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Do You Teach Strategically?

Strategic Youth Ministry; nothing new about that idea. Doug Field’s classic book Purpose Driven Youth Ministry began its quest for youth ministry world domination almost 20 years ago. And while it outlined the most popular (and in my experience extremely effective) youth ministry paradigm, it certainly wasn’t the first or last.

Most of us could write our purpose/mission statement on a whiteboard and draw out the strategic ways in which we fulfill it. As a whole, the youth ministry nation is fairly strategic.

But a friend of mine takes it to another level, one I find fascinating: He teaches strategically.

Now, most of us would say we teach strategically; we have our teaching calendars planned, our important topics dialed in … heck, we may even have an official scope and sequence that we follow to make sure we hit all the important stuff. But that’s not what he’s talking about.

Alan Mercer does all those things … and then takes it a very interesting step further: He teaches every lesson, writes every small group study, following the same flow:

How it was (creation), how it is (fall), how it can be (redemption), how it will be again (restoration).

Most of us probably only use that language when talking about the whole story of God or presenting the Gospel, but Alan would say the whole story of God and the Gospel can/should be part of everything we teach!

Friendships: How they were meant to be, how they are, how they can be and how they will be again.

Sex: How it was meant to be, how it is, how it can be and how it will be again.

Pain and Sorrow: How it was meant to be, how it is, how it can be and how it will be again.


Talk about strategic teaching!  

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Kurt Johnston has been involved in junior high ministry since 1988 and is currently the junior high pastor at Saddleback Church in Southern California. He's the author of Controlled Chaos: Making Sense of Junior High Ministry and Go Team! He loves providing resources for junior high ministry almost as much as he loves junior highers themselves.