Teens are spiritual seekers and often participate in small group activities, including Sunday school, to maintain social contacts, make a connection to God, learn about their faiths and explore issues that make that faith relevant. Greater than 50 percent of the teens involved in the church will disconnect either permanently or for an extended period of time from church life after age 15, according to a 2011 report from the Barna Group, a research organization that studies the faith and spiritual practices in the United States. Enjoyable Sunday school activities might keep these teens engaged longer.
Games are an enjoyable way to learn -- and can be an appropriate activity for a teen Sunday school class. Sword drills, where teens race to see who can find a Bible passage the fastest encourages teens to learn where to find each book of the Bible. Bible trivia questions following a lesson or as an icebreaker activity at the beginning of class encourage teens to study the Bible. Bible memorization games encourage teens to learn Scripture and reinforce the lessons from previous weeks.
Many churches are adding contemporary praise and worship music to services, but might not include popular contemporary Christian music teens enjoy. Sunday school can incorporate that music during the gathering time or as a part of a lesson. Teens can talk about the meaning of songs such as Kristian Stanfill’s “One Thing Remains,” Tenth Avenue North’s “Strong Enough to Save” or Third Day’s “Revelation.” Teens can incorporate liturgical dance with the music and present it as an offering during a worship service. The teens can sing Scripture or debut original Christian music that class members write.
Drama can make a story more memorable. Invite teens to dramatize a Bible story for presentation in class or create dramas about problems teen face and how to respond following godly principles. The teens could share the dramas with other Sunday school classes or in a worship service. Genres might include mime, puppets and live drama. Teens can incorporate improvisation, as well as critical thinking and problem solving, by acting out scenarios concerning common teen concerns, such as using alcohol or drugs, and resolving those issue through role playing. Teens can video the dramas and upload them to a social media site to share their message with other teens.
Teens want to be a part of service projects that have impact on real-world problems, according to the Barna Group. Teens can work together on service projects during the Sunday school hour such as helping collect and package school supplies or toiletries for a local shelter or to send across the world. They can make Bible crafts to raise funds to build a well through Water.org or send livestock to a third-world community. Service projects impacting their church could involve helping teachers in the children’s department, delivering meals to homebound church members or presenting a worship service at a nursing home or shelter.