youth ministry, youth worker, student ministry

How To Teach Students

By Doug Franklin March 16, 2010

For most of us our core program is small groups. The key to a successful small group is the leader.  Small group leaders tend to be good at relationships but often struggle when it comes to teaching. Teaching is tough and not many of us have lots of teaching experience before starting in a small group. Here are a few tips I like to share with small group leaders:

1. Be Passionate
Students are attracted to people who are passionate. When we teach with burden and excitement students see that the subject means something to us. When we just try and get through the material they know we don’t care. Passion comes from who we are, so encourage small group leaders to use their strengths to teach. Also encourage them to be prepared; you can’t communicate passion unless you know what you are talking about.

2. Be Demanding
I started every year of small groups by telling my guys that small group time had an agenda – to see them grow spiritually. I promised them that I would give it my all and I asked them to engage. I told them if they didn’t engage that I would just ask them to wait outside until we were done and that all would be forgiven and forgotten afterwards. I ALWAYS followed through. If a student was not going my way, they were out and afterward I would hug them and tell them that I loved them. Demand your students follow you, and be a leader worth following.

3. Be Outrageous
This comes from preparation and passion. Teach with objects, go on field trips or show video clips but whatever you do don’t do the same thing twice. Most of our small groups are predicable and that makes them boring. Challenge your small group leaders to do some crazy (but safe) teaching.

4. Be Real
You are a transactional teacher when you follow the script. You become transformational when you share your personal story. I always asked my small group leaders to use illustration from their own lives. This will make you real and your faith honest.

About the Author

Doug Franklin

Doug Franklin is the president of LeaderTreks, an innovative leadership development organization focusing on students and youth workers. Doug and his wife, Angie, live in West Chicago, Illinois. They don’t have any kids, but they have 2 dogs that think they are children. Diesel and Penelope are Weimaraners  who never leave their side. Doug grew up in…  Read More