Most kids spend all week in school, so often the last thing they want to do on a Sunday is attend additional classes. However, instilling Christian values in teens is important to many parents. You're likely to have more success getting teens interested in Sunday school if the program is relevant to their lives and involves a little fun.
1 Advertise the Sunday school program with fun posters that include bright, popping colors and photos of kids having fun. That boring text-only poster that lists the date and time of classes is not going to stand out -- and it's not likely to make Sunday school look very inviting for teens. Encourage the teens who attend Sunday school to invite their friends to class.
2 Play some fun music at the start of class. Try to choose music with lyrics that have a positive message for teens. If your church uses modern instruments or taps local musicians for church services, ask if they'll also help you add some fun and excitement to Sunday school by playing music or teaching the teens some fun songs during or at the end of class.
3 Hold the classes in a comfortable space where teens will want to hang out. Having Sunday school in a regular classroom with rows of desks and chairs might turn the teens off. Instead, try to find a spare room in the church or school where you can put up fun posters and fill it with some used couches and comfy chairs to make it a more casual, friendly space. Alternatively, if the weather cooperates, you could hold some Sunday school classes outside in a park, or if the group is small, hold them in a neighborhood cafe. You could also ask other parents if anyone has a family rec room where you could hold classes.
4 Poll your group to find out what issues are important to them. Having set lessons that cover certain Bible verses might work in some cases, but teens often find straightforward Bible study unappealing. The Rethinking Youth Ministry website suggests discussing recent news articles, movies or TV shows as a way to teach values or Biblical lessons. Try to make lessons relevant to the teens' daily lives.
5 Suggest that the teens get involved in community service work -- and make community service work part of the Sunday school program. Help them organize a food or toy drive. Research community service projects with them during class. For example, the teens might be able to deliver food to the elderly or help clean up area parks and plant in community gardens.
6 Allow teens to take the lead. You'll still need an adult there to manage the chaos, but consider allowing the teens to lead the prayers, come up with the day's activities and take charge of bringing snacks or treats.
7 Make the dress code informal. It's hard enough to get teens out of bed on a weekend morning -- let alone force them to put on their "Sunday best." You might gain some interest if you tell teens that they can dress casually, as long as it's not inappropriate. For example, you might want to ban tank tops and short shorts in Sunday school.
- Start Sunday a little later in the morning. If your Sunday school takes place during worship services at 8 a.m., you might have a harder time getting teens to attend than you would if Sunday school was held at 10 a.m. instead.
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