Doctrine and Youth Ministry

I've asked myself a question a lot lately and that question is:  "where does the teaching of Doctrine fit in youth ministry?"  

We've done multiple series on doctrinal topics, some of them way too long (13 weeks on who, what, why Jesus was).  And at other times we've just discussed doctrine as it has come up during other topics.  The issue I face is not unique, when you mention any 'big' words like doctrine or theology some students check-out immediately.  Of course you'll have some who pay attention, but for the most part when you start talking about justification, substitutionary atonement, etc most kids go to their happy place, where words that 'big' aren't allowed.

I think the issue stems from students not believing those topics have any real world, in my life right now application...which couldn't be further from the truth.  The challenge we face is teaching doctrine in such a way that students understand the impact it has on their lives right now.  It may be abstract thought but it is life changing truth.

 

All this being said, we'll be spending 5 weeks on justification in the fall with the purpose of explaining the practical, life changing, right now aspects of justification.

 

How have you gone about teaching your students doctrine and theology?  What has worked for you?  What hasn't?