5 Keys to a Healthy Youth Group

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A few weekends ago I watched the wonderful Disney movie called “The Bee Movie” with my family. It was truly ‘bee’ utiful! When you stop to think about this pesky little animal it really is an amazing creature. For example: A honey bee’s wings beat 11,400 times per minute; a bee’s flight speed is an average 15 miles per hour; bees have 5 eyes; bees cannot recognize the color red; a single hive contains 40-45,000 bees; and the list can continue about the amazement of bees. These are interesting facts about the honey bee not to mention the queen bee who can lay 3,000 eggs each a day.

But here’s the really exciting thing - these bees (40-45,000 of them) live in community! They live together in a single hive for a common goal – to make honey. As I continue to ponder this movie I am amazed at how Acts 2:42-47 talks about community.

The Hebrew word for community is edah which also refers to beehive. Interesting! Is your youth group living in community, working together for a common goal? If we dissect this small portion of Scripture is says that the early church did a number of things together…

  • They fellowshipped together
  • Broke bread together
  • Prayed together
  • Gave to anyone together
  • Praised God together

This is truly the fellowship of believers. All these believers were fellowshipping together for the glory of God. They lived in community - family. Is that what your youth group emulates? Is your group moving together in harmony to bring transformation? The early church did all 5 events on a regular basis – weekly. So from the perspective of the early church we need to ask 5 hard-hitting questions in order to properly evaluate our youth group.

Does your group experience Biblical fellowship? Does your youth group break down cliques? Encourage healthy relationship? Stop bullying and so forth? Your youth group should be place where all can come and feel safe. Is it?

Does your youth group break bread together? There is something amazing that happens when you sit down together and enjoy a food together. It’s relaxes the mood. In my previous group we made it part of the overall working of youth group to have food at every event. There were nights where we focused intentionally on food by celebrating the Passover and its significance. The breaking of bread or food at youth group should be intentional not just providing snacks. Is your youth group a place where youth come and enjoy the fellowship of the breaking of bread together? Is it?

Does your group pray together? There are many ways how you can intentionally include prayer into your youth group events. Check out the related article. Prayer is essential and powerful – an integral part of every youth group event regardless of what that might look like. Keep prayer first, ask for prayer requests, give your youth an opportunity to pray. Is your youth group a place of prayer? Is it?

Does your youth group give together? Is your group a place that gives to those in need? Do you do regular mission trips in your community, overseas? Does your youth group spend time focusing on those who have less? How about more? Have your youth given to those who have more than they do? When was the last time your group had focused teaching on the Biblical use of their time, talents and treasure. Is your youth group a group that gives? Is it?

Is your youth group a place of praise? Do you sing with your youth? Sure, singing with a bunch of teenagers can be a little awkward but something that should be incorporated into your youth ministry. Start a praise team. Does your group spend time praising God through any of the above mentioned activates? Praising God is more than just singing!!! Is your youth group a place where youth came and know that it’s all about praising God? Is it?

We always need to ask ourselves if our youth group is moving into the direction of edah. This wonderful passage in Acts ends with the words, “And the Lord added to their number those that were being saved.” What a proclamation!

It is my prayer for you that you can proclaim the same words that the Lord is adding to your group – not just numbers, but disciples! That transformation is taking place through the working of the Holy Spirit.

Take some time and evaluate your youth ministry and ask the tough questions.

Here is another cool thing about the edah of the bee. A honey bee is not born knowing how to make honey; they are taught how to do so by the more experienced bees. That’s community! Passing on the knowledge. Generations working together passing on the faith! This is the beginning of a whole new topic of intergenerational ministry and more. Have to keep that for another time.

There is so much that we can learn from tiny little bees and so much more we can learn from Acts 2:42-47. May your youth group strive to live for edah on this side of heaven. 

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