When speaking to teenagers, it can be hard to keep their attention. Their attention span can be small. If you think about, it makes sense. They go to school all day and have to listen there so they can do well at school. Once they get to service on Wednesday night, many times students just want to relax and have fun. On a Sunday night service, students feel the same way because they know they have school the next day. Either way, it can be difficult to keep the attention of a teenager when we are speaking to them. They don’t want to listen to another lecture. How can we keep their attention? Here are some ways that I think help to teach teenagers about Jesus while keeping their full attention.
Tell a story from your life.
Students love to hear your stories. Why? Because they want to get to know you. You are their superhero, so they want to know who you are. Telling a story about your life brings that personal closeness with students in a message. Whether it is funny or serious, students can relate to stories easily and love to hear them.
In your lesson, showing pictures of something you are describing helps them to be able to know what you are talking about. If you are asking if people have ever seen Ikea fails, then put up a couple of examples. This helps them to see what you are meaning while you are describing it to them. They may have already been listening to you for ten minutes, so by now they are already zoned out, but using images can bring their attention back.
Show a video to illustrate a point.
Videos are great. Students love to watch YouTube and Netflix. If you have a seen a video from ‘The Office’ of Jim pranking Dwight that gives a good example, then show it. If you have seen a good minute clip of fail videos that would make for a laugh, but also a good illustration, then why not show it? It makes the students laugh, they want to see where you are taking them with this video, and it gives you a break from speaking. I also love to use videos that really demonstrate a point well. The Skit Guys do amazing with this. They provide comedic relief, while also demonstrating the point at a serious level that truly relates to students well. It’s sad to say, but I remember the videos shown more than I remember lessons taught by adults. They remember that silly fail video that you used to show we are imperfect people that Jesus uses for His cause.
Use object lessons.
To demonstrate a point, object lessons are great. It allows students to see the lesson as you demonstrate it. When you demonstrate what is going on, the lesson comes to life for students. For the James 1:24 lesson where you are talking about living out the faith you are taught, you write a bunch of letters on student’s face and have them look in a mirror for five seconds and try to rattle off all the letters you wrote. Then, you relate that to how we need to live out what we are taught about Jesus, so that we can remember our faith journey. These lessons are easy for students to remember and many times are the lessons they take with them after they graduate.
Have a student speak.
Students love to hear their peers speak. I used to really get into the lesson when one of the high schoolers would speak to our group when I was in middle school. I always loved getting to hear him pour out his heart for Jesus to us. I was always zoned in when he would speak. Students love to hear what their friends have to say.
Have a volunteer share a story in your message.
The leaders you get to serve in your ministry, if you have them, have a story. Many times, they have a testimony of coming to know and live like Jesus. While they love you, students want to hear from others. A volunteer might have an incredible story that would resonate well with students, so take advantage of that. Hearing stories of their leaders helps to keep students’ attention.
When speaking to students, it can be hard to keep their attention. There are many ways that we can and when we find those ways and implement them into our message delivery, the spiritual growth that we will see is incredible. It is possible to keep their attention.