Thursday, September 16, 2010

Do you attend youth group?

I have been involved in youth ministry since 1993 full time and for 7 years before that working at camp in the summers and retreats. I love youth ministry! It is an amazing thing to be a part of. I get to see lives change! What a privilege it is to be a part of someone's life in this capacity. I have seen a lot of things. I have seen things that have brought me great joy. I have had my heart broken over others' poor choices. I have been surprised. I have been pranked. I have seen miracles. I have laughed a lot. I have gotten to play a lot. My brother says that I live in NeverNever Land.

Studies find that there are tons of benefits of attending a youth group. Knowing this, and after all of these years of seeing it happen, why does it still surprise me when a student who has been doing so well goes off and makes some really bad decisions and walks away from it all. I guess surprise may not be the right word. I don't know what the right word is. Whatever it is, it frustrates me.

Students are leaving the church. USA Today posted an article about it.When I see someone who has been so excited about church and youth group and Jesus up and walk away my heart breaks. I have cried many tears over that over the years. Is there anything I can do about it? I don't know. Ultimately we all have to make our own decisions. We have to live with our decisions. Some will be good and some will be bad. I would never want to force anyone to go to church and be part of something bigger than themselves, I just want others to see how great it can be.

I know some of you may have feel like the church has hurt you. Usually it's not the church but someone in the church who did the hurting.  It makes me wonder though...

What about you? Are you a teenager? Do you go to youth group? Why or why not? Adults, do you find church relevant or irrelevant?

1 comment:

Adoption Mission: Possible said...

I did attend youth group as a teenager and, unfortunately, had some pretty bad experiences. Despite going to a Christian college, I left the church during that time. Thankfully, I came back and God accepted me with open arms. Now, there is nothing more relevant to my life than my faith, but I must add, I struggle many times with finding the "church" to relevant for too many reasons to list.

I married a youth pastor and have worked in youth ministry for 10+ years and see the change in the youth over that time. Things are not going well within the typical church. I just recently finished the book "Already Gone" by Ken Ham. I wanted to shout "AMEN" at so many parts. It really comes down to the parents taking responsibility to train their children in the way they should go and living it themselves! It's not the job of the youth pastor to teach your children about the Bible, especially if you as the parent don't believe or live it. *stepping off of soapbox now*

All that to say, the typical church is up for a struggle and I know I must continually pray for the spiritual lives of my children- that they'll continue to believe the Bible as Truth, that they'll continue to trust Jesus with their lives, and that they'll stand up for what is right in this world of sin. Wow... that was a long answer to your questions.

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