What are the keys to giving a great WyldLife club talk?
Knowing your audience. Middle school kids hear and process information differently from older adolescents so you need to be prepared. The Gospel is the same, but how you share it will be unique.
Shorter attention spans.
WyldLife club talks should be 8-10 minutes which means you’ll have to choose your words carefully. Select one Scripture, leave out some details, tighten up your introduction, and keep transitions to just one sentence. “Trust that what you have to say is enough and that the Holy Spirit will work,” says Emily Johnson, veteran WyldLife staff in Florida.
Middle school kids are concrete thinkers who are just learning how to think abstractly. Don’t assume they can draw an obvious conclusion. When middle schoolers hear about Jesus calming a storm, they might think about thunder and lightning rather than hard things they face in life. Help them connect the dots.
They aren’t great spectators, so consider how you can get kids involved in the talk. Bring them up front to “act out” Scripture or give the crowd an opportunity to respond. (Hint: Give specific directions. If you want the crowd to scream at Zacchaeus for stealing, tell them what to yell and when to stop.)
Anything can be a distraction to a middle school kid, but do your best to remove the obvious ones. Ask kids to turn off cell phones. If you’ve played a game with balloons, Q-tips or other items that can be thrown, get them picked up before the talk begins.
Broad spectrum of experience.
There’s a big difference between the maturity and experience of sixth graders and eighth graders. Some younger kids can’t handle topics like sex without giggling. Be real but careful as you talk about struggles.
Desperate for acceptance.
While all teenagers want to be accepted, that need is heightened with early adolescents. As you share stories of Jesus, emphasize that He is the One who accepts them as they are and says that they are valuable. In every talk, tell kids that Jesus loves them.
Open to spiritual input.
The good news is that middle school kids want to hear about their place in God’s story, especially from leaders they trust. You can be confident that your words are falling on fertile soil.
Written by our WyldLife champion, Julie Clapp. If you have WyldLife ideas to share, here's how you do it. We try to post helpful WyldLife thoughts most Wednesdays.