How Teens Can Contribute Right Away

How Teens Can Contribute Right Away

One of the joys of pastoring has been seeing teens come to faith in Christ and desiring to serve in the church. But they often need guidance to know how they might contribute. Here are a few valuable ways teens can participate at church meetings right away:

1. Teens can greet people.

It’s understandable to want to group up with friends upon arrival — we all have this tendency — but it’s so important to mix in with all the believers, say “hello” with a smile, shake hands, and hug an older lady or two who will particularly love such affection from a younger generation. This kind of welcoming spirt is Christ’s will (cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:26; 1 Peter 5:14; etc.) and brings warmth and unity to the church.

2. Teens can help young parents with their little children.

Young parents might have had a difficult time just getting there, so when a teen comes over and takes that child off mom’s hip (staying within sight of the mom) so that she can get herself and the other kids settled in, she will rejoice. Even taking just 15 or 20 minutes after the meeting and playing with a toddler is a way to free up that mom and dad to get a little more fellowship than they would have experienced if they had to keep a constant eye on their little one.

3. Teens can participate eagerly in the main weekly meeting.

I can imagine teens almost leading the way in this — singing joyfully and listening eagerly when the Bible is read and taught. They can do that! As a Bible teacher, I’m often heartened as I look out and observe young people sitting up with their Bibles open, even making eye contact with me. I’ve also noticed that sitting in the front, though not required, typically promotes active participation.

4. Teens can speak up in Bible studies and prayer meetings.

It’s not only grown-ups who have valuable insights in an interactive Bible study. The Holy Spirit gives light to all believers as they meditate on Scripture. What teens have to say really matters and will edify the group. And their prayers not only count as the much older believers, but their participation brings an almost unexplainable joy to the hearts of those in attendance.

5. Teens can give financially.

For years I have watched three teenagers (my children) open cards from grandparents on birthdays and at Christmas, so I know that teens often have some cash to give! And when a teen has a job, there’s no question he or she has something to contribute. We need to help teens to avoid thinking of this in a wrong way — as a forced, painful activity that will have them saying, “Well, since I’m a Christian, I guess I have to do this.” On the contrary, giving is a delight to the believer. As Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). Giving is a strategic, joy-filled way to take part in loving those in need and advancing the gospel.

6. Teens can serve in less glamorous ways.

In Romans 16, Paul mentions a couple of hard workers in the church in Rome — Mary (v. 6) and Persis (v. 12). We don’t know what they did specifically to earn that reputation, but they exhausted themselves in service to the church. How can teens follow their example? They can arrive early and help with the set-up. If the meeting included a meal, they can grab a wet rag and wipe down the tables, and take out the trash. Basic acts of service like this aren’t glamorous, but they honor Christ just as much as a sermon or a solo.

7. Teens can reach out to the children, especially with the gospel.

The children in the church look up to the teens. They think they are cool and funny. They probably aren’t cool, and only might be funny, but the point is that younger children typically feel this way about the “older kids.” This is an open door for the teens to show them that they care for them, particularly their souls. Believing teens should take an interest in the lives of the younger children, kick the ball around the yard with them, and, eventually, try to talk to them about Jesus. If nothing else, a teen can tell about his or her conversion to Christ.