Thursday, December 31, 2009

Things I've learned this year

December 1997 I started at my first church as a part time youth director and a freshman at the University of South Carolina.  I also started as a Young Life leader.  Over the past 12 years I have changed in different ways but have also learned to go back to things that have worked in the past.

For the most part my schedule for youth group on a typical Sunday night has stayed the same.  We sing a couple songs, have a funny skit or game, and have a lesson.  Over the years, I have taken games and skits in and out of the routine.  I have had one song and we have had six songs in one night.

This fall I have started to bring the funny/messy games back in youth ministry.  For a while I removed them.

So I recently went back to my adult volunteer handbook and realized I need to get back to do somethings I used to do.

Here is a summary of the what/whys we do the different areas in youth ministry here....

Youth Programming:

Sunday Nights are focused on outreach.  God calls us to reach the masses and to be fishers of men.  Matthew 4:19.   We will accomplish this through Music, Games, Skits, and Talks.  Sunday nights are our drawing card.  Our goal is to create a non-threatening environment where students can hear the gospel.  There are a great number of students that are hesitant to come to a “church” function.  They associate it with words like boring, hypocritical, judgmental, and useless.  Our focus is to show them that being a Christian is not any of those words, but that Christian life can be fun!

Music is very important to relate to teenagers.  We use secular songs and oldies to relate to teens who do not have a real relationship with God.   We’ll be singing some secular songs (as long as they don’t take away from the overall message of the Word) so that they can immediately feel comfortable being here.  In short, we want them to know who the Lord is before we start singing “Lord I life Your Name on High”.We use worship to help us understand God’s character.  We use worship as an active response to God.    Worship and singing builds community and can be a transforming power.  When we encounter God for who He is and see ourselves for who we are, we are truly changed and transformed.  Worship is not based on performance.  It means taking the opportunity to encounter the living God and having the space to respond to Him creatively.  It is examining the depths of God and the depths of our hearts and responding to what we find there.  Music also helps the students become engaged and train their attention to the front for the message.

Games are also very important way for teenagers to relate.   It brings the group together and builds community.  It helps break barriers between one another.  It allows teenagers to see the other side of themselves and the adults.  Shows that Christianity can be fun!

Skits and videos are important by adding humor.  Humor adds an element of fun to youth.  It brings the group together, it focuses the attention up front, and it helps to break barriers.  We use humor to break down the stereotypes of adolescents. We use humor to reach the cynical kids sitting in the back—not paying attention or participating.  Humor can pull those people in.

Talk: Sharing a story or illustration that might give direction or create enthusiasm to consider their personal relationship with Christ.

We are following the example of Christ…He communicated personally with people.  Luke 14:15, Mark 5:30-44, John 4.   He seized the opportunities to communicate with people.  He always found a point of contact.    He showed interest in them first.  He used their language and illustrations they could understand.  We are commanded to go into the world and make disciples of men.  We are not to wait for them to come to us.  Matt. 28-18-20, Acts 1:8.  We are to nurture the flock, because of our love for Jesus Christ.  John 21:15-18.  It is about helping youth apply what they learned into their daily lives. It helps them see the impact they can have on others.

Wednesday Night Bible Study is a time that we can sit down and be more serious in the study of God’s word to us.  We will increase our knowledge of Jesus Christ and the word of God and how it relates to the lives of today’s teenagers.  Jesus spent time with his disciples one on one, before He sent them out to the masses.

Small Groups allow for relational ministry aimed at developing young people spiritually. The young people discuss issues relevant to their Christian walk and life. Small groups allow for more focused interaction, greater learning, as well as mentorship and modeling from the leaders and other members. It provides security and a place of belonging for young people.

Hanging out with Youth:  going to school lunch, football games, concerts, after MYF, etc…

It is about building a bridge of friendship…identifying with people where they are at.  It is understanding and penetrating a culture while demonstrating Christ’s Love for everyone.

  • We are following the example of Christ…John 1:14, John 3:1-16, Mark 2:15

  • He entered their world…He went to them.

  • He treated people as valuable individuals.

  • He cared for people in every strata of society.

  • He respected dignity.
    He assumed the role of a servant

  • He communicated personally with people.  Luke 14:15, Mark 5:30-44, John 4

No comments:

Post a Comment