Youth Group Discussion Topics: Urgent Issues You Must Address

Once you start thinking of ideas, there’s no shortage of topics to cover in a youth group discussion. It’s often best to start with some practical topics that relate to the real lives of students. However, it’s also important to consider what Scripture says.

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Importance of Discussion in Youth Groups

Small group discussions are perhaps your church’s best opportunity to speak into the lives of young people. These conversations can be instrumental in guiding students toward making wise decisions. However, that’s a lot of pressure, and knowing the right things to discuss is not always easy.

That’s precisely why we’ve compiled this list of valuable youth ministry topic discussions. Find the themes that fit your student group or adapt them to match their needs. The point is to be open and honest with each conversation.

What to Discuss in Youth Group Meetings

Once you start thinking of ideas, there’s no shortage of topics to cover in a youth group discussion. It’s often best to start with some practical topics that relate to the real lives of students. However, it’s also important to consider what Scripture says.

In addition to some topic ideas, we’ve compiled a few general tips for making the most of these dialogues. There’s no one right way to handle a given situation, but it helps to be prepared.

7 Discussion Topics Related to Real Life

1. Making Good Decisions

One of our primary goals with youth group discussions is to help them make good decisions. Students are old enough to choose for themselves, so we should aim to give them the right mindset and tools to make wise choices. Talking through specific scenarios and role-playing how they would react is a great place to start.

2. Coping With Stress & Pressure

Life is difficult for all of us, teenagers included. Their lives differ from adults, but there’s still a great deal of stress and pressure on young people. Talk through some practical strategies for how to deal with this anxiety. Empathize with their situation and always try to be understanding.

3. Overcoming Challenges & Difficulties

Similarly, it helps to acknowledge specific challenges or difficult situations kids are facing. What’s going on in the world or their lives that might be causing stress? This is your chance to encourage critical thinking and healthy debate on social issues. It takes practice to engage youth in meaningful discussions on current events, but every situation is an opportunity to improve.

4. Setting Goals for the Future

Students at your church are looking forward to big things in the future, but aren’t always sure what to expect. Speak about setting goals in the short- and long-term. Help them create a positive vision for their future and a plan for how to get there. Motivate and inspire them to think about the future. This is how we can guide them toward developing leadership skills and qualities.

5. Practicing Self-Care & Self-Love

Increasingly, having youth group discussions is about facilitating open dialogue about mental health and well-being. Mental health is an unavoidable topic, so you should embrace it openly. Learn the best way to guide discussions on subjects like body image, self-esteem, and self-expression. In some cases, let the students lead where this conversation goes.

6. Building Healthy Relationships with Others

Youth have a wide range of important relationships in their lives—parents, siblings, teachers, coaches, peers, and even occasional romantic connections. Each of these relationships requires their own examination, so it may be effective to separate them into unique conversations. To have good relationships, they must educate them on how to converse with others in a constructive way.

7. Dealing with Bullying or Unfair Treatment

Unfortunately, bullying is an all-too-common circumstance for students and deserves to be addressed. This topic requires a firm hand but a delicate touch, especially if you hope for them to open up about their experience from home or school. You can offer guidance and support for youth who are dealing with specific challenges such as bullying or substance abuse.

3 Discussion Topics Related to Faith and God

1. The Meaning & Significance of Jesus Christ's Life & Death

Even if they grew up in a Christian family, Jesus may not seem like someone relevant to their lives. A small group discussion is your chance to explore topics related to faith, spirituality, and ethics. Find ways to relate Christ’s example to their current-day situations. Ask what the students think Jesus would do and find passages of scripture to illustrate that example.

2. Exploring Different Interpretations of Bible Verses 

Students have already begun developing their perspectives on faith and the Bible. Encourage that through your conversations and support open expression, while also setting boundaries for respectful discourse. This means giving everyone a chance to speak or ask questions without dismissing ideas presented by others. GIve them the tools they need to observe connections to their own life and analyze what the scripture means to them.

3. Understanding How God Wants Us to Live Our Lives

Understanding God’s plan for our lives is a challenge even adults wrestle with. Don’t be afraid to remind your students of the fact that God has a plan. Encourage spiritual growth and development by nurturing a relationship with Him. Look to the Bible for some specific lessons on what God said about how we should conduct ourselves and treat others.

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Other Discussion Topics for Youth Groups

How Bad Company Affects Us

We know that who we spend time with influences the choices we make. This is a valuable lesson to instill in your youth group. Connect with teens through conversations about relationships and peer pressure. These tough talks can help them make wise choices about who to be friends with. Brainstorm ways to confront unhealthy relationships and how to respond in times of conflict.

How to Choose Good Friends and Grow Friendships

On the flip side, positive friendships can help encourage students to remain healthy. These don’t even have to be limited to friendships with their peers. Consider fostering leadership and personal growth through mentorship and collaborative activities with other volunteer leaders within your church community.

Examples of Love and Courtship in the Bible

Romantic relationships will no doubt be a topic teens are interested in exploring. You can share from your own experience, while also remembering that the Bible is a source for good examples.

  • Adam and Eve (Genesis 2-3)
  • Ruth and Boaz (Book of Ruth)
  • Isaac and Rebekah (Genesis 24)
  • Jacob and Rachel (Genesis 29)
  • Joseph and Mary (Matthew 1:18-25)

Honor the Good; Avoid the Evil

Your youth group is an invaluable measure of what’s good and what’s bad for teens. The ethical line between these two varies by person, and can often be challenging to determine. Your goal should be to provide a safe space for discussing personal challenges and fears. Take each circumstance individually and help students facilitate moral and ethical discussions.

Some Things are Better Left Unsaid

Not everything can (or should) be addressed in youth group discussions. Perhaps that’s because teens aren’t mature enough for the topic, or maybe it’s something they should address with a parent or therapist. Determining what’s off limits is no easy task, but the list should be addressed with the leadership of the church and other youth volunteers.

Tips to Ask Better Questions at the Youth Group

Ask Icebreaker Questions 

Youth group discussions aren’t boring conversations about super serious topics—otherwise, you won’t get teens to engage. Integrate interactive games and ice-breakers to make discussions more engaging and relaxed. Start simple and remain open to game suggestions from the students to ensure they’re invested. Try to make these conversations fun, not just serious.

Ask About Scripture

Each discussion should have a healthy balance of practical and scriptural—this is a church after all. When relevant, incorporate scriptural or religious teachings into discussions to point back to Jesus. In the same way, relate Bible verses you read to modern-day examples to help teens understand and recall the lesson. Prayer is a powerful way to wrap-up these conversations.

Ask What Others Think

Getting youth discussions right isn’t all on you. Get the teens involved by empowering the young people to lead and facilitate discussions within the group. Collaborate with parents and community leaders to align discussion topics with local needs and interests. Invite guest speakers to share insights and perspectives on specialized subjects.

You Need to Practice Before You Will Be Comfortable

Don’t imagine that you’ll get this perfect on the first try. Like anything, communicating requires practice. Set realistic expectations for how well it should go. Make it easier on yourself by utilizing multimedia resources, such as movies or articles, to enhance topic comprehension. 

Discourage One-Word Answers

The depth of the conversation can be an effective gauge of your success. One-word answers usually indicate the students are still surface-level and should be gently nudged to go deeper. A helpful way to work towards this is emphasizing respectful communication and active listening in group interactions. Ask questions and make sure everyone feels safe and comfortable sharing.

Key Takeaways

  • Discuss both real-world topics and those found in scripture.
  • Always encourage open dialogue and critical thinking
  • Set teens up for success by helping them make wise decisions.
  • Relationships with self and others are important topics.
  • Make sure the group is a safe space where everyone feels welcome.
  • Don’t do it yourself and get other wise adults involved in the conversation.

FAQs About Youth Group Discussions

How Can I Select Age-Appropriate Topics for My Youth Group?

Considering the average age of the group is an important gauge for picking the right topics. Start by asking the group (and their parents) what topics they want discussed. Understanding what the teens are experiencing helps you build connections between discussion topics and real-world applications. We should aim to foster inclusivity and diversity, even if that means tackling sensitive topics.

How Can I Encourage Shy or Introverted Members to Participate in Discussions?

There will always be at least one member of the group who is hesitant to share. Identify who this might be and try speaking with them outside the group. This can help establish trust and make them more comfortable. Don’t pressure them to speak before they're ready, but gently encourage them to share by asking what they think about topics you know they’re interested in.

Can Controversial Topics be Discussed in a Youth Group Setting?

You may want to steer away from addressing urgent and contemporary issues, but they’ll demand to be addressed before long. These are a few topics you might need to communicate about:

  • Drugs and alcohol
  • Sex and sexuality
  • Bullying
  • Self-harm and suicide
  • Mental health and body image
  • LGBTQ+ issues
  • Race and social justice
  • Politics
  • Poverty and homelessness

The key is to be prepared for when they inevitably show up. Address controversial topics with sensitivity, preparation, and a focus on empathy and understanding. Have some key points to talk about and some prepared questions for what the group thinks.

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