A 15 Minute Devotional Format for Busy Students – Try “PALS”

One of the highlights of my week is when I meet at a nearby cafe at 6:45 a.m., Friday mornings with my son and 8-12 of his friends who are high school juniors. All we do is drink coffee, eat cinnamon rolls, and spend 15 minutes discussing a passage of Scripture and how it might relate to their lives and their school.

Cafe open - PALS 10 Minute Devo

Students are busy these days. I wish I could change that, but just like surfing… its not very effective to fight against the wave, it usually works out better to just ride it. So I’ve started using a 10 Minute Devotional format I call “PALS.”

It is really simple. But it helps our group connect with each other, get a bit challenged by the Word, and then use what we learn and think creatively how to serve our high school better. Below is the “PALS 10 Minute Devo” format I like to use. You’ll also find a Sample PALS 10 Minute Devo for you to use or spark some creative thinking of your own.

P – PRIME the pump

I usually come up with some sort of question to help the guys open up. Like that rush you get when you take your first few swigs of coffee really in the morning.. sometimes it takes a little somethin’-somethin’ to wake us up. I like to ask a question to prime the pump.

A – ALIGN with God’s heart

In order to make the most of reading the Bible passage we’ve picked out for the day, I like to ask a question or make a statement that helps us all realize how much we are just like the person/group in the passage we are going to study. Adolescents, in my opinion are greatly encouraged by reminders that they are more “like” other people, than they are “different.” Sometimes we are so paralyzed by individualism that it leaves us isolated and alone thinking that we are so different from everyone else. Yet when we realize how similar we are to other people it gives us hope, compassion, and helps us dream about how we can impact the world around us.

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L – LEARN the meaning of the text

The next thing we do is read a short passage together and discuss a couple of questions that help them understand the meaning of the text. I don’t want to make it seem like this easy because it actually does take a little bit of time to write good questions. But if you’d like to learn more about how I come up with well-crafted questions that create an environment of openness and discussion you can read my post, 5 Bible Study Tools to Improve Your Small Group Meetings | The VISION Inductive Study Method. It goes into a little more depth and is designed for a 30 minute Bible Study or discussion group, but I use the exact same principles and techniques to come up with 1-2 good questions for my PALS 10 Minute Devos.

S- SERVE your friends

What does it really matter if a group of teenagers learns something cool from the Bible and then makes no effort to be salt and light to their school. I like to ask a question or present a challenge to the group to see what kinds of ideas they have for taking what they’ve learned from the discussion and finding a way to serve their school better. I find that even non-Believers who might be in the group, as they start serving other people, they discover that you can test out the Word of God and discover that it is actually true. Don’t be shy about using this technique with groups of Believers, non-believers, or mixed groups.

SAMPLE: PALS 10 MINUTE DEVO on Mark 2:1-12

P – PRIME the pump

  • What is one of the hardest things about being a student?

A – ALIGN with God’s heart

  • Do you think that you are more like the paralytic or more different than him? What are some things that all of us have in common with the paralytic?

L – LEARN the meaning of the text

  • Read together the passage of Scripture: Mark 2:1-12
  • What are some reasons why Jesus might have spoken to the paralyzed man about sin before dealing with his physical need?
  • Is forgiveness of sin a need you have experienced in your own life?

S – SERVE your friends

  • Do you extend forgiveness to students in your school who sin against you as freely as Jesus extended forgiveness to the guy in this story?
  • How would it change the culture of your school if you were as forgiving as Jesus was to this guy?

What are some of the implications of how busy students are getting in our culture?

In what ways do you think the PALS 10 Mintue Devo method might address the wave of busyness in youth culture in your area?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

3 thoughts on “A 15 Minute Devotional Format for Busy Students – Try “PALS”

    • Thank you Pam for your input! I’d love to hear how it goes for you if you try this format with some folks.

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