3 Simple Techniques to Help Students Think “Christian”
If you haven’t noticed, the western world is engaged in a political and cultural war. If you spend any time listening to talk radio, watching the news, or paying even the slightest attention to the political landscape you can’t help but think the other shoe is about to drop. Most of us haven’t seen anything like it.
But if you are a Christian youth leader or parent of a Christian teen then you have spent your fair share of sleepless nights wondering if they will be prepared for what is to come. The world is not just passively waiting for them, but coming straight at them. Have you done everything possible to get them ready?
Over the last several weeks I have been writing about students and the formation of their worldviews and how we, as their adult leaders, can walk them through the process of learning to see the world through a Christian lens and teach them what it means to, as T.S. Elliott would say, “think in Christian categories.”
But I haven’t said much in the way of the practicality of such a task. What can you do to help students navigate the latest Supreme Court decision, the latest Trump tweet, the latest in terrorist attacks, the implications of major world events like Brexit, or the newest—almost daily—cultural shift? How can you and your youth group keep absolute truth at the center of your teaching, keep students grounded in biblical values and morality, but also know how to confidently engage another without being the intolerant, bigoted, homophobic jerk, most people think Christians are?
Sheltering students is only good if sheltering means controlled exposure to the philosophies that run contrary to Jesus. Sheltering is only good if students experience calculated confrontations to worldviews different than their own. Let me offer three simple ways this can be done effectively.
1. Role Playing. Bring in a guest, or do it yourself, but role play another worldview or viewpoint on a particularly hot topic and allow one or more students to engage. Just be sure to pause every so often and offer necessary instruction or at the end of the role playing, provide a specific guided teaching on that subject. This kind of activity can give students useful interaction in real time with immediate feedback.
2. Hot Seat. This is one of my favorites. Have one student research at home a particular worldview or viewpoint on a topic. Put two chairs on stage and let the students interact as Christian vs. non-Christian, or point, counter-point. Make sure students don’t get angry. Have the audience analyze the conversation and offer discussion and critique. But again, always be sure to discuss the biblical viewpoint on every topic. This way students can see that the Christian worldview can face any objection.
3. Finally, The Art of Questions. Teach students to ask two critical and fundamental questions of every person they find themselves engaged with. What do you mean by that? And, How did you come to that conclusion? This is an excellent way to discover what a person believes and why they believe it. After thoroughly teaching your students how to use these questions effectively, set up a mini local mission trip to have students engage others.
If nothing else, your students will see the power of the Christian worldview at work and quickly come to realize that it stands against any worldview, as a force to be reckoned with.
Executive Director of AwanaYMSteve currently serves as the Executive Director of AwanaYM. Previously, Steve spent over a decade teaching high school theology and apologetics from Detroit to LA. Steve holds a Masters degree in Theology from Moody Theological Seminary and a Masters in Christian Apologetics from Biola University. Steve is also an adjunct professor at Trinity International University. He speaks and writes on youth ministry, youth culture and apologetics. He resides in Chicago, IL with his wife and four children.
Follow Steve Kozak on Twitter: stevenmkozak
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