Many teens explore their faith and seek spiritual connections, according to a September 2006 study from the Barna Group, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization that studies the faith and spirituality of Americans. Churches can take advantage of a teen’s desire to exercise faith through service projects at or through the church, including participating in planning and organizing the worship service.
Teens are welcome to participate in worship service in various ways. The teen can contribute tithes and offerings, sing, pray, read the Bible and worship. Some churches welcome teens to sing in the choir or on the praise team, sing solos, play instruments to accompany the music and serve as ushers and greeters. A teen with American Sign Language skills can assist in interpreting the service for hearing-impaired congregants. If the church has a children’s sermon for young worshipers, a teen can volunteer to present the children’s sermon or pray with children who ask for prayer. Many churches have at least one Sunday a year designated as Youth Sunday where teens take responsibility for all aspects of the worship service.
Many churches have an active teen Sunday school class. Teens study the Bible and consider how to put their faith into action. The teen Sunday school class can undertake special projects such as assisting teachers in the children’s department, assisting to greet worshipers between Sunday school and church, cleaning the Sanctuary after Sunday service or helping to clean the church on Saturday in preparation for Sunday worship. The teen Sunday school class can also assist in keeping the church grounds neat, the grass cut and flower beds weeded.
Many churches have a teen youth group that meets weekly. The youth group can take on special projects that impact the local community and the world. Teens can raise funds for Heifer International to provide farm animals to combat poverty and hunger in poor villages. Teens can participate in collecting food and stocking shelves in the church food pantry or cleaning, mending and hanging clothes in the church clothes closet. Teens concerned about clean water could participate in raising money for Water.org, which builds water wells in poor communities that don’t have clean water. Teens concerned about kids could adopt a child through Save the Children to help build schools and feed children in poor communities around the world.
Many churches have outreach programs teens can participate in. Teens could take a summer mission trip to rebuild towns ravaged by natural disasters, and evangelize youth with multimedia presentations and children’s revivals. Teens could assist older members who need help with home repairs or yard work by working on supervised ministry teams. Teens can also volunteer to tutor at-risk children through a church ministry.