Three high school SRE tips
I recently had the opportunity to chat to a friend about his experience with teaching SRE to a high school class.
He shared with me the joys and the challenges of this great ministry, and in turn, I shared with him a few tips that I thought I’d also give to the friendly readers of sydneyanglicans.net
Tip one: Don’t try and be their friend
This might sound like crazy advice for a youth minister seeking to build rapport with students at the local high school, but if you follow my advice then you're more likely to get the results you really want.
You see, when you walk into a classroom to teach a subject called ‘SRE’, the students expect a teacher, not a youth minister. If you try and act like a friend then they’ll probably react by acting like an enemy.
My favourite teachers as a kid were those who commanded the respect of the students. In time, these were the teachers that also became our friends.
We should do likewise.
Tip two: Don’t end each lesson with an ‘altar call’
In the perfect world, churches are given as many as 500 SRE lessons with each student over their state school education (that’s based on around 10 per term for 13 years).
This provides us with the opportunity to gradually build upon the material we present in the class..
We must remember that each lesson is designed to build over time, and to provide students with their own opportunity to have personal ‘aha’ moments when their own time comes.
So, let the curriculum do its job in shaping your students over time.
Tip three: Teach the Protestants their religion
Every student in your class is considered by their parents to be a Protestant. That’s what they’ve ticked on the enrolment form.
So, your role as a teacher is to tell those students what their nominated faith means and how to live accordingly.
You therefore don’t need to convert the students to Protestantism, because they already are considered by their parents to be Protestants.
Rather, you need to tell the students that their faith is based on the five Reformation foundations of scripture alone, by faith alone, by grace alone, through Christ alone, to the glory of God alone, and make sure you teach a curriculum that is flavoured by these truths.
As you then teach these five ‘solas’, you can then challenge all of the students to match up their own lives to the religion of which they are officially considered to be members.
Over time, God willing, some of your students will realise that the faith assigned to them by their parents is different to their own personal worldview, which will be followed by an acceptance or rejection of the gospel of Jesus.
So, don’t try and convert them to Christianity, but rather, challenge them to know and believe the religion they’re already a part of, at least by name.
Read this earlier sydneyanglicans.net article for more on this issue.
Hang in there
Above all, realise that this strategic and important ministry is not always going to be easy.
Yet, it is in circumstances like these that great things can happen by God’s Spirit as his word is taught to those we have the privilege to teach and influence.
Jodie McNeill is the Executive Director of Youthworks Outdoors