How to Preach: When Your Gifting is Elsewhere

My Story:

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.

My Solution:

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).

The Message

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:

  1. 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…”
  2. Group report: different group does different questions
  3. Large group discussion
  4. Gender based questions
  5. Search and Destroy: Give them bad theology and verses to refute it, report back also:
  6. Reverse order: Give them the verses and see if they can create a better outline than you…
  7. 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).


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