There’s always at least one. You might be in the middle of a serious story and you see them in the corner of your eye chatting with a friend. The temptation is to stop what you are doing and call them out, but what if there was a better way?
Teenagers by nature are easily distracted and to hold their attention can be difficult. They have a lot going on physically, mentally and emotionally. This can be a complicated situation and that’s why we’re going to break this topic into two posts. In today’s post we’re going to look at:
DEVELOPING A PROACTIVE APPROACH
Many of the disruptions in your youth ministry are preventable. To be proactive and prevent unnecessary distractions:
EQUIP YOUR TEAM TO TAKE ON THE CHALLENGE
If taking on difficult teenagers is all up to you then you are going to find yourself frustrated and burned out. Teach and train your volunteers on the best way to approach the situation (See Part 2 for more).
Encourage them to be loving and to avoid using emotion. Let them know that by helping you they are creating a better experience for others.
ADDRESS YOUR ENVIRONMENTS
Sometimes the distraction stems from your environments. If someone is uncomfortable they are going to move around and that can be disturbing. If there are objects that are competing for their attention then you are constantly going to feel the battle.
Ask yourself, “Are my environments promoting engagement?” For example look at:
- How teens are sitting. Do tables work better than rows of chairs?
- The lighting. Does having all the light on or working with ambient lighting work best?
Make sure you are constantly adjusting what works and what needs improvement. The better the environments the better the chance you have of keeping their attention.
TAKE A LOOK IN THE MIRROR
Is your program worth their attention? It’s a challenging question, one that forces you to evaluate whether or not you are doing a great job.
If your program is interactive and engaging disruptions are less likely. To improve your program make sure you are analyzing it. I suggest evaluating your program using a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis.
A strong program leads to healthy participation. Instead of asking teens to sit still you’ll be able to better mobilize their energy towards growing as disciples. Check out Part 2 (Posting Wednesday November 9th) for more on handling situations that cannot be prevented.
Question: How are you creating a more engaging experience to break down distractions? Please leave Thoughts. Comments. Questions. You can leave a comment by clicking here.