Why We Need to Get Back to The Sunday School Answer


Every youth pastor can share frustration about students only offering up Sunday School answers during small groups or discipleship groups. Many Sunday School lessons or small group curriculum are written as a time of question and (one-word) answer instead of helping students to engage in conversations.

While I can completely share in these same frustrations at times, these aren’t my greatest frustrations when it comes to students’ answers in groups.

Not only are Sunday School answers simple one-word answers from students, but they also are the ones that students repeat over and over again. The reason students repeat the same answers over and over again are because most questions are written to be answered by those same answers.

“Over the years in youth ministry, I feel like the Sunday School answers have changed. The go-to Sunday School answer over the past several years has seemed to morph into “God’s glory.” While I’m all about God being glorified, I believe that the vintage Sunday School answer better clarifies and personifies God’s glory: JESUS CHRIST.”

I want to share with you many reasons why I believe we should get back to the Sunday School answer of “Jesus.” But first, I want you to know that I believe not only every Sunday school answer, but also every lesson, sermon, study, devotion, event, and trip should ultimately culminate in Jesus. Jesus should be the reason and the motivation for everything we say and we do.

“I am certainly not a Jesus-only student pastor, but I am Jesus-always!”

Here are 10 reasons why I believe we need to get back to Jesus as the Sunday School answer.  Continue reading

How To Figure Out What You Believe

Sometimes its just plain difficult to figure out what you believe. As I’ve been taking my teenagers through the book of Revelation the past couple of months, I feel like my own views of the end times are changing in some ways. But I have to keep myself honest. Just because certain view points are logical, attractive, new, or different doesn’t make them right. This happens with so many different issues and viewpoints in life. Where do you stand when it comes to the gay marriage debate, abortion, war, justice on terrorism, etc. How do you figure out what you believe?

How do you figure out what you believe is really the wrong question. Its way too you-centered. People these days believe what they want to be true, not necessarily what they are convicted to be true. We may need less views and more convictions. Convictions tend to hold people more honest to their beliefs rather than just wishy-washy views. The right question is: How do you figure out what is true? Truth has been under attack for several years. Not just truths, but also the concept of the existence of absolutely truth has been attacked by the post-modernists. As gospel-centered Christians, we must believe that absolute truth exists because a true God exists who has revealed all truth. Absolute truth is ultimately found and fixed in Jesus Himself.

So finally, how do you figure out what is actually true? Out of all the options, viewpoints, debate arguments, and alternatives…is there any way to claim we have the truth in our corner? Here are five simple statements I take myself through and encourage our teens to do the same while they are searching for God’s absolute truth on the matter in whatever viewpoint or issue they are researching:

1. Base it on the Bible. Everyone bases their truth on something whether its history, science, the status quo, their personal logic, the Bible, etc. Every single one of those proves to be faulty in some way except for the Word of God. The Bible gives direct or indirect wisdom to all of “life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3-4). The Bible will speak to your question and give you direction on the viewpoint you are struggling through.

2. Ground it in the gospel. Everyone has a major theme in life that everyone comes back to. If its love, justice, law and order, the good of humanity, or reaching utopia, everyone is filtering their viewpoints through their major life theme. The Bible says our major life theme is the gospel and glory of Jesus. So make sure your theme is supported by the gospel of Jesus. How does His person, character, obedient life, sacrificial death, powerful resurrection, ruling Lordship, or triumphant return to speak to it?

3. Preview whole passages. There will be heavy chunks of Scripture that address your confusion more than others. Find that section of Scripture, read the context before, after, and surrounding it. Follow the author’s flow of thought. God will bring His truth to light.

4. View other verses. Everyone can easily make a new doctrine or truth from any verse ripped out of context. You must make sure your viewpoint from Scripture is supported by other verses in the Bible as well. Let Scripture interpret Scripture.

5. Questions smarter Christians. Lastly, go to those other Christians who are smarter, more mature, seasoned, trustworthy, and who obviously love Jesus and His Word. Sit them down, buy them a a coffee, and let them hear you out. Your questions, your thoughts, and your struggles in the matter. Then hear them out, and have a real conversation as you discuss the issue exhaustively. The more important the issue, the longer and deeper the conversation. Pray through it together.

The way to be a Christian of conviction and not with shallow views, think it all through fully and biblically. Learn how to love God with your mind.

Youth Group Truth: Chip Dean’s Blog

chipmic2Chip Dean is the Global Student Pastor over all 3 campus Student Ministries at Liberty Baptist Church in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia.

“My goal is to SEND out GOSPEL-centered, RELATIONAL students who make DISCIPLES on MISSION with Jesus.”

This blog is all about sharing the resources from my years in Student Ministry. There are 10 years, all 66 books of the Bible, all 13 major Christian doctrines, over 25GB’s of info, and over 5,000 files to be downloaded.

If you would like all of these files more easily downloaded in one place on DropBox, email me at cdean@libertylive.com. 

Here are other places you can follow Chip and his Student Ministry: Continue reading

Gospel-Centered Discussion Questions for Discipling Teens

The #1 thing God has been convicting me of in the last year concerning my ministry is the lack of discipleship. So for about the past 12 months I have been asking tons of people questions, reading articles, looking through books, studying the Word, praying, and thinking through the best and most biblical way to disciple teens. In the process, I have learned so much about what it means to disciple. It’s not a clipboard with a list of questions, but an on-going conversation. It’s not just accountability, but it’s deepening in the gospel. It’s not a Sunday night class, but it’s doing life together. It’s not just a weekly meeting for coffee, but it’s a daily invitation into each other’s lives.

I feel like I’ve learned so much, but I have even more questions when it comes to discipling teens. I want to keep this article brief and focused on understanding conversations and questions in gospel-centered discipleship. I think the big question that most youth pastors are begging to be answered is…what do we talk about on a weekly basis during intentional discipleship discussions with teens? I’ve become increasingly convicted and convinced that our discipling conversations must revolve specifically around the gospel of Jesus! So here is the gospel-centered discipleship discussion flow and questions I’m currently thinking through…

1. Jesus’ obedience: Our identity and acceptance.
Because of Jesus’ sinless and perfect obedience to His Father by fulfilling all the law, the Father was fully pleased with His performance. When we are saved, we are united with Jesus. Therefore, we share in Jesus’ perfect identity, full satisfaction from the Father, and absolute acceptance. Teenagers need to be constantly reminded of their identity and God’s satisfaction and acceptance for them. Here are some questions I like to ask when it comes to this: How are you finding your true identity in Jesus? Do you believe that God is fully satisfied with you through Jesus? How do you live differently knowing that you have God’s full approval of acceptance? Have you been trying to find your identity in anything or anyone else over the past week? Have you been seeking anyone else’s satisfaction or acceptance for you more so than enjoying God’s? These questions are huge to start off with because they are the reminder off the bat that we are working from God’s acceptance and not for it! Continue reading

CBSM Small Groups: The Apostle #4

CBSM Small Group Leaders:
Here are your discussion questions for a successful small group session with your students for this Sunday!
The Apostle Small Group Questions 4.doc
You can listen to the sermon again at http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/maximum-life-pastor-zach-terry/id111108397

sermon intro video: “doctrine of providence – what is God’s will for my life?” (week 2)

This video is of one of our students who is graduating with tons of tough questions about life and his future to be answered.