Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Book Report - Speaking to Teenagers

Yesterday I spent some time at the local DMV. Well actually I spent a lot of time (5 hrs and 45 min to be exact) and since I had so much time I was able to read my current book a lot. So here is my newest book report really early:

I remember a conversation I had once with a youth sponsor a number of years ago. It went something like this:
Mark – You like to teach a lot of facts to the kids
Sponsor – Yes, they need to know this information
Mark – So is information sharing the most important part of speaking to the kids?
Sponsor – Yes it has to be.
The interesting thing is this sponsor was raising four teenagers, but if you would talk to any of them they would have told you that the most important part of their life with their parent was the relationship that was fostered by the parent. It’s interesting what happens when you put someone in front of a group of kids – they change sometimes. Doug Fields and Duffy Robbins book, “Speacking to Teenagers” really helped me understand why this sponsor was wrong about how he spoke to kids but how right he was on how he was raising his own kids. There is so much more in this book than just what I learned from this sponsor’s life but I’ll limit it to two key thoughts.

The first key thought is something we all must stay focused on if we are to spend any amount of time with teenagers – relationships. “One of the pivotal elements of Christian communication is that it must be more than informational; it must be highly relational.” I love spending time with middle school kids, I desire to know them and to help point them to God’s truth in a practical way. Relationships help the kids and us to discover new things and to have an emotional connection with God’s truth. If I speak to kids in the context of a relationship then the opportunity for them to actually hear what I’m saying and act on what I am saying is much better.

The second key thought I had came when Doug & Duffy explained a strategy on how to prepare for a message and they used an acronym – S.T.I.C.K. This “S” stood for Study and the “T” stood for Think and these two ideas really stood out to me. I have always studied for a message but not in this way. I’m really excited about this idea as I think this will be an easier and more productive way of putting my messages together.

I really liked my sponsor and this sponsor had a heart for the kids, but when it came to speaking to them I didn’t like his way. Doug & Duffy has given me (and anyone who reads this book) a way to be just a little bit more prepared and ready to communicate God’s truth to kids in a way that will help them “get it.”

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