Using movement to engage teens

Like many congregations, mine uses a traditional educational hour or Sunday school format. This means that our junior high and high school students meet separately for 45-minutes each on Sunday mornings.

I love the opportunity this time provides for interaction with students.

What I don't love is how asleep teens are at 10 am on a Sunday – exhausted after a full school week, an equally scheduled Saturday, and an evening out with friends or family. As a result, I often see a room of teens whose eyes are only partially open or whose eyes often appear glazed over.

One simple strategy for combatting this is to get teens moving.

Certainly, you can do this through games. The problem, though, is that we often use games as our openers, something that keeps teens awake for the first 10 minutes we're together but not necessarily after that, once the teaching or discussion begins.

So, find ways to incorporate movement into your actual teaching time as well. One simple way to do this is to utilize an activity that I call Walk Across the Room.

During Walk Across the Room, have all students stand and move to one side of the room. Then read a subjective statement related to your teaching topic that asks kids to walk across the room if they agree with the statement. As you lead this activity, force teens to make a decision. There is no middle-ground for people.

Read the rest of this article here. 

Jen Bradbury on Youth Ministry

Jen serves as the Minister of Youth and Family at Atonement Lutheran Church in Barrington, Illinois. A veteran youth worker, Jen holds an MA in Youth Ministry Leadership from Huntington University. Jen is the author of The Jesus Gap: What Teens Actually Believe about Jesus (The Youth Cartel), The Real Jesus (The Youth Cartel), Unleashing the Hidden Potential of Your Student Leaders (Abingdon), and A Mission That Matters (Abingdon). Her writing has also appeared in YouthWorker Journal, Immerse, and The Christian Century. Jen is also the Assistant Director of Arbor Research Group where she has led many national studies. When not doing ministry or research, she and her husband, Doug, and daughter, Hope, can be found traveling and enjoying life together.

More about Jen

Jen's Books

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A Mission That Matters: How To Do Short-Term Missions Without Long-Term Harm

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Now Available!

Unleashing the Hidden Potential of your Student Leaders

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The Real Jesus

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The Jesus Gap

What Teens Actually Believe About Jesus

Based on National Research

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