Last week I mentioned that the traditional idea of youth group is not necesarily the right fit for every church. If you really want to lead new generations into personal relationships with Jesus Christ, you have to be willing to build a relationship with them yourselves. They should be able to experience the love of God through you and your congregation. When we focus on this, we can open up our expectations around programing.
Your church may or may not be able to afford to hire a full or part time youth director to lead weekly programing, mission opportunities, conferences, and all of the other exciting traditional youth ministry pieces. However, your congregation is equipped by the Holy Spirit to love. In what specific way(s) is your congregation equipped to do that? Here is some good news: It doesn’t have to look like anything any other church is doing!
Some rural congregations are offering weekly, traditional programing. Some are offering monthly service and fellowship opportunities. Some are offering something to do on a friday night in a community where there just aren’t many safe options.
Several months ago, Aaron Helman, with Ministry to Youth, put out a blog post entitled “Why big fun doesn’t work anymore, and what to do about it”. He wrote about all the entertianment options that are available to youth these days, which may not appear to be true in our rural areas. However, because of technology, most young people now hold a world of entertainment in the palm of our hands.
In his blog post, Aaron said, “Teenagers today have more social options and more entertainment options than ever before. If we’re competing for their time in the space of BIG FUN, we’ve found ourselves in a suddenly clustered field…The good news for all of us is that youth ministry was never supposed to compete on fun. A youth group offers Meaning and Truth and Real Relationships and plenty of other Capitalized Things that you won’t find at the ice rink or climbing wall.” So what are you currently offering or what are you thinking about offering? How has God been equipping you and your congregation to offer meaning, truth, and real relationships to new generations in your context?
Commit this to prayer on your own and with others in your congregation who are ready to share the love of God with new generations. If you are already doing something that might be considered non-traditional in youth ministry, I’d love to hear about it! Send me a message or leave a comment to share your ideas and help others start thinking outside the box as they seek God’s direction.