Lonely in a Crowd

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Have you ever been in the middle of a crowd where you didn’t know anyone else? It’s actually pretty easy to feel alone in the middle of a crowd. It’s also a common occurrence in our schools and youth groups and it breaks my heart.

No matter how hard you attempt to include every student in your youth group, there are some students that, for whatever reason, don’t fit in or at least don’t feel like they fit in. There aren’t many feelings that are worse than being absolutely alone in the middle of a group or event.  If you put yourself in their shoes, you can quickly see the urgency in addressing these situations.

Here are a few thoughts I have for pulling students out of lonely places and into community:

  • Look for these situations.  Make sure you look for these situations regularly.
  • Have a plan ahead of time to respond to these situations. Have plan A, B, C, D, and however many more plans you need to make sure every student is included.
  • Don’t force it, but don’t give up either.
  • If you have students in your youth group who are mature enough to be conscious of these kinds of situations, let them use their leadership gifts by helping to pull in those who are left out.
  • You might consider making it a lesson topic. Check out all of the times in the Bible where Jesus is aware of lonely and hurting people in the crowd. Jesus approaches these individuals and changes their lives. So maybe if we are supposed to be Christ-like, we need to seek out the lonely and hurting too. It’s a lesson with plenty of examples that youth groups can accept, especially if they are willing to admit they’ve been in those situations.

So what have you done to include those who are left out, either by their own actions or by the actions of the group?  Share examples or challenges you might have experienced. I suspect Youth Network blog readers would love to hear about them.

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Since I'm not an overly chatty person, especially on initial contact, I find others in the group that are gifted in that area; those  that love to and are good at making others feel welcome. Especially, new kids that have not come with a friend; it's scary for them....And, besides, they really don't want to have a long, drawn discussion with a youth leader unless they are looking for advice. I am also blessed with children, Youth Group age that are outgoing and willing to help out that way, also. Unfortunately, it only takes one slip-up and you may never see that young person again....get it right the first night, because otherwise the task to get them to come back is 100 times more difficult!!