I’ve heard some teenagers say, “I hate going to church because I never can remember everything.” Those students feel like every message is different with a different moral, a different truth, a different discipline, or a different skill to adopt to their life. On the other hand I’ve heard teenagers say, “I hate going to church because the preacher says the same thing every Sunday.” Honestly, I think they are both right…and both wrong. When we preach/teach to teens, we need to communicate the vastly different stories while always coming back to the same point…the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
I truly believe that no matter if we teach from the Pentateuch, the Historical books, the Poetical books, the Prophets, the Gospels, the Epistles, or from the Apocalyptic literature from John…we should be faithful to preach in those genres. We should not preach a poem in three emotionless points and make it sound like a how to manual. Neither should we preach an Epistle and rip it away from the situational context from which it was written. We should preach from each book, each genre, and each passage in a faithful way from the style in which it was written. That is where we get the differences of Scripture from. Preach a poem poetically, preach a story descriptively, preach apocalyptic literature mysteriously, preach an Epistle truthfully, etc.
But we should never leave the message, lesson, or sermon with there differences…or else we’ll make the students feel like they have so much to learn and it’ll never all sink in. What we must do is center each time of teaching and preaching around the gospel of Christ. Every passage points to the person of Christ. Every biblical context will be fulfilled in the larger context of the story itself: the work of Christ. How do we keep our teenagers from misunderstanding the unifying theme of all the Bible? We preach the gospel in every passage!
Isn’t this CHRISTIAN preaching after all? If we haven’t preached Christ and if we haven’t centered in on the gospel, then how are we being CHRISTian preachers? If you get a chance to read my Storyline blogs, every sermon is centered in on the gospel of Christ. If you take time to read my Framework blogs, every systematic lesson is pointed to the person of Christ. Transformation into the likeness and image of Christ is God’s goal for every time we open our mouths with an open Bible in our hands (Rom 8:29, Col 3:10).
The Apostles loved to preach the gospel of Christ in narrative. Check out passages like Acts 2:14-26, 3:11-26, 7:1-53, 13:16-43, etc. What am I saying? We must preach/teach the whole Scriptures. We must teach all the doctrines of the Word. We need to preach/teach people as…people. People are caught up in a storyline of life, so preach to them in the story of the gospel. Teach the vast different stories in all of the Bible, but with the harmony of the truth that focuses it all together: the person and work of Christ. Students love this, they yearn for this, they respond to this, they live this, they understand this, and they remember this.