Many of us are making our final plans for starting up our fall programming in our faith communities. Barbeques, picnics, bowling parties, ice cream socials, pizza night, and kick-off Sunday celebrations are all in the works and we are looking forward to the year ahead. In all of the excitement, it can be hard to remember that for many youth, there will be uneasiness, anxiety, and fear about the unknown. If a child has never been to youth ministry programs before, they may not know what to expect at all. If they have been, they may be wondering what will be different this year, will certain people come, will a different person talk to them, or what crazy stuff will the youth minister make us do this year. This kind of unknown, even if they have grown up in the church and have been excited, can make the first few months of the year so important.
This Spring, you probably celebrated the seniors who graduated from High School and are headed off to their next adventures. Their adventures may include a job, the military, community college, college, or something unknown. Regardless of where they are headed, staying in touch with them and letting them know you are still thinking about them, holding them in prayer, and looking forward to seeing them is important. Just because they graduate, does not mean that they graduate from the community. But how does one stay in touch? Here are my top 10 ways that I have found to stay in touch.
Which Issues Do You Think Matter Most to Youth? - Be careful this blog title is intentionally deceptive! - Jim MerhautRead Now
In too many churches, the youth director focuses only on the youth who show up for youth group. That’s the youth ministry. The youth who show up.
In most churches, however, you’ll often find youth who never attend the youth group. They attend worship services. They may be involved in other aspects of the church, but since they’re not in the youth group, they fall through the youth-ministry crack.
A strong youth ministry cares for all youth—those involved in the church youth ministry and those who never show up.
I get asked questions at least once a month about Confirmation. What program should I use? What videos are the best? How can I keep the kids interested? How long should it be? How long does it have to be? Can we do a confirmation class with adults and youth together? How big or small should the class be? How old should the person be to be confirmed? How do we help people decide if they are ready to be confirmed? How do we honor what the youth decide? How do we involve mentors? How do we involve the parents?
Many people today are yearning for quiet time, or time to be still, or time for themselves without interruptions. Life today is full. Full of study, work, friends, family, play, technology, etc. We have cars and bikes that get us places more quickly, we have technology that helps us get things done more quickly, we have fast food, and instant gratification. It is all more than we can truly take.
Schools are great a helping kids find out how to do things – reading, writing, math, research, and critical thinking to name a few. They are good at helping kids discover the importance of physical activity, sharing, honesty, art, music, and learning languages to name a few. What I don’t see very often, is helping them to discover more about themselves by looking at who they are, what makes them tick, why they think certain things are important while others don’t, or how to become centered rather than scattered. It won’t work to simply tell them to go discover themselves – we have to be there to mentor them on their journey.
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