Help your teen find a church group that she enjoys.

How to Get a Teenager Interested in Church

by Shelley Frost

Waking up early and sitting through church services isn't always high a teen's priority list. Since your teen is likely becoming increasingly independent, forcing him to participate at church might just alienate him from you and the church. However, a more subtle and strategic approach, like stepping up your own church participation and letting your teen know what the church has to offer him, can spark his interest in the church and provide better results.

1 Evaluate the church itself to determine if it is a teen-friendly environment. If you aren't particularly invested in your church community, checking out different worship options might help you find a church that is appealing to teens. For example, some churches offer services run by teens, or enlist young adults to reach out and talk to teens after a service. Also, some churches feature contemporary Christian music at the service that might appeal to your teen.

2 Attend church services. You might also join a Bible-study group, participate in church fundraisers and/or join committees to model your own involvement in church. Seeing you build connections and enjoy your religious experience might inspire your teen to follow your lead.

3 Discuss the different participation options available at your church with your teen. Let her know about Sunday school, youth groups and Bible-study groups that target teens in the congregation. Your teen might not realize what options are available to her beyond the basic church services.

4 Encourage your teen's friendships with other teens who attend church. If you can get your teen to join church youth groups, he is likely to meet and befriend teens who participate in the church. Since teens typically influence one another, if your teen surrounds himself with other teens who are actively involved in church, he might decide to participate as well.

5 Explore the ministry options your church offers that might appeal to your teen. For example, perhaps the church sponsors a ministry group that helps out at a soup kitchen or shelter. You could encourage your teen to join such a group. Your church might even offer summer mission trips to foreign countries. If these are available, you might want to discuss them with your teen as well. Serving others is a good way for teens to feel as though they are doing something positive and making a difference. Through service projects, they are also likely to meet other teens who want to serve God and others.

6 Ask the church's youth pastor to connect with your teen. A gentle nudge from someone other than you is sometimes effective. If the youth pastor is engaging and connected to the teens in the congregation, his contact with your teen may encourage greater interest in church.

7 Provide leadership and suggestions concerning the youth programs at your church. If the current teen Sunday school classes are boring, volunteer to teach, or offer suggestions to make them more appealing to teens. For example, suggest a switch to a discussion-based program instead of a teacher-directed lecture format for Sunday school. You might also offer to have the classes in your home and provide snacks for the teens.

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