Quick youth group lessons can have powerful impact. This is especially true when it comes to topics such as media, purity, and Christian living. Read on for a free resource you can use and adapt with teens.
Quick Youth Group Lessons: Pursuing Purity
I want to share a favorite “go to” lesson I often use for youth group. This works as a stand-alone lesson or as part of a series.
Purity goes way beyond the body. It’s about the mind, heart, and body. One challenging aspect of adolescence is discovering what living for the Lord means. Youth ministers tend to give kids a list of “do’s and don’ts” that are opinions. You know: DON’T wear that outfit, listen to that music, or watch that show. DO only wear this, watch G movies, and listen to worship music.
The problem with that approach? It can encourage teens to modify their behavior without looking inside their heart. Instead, we can decide if they’re filtering the media intake through a Christ-centric worldview. Quick youth group lessons are especially powerful for this.
In this lesson, you’ll review lyrics of popular songs line by line. You’ll ask if students know the reference or meaning. If they don’t understand something, you’ll explain it. The point isn’t to be judgmental. Instead, it’s to help kids learn what they’re listening to. We want teens to be honest. Is the song bringing them closer to God or farther away from Him? What kids think is just “bubblegum” (or fluff) may be harmful to their faith.
Prep for This Youth Group Lesson
One week ahead, ask students to brainstorm their favorite songs. Tell them next week you are planning a surprise lesson. (You can pick a song, but it works best if you use current songs students are listening to. You can pick two or three. It’s up to you if you want to set limits about explicit lyrics.)
Find the lyrics online. Then print a copy for everyone in small groups the following week.
*Note: It doesn’t hurt to have 2 or 3 songs ready to go just in case they’re “quick.” You may need to send a note home to parents letting them know your plan. If a small-group leader hasn’t heard the song you pick, that’s fine. You might want to encourage them to listen to a snippet. However, what’s more important is making sure they’ve each read the lyrics and know the song’s message.
Opening Activity: Name That Song
Play one or two lines from about 5 to 10 Different Songs.(Depending on the time you want to take.) You will want them to be a mix of Christian Music, Worship Music, Oldies, And Even Current Popular Songs (That you know and would consider “positive.”) Do NOT play the whole song! The person who can name the most songs gets a pack of Bubblegum.
Say something like:
In our small-group time, we’ll see if you know what you’re listening to. We’ll go line by line through a song that’s popular right now. (Tell them the song.) We’ll decide together if this song helps us learn about God, pushes us away from him, or is what I call “bubble gum.” Those songs are full of “sugar.” They aren’t overtly “bad” but don’t necessarily help us get closer to the Lord. Our goal is that you canbegin to truly pay attention to what you listen to.
Move to Small Groups
Let’s talk about (insert song title). Why do you like or dislike the song? (Answers will vary.)
Then walk through the song line by line. Explain as you go. Stop often to make sure teens understand “hidden” references. Pull apart the lyrics. However, avoid judging whether or not they “should” be listening to it.
If they ask if you like the song, give your opinion. Share why you do or don’t like it. Sometimes you might say, “I understand why it’s so catchy and you like it. But it doesn’t mean it’s a song that brings you closer to God.”