Nick Diliberto on 3 Ways to Make the Christmas Message Stick With Preteens.
Want your preteens to know the true meaning of Christmas? Do you wish you could get the Christmas message to stick in your preteens’ hearts and minds? Look no further. Today I’m excited to share with you a guest blog written by Nick Diliberto, creator of PreteenMinistry.net.
If you haven’t heard of Nick or visited his website, go bookmark it right now. Nick has more than 13 years of experience working in preteen ministry, and his website contains relevant resources and cool ideas for those of us working with preteens.
Here, Nick shares steps you can take to make the Christmas message stick with preteens!
The story of Christmas is a familiar one to preteens. Knowing the story of Jesus’ birth is life-changing–so how do we make the Christmas message “stick” in their hearts and minds? Here are some ideas:
1. Make It Real. When sharing the Christmas message, talk about how Jesus’ birth and life impacts students’ lives in the here and now. The core message of Christmas and Jesus’ birth is summed up in the word Immanuel, which means God is with us. How many preteens have sung songs and heard that word repeated but missed the meaning?God is with us means that we have access to a relationship with Jesus now. God is present here on earth. Because of Jesus, we can have a real relationship with the creator of the universe! Use Christmas as an opportunity to talk about what that looks like in the life of a preteen.
2. Be Experiential. Preteens disengage when we “preach” to them. They don’t want to sit for 20 minutes and listen to you communicate information. They learn best when you use a hands-on, experiential approach to learning. With that in mind, here are some experiential, fun activities that work with a Christmas related lesson.
Balloon Race–Give each preteen a balloon with their name on it. Have the kids stand in a straight line, shoulder to shoulder, on one side of a room. Invite all the kids to blow up their balloons and then release them at the same time. The player’s balloon that lands closest to the opposite wall wins.The point: God is with us and within us. He is as close to us as our very breath. Just as we breathed air into our balloons, God breathes His spirit into us.
Shepherds, Angels, and You–Open your Bible to Luke 2:8. Read the story of the shepherds and the angels, and then divide your group into Shepherds and Angels and act it out!
Always think of ways to add fun, hands-on activities to help drive home the point. Preteens will be more engaged, making the message “stick.”
3. Reach Out. Preteens can get caught up in the consumerism of Christmas, which creates an “all about me” attitude. Fourth- through sixth- graders learn best by doing, and jump at the chance to make a difference. So give them the opportunity to reach out to those in your community.
- Operation Christmas Child
- Give up a gift they receive this Christmas and instead give it to a child in need.
- Volunteer at a local food shelter.
- Volunteer to wrap gifts at the mall during the busy shopping season.
Allow preteens to be a part of the planning process, and ask them for ideas of how to serve the community. The more they are involved in the planning, the more of an impact the experience will have on them.
Nick Diliberto is creator of preteenministry.net, which provides creative curriculum and resources for preteen ministry. He is also the preteen columnist for Children’s Ministry Magazine.
Looking for some more great Christmas ideas? We’ve got you covered! We have heart angel Christmas ornaments for little ones to make, 12 Advent activities, a Christmas snack that looks like a manger scene, free Christmas music downloads, and even a Christmas game to get everyone in the spirit of the season!
What do you have planned for your kids this Christmas? How do you get the Christmas story to stick in their hearts? Do you talk to your kids about Santa? Let us know in the comment section below!