Ways to get students to pay more attention during your sermon

3 ways to get your students to pay more attention during your sermons blog postWhen you speak, you notice so much. I can speak and see students texting, laughing, doodling on paper, and then the ones who are bored out of their mind. We see so much. Well, we can complain about how they are not right with God if they are not willing to pay attention, or we can try to be more effective at getting them to pay more attention. I choose to take the latter approach. So, how can we get them to pay more attention during our sermons in youth group?

  • Engage them– Students must be engaged in the service. Use illustrations that include volunteers. I usually do not do this often, but going to do this more to engage them during our sermons. Ask questions for them to answer. Make consistent eye contact with the students. Allow them to read verses instead of the speaker always reading. These are just a few of the ways that you can engage students during your sermons. 
  • Train Small Group Leaders– Small group leaders must be trained to help the speaker with this. The speaker should not have to worry about speaking and making the students listen and pay attention when there are leaders in the room. Train your leaders to help you and pay attention to the students.
  • Be concise– I am as long-winded when it comes to speaking as possible, but I am learning to make my sermons more concise to keep the student’s attention more effectively. Sometimes, I can say what needs to be said in a much shorter amount of time than I say it.
  • Be relevant– The Bible is always relevant! The Bible contains the answers to our students questions so be relevant by using the Bible. Also, be practical. The students need to see how the Bible influences their every day life. Make this a point of emphasis when preparing your sermons. Will this help the students live as they leave?
  • Be illustrative– Be intentional about your illustrations. Be pointed about your illustrations. Students gravitate to illustrations and stories so do not be afraid to use them regularly to drive your Biblical point home.

Question: What do you do to help your students listen more intently during your sermons?

9 thoughts on “Ways to get students to pay more attention during your sermon

  1. One thing that I do often is create a set of 9-10 slides in Keynote. I go on Google and find images that flow with my talk. I export them as images and import them into ProPresenter.

    The tech team puts up images/words/moving backgrounds that visually communicate what I’m talking. If I’m talking about fear, the illustration behind me would be a dark background with the word “fear” or a picture of a dark room with no light. Something to help trigger past experiences in the hearts of the students I’m speaking to.

    Students connect with pictures. Especially middle school students.

    Basically, I ask myself, “Could my pictures illustrate the point I’m trying to make.”

    Thanks for the post, Josh!


    1. Luke, loved your helpful practical tips. Those helped a lot for sure. Visual learning is a necessity for these students. Appreciate you mentioning that and hope that all readers read your thoughts as well.

  2. Couple things that I do in addition to these is:

    Be Visual: utilize visual aids like videos, images, and object lessons. If you have a screen use it, kids today are very screen oriented.

    Be Funny: don’t force it, but a little twist of wit can carry a lot of power. If funny ain’t your thing, no problem, but if it is, don’t be afraid of it. (However, don’t make your message a stand-up routine, this ain’t the Apollo)

  3. Great points Josh. Being concise is something I’m trying to get better at. I want to say less, but make more of an impact. This is one reason I switched to writing my sermons as a manuscript. Also, engaging and illustrations are huge! I usually try and have an physical, tangible object on stage with me as a talk to use as an illustration.


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