I love teaching in series because it makes it easier on me. It makes planning, writing, and delivering the message easier when it is guided by the parameters of a series. It is awesome to have a guide, but what if your series could be more than just a lesson guide? What if your series could be more than just a topic for you, and could actually be an opportunity to fully engage students and help them to grasp the concepts you are teaching?
It is no secret we all want our students to get the most possible out of our teaching and lock it away so it doesn’t just leave as soon as they walk out the door. That is where crafting series that fully engage can help. Here are few tips on how to craft sermon series that fully engage and are not just a guide for talks and discussions within our youth ministries.
1. Pick Relevant Topics
If you want to engage your students then you need to teach on the things they are dealing with. Our students our growing up in an extremely difficult world and it is not getting any easier. They deal with very real issues that cause very real hurt and they are looking for real answers. We have the real solution to their real issues which is exactly why we need to talk about them. If we want students to engage we first need to show them how the Word of God applies to their real life. Pick relevant topics to teach on.
2. Get Creative
Once you have picked a topic, come up with a creative way to package it. This is where the series part comes into play. Come up with a creative title that can be more than just a title, it can be an experience. For many of you this might mean finding someone who is creative, thinks that way, and ask them for help. I will be honest, sometimes I have good ideas, but this is NOT my strongest gift. Don’t be afraid to ask someone for help in coming up with creative titles that can be turned into a fully engaging experience.
3. Engage As Many Senses As Possible
- Stage and room decor are a very easy way to get students to fully immersed in your topic. If you are doing a series on dating make your stage look like a dinner date, hang hearts around the room, add decor to enhance the over-all feel of the series before you even speak.
- Themed games and activities are another great way to fully engage students and get them in the mindset of the overall feel of the series.
- Dress up nights that go along with the series, big events to kick off a series where all your leaders dress up or there is a special activity, or something to get the idea of the series to sink in and engage the students more than just preaching. Special playlists with songs that fit the theme, or the band opening up with a song that fits.
For example, we did a series on the armor of God and made it all superhero themed. We talked about each item of the armor as tools in our utility belts but we didn’t want it to be just something they heard. We made a bunch of big cut outs saying “POW”, “WHAM”, “BOOM” and hung them around the stage so they felt like they were in a comic book. We didn’t play up front games, we did “Super Challenges” (aka up front games), we kicked off the series with “Superhero Dodgeball” and all the leaders dressed up and asked students to come dressed as their favorite superhero as well. Throughout the series we took normal games and made them superhero themed, like “Save the Baby”, it was literally just capture the flag but instead of a flag we used baby dolls. They loved it!
4. Give Opportunities to practice it
This is one of the areas that many, many youth workers fall short in their teaching. We NEED to give students an opportunity to practice what we have taught them. For instance, if you do a series on serving finish it up with a service project that students can sign up for and come to serve. If you do a series on outreach end it with a big event that they can actually invite their friends to and practice what you just taught them. If you do a series on the Bible or engaging with God then give an opportunity for students to sign up for a Bible reading plan that everyone can do together. You see what I mean?
Obviously, you will not be able to provide an opportunity to practice every single little thing that you teach but it is important to remember to give students opportunities to practice what they have learned. We do not want students to just hear what God says, but rather do what He says as well.
Your series can be more than just a guide of topics. They can be something that will make an impact on students and help them commit to memory the truths that were taught.