being good?)
- Does hell exist? Why would a loving God subject someone to eternal punishment?
- What happens to you when you die?
- Do animals have souls and go to heaven?
- Is Satan real?
- Are angels real?
- Do miracles still happen today?
- Is everything in the Bible literally true?
- When, if ever, is divorce okay?
- When, if ever, is abortion okay?
- Is premarital sex okay if you’re in love? if you’re engaged?
- Is homosexuality a sin? Should same-sex marriage be legal?
- How many genders are there? Should children be allowed to transition to another gender?
- Is euthanasia ever okay? Should people remain on artificial life support—and for how long?
- How should doctors decide who gets life-saving organs or medical care?
- What should society and lawmakers do to end homelessness and poverty?
- Is racism systemic? Do we need reparations for slavery?
- Do cities need to abolish or modify their police forces?
- Should health care be free for everyone?
- Should college be free for everyone?
- How should America treat undocumented people? Do we have a duty to welcome all immigrants?
- Should rich people pay higher taxes? Are rich people obligated to give away money?
- What minimum wage is fair? What’s an appropriate “living wage,” and does everyone deserve to receive it?
- In what areas should the church and state be separate? When, if ever, can the government set rules about religion or religious practice?
- Does religious freedom ever have limits?
- What types of worship does God approve or disapprove of?
- What counts as worship? Can you worship in nature, by yourself?
- Is faith a private or public matter?
- Should proselytizing, or trying to convert others to your religion, be legal?
- Is religion still relevant today?
- What are some media perceptions of Christians, and are those correct?
- Should Christians break the law to smuggle the Bible into countries that ban it?
- Is war ever justified?
- Is climate change real? Who’s responsible for saving the planet?
- Is genetic engineering ethical? Should we try to clone animals and humans?
- Are technology and social media positive or negative?
- Do phone and internet users have a right to privacy?
- What should schools, parents, and kids do to stop online (and in-person) bullying?
- At what age should young people be allowed to drive, vote, drink, buy cigarettes, serve in war, serve in politics, and so on?
- Should all drugs be legal? Are addictions diseases?
- Why do teenagers tend to have low self-esteem? How can we lower the risks of depression, anxiety and suicide, especially among young people?
- What type of parenting is most effective?
- Should schools enforce dress codes?
- Is it okay for Christians to listen to secular music?
- Is it okay for Christians to watch R-rated movies?
Now we’d like to hear from you! What other debate topics for youth at church do you recommend?