A text message came through my phone the other day. It was intended for my daughter, but it reached me instead. “Carli, this is Joan. Would you like to be part of the youth group texts?” I hesitated. Who is Joan? Is this group text thing a good thing? I replied, “This is Carli’s Mom. I will send you Carli’s number, and you can ask her.” Joan, as it turns out, is Carli’s youth group leader.
We volleyed a digital conversation for almost an hour. I came to be elated that Jonna was leading my daughter’s small group at youth group. We discussed the common frustrations with youth group leaders and steering teens in the direction of Jesus. It’s not an easy task if you ask me. While I am skilled at writing Bible studies, and many come to me for wise counsel on the Word of God and how it applies to their life’s circumstances, my daughter will hardly sit for 5 minutes worth of my Biblical instruction. I get it. No one wants to be taught by their mom. It gave me great peace to see, “Your daughter knows her Bible.” on the screen of my phone.
I was sorrowed over the last few texts of our conversation. She wrote that she was nearing an age where she thought she was no longer relevant to youth group teens anymore, and that she was likely leaving after this year. She referred to youth group leaders as having a ‘shelf life.’ What are we missing that makes us think that youth group leaders have a time when their service is no longer effective? What do youth group leaders provide to teens that they need so desperately? Does this need require a closeness in age?
Youth Group Leaders Should Bring Wisdom To The Group
Why do teens come to youth groups? While it is true that some come because their parents make them, what is there for them to take hold of? Why do their parents want them to come, even if they don’t want to? We must ask ourselves these questions over and over. What is here for them? Is what we are doing of eternal benefit to these children?
The one thing my 15-year-old wrestles with more than anything else is understanding how the Bible applies to today’s world. Her mind is constantly at war with what she hears in school and from her friends and what the Bible says about Godly living. When the Internet tells you what is right and who is wrong, it becomes critical to measure what you are being influenced by.
“The loudest voice is usually the wrong one because confidence doesn’t need to holler. “ -Britt Paladino
Teens need us to make Godly life make sense. Youth group leaders have to bring Biblical wisdom to the table every week. The most effective youth group leader is the one who keeps their Bible the closest. Do teens sometimes buck the system? Yes. Do they ask challenging questions? Yes. But it is in the asking that we come to understand what they are struggling with. Don’t be afraid to seek God’s Word for the answers.
Teens Need Youth Group Leaders To Tell Them The Truth
It should be a foregone conclusion that we have a responsibility to tell our youth group teens the truth about faith, and how to live a Godly life in a messed up world. That means some of your teens will show up to youth group every week, wreaking of the world. When we get a whiff of it, it is tempting to withhold the truth to keep them coming back and engaged. What could be worse? The Word of God says to speak the truth in love. That verse also says that we cannot mature in Christ without hearing the truth in love. Does the Bible go against how some of our teens are living? Yes. What does it benefit them if we don’t share the truth about sin?
A second to telling them the truth is the ability to listen. Not the listening like you hear the words coming out of their mouths. The kind of listening to that says, “what you are saying is important to me.” The truth about teens is they require a whole lot of emotional investment from their youth group leaders and other adults. One thing that is lacking in the world is good listeners. When teens can come to youth and have their youth group leaders listen to them, that’s an elixir to their soul.
Focus On Maturing Christians Along With Playing Games
Everyone loves to have fun and play games. I wish my small group would play the kinds of games my daughter plays at youth group. It is an important part of bonding as a group and getting to know one another.
If youth group leaders provide the things teens need, then maturing in Christ cannot help but exist. We need to see our kids ready to take on the world in their own rite upon graduation. As the Godly people in their lives who invest in their walk with Christ, that should bring us great joy.
If you would like us to write custom Bible study content for your youth group, based on their current needs, we’d be glad to help. Contact us today for a consultation on how we can help you help your teens realize Christ in their lives today.