Winter break is the “Season to Celebrate.” And if you work with teenagers, you already know that many teens celebrate by partying. Sometimes the invitation to a party means good clean fun, but sometimes it’s an open doorway into the drinking/drugs/sex scene. How do you help your students respond to this second kind of invitation in a God-honoring way? Is it possible for them to gracefully bow out, but also use it as an opportunity to gently, yet purposefully, advance the gospel?
When an invitation to the wrong kind of party comes, how should your students respond in a way that doesn’t sound preachy or self-righteous? Click To TweetHere are two simple steps you can take to help your teenagers step away from the wrong kind of party no matter the time of year and also stand up to advance the gospel in the midst of what could be an awkward situation.
Step 1: Remind your teenagers of God’s call to a pure and holy life.
The Bible has plenty to say about why the party/drinking/drugs/sex scene is not the right place for Christian teenagers. God’s Word tells us that when we become believers, God sends His Holy Spirit to dwell inside us. Remind your students of this amazing truth that the Holy Spirit lives inside them and the implications it carries for honoring God! If the Spirit live inside us, we should treat our bodies like God’s dwelling place—in other words, we should take good care of our body.
Here’s how the Bible puts it:
Or didn’t you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body (1 Corinthians 6:19-20, MSG).
Don’t live carelessly, unthinkingly. Make sure you understand what the Master wants. Don’t drink too much wine. That cheapens your life. Drink the Spirit of God, huge draughts of him. Sing hymns instead of drinking songs! Sing songs from your heart to Christ (Ephesians 5:17-19, MSG).
God wants you to live a pure life. Keep yourselves from sexual promiscuity. Learn to appreciate and give dignity to your body, not abusing it, as is so common among those who know nothing of God (I Thes.4:3-5, MSG).
Of course we want to live in a way that honors God, not because we have to in order to be assured of our salvation, but out of gratitude for all God has done for us by giving us His free gift of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus. We show our gratitude by living for Him and representing Him well before a watching world.
Try This! ❯
Challenge your students to find at least one opportunity this Christmas Season to talk to a friend who doesn’t know Jesus about the ultimate gift He came to offer.
Step 2: Practice roleplaying how to turn party invitations into opportunities to talk about Jesus.
When an invitation to the wrong kind of party comes, how should your students respond in a way that doesn’t sound preachy or self-righteous? It’s OK to express appreciation for the invitation to the party, as in, “Hey, thanks for thinking of me! I enjoy hanging out with you too! But honestly, I’m just not into the whole party scene. Maybe we can hang out together sometime and do…” (and suggest an alternative activity you both enjoy).
But this can also be an open door to take the conversation a step further down the road toward a spiritual discussion. Help your teens practice how to explain to their convictions to their unreached friends without sounding holier-than-thou. Set aside some time in youth group to actually roleplay how these kinds of conversations might unfold.
Here are some approaches your student might try to flesh out further as they practicing their response in this kind of situations:
- “I don’t know if you know this about me or not, but I’m personally not into the kind of party scene I’m thinking this party is going to be all about. If you’re interested I’d love to talk to you more about where I’m coming… ”
- “I’ve reached the conclusion that those kinds of parties just aren’t my style. Most kids leave them feeling like total crap—both physcially from the hangover, but also from the bad choice they can make. I don’t want my fun to be grounded in some chemically-induced haze I might get from smoking pot or drinking. I want it to be grounded in reality, not escape from it. And part of my reality that’s important to me, is my relationship with God. So I try to keep God at the center of who I am and what I do, which means that I…”
- “The party scene can get teens in big trouble in terms of parental trust, the cops (as in a criminal record), and can open the door to a whole host of bad choices. I have goals and dreams for what God has in store for my future, and I don’t want to risk putting those dreams at risk… there are a whole range of great ways to have fun that don’t involve the risk of big trouble… “
Remember, Jesus reached out in love and truth to those whose behavior was questionable. But He was also very clear about who He was and the life that God had called Him to. Let’s help our students confidently make Him the model for their lives, as they say no to the wrong kind of parties and still advance the gospel!
Want more practical advice on mobilizing your teens to share the gospel? All of our Mobilize stories offer great ideas for training your students and building a Gospel Advancing Ministry. Sign up here to receive this free, hands-on resource in your inbox!