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5 teen girls all from same school posing for a photo

Experience is the best teacher

Clark Schultz, author of 5-Minute Bible Studies for Teens, shares his perspective on the value of getting teens involved in the church as young people:

It is 1982 and Pastor Richard Pagels asks me, a fifth grader, to read the Gospel lesson for church. The following Sunday, 11-year-old Clark reads the prologue to John’s gospel.

Fast-forward to my vicar year at the seminary. It is my first week serving at St. Mark in Green Bay, Wis., a 1,000-plus-member church. My supervising pastor, John Parlow, lets me know he’s leaving for the weekend and I’m in charge. Gulp!

Let’s jump ahead again to my teaching days at Lakeside Lutheran High School, Lake Mills, Wis. While working through the book of Acts, the goal was to teach the teens what it meant to be part of the early Christian church, establishing churches and spreading the gospel. Taking a page from my mentors, I divided the students into groups to form their own churches. They brainstormed places where they could plant a church and then had to come up with an idea for sharing the gospel in that community.

For me, as for most, experience is the best teacher. Teens are not the future of the church; they are the church now. We need to look for creative ways to get them plugged in.

Read how two schools and a church are doing just that.

Bonus photos from this feature:

Grade school girl helping a toddler with a craft project
Two teen boys ushering at Heritage, Gilbert, Arizona
Photos: (Top) Members of the Kindness Task Force, New Hope Lutheran Academy, Melbourne, Fla.; a student at Wisconsin Lutheran School, Racine, Wis., helping a toddler at a community reading center; and young members of Heritage, Gilbert, Ariz., ushering during the congregation's Teen Service Sunday

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