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Youth Ministry

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by Mastadge, Dec 15, 2003.

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  1. Mastadge

    Mastadge Manager Emeritus star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jun 4, 1999
    I wasn't sure whether to post this here or in YJCC, and I decided to post it here; if this is the wrong forum, just let me know and I'll repost it there instead.

    My best friend is nineteen years old, a Christian, a college student, and a part-time youth pastor. Although she's been involved in youth ministry in various ways since high school, she's very new to the job -- she's only had it this past semester.

    Over this first semester, she's been trying to evaluate her methods and maybe adjust some things, particularly, I think, in the small Bibly Study segments she leads in youth group, but also in the program as a whole.

    She loves the job, she loves the kids (most of whom aren't that much younger than her, which is a mixed blessing), but she also takes the job very seriously and is quite hard on herself, and me never having been a very social nor a particularly devout individual, I often am not sure what to suggest. So I thought I'd see what kind of response I get here to the kinds of things I discuss with her about youth ministry.

    The Big Questions are: What is it that teenagers want to hear about? What do they need? What gets their attention? And how can she make things more relevant for them?

    We've come up with ideas certainly, but I would greatly appreciate any input or experience anyone else has that I could forward to her.

  2. Saint_of_Killers

    Saint_of_Killers Jedi Youngling star 5

    Feb 18, 2001
    I'm not fond of "youth ministries". In my experience they're either eerily similar to another 'youth' group(think Germany), or they have absolutely nothing to do with Jesus and are just places to pick up dates.
  3. KnightWriter

    KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Nov 6, 2001
    I'm also not fond of youth ministries or groups in general. Oftentimes, I think they have an atmosphere of groupthink, and either intentionally or unintentionally discourage individuality.
  4. Stackpole_The_Hobbit

    Stackpole_The_Hobbit Jedi Master star 6

    Jul 31, 2002
    My girlfriend's aunt runs the youth ministry/youth group (I don't care which it is) and she is most definitely controlling.
  5. alpha_red

    alpha_red Jedi Youngling star 5

    Aug 24, 2003
    What do teenagers want to hear about?

    Spam answer: Sex.
    Actual answer: We want to hear how to make life not suck so much.

    What do we need?

    Spam answer: Sex. And cars.
    Actual answer: An open forum to discuss our problems in an environment conducive to spiritual and emotional growth, rather than being the subject of criticism. And a car.

    What gets our attention?

    Spam answer: Sex. And cars.
    Actual answer: Sex. And a youth minister who knows what they're talking about and can relate to teens. And a nice car.

    How can they make things more relevant for us?

    Spam answer: Brainwash us and turn us into an evil clone army and then put us all in cool-looking helmets and ship us off to fight a bunch of mechanized idiots on some god-forsaken desert planet.

    Actual answer: By not being pedantic. Be like Vergere.

    I wonder how Vergere would work as a youth minister? Or Luke, for that matter.
  6. A Chorus of Disapproval

    A Chorus of Disapproval New Films Fearless Vampire Killer star 8 Staff Member Manager

    Aug 19, 2003
    I am a senior high leader in a youth ministry.

    The one thing that students DON'T need to hear or feel is RELIGION.

    They need to be invested in, not preached to. In that, they will be open to see what they need to learn in the leader.

    Kids are trying to get as much as they can, and the easier you make that, the better your chances of being successful.

    Most 'religions' will tell you that if you are willing to work for it, and if you reach high enough, you can touch God.
    But, the base of Christ's ministry is that God loves us so much that He was willing to do the work, and He reached down and touched us.

    Youth students don't need 'dos and dont's', they need an honest invstment into who they are and who they want to be.

    I DESPISE cliches, but the only thing I can think to say is that 'YOU might be the only Bible that someone else ever reads'.

    Or, as Saint Francis put it...

    "Witness the Gospel to all you meet, and if you have to, USE WORDS"

    It doesn't take preaching or babysitting.

    It takes an honest care for others.

    If your friend is trying and getting burned out, then maybe she's ready to do it the proper way, and not try at all... but rather, let God do His thing THROUGH her.

    "Man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart"

    We can't judge these kids or her performance with them.

    But, if she is not having peace, I can only suspect that she is trying to do it in her own strength.
  7. epic

    epic Ex Mod star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jul 4, 1999
    And how can she make things more relevant for them?

    she can't.
  8. im_posessed

    im_posessed Jedi Youngling star 3

    Nov 13, 2002
    i've done a youth ministry my last 2 and a half years of college, and trust me, it's something i never thought i would do, so i've run into the same problems

    my advice, be real. when i was a teen i struggled with self worth, depression, and trying to make sense of what was around me. At times, that's what i focus on with my kids, but not all the time. variety is the spice of life. talk to the kids, ask them what they want to know. be relevant, show them how it affects them, help them to take what they learn and put it in their lives. don't talk about helping others and then end the meeting. talk about helping others and then ask for ideas for service projects. i once asked my kids what they would do to change the world if they could. one answered that he would make sure everyone had enough to eat. We talked about how he can help with food drives and such, and he's only in the 7th grade.

    teens need to know themselves, a ministry leader needs to menor them andhelp them do it.
  9. Jarik

    Jarik Jedi Master star 4

    Jun 21, 2000
    I hated youth group. Went like once or twice back when I was a sophomore in high school or something like that and that was it. I'd rather hang out with my friends and youth group always felt more like a daycare and I did not need that.

    So uh...I don't know being as I never liked it. Have beer instead of soda. That'll get more kids to go. And get a pool table, some TV's and blast music over a dance floor. And don't tell them what to do. They're 16 or w/e (I guess once they start getting driver's licenses they don't really go to these things anymore) and they can pick their own activity. Nobody goes there for a new authority figure....I'd think anyway, I could barely stand the one meeting I did go to.
  10. Mastadge

    Mastadge Manager Emeritus star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jun 4, 1999
    I've been passing on what you guys've said, and here's her response:

    Hey guys,

    Thanks for the suggestions, and keep them coming! A few more thoughts...

    I've been doing some reading on youth ministry lately--particularly a book I got for Christmas from a friend called Beyond Belief to Convictions, as well as some youth ministry websites. A strong common theme I have noticed is that people keep saying youth want relationships. I don't mean romantic relationships here, but just relationships in general, connecting with other people. Those of you who have responded seem to be saying things about this as well.

    So tell me more. Any further thoughts on this in particular?
  11. bluebereft

    bluebereft Jedi Youngling star 1

    Oct 15, 2002
    My three cents: Don't trivialise Christianity. Many young Christians today (even those who serve) believe in a 'feel-good' God. While God does gives us great joy, we should understand that having a relationship with God isn't just about feeling good in his presence. It isn't just about filling that emptiness we had inside us before we accepted Christ. Teach them that there's more.
  12. A Chorus of Disapproval

    A Chorus of Disapproval New Films Fearless Vampire Killer star 8 Staff Member Manager

    Aug 19, 2003
    I agree with bereft, completely...

    Although, I personally find it to be much more relevant to SHOW them that 'there's more' as opposed to telling them...

    They most likely have a bunch of people TELLING them all sorts of things.

    They need to see someone LIVE correctly.
    Not TALK about living correctly.

    Christ said, "they will know me by your love for one another".

    Love is an action-word.
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