Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Reaching Out To Youth...

In a previous blog post I mentioned an interesting discussion that hubby and I had with our daughter about Youth Group. Even with the hustle and bustle of the Thanksgiving weekend, the topic never really left my heart. I admit that this is new ground for me as my daughter is just entering the teen years. So, my dear blog readers, please bear with me... this blog post is mostly me, myself and I organizing my thoughts into words so that I can make more sense out of them!

This all started a few weeks ago... I found myself thinking: we are part of a new church plant and we have no organized Youth Group yet apart from a Sunday School class for preteens. Since my daughter is now entering the teenage years, I started to wonder whether it is time to initiate starting a Youth Group.

The thing is... the current way most churches define what Youth Group is bothers me. This is why:
"...the most potent data regarding disengagement is that a majority of twentysomethings - 61% of today’s young adults - had been churched at one point during their teen years but they are now spiritually disengaged (i.e., not actively attending church, reading the Bible, or praying). Only one-fifth of twentysomethings (20%) have maintained a level of spiritual activity consistent with their high school experiences. Another one-fifth of teens (19%) were never significantly reached by a Christian community of faith during their teens and have remained disconnected from the Christian faith." ---Barna Group
Based on the above research results, the current definition of Youth Group doesn't make teenagers want to stay in church once they reach early adulthood. Why is that??? It really bothers me!!!

I could be wrong... but this is what I glean from this whole situation. Churches structure the Youth Group in such a way that it is difficult for teens to bring their non-churched friends because these friends feel like outsiders. If teenagers can not successfully bring their non-churched friends to Youth Group and make them feel welcomed, they will start to feel that the church is hypocritical; it is not welcoming; it is not engaging; it is not real! The result? Once they reach early adulthood and feel that they are able to make their own choices, church suddenly isn't part of the equation for them anymore!

I don't want my daughter to be part of such a Youth Group. Do you?

Well, since our church does not have an organized Youth Group yet... this is the best time to define one, right? Well, hubby and I have decided to start a "Hang-Out Night for Girls" in our home and our daughter can invite whomever she wishes to invite. This will be one of the many youth groups, hopefully, that will define Youth Group at our church. There is already another group (mostly for boys) that is on the go at another family's home and it is going very well.

I'm not saying that we have found the answer... as this could totally flop! But, I am willing to keep experimenting until I find a method that works (one that can reach non-churched youth) because I know that the current method does not work and I am not willing to keep using it just because it exists.

My prayer is for God to show us the way; to give us wisdom in how to shepherd the next generation; that today's youth will see that God is real; that they will want to live their everyday lives for Him. Help us, God!

No comments:

Post a Comment