Many of our Teach One Reach One Ministries resources are developed from things we learn actually working with young people and their parents. One of the dynamics we noticed relatively early was first seen when we were working with at risk youth. As we worked with other teens, however, we noticed many from “good Christian homes” were also struggling with this aspect of living a Christian life.
Many children and teens who attend church are being taught lessons from the Bible. They may even be taught how to apply those scriptures to their lives. But that’s where the problem often begins. There is a difference between knowing what God wants you to do and actually knowing how to do those things. Young people can want to obey a command from God, but if they have never seen or been taught the skill sets necessary to obey that command, they can struggle with obedience for a lifetime.
For example, let’s say you are teaching a Bible lesson on godly conflict resolution using the story of Cain and Abel. Your students can probably understand murder doesn’t fall within God’s parameters for godly conflict resolution, but anything beyond that is probably hazy at best. Unless the young person has observed and actually been actively taught and given guided practice in godly conflict resolution, they are left to try and figure it out based on what they see in their environment or what “feels” right to them.
As we found the need to be so widespread, we decided to develop a Christian Life Skills Bible class curriculum. The lessons take longer than the average Bible class lesson. Instead of one longer class period, however, they are designed so you can easily break each lesson into two separate class periods. Each lesson consists of an introductory activity that introduces students to the topic in such a way that they can recognize the need for the skill in real life.
The Bible lesson is on a topic, like conflict resolution, that also follows a unit theme. The lesson contains both Bible stories and scriptures outside of the context of a Bible story. This gives students two ways to learn, understand and remember what God wants them to know. The second half or session of the lesson involves teaching young people specific skill sets and giving them guided practice in those new skills whenever possible. Depending upon your group of students, you may want to extend the skills training and practice in any areas with which they are really struggling in their lives.
Finally, each lesson contains an application challenge. It is designed to encourage students to review the scriptures discussed again at home and take some concrete action based on what they have learned. They are also a great way to create a follow up loop with students to encourage them to practice what they are learning in class during their time outside of class.
While the curriculum is still in development, five fifteen lesson units are available online. Since each lesson takes approximately two class periods, that’s at least two and a half years of curriculum already online! Best of all, it is free! Our generous donors have made it possible for you to have free access to the curriculum, because we all believe it fills a critical gap in the spiritual education of young people. (Although developed with teens in mind, it can easily be adapted for use with older children.)
You can find the Living the Christian Life Teen Curriculum here. Keep checking back as we add the final lessons to complete the curriculum. We hope you find it enhances your ministry to young people. Please feel free to share the link with others who may benefit from using the curriculum in their ministry.