I’m often asked to recommend tools and resources for discipling teenagers. And, well, there are three resources I find myself recommending over and over again.
So today, I want to take a second to give you a look at those three resources (a method for sharing the Gospel, a Bible, and a 30-day devotional) and tell you why I like them so much.
Here they are…
BASED ON A TRUE STORY, by James Choung
Before we can talk about discipling teenagers, we should first talk about exposing them to the Gospel. Because that’s kind of the first step.
Based on a True Story is a resource created by James Choung that outlines a particular method of sharing the Gospel story. Our church absolutely loves it.
I love it because it shares the Gospel through story and through images.
And I love it because it gives a bigger view of the Gospel and the story of God than most of the other methods I’ve seen.
We train all of our Small Group Leaders on this method and we’ve used it to share the Gospel in our large group teaching environments, too.
I could try to explain it, but let’s just let James show you what he’s come up with…
Here’s what we say to our Small Group Leaders about it:
Before we can begin to disciple students, we may need to share the story of Jesus with them first. With every new generation, it’s essential that the Church examines its effectiveness in delivering the good news of the Gospel. While Jesus never changes, the way we invite people to know, trust, and follow Him should be able to change and flex over time. At The Chapel, we’ve identified an approach to sharing the Gospel that we love and believe in – and that we believe inspires and connects with this generation of people (and teenagers, specifically).
Too often, our former methods of sharing Jesus have communicated only a small part of the story of God and, as a result, may even distort the message of Jesus. By telling students about God’s Big Story, we hope to better capture their imaginations and hearts, while presenting the story of God’s grace and redemption as fully and relevantly as possible.
And then, to train our Small Group Leaders on “The Big Story” method, we do 3 things:
#2 We walk through the The Big Story with them (pictures and everything!) and explain why we think it’s important.
#3 We direct them to this video of our pastor walking through The Big Story during one of his messages (skip to around 28:00).
You can check out more videos and resources on James’ website.
IGNITE: The Bible for Teens
This Bible is brand new, but it’s already my favorite.
First, let’s just talk about how freaking cool it looks. I don’t know about you, but when I was a teenager, that was a pretty big deal. Maybe you were holier than I was and didn’t care about this. But if I was going to take my Bible anywhere in public as a teenager, it needed to look sweet. And this Bible is awesome.
Second, this Bible is packed with really fun, creative, and helpful tidbits for teenagers who are trying to figure out how in the world to read the Bible, and how it could possibly apply to their everyday lives. Take a peek at this picture, for example. Look at all those fun little snippets! And how about the simple little fact that the Table of Contents is in alphabetical order? Like… why doesn’t every Bible do that?
And third, this Bible was crafted by people who know teenagers. Mark Oestreicher is the mastermind. And a bunch of other youth ministry geniuses contributed, too, like Jeremy Lee, Brooklyn Lindsey, Scott Rubin, and Tamara Rice. These people are some of my heroes. No joke.
ENJOY THE SILENCE: A 30 Day Experiment in Listening to God, by Maggie & Duffy Robbins
I love this devotional, guys. My (now college-aged) small group girls actually just brought it up a few days ago. We went through it between their 8th and 9th Grade years and they’re still talking about how much it helped them.
The wonderful thing about Enjoy the Silence is that its sole purpose is to teach students how to read the Bible and how to hear God speaking through it. Maggie and Duffy introduce students to the concept of lectio divina (“divine reading”) and then spend the rest of the 30 days helping their readers simply put it into practice.
No long commentaries from the authors. Just Scripture, and some help figuring out how to read it and hear God through it.
Teenagers spend 30 days learning how to practice lection divina (reading, listening, meditating, and praying through Scripture). And then, when the 30 days are over and they’ve got the hang of it, they can keep engaging the Bible, on their own, without the help of a devotional.
So those are my 3 favorite resources for discipling students. What are your go-to’s? Share them in the comments!