Bringing it up without throwing up can be a challenge for our students.
Because awkward conversations loom large for teens, they are sometimes overwhelmed by just the thought of bringing spiritual things up in conversations with their friends. What can you do to help?
Developing the skills needed to make a relatively smooth conversational transition from the casual to the spiritual is a critical faith-sharing skill. If a teen can’t figure out how to bring it up without throwing up, it’s probably not going to happen. But there’s good news! With a little training and practice, students can learn how to naturally turn everyday conversations towards eternal truths.
Talk with your students about some of the common types of conversations they have with their friends that could be used as a “bringing God up” transition. Here are some questions to get the discussion going:
- What types of conversations do you tend to have every day?
- How could you point these conversations towards the subject of spiritual beliefs?
- How do you think your friends will respond?
- What advice could we give each other in this area? [i.e., don’t be fake, don’t be pushy or cheesy, be relational, ask probing questions, listen as much as you talk, etc.]
Walk through a conversational example with your teens. Since the end of the school year is approaching, graduation could serve as a good practice topic. A conversation between two teenagers might go something like this:
You: Are you going to any graduation parties this year?
You: I wonder, what do you think it feels like to graduate?
Friend: Probably something like fun/scary?
You: Why do you say that?
You: I can see what you mean…but I guess I think it will be both fun and kinda scary. Fun, because it will be exciting to be done with high school. But scary, because you’re headed off into an unknown future where you’re supposed to have some idea what you want to do with your life. It’s kind of scary thinking about making those kinds of big decisions about what you want to do next with your life. How do you sort through the choices? How do you figure out what you really want out of the next phase of life?
Friend: [Shares their opinion or maybe makes a comment like “I’ve never really thought about it…”]
You: Well, I’ve been thinking about it lately, and I’m trying to figure out how my relationship with God fits into this kind of stuff. I’ve been thinking that if Jesus is as important to me as I say He is, then He should have a lot to do with how I use my interests, abilities and passions… I want to help people because I want to bring His light and love and truth to others… I really believe Jesus was who He said He was and He wants everyone to know that He created them to be in relationship with Him…
Help your teens practice having conversations like the one above and spend some time in your youth group role playing these kinds of conversations. Then challenge your students to think of one or two friends they will prayerfully approach in the next week and try to talk to about Jesus.