Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States
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Please share with me some ideas on how to keep our high school teenagers preoccupied with spiritual things?

The best way to answer your question is with a scripture by St. Paul to St. Timothy, his disciple,

"For the Lord will give you understanding in all things" (2 Tim 2:7).

High School youth can sometimes be challenging. I would suggest beginning with focused activities on the weekend when they have the freest time. Activities such as a Holy Bible Study, centering on something very applicable to their age such as the Wisdom of the Lord Jesus Christ as found in His miracles. In succession you could go through one per lesson and really study them. With the knowledge that you will be teaching them the wisdom of the Lord, you will also be teaching them good judgment.

The first miracle, the Wedding at Cana, can be analyzed and explored. Simply telling the story is not enough. Why do you suppose this was His first? Of what significance was it? Who was present? Who was the wedding actually supposed to be for? Was it easy for the servants to fill the jars of water? Did they complain? Did St. Mary doubt the Lord would respond to her request of Him? Many, many points.

Do you ever have a Holy Bible Bowl Quiz? This could replace a lesson but still center around the topic of the lesson with questions on it. Frequently changing the format of a lesson keeps youth interested. Take your lesson to a Nursing Home or someone who has been ill and absent from church for a long period of time and teach it there. Watch a movie on a biblical topic instead of a lecture and analyze the movie ask, is this what the Coptic Church holds as its teachings when watching the film.

Sings songs to the elderly of the church in Coptic.

Assign 2 or 3 youth to prepare some of the lessons instead of the servants.

Combine the Holy Bible Study with learning new hymns. Ask a talented youth to bring in a Midnight Praise or Koiahk Praise to practice in the meeting.

When someone is absent from a gathering, call the person and let him or her know they were missed. Ask those who have not been attending church regularly to these youth meetings and involve them.

Focus on their talents; if they write, use this for your church newsletter, do they cook, have them cook for the youth meetings, do they sing well, have them prepare songs, do they study well, have them prepare lessons. Designate a Saturday to work on the church grounds or clean the classrooms.

Are they interested in practical issues? Have them research the topics and come back with their findings.

Often involving the youth directly with the younger ones at church, promotes motivation to attend activities. Teaching Coptic to the children, praying the Agpeya, teaching new songs, how to draw a Coptic cross.

Always encourage and motivate the youth to remain close to the church. Their future depends upon this.

Always remember that faith will find a way for a service:

"Then some people came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by the four of them. And when they could not bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him; and after having dug through it, they let down the mat on which lay the paralyzed. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven" (Mark 2:3-5).
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