Need some tips on how to preach to youth? Preaching to teenagers can be extremely challenging but is also extremely rewarding. After years serving as a youth pastor, I’ve learned a few things about how to preach to youth. These lessons were hard-learned through trial and error. Mostly error.
I’ve collected some tips that will hopefully prevent you from having to learn the hard way, as I did. This isn’t an exhaustive list but should help you immensely with your youth messages.
7 important tips for how to preach to youth
1. Be authentic.
Be yourself. Don’t try to be cool. Don’t try to act just like a teenager or use all the same slang they use. Students have a built-in poser detector. They can spot a fake a mile away.
We’ve all met the 40-year-old youth minister who tries way too hard to be “hip.” Don’t be that guy. We’ve also met the 20-year-old youth pastor who tries way too hard to be a hipster. Again, don’t be that guy.
Teenagers want to know: Do you really care about them? Do you really have an authentic relationship with Jesus? Do you really practice what you preach?
Authenticity is the one of the most important things you can have as a speaker. It doesn’t matter how polished your sermon is; if you aren’t authentic, kids won’t listen.
2. Be interactive.
How are you involving the audience? Take a poll by raising hands. Ask kids to shout answers to a question. Pull a few people up on the stage for a visual illustration. Ask the audience to stand, sit, jump, close their eyes, look at something, make a noise, act something out, play a game, dance …
Whatever you do, teenagers love interacting with a message. It’s always better to have some level of involvement from the audience than just making them sit still, stay quiet, and listen the whole time.
3. Tell stories.
Jesus is the best preacher ever. He told a lot of stories. As a youth minister, you should too.