I was recently looking at some old messages and noticed that I suffered from a lack of focus.  I would have a thousand points and twice as many examples.  If you were to listen to one of these messages you would never be able to guess the bottom line.

According to the Orange Strategy you and I have about 40 hours a year with our teens.  If you speak to teenagers you probably give anywhere from a 15 to 45-minute message.  In that time allotted you probably want to say a lot of things; however, you really only need to say one.  The reason is because your time is limited.  You need to know what you can say in those few minutes that will affect the rest of their week.  Basically you need to have a BOTTOM LINE to your messages THAT WILL STICK.

To get your bottom line you just need to answer the question, “What do I want them to know?” but to make it stick you need to answer the following questions:

What do I want them to do?
Every message needs to conclude in an action plan.  If you are just filling their heads with knowledge it will get canceled out in the next conversation that they have.   Give them a tangible action step to make your lesson more concrete.

How can I continue the conversation?
Give them something to chew on.  If you just give them answers without giving them questions they either embrace what you have to say or totally reject it.  While the former is better than the latter it won’t promote growth.  You want your teens to grow.

How can it be packaged?
It’s not always what you say; but how you say it.  Therefore use alliteration, or rhyme.  Make it into a mantra that they can repeat when facing certain situations.  Just be careful not to be shticky to the point where it’s goofy.

When you make your bottom line stick you utilize those 20 minutes to the max.  The idea is to use the time you have to influence the moments you do not.  Even if you aren’t giving a message, knowing how to communicate to your audiences is key.  Always have a bottom line and be sure to make it stick.

How do you craft a memorable bottom line?

Chris Wesley is the Director of Student Ministry at Church of the Nativity in Timonium, MD. You can read more great youth ministry articles and thoughts on his exceptional blog Marathon Youth Ministry.