How To Teach Systematic Theology to Students


Here are my personal thoughts on how to teach Systematic Theology in Student Ministry:

Make sure that Every Lesson, Session, and Doctrine are Fulfilled in Jesus. There is no such thing as biblical truth that does not lead to or center on Jesus. Remember, there were a group of people that taught Bible truths absent of Jesus: the Pharisees. Today there are a huge group of people that continue to teach truths absent of the Gospel: Legalists. Truth is not understood in depth or fulness if it is not connected to Jesus.

Teach Systematic Theology to your whole Student Ministry. Don’t just teach Systematic Theology in a book study or small group study. I highly suggest teaching Systematic Theology to your whole during Wednesday worship service or in Sunday morning Small Groups. I believe every student needs to learn from both Biblical Theology and Systematic Theology. Biblical Theology is the foundation to the best understanding and teaching of Systematic Theology. Some students learn better in narrative (literature, Biblical Theology) while others learn better in logic (mathematics, Systematic Theology). I believe a healthy view of both will help round-out a students theological understanding of Scripture. But also, preaching and teaching Systematic Theology to your whole student ministry will help you be accountable to communicate it with more illustration and application.  Continue reading

Do Not Teach Students Systematic Theology If…


I love Systematic Theology. Seriously, I read the stuff for pleasure. Systematic Theology has been my most favorite classes, conversations, and  lessons to teach. I have seen Systematic FIRE UP students, but I’ve also seen it tear down relationships. Here are some thoughts on “Do Not Teach Students Systematic Theology If…”

First of all, we must answer the question, “What is Systematic Theology?” Think of playing a sport. Sports is not all about the game, but also includes practices. During those practices, coaches will separate out positions from one another to focus on their roles. The same can happen in an orchestra or band as the leader separates out instruments into proper sections for more intentional focus. In the same way, Systematic Theology is the separating out of Christian doctrines from the Scriptures to focus on them individually.

Just like in sports, the point of the separation in practice is for the unity of the team during the game. In music, the point of the separation is the harmony during the performance. In Systematic Theology, we must remember that the point of the separation is ultimately for the unity and harmony of all truth in Scripture that plays its part perfectly together  display the glory of the Gospel. Do not teach students Systematic Theology if you do not wish to bring it back all together for the sake of the Gospel!  Continue reading

Framework #15 – MACRO Theology – Doctrine of Sin

Files for Youth Pastors:

08 – Sin (mp3)

08 – Sin (ppt)

08 – Sin (fillout sheet)

“Simon says, ‘Read this blog.’”  Yeah, I love playing Simon Says with students.  I don’t do it often because it gets old and the students learn all my tricks very quickly.  “Simon says, ‘Raise your arms in the air.  Now put your arms down.’”  Those who raised their arms in the air stay in the game, those who put their arms down are out of the game.  My personal favorite is “Simon says, ‘Jump up.”  That’s a sure fire way to put everyone out of the game…because Simon never said to come back down!  When thinking through the doctrine of sin, we must understand that an unsaved person is a slave to sin and will do whatever sin tells them to do.  Continue reading

Framework #01 – Overview of Systematic Theology – Ephesians 4:11-16

Free files for youth pastors:

01 – Systematic Theology Overview – Eph 4:11-16 (mp3)

01 – Systematic Theology Overview – Eph 4:11-16 (handout)

01 – Systematic Theology Overview – Eph 4:11-16 (ppt)

01 – Systematic Theology Overview – Eph 4:11-16 (Study Notes)

01 – Systematic Theology Overview – Eph 4:11-16 (Sermon Notes)

Do you ever get tired of the same old, same old when it comes to youth curriculum?  I don’t know about you, but I get so frustrated with the low expectations writers and publishers have on teenagers.  Do they think teenagers aren’t studying British Literature, Calculus, Geography, Physics, Chemistry, Advanced Grammar, Western Civilization, etc?  If these students are studying those tough courses in school, no wonder they are bored in church with the shallow and watered-down lessons, studies, and sermons we give them!  Continue reading

Framework #19 – MACRO Theology – The Theological Triage

Free files for youth pastors:

12 – Theological Triage (ppt)

12 – Theological Triage (mp3)

12 – Theological Triage (handout)

When I was visiting some people in the hospital last week, I noticed a college aged girl who was walking in a group of people…but she was limping pretty badly.  I guess it didn’t throw me off to badly since I had already seen one patient walking around in a construction hard-hat and another walking around in furry-bunny slippers.  A minute or two after the group had passed, the girls came walking back towards us again, this time all by her lonesome.  She stopped and asked me if I knew where the emergency room was.  Apparently, this girl had been walking around the hospital with a torn ACL…looking for the emergency room!  She definitely needed immediate attention since her knee was swollen to the size of a honeydew melon.  But what if someone walked in with a gun-shot wound, or a woman in labor, or someone vomiting, or someone with diarrhea (yeah, I’m going to stop there)?  Which one should get attention first, second, third?  Hospitals have developed a system for these kinds of dilemmas called “triage.”  Triage comes from a French word meaning “to sort.”  And this system will help us theologically. Continue reading

Framework #18 – MACRO Theology – Doctrine of the End Times

Free files for fellow youth pastors…

End Times (ppt)

End Times (fillout sheet)

End Times (mp3)


Right now our church is working on a revival in November.  We as a church staff have gotten together and made plans, we’ve called the evangelist who’s coming, we’re talking to schools in the area to get him in, etc.  Notice how we first wanted to have a revival here, then next we put plans in place to have it.  From before the beginning of creation, God’s first thought was how He wanted all eternity to look, and then He put His plans in place to make it happen.  Eternity isn’t just the last thing on God’s list, but it was the very first thing on His mind.  Continue reading

Framework #17 – MACRO Theology – Doctrine of the Church

Free files for my fellow youth pastor friends…

10 – Doctrine of the Church (ppt)

10 – Doctrine of the Church (handout)

10 – Doctrine of the Church (mp3)



I close friend told me a story once where he was playing golf with an unbeliever on a Sunday evening since his church had canceled the worship service for that night.  He simply remarked to his friend on the course, “It just doesn’t feel like Sunday right now to me.”  His unbelieving friend turned his head and replied back, “Why, because you don’t have to go to church tonight?”  Is that the way we are tempted to think about the church?  Is it a place that we have to go?  It is a just requirement in our life?  Should it be a people rather than a place? Continue reading

Framework #16 – MACRO Theology – Doctrine of Salvation

Free files for youth pastors:

09-salvation (ppt)

09-salvation (handout)

09-salvation (mp3)

I stood there almost lifeless from the aftershock of what I had just heard.  I was recently at an FCA gathering of students at a local high school and heard the speaker say, “Everyone bow your heads, close your eyes, and repeat this prayer after me.  Heavenly Father, I know that I am a sinner.  I know that You say if I confess with my mouth and believe in my heart, then I will be saved.  I do.  Thank you for saving me.  Amen.”  Then the speaker asked everyone who said the prayer to tell the youth leaders in the group that they just committed their life to Christ.  WHAT?!  No one knew what this guy was going to pray.  I even heard youth pastors repeating the prayer!  Is this real salvation?  Is this all God expects?  Is it just this easy?  I’m still shocked! Continue reading

Framework #14 – MACRO Theology – Doctrine of Humanity

Free files for my fellow youth pastor friends…

07-humanity (ppt)

07-humanity (handout)

07-humanity (mp3)



To start off our discussion on the doctrine of humanity right, try answering this quiz:

1. In order to humanly live as God intended for us, our best example is Adam (before sin). T or F

2. It would be unbiblical to say that humanity is the most precious part of creation to God because His Son is most important to Him.  T or F

3. Pick A or B:

A. Before the creation of the world, God’s ultimate desire was that He would have people to love.  So He created them and sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, to die for them after they fell into sin so that now those who believe in Jesus can live with God forever and rule over His creation for all eternity.

    B. Before the creation of the world, God’s ultimate desire was to glorify His Son, Jesus Christ.  Therefore, He created humanity so that Jesus could ultimately be their Savior and King Who would rule over all creation for all eternity.

Let’s see how you did.  (Answers: 1. F (Jesus is best human)  2. F (Jesus is not a creation)  3. B Continue reading

Framework #13 – MACRO Theology – Doctrine of Angels

Free files for youth pastors:

06 – Angels (ppt)

06 – Angels (mp3)

06 – Angels (fillout sheet)

Do you have any friends or family members who have thought they came into contact with some kind of angelic creature whether angel or demon?  I remember when one of my friends told me that he couldn’t go to sleep the night before because he sensed the presence of Satan in his room. In the middle of the night, he had to yell for his dad to come into his room because he was so afraid to get out of bed.  He was about 21 years old at the time.  A few years later, I remember hanging out with an unsaved friend of mine on Halloween night.  We were in my room listening to the radio station that was broadcasting priests going into a house of a demon possessed family to exorcize the demons.  I remember thinking about it, and quickly turning off the radio after realizing that he could become possessed since he was unsaved. Continue reading