Using XP3 in a Small Church (Part 5): Presentation Matters

By Tim Van Dalen

Last week we talked about the importance of small groups in your student ministry. However, that does not mean the presentation of God’s Word is unimportant. It is very important! Students need to know what God’s Word says about who He is, who they are, and what they are facing in their lives. As you communicate truth to this generation of students there are a few key ideas that you must keep in mind.

The first idea we need to remember when communicating God’s Word to students is that it is not just what you say, but how you say it that matters. That does not mean that what you say is not important; it absolutely is. But if you are not careful in thinking though how you present God’s truth to students, they can miss the truth they desperately need to hear.

Students today tend to learn best through experience, so it is important to connect God’s truth to their personal, everyday lives and experiences. Gone are the days when you could just say, “Here’s the truth, believe it!” This generation just does not think that way (and that’s not a bad thing). So as we communicate to students, it is important to bridge the gap between what the Bible says and how that affects their life.

The introduction and tension sections of every XP3 script can help you to do this. The introduction section helps to connect the topic to something in your life or experience. The tension section helps us focus in on a question that students are asking themselves.

Our communication from the stage must answer a question that our students are asking. When we identify a question that students are asking, they are immediately ready to hear what you have to say. However, if we just give truth without any connection to life, it will just get lost in all the other “noise” in their lives. Once we have raised a question students are already asking themselves, then they are ready and most receptive of the truth we have to share with them.

It is also important to remember that the goal of our teaching is not just to give students more knowledge about God’s Word, it is about life change. That is where the application and landing sections of an XP3 talk come in. This is where the truth moves from a “nice idea” to something concrete that each student can walk away with and put into practice during the week. This is where we can reinforce the connection of truth to their life experience.

Also, remember that as a communicator you do not have to resolve all the tension in your talk. Raise the tension, connect God’s truth to it, and then send them out into their small groups to unpack it with their Small Group Leader and peers. Our communication to students should not be an end in itself; it is a launch pad into small groups because transformation takes place in community.

This post is part five of five in a series of posts called Using XP3 in a Small Church. Here’s a recap of the series:


 width=Tim is the Family Ministry Pastor at Cocalico Community Church in Reinhold, PA. He has been working with kids-college students in various capacities for more than 15 years. Tim enjoys doing ministry alongside his wife, Jen, who oversees the Preschool environment for 3-5 year olds at CCC. They have 3 kids, Kaylee, Ashlyn & Josiah. Tim enjoys reading fiction, watching movies, soccer and the Steelers! To get in touch with Tim, connect with him on Twitter or Instagram.

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