10 Ways to Make a Difference in a Teen’s Life

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ways to encourage a teen

A couple months back, my husband received the news that his high school coach unexpectedly went to Heaven. His heart was broken for several reasons, but the main reason was because he loved his coach. When he described the time he spent with his coach throughout his teen years, I knew this man had made an investment in his life that was never forgotten.

I’ve never forgotten the influences from my teen years either. The ball games, the youth rallies, roller skating nights (just dated myself right there)…I remember all the activities. But even more than that, I remember the little deposits of wisdom, the chats, and the devotions.

With my oldest daughter just getting married last summer, I reflect frequently on how thankful I am that she is a responsible, hard-working, God-honoring girl. And I began to think of the differences in our culture and society compared to when I was a teen.

How can we make a difference in our teens’ lives today? Maybe the teen is in your Sunday School class, your neighborhood, or your own family. Maybe your role is dad, aunt, teacher, coach, neighbor or youth worker. No matter the role, here are 10 ways to make a difference in a teen’s life.

1. Pray for them.

When you feel like you  know what to do and you don’t know what to do, pray for them.

2. Listen to them.

When they are ready to talk, make time to listen.

3.  Write a note.

I have letters and cards from my mom while I was in college that I treasure even more since she’s in Heaven.

4. Feed them.

While you’re listening, make a mental note of the chips they like or the candy they are eating and provide it when there is an opportunity.

5. Provide transportation.

Just being the taxi is an important service! And while you are taxi-driving, you can listen. 🙂

6. Notice the positives and pay a compliment.

Praise from an adult goes a long way.

7. Promote new creativity.

Put a guitar in a kid’s hand for the first time. Take them to an art store.

8. Encourage them to dream big and work hard.

My husband said his coach taught him a “never quit” mentality.

9. Join them on social media.

Be where the teen is. I joined Facebook in 2009 when my oldest was headed off to college. The site you’re visiting now is a result of that decision. God can use anything in our lives to lead us where He plans to use us!

10. Provide Christian literature or recommend apps.

The first devotional I can remember reading was a graduation gift- Streams in the Desert. Devotionals for teens’ and children were not as readily available as they are today. And there definitely was no such thing as an app. If you click here, you’ll find Devotional apps and here is a list of the Bible apps I recommend.

teen devotional giveaway

And this brand new devotional from Max Lucado, One God, One Plan, One Life is a 365 devotional specifically designed and written for teens. This devotional is perfect for encouraging a daily quiet time and developing a personal relationship with God. I thought you would enjoy seeing a preview:

I’m excited to be giving one away today because one of the questions I receive frequently is

Can you recommend a teen devotional?

If you’d like to purchase this devotional, you can do so right here.

And I know you want to enter the giveaway! Just follow the Rafflecopter and I’ll see you tomorrow!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: Site may be compensated if purchase is made. Post includes affiliate links. Product provided by publisher; all opinions are my own. See full disclosure here.


  1. Thanks you Rachel, for these ideas. I teach a small Sunday School class of teenage girls. I’ve watched them mature into young women. I asked them if they would like me to text them a Bible verse each morning before school. They readily responded yes, which I’ve been doing now, every school day at 7:15, and weekends at 9:00, they really seem to be liking it. I also started a private facebook page for them as a way to keep in touch and interact. Seeing their profile pics across the FB header page is a reminder for me to pray for them.

    As for the texting, the verses are chosen in advance. I text it to myself the night before, in the morning, I just copy/paste and I’m good to go.

  2. I am a young teenager myself and just have to agree with everything you say!

  3. Thank you for posting such inspiration!
    Always looking for ways to connect…keep giving ideas please, we can never have enough of them!

  4. Thank you for sweet words and inspiration!! I have been working hard at the listening part! I try to stop everything when my son talks to me and give him my full 100% attention! I want him to always be able to come to me and talk and I feel it starts with me if I listen!! :))

  5. Love this!! So encouraging!!

  6. With God things we think are quite impossible, are made possible beyond our wildest dreams… When you read His Word and learn from Him, slowly you realise that this applies to you as well as those in the scriptures and the great men and women of God who have gone before.
    (any encouragment to help us learn that is worth a LOT!)

  7. Thank you for the great blog post. Good things to remember.

  8. Can’t wait to share this

  9. Lori White says:

    To my teens: You make my day better, just by being yourself!

  10. I’m always on the lookout for ways to work with our church’s youth.

  11. Thank you. Devotional looks awesome

  12. I love who you are!

  13. Thanks for your help! I really appreciate it!

  14. Great tips, Rachel, and very do-able. I have been wanting to ask an older teen at my Church to mentor my 13-year-old but I’m nervous to do so. I’ve never had a mentor or been one (that I know of!) so not sure what it entails. Any suggestions on how to approach?

  15. Thanks for hosting this awesome giveaway! I know my teen could surely use this devotional!

  16. April Lopez says:

    All things are possible with God for those who love Him.

  17. Nancy Miller says:

    “Your smile makes me smile.”

  18. melissa hammond says:

    Thanks for the info! Working with teens, it’s always great to learn new things=) Excited to get this for my 13 yr old son, & use as a reference for our youth group!

  19. A positive comment….”You look beautiful/handsome in that”! thx

  20. thanks for this recommendation!!!

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