In a recent class on teen service, I asked students for some unique teen service ideas. One congregation in Ukraine was doing something that could potentially be tweaked to also help some teens become more intentional about making their faith their own.
As the project is currently presented, it also has great potential to help teens begin to find God’s Plans for their lives and put together some of the pieces of their faith that they have learned over the years.
Currently, each teen takes a turn planing a service project for the entire teen class. They are responsible for researching a need in their community and bringing in a speaker who works in that area or understands the needs to educate them.
Then the teen helps develop the project the class will do to serve that group of people, while also sharing their faith. Because the teen is often passionate about serving that particular group of people, it gives them a way to develop relationships and experiment with ministering with the help and support of adult mentors and their peers.
Want to make it more of a capstone type project for older teens? Have them think about what they have learned over the years and show how the various scriptures, spiritual practices, etc. fit into the dynamics of serving these people and sharing their faith in an effective way. The process would include additional personal mentoring and asking the student to process deeper level thinking questions about their faith, what God wants from them and for them and how they see that working in their lives for the next few years.
Will these projects work for every teen? Probably not, as they will tend to attract teens who were already beginning to make their faith personal. What the projects can do though is jump start and/or clarify the ministries of the people who complete a capstone project.
The service projects can also help those teens who aren’t quite as sure about their faith, by exposing them to those who need to be served and to learn about Jesus. If the service projects are done well, they can also help teens deepen their faith through the preparation process, participating in the project and the reflection process at the end.
It will take extra work on the part of the adults involved with the teen ministry. If it can help any of the teens strengthen their spiritual foundations or reach their godly potential though, it’s more than worth it.