How To: Communicate to Middle School Students

These are the notes from HOW TO: Communicate to Middle School Students, a pre-conference workshop led                               by Justin Grunewald, the Middle School Director of the Buckhead Church campus of North Point.

The Big Ideas – How to prepare your message

1. Your motivation is key to your impact.
     – Why do you want to preach well, speak well, develop a good talk. The tendency is the feeling of walking off stage       knowing you nailed the message, to be recognized as a good speaker.
     – communicating clearly to impact lives is just a slight difference, but will make an impact
     A. What are you focused on while preparing and speaking?
     B. Jesus told us to serve.
     – Is your motivation to serve.
2. What is your burden?
     – When you get up in front of students, do you feel a burden that everyone of them needs to know this and hear this?
     – You can’t fake a burden.
     – If you don’t have a burden for what you are saying, be careful. Go and study and pray and connect with students until you get that burden.
     – If you can get on stage with that thing in your gut , your whole talk is completely different.
     – If you have a burden you won’t get distracted
3. Crafting a message
     A. What is your goal in communicating?
     – to give a bunch of information = ineffective on Sunday, because M-F all they get is information.
     – to get them to know the Bible = incredibly important goal for a ministry, but not for 15 minute communication.
     – Life change
     B. What are you trying to tell them? What is your Bottom Line?
          i. What is the one thing they need to know?
          ii. Don’t try to communicate too much.
     C. Take people on a journey to the bottom line.
          i. Me – Connect to the audience and the idea
          ii. We – Create Tension
               – goal is to create tension that is already there, but get audience to the point where they are wondering “oh my gosh, what do I do about this”. Milk the tension.
               – intellectual tension, I agree I agree I agree. Emotional tension, they Feel it.
               – Someone who knows they need to exercise and diet is less likely to do it than the person who feels the need for it.
          iii. God – Communicate what God’s word says.
          iv. You – How do you apply it?
               – how does that middle schooler apply this.
               – when someone applies it, life change happens
          v. we – Inspire people toward living the truth.
     D. 5 Questions to ask yourself while writing message
          i. What do I want them to know?
          ii. Why do I want them to know it? then put this as number one once you answer
          iii. What do I want them to know? Give them one thing they can do right now about this
          iv. Why do I want them to do it?
          v. How can I help them remember it?

The Important Details – How to Deliver your message

1. Internalize your message.
2. Know your audience. Marriage illustrations will be over the heads of middle schoolers
     A. This influences what illustrations you choose.
     B. This determines how you create Tension.
     C. Remember that they are Middle Schoolers
3. Make your presentation engaging – if they aren’t getting it, its not their fault, its mine
     A. Tension is Key
     B. Use visual illustrations
     C. Tell relevant stories
4. Think about outsiders
5. Take people on a journey toward what you want them to know and do.
     A. Don’t lose them along the way.
          i. Saying something they don’t understand If you lose them for 30 seconds you lost them for the entire talk
               1. Inside Jokes
               2. Technical information with quick and obvious explanation.
               3. Too much irrelevant scripture – if you want one thing out of a verse and it says 15 different things
          ii. Not transitioning well between ideas.
          iii. Creating other distractions – unrelated jokes, unrelated ideas, physical distractions, walking too much, etc
A Small Group Strategy – Our Strategy to communicate effectively to Students

1. Middle School students are looking for a hero.
2. Preach to set up great discussion.
3. Prepare your small group leaders
     A. Discussion guide.
     B. Personal Story.

Truth spoken from an unconditional loving relationship is more powerful than truth spoken from a pulpit.


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