Another youth group season has begun. We've had a Fall retreat to kick off the year, and now are two months into the year. This year we have a new youth pastor on board and we are excited as leaders to inspire our youth to great things. Our theme this year is from 2 Tim. 1:7, "For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline." So, how is it going so far?? It could be better; which is a polite way of saying that we expected things to go better than they are. We are struggling with how to make youth group a place for the youth to grow spiritually, and for it to be a time for fun and socializing. For some youth, they only want Wednesday night to be a time to hang out and have fun, catching up with friends they haven't seen since the past week.
As leaders, we often see that our youth have some head knowledge about God and the Bible and can often give the right answers. But as leaders, we want them to have more than just knowledge, we want them to experience Jesus not just know about Him. So we started this year hitting the Bible Studies hard but the big complaint is that there was not enough fun time and time to hang out. Don’t get me wrong, these are great youth that are faithful in coming, and are well grounded in their knowledge. But that passion and zeal to live out their lives for Christ are just not there yet in most of them. I say “yet” because I know that for our Youth pastor and our volunteer youth leaders, that is our task this year, along with the Holy Spirit, to grow that passion in our youth.
Maybe some of you can share stories of success that you have had in your youth groups. I know every group is different and the dynamics are never the same, but maybe hearing some great stories can inspire us all. Also below are two links. The first one is for youth workers in Ontario to talk about this. The second is for the All Ontario Youth Convention, whose theme this year is “Experience”, we want the youth to experience Jesus.