Tonight our Church will kick off its Wednesday evening youth group for Jr. and Sr. High students. Somehow every year I end up being a part of the leadership of this area of ministry. I never wanted to work with teenagers, but each year God has other plans. That is not to say I do not support what the Church does each meeting, in fact, it is quite the opposite. I am a firm believer in the power of youth group.
1. It teaches our youth the Bible. I am not sure where else our young people are going to hear a passage from the Bible read and explained. There is Church on Sunday and hopefully family devotions, but that is about it for teens. I am not sure why anyone would want to miss this opportunity for their children.
2. It exposes our teens to Godly leaders. Each year I am impressed at how some of our adults give up their Wed. evening for 2-3 hours for the sake of our young adults. They model faith, service, and commitment to everyone who attends the group.
3. Our youth hear someone else saying what their parents say. I hope you teach the Bible at home and have spiritual discussions, but if you are the only voice your children hear then they are missing out. They are not getting wisdom from multiple voices that underline to them what you are trying to teach. Our young people need to hear that other people believe the same thing as their parents.
4. Our youth need to make connections with other Christians. This has been a huge struggle for my wife and me in raising our children. Our kids need to get connected to other Christian teens. I am not saying they need to have Christian friends exclusively, but they need to have some. They need to see and hear the faith of people their own age. This is why part of our youth group time is broken down into small groups so that they can talk through issues and get connected to like-minded believers.
5. It offers a spiritual recharge in the middle of the week. If your teen comes to Church on Sunday morning and that is all they receive, then they have to go six more days to hear anything about faith. We offer a chance for each teen to be reminded of the Bible and Godly living in the middle of the week. This will hopefully encourage them on their daily walk of faith in their school.
Every year when youth group kicks off, I am excited to see who shows up. I know that if this group of kids will continue to come, they will grow in some way spiritually over the next year. It may not be through my well-crafted lesson, but the kind words of a leader. It may come in our small group time as they hear the struggles of another teen in their faith. It may come in one of a dozen ways if they open themselves up to the possibilities.
I am thankful for youth group, and I pray God will do an amazing work again this school year.