Being in youth ministry, I have seen many different types of Teen Sunday School. Some are due to limited space, while some are Pastor’s preference. There is not one “correct” way to divide your Teen Sunday School. Different strokes work for different folks. Here are a few
Division 1: Teens with Adults (1 Class)
In this beginning division of Sunday School, the Teens are divided from the Adults. This is where teens have one class for all teenagers and the adults have their adult classes. I have been to many churches that ask their teenagers to attend the adult Sunday School classes. While in some cases, this may be needed (lack of teachers, limited space, important lesson series, etc.), it is not ideal for the growth of your youth department. Rather, you can have all of the teenagers in a class with their own teacher, activities and lessons. This will encourage the teenagers to bring visitors, help them understand tough truths and allow them to have good godly fun.
Teacher: Pastor or Adult Male
1. Teens get lessons that are serious and mature in nature.
2. Adults get encouraged by seeing Teens in Sunday School and their growth.
3. If only one Sunday School Class, this can help to build the class in number and excitement.
4. Promotes Unity. Builds a burden for teens into the adults.
1. Teens can get bored with the atmosphere of an adult class.
2. Adult lessons may not be applicable to Teens.
3. Teens can also be rambunctious causing irritation to the Adults.
If this is all you have- Use it. Plan activities and teach the Bible to both groups. If you do not have one, speak to your Pastor about the possibility of starting a Teen Sunday School Class. When you have the room, workers and blessing of the Pastor, start a Teen Class. Division 2: Boys and Girls- Grades 7-12 (1 Class) This is the first step for a Teen Sunday School Department. Many churches have this Division as their Teen Sunday School. This allows the Teens to have their own class and classroom. It allows the YP to make announcements, teach lessons and talk about things that are pertinent to the Teens.
The Teacher for this class is usually the Pastor/Youth Pastor or a volunteer male Youth Worker
1. The Youth Pastor controls the teaching of the lesson.
2. The Youth Pastor gets to spend time with all of the teens, not just one small group.
3. This gives the Youth Pastor an opportunity to deal with issues that are common to every teenager.
1. Boy/Girl interaction is often the catalyst for behavioral issues.
2. The teacher is limited to broad lessons that apply to the entire group.
3. The personal time needed to disciple and visitation those in the class is difficult to find.
1. Make sure your Teen class doesn’t drop the standards of the church. Teen doesn’t have to mean carnal. (Lessons, Music, Décor- should still be church)
2. Use the time to teach and to get to know your teenagers.
Make them feel like the Teen Class is their part of the Church.
Division 3: Teen Boys Class and Teen Girls Class (2 Classes) Another beginning method for dividing your Teen Sunday School classes is to divide them into Boys and Girls classes. Instead of one large teen class with all of your teenagers included, you could have two: one for the young men and one for the young ladies.
Teachers: Male teacher for the young men and Female teacher for the young ladies.
Boys- Grades 7-12
Girls- Grades 7-12
1. The Boy/Girl interaction is highly limited.
2. The teachers can teach specifically for application to their group.
3. With additional teachers, discipleship and visitation is made possible.
4. Teachers provide more Christian examples to follow.
1. Youth Pastor has limited time to interact and instruct the entire group at once.
2. If not balanced, can create social awkwardness between teenagers.
3. Finding qualified Sunday School teachers could propose a challenge.
If possible, have an opening assembly for games and announcements before you split into your
two classes. You do not want either group missing important announcements.
Teach both classes the same lesson. Unless doing a specific lesson for each group.
Division 4: By Grade Combined (2-6 Classes) If you already have a Teen Sunday School class and you have them split into boys and girls, another way to divide your Youth Department is to divide by grade. There are so many ways to do this. I have experienced and implemented most of these. You can have 2-6 classes, depending on how you divide. Some of you may not have enough to warrant every grade having its own class. Currently in our Youth Department we divide our Teen Sunday School classes into Junior High and Senior High classes.
Our Current Division:
Boys: 7-9 grade
Girls: 7-9 grade
Boys: 10-12 grade
Girls: 10-12 grade
I have also seen it done with:
Boys: 7-8 grade
Boys: 9-10 grade
Boys 11-12 grade
Girls: 7-8 grade
Girls: 9-10 grade
Girls: 11-12 grade
Teachers: For this we have 4 Teachers. 2 ladies and 2 men. We also each have an assistant. You would need 6 teachers if you divided into 2 grades.
1. Junior High and Senior High are in separate classes.
2. Further division is accomplished with only two more teachers.
3. Creates opportunity for new/more Youth Workers.
4. Allows teachers even greater opportunity for personal discipleship and visitation.
1.With this method, 4 qualified teachers are needed.
2. The Youth Pastor has even less opportunities to interact and instruct the entire group at once.
3. Grades are combined together creating a feeling of a lack of progression.
Division 5: By Grade Individual (12 Classes) To Further divide the Youth Department Sunday School classes, you can give each grade its own class and teacher.
Boys 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
Girls 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
Teachers: You will need 12 teachers for this division.
1. Every Grade has their own class.
2. Each group can have announcements and lessons designed for them.
3. Every year a student progresses to a new class and meets a new teacher.
4. Smaller class size makes it possible for teacher to visit all students.
5. Younger students are separated from older students.
1. 12 qualified teachers are needed.
2. 12 classrooms are needed.
3. Less time for YP interaction.
4. Smaller class size could breed a feeling of failure
5. Younger students are separated from older students.
Advice: Regardless of how you Divide, Gender Division is helpful for overall teaching. May meet together for opening assembly, games, announcements, etc. But for teaching purposes, both groups listen and participate more when split by gender. This solves many common Teen Problems: Dating. Flirting. Behavior, Embarassment, Acting Out, Age Division is helpful for discipleship.7th Grade boys have an entirely different need than 12 grade boys. Your younger ladies are different than your Senior ladies. Division should only be in class structure, not in mindset. Keep the Youth Department as one. Regardless of School, Transportation, Family, Gender and Age.
Youth Pastor | Assistant Pastor
Clays Mill Baptist Church