When I was in youth ministry and regularly teaching teenage Bible classes, one of my favorite teaching methods was to start the class with a little “game” that I call “Agree/Disagree”.
I would have all the students stand up and move to the middle of the room. I always explained the rules, just in case there was someone new who had never played the game before (plus, that just became part of the routine).
“OK, everyone stand up. We’re going to play a little game that I call ‘Agree/Disagree’. Here’s how it works. I am going to make a series of statements. After each statement, you must decide whether you agree with that statement or disagree with it. If you agree with the statement, move to this side of the room [pointing to either the right side of the room or the left, it doesn’t matter]. If you disagree with the statement, move to that side of the room [pointing to the other side of the room].”
Then I would read aloud each statement that I had carefully crafted while preparing the lesson, and after each statement ask, “Do you agree or disagree?” Usually I would read the question a second time just to make sure everyone heard and understood it.
After all teens had settled into their “corners”, I would simply spend a few minutes asking various teens on both sides, “Why do you agree (or disagree) with that statement?”
This little exercise never failed to generate a considerable amount of discussion, created some great “teaching moments”, and pulled the teens into the topic for the day, all in a very interactive and informal setting. I intentionally created a safe environment where teens could share their thoughts without fear of being shot down if they were wrong. If a teen offered an answer that was obviously biblically wrong, I would always try to redirect without embarrassing the student. “That’s an interesting way to look at that. Hold onto that thought, and we’ll check out what the Bible says about it in a few minutes.”
Here are the Agree/Disagree questions I asked at the beginning of a lesson on 1st and 2nd Timothy:
- God wants EVERYONE to be saved.
- Most people will go to heaven.
- It really doesn’t matter what we believe, as long as we believe in God and Jesus.
- The only reason we have laws is because there are bad people in the world.
A lesson on Dating:
- A person should date as many people as he or she can.
- You will marry someone you date, so you should only date those you would marry.
- Christians should only date other Christians.
- It’s OK for a girl to ask a guy out for a date.
- If your parents don’t approve of the person you are dating, you should stop seeing him or her.
A lesson on Evangelism:
- Most of my friends would not be interested in hearing about Jesus.
- In order to share Christ, one needs to know a lot about the Bible.
- It would be better to keep quiet about your faith than to offend somebody by expressing your beliefs.
- Most people will think you are a fanatic or a nerd if you talk about Jesus.
A lesson entitled “It’s a Heart Thing” (Matthew 5:17-30):
- It’s worse to kill someone than it is to hate them.
- You can go to hell for calling someone a bad name.
- Lusting over someone is just as bad as having sex with them.