Teens are a spiritually active segment of the American population, according to studies published by the Barna Group, a research group that studies the spiritual and faith practices of America. A July 2010 Barna study reports that Protestant teens pray, attend worship services, read their Bibles and attend faith-based youth group meeting more than teens a decade ago. However, the same study indicates that faith-based activities for Catholic teens are on the decline. Keep in mind that worship for teens can look different than worship for adults.
An October 2007 study from Barna Group reports that prayer is the most common spiritual activity of teens. Teens might express discomfort at praying aloud in public, but your teen could express a prayer need in a small group of teens, or simply pray privately to worship God. Many individuals in the Bible prayed for others, including Jesus praying for his disciples and future believers in John 17. Teens can pray for one another in a small group. They might continue praying for a fellow teen until the teen reports that God answered their prayers. Teens could also agree to intercede through prayer for their pastor, the church, parents, government leaders and those who suffered recent tragedies.
The October 2007 Barna study reveals that corporate worship, which involves attending church, as well as Bible study groups, youth groups and Sunday school classes, is the second most common spiritual activity for teens. They can read the Bible together in a group setting, as well as discuss the scripture and how to practically apply it to daily living. A teen who is willing to speak in public and studies the Bible can present the message in a worship service for teens. Teens are more likely to want to hear about topics that are relevant to them, such as teen sexuality, moral living and how to connect to God and put faith in action in their daily lives.
Relevant Faith in Action
The October 2007 Barna study also reveals that teens want ways to make their faith relevant in their lives. During the corporate worship experience, your teen can learn about ways to serve God and man. Suggestions in the worship message could include giving funds to ministries such as Heifer International, Save the Children, Water.org or other ministries that provide resources, including of healthy food, clean water, education and opportunities to increase economic prosperity, to third-world communities. On a local level, the message could encourage teens to get involved with church outreach to the homeless and needy, assist with children’s Sunday school or volunteer in hospitality or other service ministries at church. Serving others is a relevant way for teens to worship God.
Some teens prefer contemporary music and worship formats to the traditional sacred music common in many churches. Praise and worship music could encourage some teens to reach for a deeper connection with God. Your teen could add liturgical dance or sign language interpretation to more fully participate in the music portion of worship. If your teen has a musical talent, she could share it with others in worship through singing or accompanying a service with music.