As of 2006, Time Magazine reported that 45 percent of teenagers aged 13 to 18 said in a Barna Group poll they attend church primarily, "to worship or make a connection with God." These teens also expressed a strong desire to volunteer, and to spend time with friends. Use this information as your guide when it comes to decorating a teenage Sunday school classroom, and you are likely to create an environment that resonates strongly with the teens in your church.
Select a few shocking, or thought provoking, quotes that relate to the Christian faith, to whet teenagers' appetite to know God on a deeper level. Have these professionally printed and framed in an over-sized format, so they capture teens' attention as soon as they enter the Sunday school classroom. Two examples of quotes that will likely engage teenagers are, "To live is Christ and to die is gain: (Phl 1:21), and, "I am not interested in following a religion that does not impact the world in which we live." (Nevers Mumba). If you do not have the budget to professionally display quotes, consider painting them on one large wall, using a stencil or free-form brush strokes.
Designate an entire wall of your Sunday school classroom to the theme of volunteerism. Display posters that feature people groups in developing nations, along with info on upcoming mission trips. Also display local volunteer opportunities that may interest teenagers, such as peer tutoring, food kitchen service, or Habitat for Humanity building projects. For added effect, take pictures of your current students on site at various volunteer or mission locations and display the photos on your volunteer wall.
In order for teenagers to feel comfortable enough to enjoy spending time with their friends in your Sunday school classroom, you will need to take away the "churchy" feel of the room. Get rid of the standard posters of shepherds and sheep, sunsets with superimposed Bible verses, and paintings of the last supper. Place a couch and a few comfortable, cushy chairs around the room. Invest in some coffee tables and end tables to serve as work stations, in lieu of a folding table. Paint the walls in a color of your students' choosing, and install a couple of black lights if you plan to host any evening meetings in the room.
Create a media center in one corner of your classroom. Purchase a bookshelf, and fill it with books, magazines, and CDs that are highly relevant to current youth culture. Let the students borrow the media items for one week, which means they need to come back to class next week to return them. Also let teens pick a CD to play in the background during lessons, to set the tone.
- Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images