One of the things we need to teach our students, whether you are a student pastor, volunteer, or parent, is how to handle temptation in a Biblical way. The Bible has a lot to say about sin, temptation, and how believers should deal with it. During college I heard a pastor speak from Genesis 39:1-12 and he pointed out three things Joseph did when he was faced with sin. Those three things stuck with me for a long time so I decided to craft my own lesson around those three points found within the text.
I want to share that lesson with you as a freebie in hopes you can use it with your own students. I am sharing the teaching manuscript and PowerPoint presentation (and Keynote for Mac users) so you can download it and edit it to better fit your students. The lesson is called 3 Things To Do When Tempted. To summarize the lesson for you, Joseph did three things when he was faced with temptation: refuse, consider, and flee. These are three things our students can learn to do now as they face temptation. I believe these three simple, practical points will help students, and adults, handle temptation. Feel free to use this lesson any way that you see fit. I hope it helps you and your students better understand how to handle temptation.
With every job comes the demand to learn how to do certain things well. When it comes to being a student pastor there are a few things I believe you must learn to do well. I’m still pretty new to full-time student ministry myself, but I’m learning a ton of stuff along the way. Here are four things I am learning that I believe myself and other student pastors must learn to do well.
Teach well. I believe the most important thing students pastors must be good at is teaching God’s Word. Student pastors can build a program, plan great events, and build great relationships with students, but if they cannot teach the Bible effectively to students they will struggle. I’m not suggesting that they must be able to stand on stage and give the perfect expostional sermon, but they must know how to take the truths of God’s Word and teach them in a way that applies to the current culture of today’s teenagers. Students pastors must learn to teach the Bible well on stage to a large group of students as well as within one on one relationships with students. Student pastors must always be striving to be better teachers of God’s Word.
Work with people well. Ministry is about people and student ministry isn’t any different. Student pastors must learn to work well with all types of people. First, they must work well with the church staff. Nothing is worse than a young student pastor who thinks he knows how to run the church better than the rest of the staff. Student pastors must learn how to work well within the whole church staff. Second, they must work well with parents. Student pastors not only minister and serve students, but their parents as well. Third, they must work well with volunteers. A student ministry cannot be effectively ran by just the student pastor, it takes a team of volunteers. The student pastor must learn how to work well with these volunteers. Learning how to work well with people is very important in student ministry.
Program well. Don’t get me wrong, I know student ministry is much more than building a creative and attractive program, but that program is an important part. Student pastors must learn how to be good programmers. That means programming the mid-week or weekend services well, retreats well, events well, and other things we do in our student ministries. I know some student pastors are all about relationships and that’s great! Relationships are key to effective student ministry, but you cannot sacrifice building an effective program for the sake of only building relationships. Student pastors must learn how to program their student ministry well.
Study teen culture well. I hesitated throwing this last one in, but I believe it’s something student pastors must do well. To be a good missionary you must study the culture your going into. The church doesn’t just send missionaries into foreign mission fields without giving them time to learn the culture. It’s the same with student ministry, student pastors must see themselves as missionaries to students who have their own subculture. Therefore, student pastors must learn to study that culture well. How will a student pastor effective teach Biblical truth if they don’t know the culture they are applying it to? How can they build a relevant program if they don’t know what attracts and connects with teen culture? Student pastors must learn to study teen culture well. Studying teen culture isn’t hard, it just takes time. Click here to see a list of helpful tools I use to learn more about teen culture.
I know there are many things student pastors must learn to do well, but these are the ones I have been thinking a lot about recently. I would love to hear from you on this subject. What do you think are the most important things student pastors must learn to do well? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comment section below.
One topic I think we should continually address in student ministry is sex. Sex is an amazing gift that the enemy has taken and used for evil. Our students live in a culture that is saturated with sex and the pressure to engage in sex before marriage is huge. Our culture sees sex as a recreational activity and our students are buying into that lie. Our students need to understand what sex is and how God has design sex to take place between a man and a woman.
Both our middle and high school ministries did a series on sex and relationships this past month. It was a great series and I believe we communicated God’s truth about sex and relationships well. I hope every student pastor does at least one series a year on the topic of sex. It’s extremely important and our students need it. Here are a few things I believe are important to remember when teaching students about sex.
1. Be bold. Talking to students about sex can be awkward. It’s not only awkward for you, but at times it’s awkward for the students (especially if your teaching middle school students). Break through the awkwardness by being bold. Don’t be afraid to use the word “sex” or other words that come up in a conversation about it. Students have heard all the terms about sex and associated words, you’re not going to say anything they probably have not heard.
2. Keep the Gospel central. When teaching students about sex make sure the Gospel is clear. There are a few reasons this is extremely important. First, you don’t want to teach students that just being a moral person in regards to sex is ok. Many students believe that staying a virgin until marriage is the ultimate Christian teens goal. So instead of striving after Jesus they strive to reach the standard of being a virgin. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but the goal is not just to be a virgin. A student can still be a technical virgin, but still commit sexual immorality according to the Bible (more on that in a minute). Second, many students in your group will have already lost their virginity or have messed up sexually in some other way. These students need to hear the Gospel! They need to hear Jesus still loves them and He wants to forgive them. They may feel dirty, used, and broken, but God restores and wants to redeem their failure. One last thing, please be careful with the “dirty rose” illustration. Watch this video for more on that from Matt Chandler.
3. Define sex Biblically. One of my biggest pet peeves is when people define sex as just intercourse. According to Scripture sex is more than just intercourse. In Ephesians 5:3 the Greek word for sexual immorality is pornea, which covers all sexual activity outside of marriage. This includes heavy making out, oral sex, friends with benefits, and masturbation. Those are things that most students don’t consider sex. So if they do all of those things, but stay a virgin they think they are fine, but that’s a lie! God says sex is any form of sexual activity outside of marriage. Define sex Biblically when teaching students about it.
4. Have a time for genders to be both together and separate. Don’t be afraid to teach about sex in a mixed group. In fact, it may be a healthy thing to address sex with a mixed group of students. However, it’s also good to have a time where guys get with guys and girls get with girls to talk in more detail about sex. Have a balance and try and do both.
5. Address current trends. Make sure you relate the topic of sex to current trends in students culture. Help students see what God says about sex relates to how they use their bodies, social media, and other things. Hit things like sexting and Snapchat. Talk about how sex relates to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Take the truth of Scripture and help students apply it to their current culture.
6. Lastly, equip the parents. As good as it is for us to talk about sex with our students, the parents talking about it to them is more important. Encourage parents to have conversations with their student about sex. Help them do this by giving them whatever resources you can. Tap into things like CPYU and Focus on the Family for great resources on this topic. One of the things we did was offer a parent seminar for our parents about technology and how it’s being used by our students (click here to listen to the audio of that seminar).
Again, teaching students about sex is important. I hope these simple reminders will help you next time you address this issue with your students. If you have more additional thoughts, feel free to leave them in a comment below.
A few weeks ago we finished a series in our middle school ministry called “Made to Crave.” The whole idea of the series was to explain to students that we all have a desire for intimacy and we try and fulfill that craving through sex and relationships. What we find is those things still leave us feeling empty. The reason we are left feeling empty is because that craving can only be fulfilled by a intimate relationship with Jesus. God created us to crave Him and only He can truly fulfill us. I finished off the series by talking about three things students look for in sex and relationships that can only truly be found in Jesus. I want to share those three things and a few thoughts I shared with our students. So here are three things students crave that can only be found in Jesus.
1. Love. The most obvious thing students are looking for in sex and relationships is love. They want to find someone that will love them unconditionally. They crave that type of love. Unfortunately, the unconditional love they are craving cannot be found within human relationships. Sure, two humans can love each other, but it is still stained by sin. The unconditional love students crave is love that can only be found in Jesus. The Bible uses the Greek word agape, which is unconditional love that can only come from God. It’s a love that’s deeper and more real than any love two humans could ever have between for each other. Paul shares about this incredible love in Romans 8:38-39, “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
2. Acceptance. Not only are students looking for love, but they are also looking for acceptance. So they run to sex or a relationship because they want to feel accpeted. They want someone to love them and accept them for who they are. But because they fear someone will not like them for who they are, they change. They change their looks, what they wear, how they talk, who they hang around, and sometimes abandon their Christian faith, all for the sake of being accepted by someone of the opposite sex. They also will go to extreme lengths to cover their flaws and mistakes. Deep down they just want to find acceptance. This acceptance they are looking for can only be found in Jesus. Sadly, even when people get married acceptance is still at stake. That’s why some many couples get divorced, even Christian couples! One of them does something wrong or starts to act differently and the other person no longer accepts them.
In John 8 we read about a woman who was in adultery that Jesus accepted. The Pharisees brought her to Jesus and pointed out her sin. But what did Jesus do? He accepted her, the flaws and all. He didn’t condemn her, but accepted her and told her to go and sin no more. He didn’t make her change who she was or clean up her act before He accepted her. Students crave this kind of radical, real acceptance and it can only be found in Jesus.
3. Security. This is a big one. Students crave security and they try to find it in sex or a relationship. But what they find out is that even in those things there isn’t real security. If anything, their is a false security. Again, divorce is proof that security cannot even be found in most marriages. Students want to feel safe and secure so they give their bodies to someone else thinking that will make them feel safe. As if that person will love them and nothing can change that. Or they enter a relationship and find their security in that, but that all changes when the other person decides to end the relationship. Jesus offers total security within a relationship with Him. Jesus said in John 10:28-29, ““I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.”
Students are craving love, acceptance, and security. The bad news is they are running to sex and relationships to try and find these three things, but at the end of the day they are left empty and still searching. Jesus offers students love, acceptance, and security in a personal relationship with Him. The Gospel reminds us that we sinners and entered this world separated from God. But God sacrificed His own Son so our sins can be forgiven and the wrath of God absorbed. Christ took our sin and gave us His righteousness so we can be loved, accepted, and secure in a relationship with the One who created us. Point students towards Jesus!
Click here to listen to the audio of this entire message.
Over a year ago I wrote about three truths found in Jeremiah 29 that I believe should encourage Christians when they face trials. A few months after I wrote that post I crafted it into a sermon. I ended up preaching that sermon a few times to various audiences and it always goes over well. I want to share this sermon with you as a freebie and encourage you to use it however you wish.
The main idea of the sermon is God is sovereign over everything, included that trials you face in this life. Their is a reason He sends each of us through certain trials and trusting Him with that changes the way we go through them. Below you will find a link to download the teaching manuscript, PowerPoint presentation, and for Mac users I included a Keynote presentation.
Feel free to download this freebie and use it however you wish. You can edit the material and make it your own. Let me know if you end up using this freebie!