My youth group just amazes me

Tonight we had our first regular high school group get-together. I'm much more creative when it comes to the middle school group, honestly, so when I was inviting people to this one what I said was, "This is your chance to tell me what the group will be doing the rest of the year."

We do a "Sunday night Coffeehouse" format, where I bring in my espresso maker (soon to be replaced with two permanent, youth group-owned machines) and make Starbucks-style goodness for everyone, and we get to relax a little bit. The original idea was to make this place a haven, away from pressure and deadlines and such.

This time, I asked the group to come up with problems they'd like to solve and efforts they'd like to be a more active part of.

The first comment was, "We should serve more." The group remembered a service project we'd done with a housing agency here in town and wanted to work with them again. We've had a kid in the hospital a lot this fall, so we wanted to do something for him, and then talked about expanding our vision to do more with people in the hospital in general. Then we talked about what we might do for the homeless people in our city.

Right now the crew is brainstorming ideas and we're going to come up with one to focus on deeply for a while. We're going to keep up the coffeehouse event as a time to relax and all check in, and add these other projects as we come up with them.

The best comment: "It's not like we could just go out and find homeless people and say, 'here's a blanket.' (Pause.) Wait, maybe we could!"

What was cool was that without any formal Bible study tonight, the group came up with most of Jesus list of things to do for "the least of these" in Matthew 25.


Grahame said...

Hello Issac,

I've been reading your blog for a few weeks now. Why is it we always underestimate our young people? I guess we've all done it :-)They often surprise us with insights and passion we did'nt think they had. Always a good idea to ask the question! Smart move :-)

I think many young people genuinely want to make a difference - they want to change the world. Sometimes in youth ministry we don't give them the opportunity to express their passion. Perhaps we should encourage them to think less about what they can get for themselves and more about how they can serve others.

Certainly, in my own journey I've found that times of significant growth occured when engaged in service, sacrifice and witness. Why are we (why am I?)so slow to recognise that opportunity in our ministry?

Keep writing Issac.

Isaac, The Rookie said...

I think the reason I've done that in the past is that it's easier and more controllable to design and run the program myself, to decide how we'll reach out and where we'll serve and how to balance fellowship and worship and service and spiritual growth; my kids might decide to go places that make me nervous, or make me wrangle my church council to convince them that what the kids are aiming for is okay. I like to claim I'm a "recovering control freak." Also, a lot of the time we hear the unfortunate stuff about "kids these days" and it takes root in our minds, making us think we have to push our priorities into their lives. Zach Hunter, the kid behind "The Amazing Change" campaign against slavery, said at a general session at the Nat'l Youth Workers' Convention last week that what his generation needs is adults to get behind kids and hold them accountable for their ideas, but not try and provide the ideas as much as we're used to.