Teenagers are perhaps the most challenging group to educate when it comes to discipleship. You may find it hard to break through and get the message across. Convincing them to be a part of the group may be even more daunting. At this age, youngsters are hardly interested in values and morals. They would rather spend time socializing online, meeting people offline, and doing their own thing. You cannot coax, coerce, or convince them into doing anything, no matter how hard you try. But great disciple-makers have creative ways to break the ice and melt the hearts of the most stubborn teens. Here are some tried and tested teen discipleship tips they rely on.
Accept the challenge
Discipleship is a long road, even more, when you pursue teens as your audience. You cannot force them to imbibe values and cultivate belief in faith. Expect it to be a daunting prospect, no matter how much effort you are willing to invest. Teens are different from little ones and adults, so you must accept the challenge and align your strategy to overcome it. Acceptance is half the battle won, so the sooner, the better.
Successful disciple-makers never give up, even when facing the most daunting challenges. When you encounter a bunch of rowdy teenagers, persistence is the only way to keep going. You may find the task difficult and exhausting because kids at this vulnerable juncture often refuse to grow and evolve. But patience and perseverance can help you wait for the right moment when the truth dawns on them. Be willing to wait because success may be just around the corner.
Ramp up your skills
You may be really good with the adult group at your church, but you will need a different skill set to handle teens. Consider upgrading your skill set with a formal discipleship training program that makes you better at your mission. You will gain a good knowledge and understanding of your role with this special education, so teaching young followers will probably get much easier.
Avoid showing your frustration
Handling a group of young people standing between childhood and adolescence is not a mean feat. You may experience immense frustration when traversing a distance that seems impossible. But showing your frustration will make things worse as it increases the gaps between the leader and the followers. You may even dissuade them enough to make them stop attending the sessions altogether. Be graceful and patient while waiting for things to change.
Strengthen your relationship
With teens, rewards come slowly despite the best efforts. But you must still do your best to strengthen your relationships with the young followers despite the lack of growth. Make every interaction meaningful and know the group better. Focus on laying the foundation of faith instead of changing them altogether in a few sessions. A positive relationship will keep them around until they learn and change.
Young followers are hard to disciple, but patience, perseverance, and commitment can help you achieve the goal. Take it easy, give your best, and leave the rest to God.