Point to Jesus this Christmas Teen's Ideas and Resources
Mel Lacy, director of Growing Young Disciples, an agency designed to support, equip and resource anyone and everyone who's seeking to raise the next generation for Jesus, gave us some ideas for our young people at Christmas during our recent Point to Jesus event (watch the full video here):
“Because lots of our young people are caught up in the consumerism and the materialism of the season, what we need to be doing is thinking early about what we're going to do, particularly during Advent. I think it's an easy period that's given to us that we can use well with our teenagers.
I think there are a number of things very practically we can do:
1 -Think about the music we can encourage them with. Our teenagers love music, and they're streaming music all the time. So, let's get some great Christian Spotify playlists going.
2 - Teenagers tend not to watch TV anymore, they spend lots of time on YouTube. So, get some YouTube playlists of little Christmas messages that they could watch, one every day.
3 - Is there a group of young people that you could read a book with? These would perhaps be slightly more thinking young people who are engaging and growing in their faith. You could read a book together over Advent. One that I'd suggest is The Christmas We Didn't Expect, by David Mathis.
4 - Think about how our teenagers can reach their peers. It's much easier for our young people to share their faith if they've heard themselves articulating it in advance, perhaps trying it with their own friends at Youth Group. We might give a little bit of our regular time with them week by week, to do some of the apologetic questions that emerge around Christmas.
5 - This is a bit more of a commitment, but particularly for churches that have paid youth workers, a 10- or 15-minute devotional with the young people every day during Advent on Zoom.
6 - Encourage other parents of teenagers and support them in their role of discipleship.”
Hannah Peace from Yorkshire Camps is used to spending time with a whole team of young people doing a Gap Year, at Netherside Hall, but has three teenage sons. She shared some great ideas for coming alongside their friends, and also supporting them as they reach out.
“A great low-key event you can plan is gingerbread house decorating. You can buy kits cheaply and they’re really great for teenagers. Just invite their friends over, they can eat loads of sweets! But a lot of people say to me they couldn’t talk about Jesus, but you really could. All you need to do is either say, “What do we all love about Christmas? I love Christmas because I love Jesus, and I'll just tell you why Jesus is so special to me…”, or just read the story of Jesus’ birth from the Bible and say, “We often think we know what happens in the Nativity, but actually, let's read what actually happens the Bible.” If you wanted to you could play Bible Bingo. Every time a word comes up, they circle it to try and get a full house, or just do a quick quiz at the end. They will listen and engage, just go for it.”
Encouraging our Christian teens to reach out with the gospel can feel daunting, but helping facilitate their outreach is a great encouragement.
“Buying 100 donuts and 100 evangelistic books, and doing a table at school/college at lunchtime is a really good idea, but really hard for teens to do logistically, but if we can take the donuts into school and meet them, and then just say, “I'll be around the corner. I'll be praying for you.” It enables this to be a reality. “
So how can you kind of encourage them to do that? And the Christmas card idea? I just think, send you teenagers a Christmas card. You know, we we, as adults, get family Christmas cards. But why not just write to them
Hannah also encouraged us to send personal Christmas cards and also think through personal gifts for all the teens in our lives, both family and those who we interact with regularly. Remember to take into consideration where they’re at in their own faith. For those who trust Jesus a devotional book would be appreciated, while for those who don’t have a faith of their own a fictional book with a Biblical worldview is a great idea.
The evangelistic book, The Weirdest Nativity, looks at the Christmas story from an unexpected perspective, through Revelation, and may just take young people away from what they think they know about the Christmas story.
Letters for Exiles would be a great gift for Christian teens, and uses the story of Daniel as a means of discipleship and thinking through standing firm in the face of opposition.
Road Map to Jesus helps those who have a basic understanding of the Bible see Jesus as we travel through the Old Testament. This is a great book to give to your whole youth group.
Fiction with a Biblical Worldview can be a great gift for teens, and the Reformation Lightning range is perfect for this.
Student Subscription Boxes are a bigger gift, maybe for a family member, and consist of 6 books, sent in 3 bundles, for 1 price. There will be a 3-year programme of books to allow students to build a library of both classic and contemporary Christian books covering theology, Christian living, evangelism, devotions and biography.
This year’s Christmas Card range are charity cards to support three organisations who share the gospel with young people through their camps. Yorkshire Camps, The Oakes, and Acorn, will all received funds raised through the sale of the cards to subsidise camper places for those in hardship.
Hannah Peace from Yorkshire Camps explains:
We're really excited. We have a number of young people who come on our camps. We run them throughout the year, and every camp that we have is intentional about sharing Jesus. It's not just about having fun, although that obviously is a major part, is really all about sharing Jesus and speaking about Jesus, sharing from the Bible, but also sharing our lives with them as well as we sit and we eat. But camps are expensive, and people don't have a lot of disposable income. Particularly those who come from non-Christian homes it’s not their priority to be sending their children on a Christian camp. So, we run a bursary fund where people can apply, and say, “I can't afford the full cost”, or “I can't afford any of the cost.” And this money is going to go between us to help with those bursary funds and really help people who are from non-Christian homes, who wouldn't normally come on camp, to hear about Jesus.