How to Preach: When Your Gifting is Elsewhere
I was not formally trained in my early years of ministry to do much of “ministry.” That is, I had never taken a course in public speaking, homiletics or anything else that prepared me to speak in front of groups. I had given two sermons in front of my home church’s evening service, but other than that I did not speak publicly often. However, I was a social worker, and as a social worker I knew how to run groups and had some experience doing it.
Additionally, in my first paid youth ministry job, I worked 2 other jobs for 60 hours per week, making my schedule very tough to do Josh’s formal preaching schedule that FT’ers get to do. (I really wish I could have, often felt this was a disservice to my youth group.) So I developed this method to help me lead from a place of my strength.
Considering I was in a small church with combined Junior and Senior High, I decided to speak and then break into small groups. Home based small group ministry while not expressly frowned upon, was approached with great skepticism for this group. (Plus I didn’t have the resources to pull it off in my limited time at that church).
For whatever topic we are going to talk about, I develop an outline and power point to go over the lesson. I make sure in this I lay the context and any other information gets out there that will be required for the next part. I do this to both ensure my students, but also my leaders are fully aware of the context and any special words or theological terms that are in play.
From there I introduce small group time. I talk about the questions briefly (if needed) and break them up according to grade (s) and gender. I normally would keep to Jr/Sr high guys/girls for the size group I had. You may need to divide this more.
The Small Group
I would have taken the topic and made discussion group outlines for the leaders. These had questions that I wanted them to talk about, emphasizing both the topic and application. If I leaned harder anywhere, it normally was the application. I sometimes mixed this up:
- Get a group to act the scene out as if it were happening here and now. (Picture the scene of a couple of teens at the gates, one saved and one not… “why didn’t you tell me…”
- Group report: different group does different questions
- Large group discussion
- Gender based questions
- Search and Destroy: Give them bad theology and verses to refute it, report back also:
- Reverse order: Give them the verses and see if they can create a better outline than you…
- Difficult Journey: Give them a few bible dictionaries and other resources so they can get the answers themselves (and learn how to find answers for themselves).