Ministry Bible classes attempt to teach young people what God wants them to know. How often, though, are we equipping them to interact with seekers and doubters…even scoffers, without damaging their own faith in the process? How much time do we spend teaching them effective ways to share their faith…ways that don’t end with them getting in a bitter argument with the person they are trying to teach? There’s a fun way to do both. In the process, they can also strengthen their own faith by examining why they believe what they believe.
Depending on the level of Bible knowledge and spiritual maturity of the young people in your Bible class, frame a question. You may want to start with a rather innocent, “How do you know God is real?” Or “Who was Jesus?” More experienced teens might be able to handle tougher questions like “Why would a loving God allow suffering in the world?” Once you’ve done this a few times, students may want to explore questions they have heard or read.
Give students materials to prepare what they want to say. Include apologetics materials…in fact this would be a good activity to pair with lessons on apologetics. At first, the teacher should respond as an average person asking that question might to the points students make. Eventually students may want to take turns playing the questioner.
After students have attempted to answer the question, discuss the various responses and approaches to answering the question. Which ones were most effective? Why might some have done more harm than good? How could they improve upon the dialogue if it happened again? This analysis is almost as important as the exercise itself, so be sure and allow enough time for it.
As students become better at sharing their faith and fielding questions and objections, shorten the amount of prep time you give them before the conversation. The goal is to have them so familiar with scripture and apologetics that they can give at least a basic answer to common questions without any prep time.
Don’t overuse this activity, as it may prove too difficult for some students…even with practice. For most though, having regular practice sessions can better prepare them to share their faith with others.