As a student pastor, there are a few things I run through when prepping for Wednesday nights or the occasional Sunday morning. I’m sure every student pastor has a list of some kind, but I would like to share a few thoughts that help me when I’m preparing a message for students…so here goes.
1. THEY WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU
I want you to feel the weight of that statement. I think we might have the tendency to read that and think, but I want them to hear from Jesus. Well that’s extremely super Christian of you and point well taken, but a majority of your students are not showing up on Wednesdays and Sundays to hear from Jesus…they simply don’t think that way. They’re there to hear the music, play the games, hear what you have to say, socialize with their “bros in bro tanks,” or hear about what’s coming up on the calendar.
I’m reminded of what Paul wrote to the church in Corinth…”follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” Your students are coming to hear you…your students care about what you have to say…therefore, you must follow the example of Christ and speak the words of Christ so they can follow you as you follow Him. If you are with Christ, then your students will hear from Christ…
2. BE CREATIVE
Allow me to preface this by saying this is probably my favorite part of preparing messages or a message series. I love designing logos and setting up rooms to match, but I also love finding scripture and allowing that to fuel my creativity. We can spend an unnecessary amount of time discussing the pros and cons of topical or expository preaching, but here’s what I believe…the Gospel knows no bounds. Whichever way you decide to go with a message or series, pick a direction and go with it. Stage design, lighting, logos, handouts, worship set…you can be as creative as you want with these things, or you can let someone else be creative for you.
Warning…you can be uber creative and still miss the importance of the Gospel. Be creative, but keep Christ at the center.
3. THE ROOM DOESN’T NEED ANOTHER PERSON TO WEAR A MASK
Fight the urge to be someone you are not in order to gain the ear of the listener. BE AUTHENTIC. Students can spot a fake, so while you’re preparing your message, make sure it is factual and make sure it is coming from an authentic heart.
Refer to my first point…they want to hear you! So if they are hearing someone who is trying to be someone they are not, they will either become fake with you or they will right you off.
4. WRITE IT OUT
Evernote, Penulitmate, or a journal, it makes no difference, but you should write out what it is you are trying to say. I understand this isn’t for everyone, but I believe this allows you to flesh out ideas as you find the single point you want your students to walk away with (FYI…if your students aren’t walking away with a single point, then you are missing it). I encourage you to write out what you want to say word-for-word.
Once you’ve done this…review…outline…teach!
Yes…it takes time to write or type it all out, but the rewards are great.
* Again, these are just thoughts that help me as I prepare. I don’t always get them right and sometimes I ignore them (to my own detriment), but hopefully you can find some use for these as I have.
WHAT HELPFUL TIPS WOULD YOU GIVE TO A YOUNG COMMUNICATOR IF YOU WERE HANGING OUT OVER COFFEE?