The most important thing we can give to students is the Word of God. I firmly believe that! Those that say it is irrelevant are really approaching it all wrong. It is true that someone who teaches the Bible must do so carefully; spending a lot of time in prayer and study. It is also true that sometimes students will surprise us with a very relevant, yet difficult question. What do we do with that? There are a few things I consider when this comes up.
1- Does the question address something that the group will care about — There are certain kids that just have an agenda, of sorts, and will ask the same question in different ways. Will getting into predestination right now confuse them or help them? Will the majority of the group just check out? If it will confuse, then it will be best to talk one on one with that person afterwards.
2- Will the question be able to be answered in the time we have –– Basically, I don’t want to give kids a cliche answer to a tough question. A great answer might be, “read your Bible and pray about it” , but they are likely looking for something more direct than that. I have also taken questions and addressed them at a later time; working them into a lesson later on.
3-Determine why they are asking the question — Some students will just ask questions to divert or create distractions. How close to the topic is this? Will this just create side conversation or will it enhance the discussion?
4-Determine what are they actually asking about? Is there someting deeper they are concerned about? I have had students ask me questions about suffering or pain only to find out later that they were actually referring to a specific circumstance.
Effectively teaching the Bible to teenagers involves a very little bit of skill and a whole lot of guidance by the Holy Spirit. Make sure you are not short changing yourself when it comes to the presence of God in teaching. Spend time with Him and be ready to walk through any scenario that might present itself. I have had people come in to see me about something very specific on a day that I had read scripture about that very thing. God does prepare us for the task! Whatever you do, don’t throw away an opportunity because of a lack of time with the Lord!