Teenagers will be Teenagers

So a while back our church started a Youth Group. You may wonder how that idea got past my dad. Well the three leaders are people who all think youth groups tend to be pretty lame and generally stray away from the point. So they decided to keep it simple and have one game to play and a roughly fifteen minute long sermon. NO WORSHIP TEAMS.

But my point for writing this is that last youth group, I saw the first steps towards a contemporary christian youth group. I thought to myself, "How could this have happened when this is exactly what we are trying to avoid?" I found that it simply isn't what the youth pastor does, because he always has good intentions for the kids.

It started when I showed up at the practice field. Everybody was waiting there to get a game of ultimate Frisbee going. So about seven minutes into this some others showed up being "fashionably late". Being fashionably late in this situation usually includes being wild and crazy for attention along with flashy clothing. So we started fitting these people into the game. Some of them were complaining that they didn't want to be on the bad team (the team that somehow didn't get as many capable players), and others were complaining that they were not on the same team as their friend. sooner or later we got the game back on. And then people played for two minutes got bored and began socializing either in the middle of the field or on the side line. This got in the way of the players and altered the teams uneven. So the the guys all started talking to the girls that they liked. And it got time to go back to the church, and listen to the sermon. Well some other people had other plans instead. They decided they would go swing dancing at CJ's rather than stay for the sermon. The leaders had tried to stress earlier in the group that if you are going to play the game you are going to stay for the talk. Nothing else really happened after that except for people sitting together in their cliques.

So the leaders are not to blame not matter their intentions, unless they were acting like teenagers. But when you get a bunch of high school students get together, they will start socializing with their friends every chance they get and forget why they are really there. I have solution ideas for this but it is almost impossible to fix with something like a youth group.

You notice that children and teenagers usually keep quiet during normal church. That's because church has not changed so that it has the average teenager in mind (depending on which church you might go to, but at mine at least). Where as Youth Group is a watered down version of church in which teenagers are more comfortable to be wild and crazy and disrespect what the leader has to say. I believe that teenagers think there are problems that adults have and there are problems that teenagers have. So adults go to church for their issues and teenagers go to youth group for theirs. Wrong. They all can learn from good old fashion church.


RespectMyAuthorita said...

Gunn you miss the point. Its not the youth group that is the problem. Its that kids are kids. Youth groups start usually at an age where kids hormones are higher than jimi hendrix. Church is not a solution for this. The kids just sit there lusting during the sermon, waiting for church to get out because billy has been making eyes at sally all service long.And when there is a coffee break, he flirts with her just the same. The only difference, is that they have to behave a little more, because socially they would get embarassed because everyone else is quiet in the service.

I have seen very sucessful youth groups, with worship teams. Ironically enough, the worship team is what kinda brings the kids back into good behavior, because everyone likes music and a band. The kids intentions may still be bad because they are kids, but at least its on a level they can relate to. I went to CEF when your dad was there, and when it was not really reformed yet, and there was no sunday school and there was no youthgroup. I dont think i remember a single sermon or ever paid any attention till i was 18 or older. Church is boring for adolescents. Youth groups tend to have a guy who speaks the bible in laymans terms to the teens. Being that teens because of their hormones and youth have an attention span of 15 mins. The youth pastor will preach the sermon first before he looses them, then they do activities after. Other churches that are sucessful with this have learned what you can and cant do with kids. One of my buddies was in a youth group where they flew to mexico and helped build a house, he said there was some kids being lame, but for the most part, everyone was on board helping and they had a good leader keeping them in line. Some go on rafting trips and have a nice sermon thing back at camp. Youth groups are an effective tool if you pay attention to the fact that your audience are wild teens. If you dont have the youth pastor who can keep them in line, it wont work. I mean, teachers at school are able to keep these kids in line, so its not the youth groups problem its the youth pastor. Imagine if Mr Owsley was the youth pastor, it would work. Kids would have fun, but they wouldnt be doorknobs. and as soon as some of them went to cj's for swing dancing instead of the sermon, the youth pastor would tell them that they will be cleaning out the church on sunday, if they want to come to youth group again.

Evan Gunn said...

"Its that kids are kids." Uh yeah I got that, it's in the title. You know Teenagers will be Teenagers. Thats pretty much what I was comunicating here.

Listen, I have been to four different youth groups and each of them i attended more than five times. I have been to the Nazarene, The Crossing, The Trinity Baptist, and bridge bible youth group. I have seen people helped by the contemporary ones and people who disregard all of it. It helps SOME PEOPLE. Like I have said before, i agree with the message but, its style of excecution is not my thing. Even though with those three youth groups I have been to, everybody was there for their friends or someone they liked. And after the sermon they would go off and do some really stupid/sinful things, even though they were the ones during the songs that were lifting thier hands in the air more than anyone else. I got to know a lot of these kids that go to it and they are not as good as they look.

But, its really not that I think its all bad together because, it does work for some people, I honestly have not seen it work.

Lincoln Davis said...

Gunn, this was a great post.

Moscow Girl said...

Let's all sway and sing contemporary christian rock songs!

(sweet smile)

RespectMyAuthorita said...

Look at it this way gunn, would you rather have a bible study and some good influence on these teens at 6pm and have them make out from 7pm till 8pm, or,,, would you rather have them not get a bible study and worship, and just make out from 6pm till 8pm at the park?

Evan Gunn said...

Actually, I'd pick number two. It is worse for a person to be living in sin, deny that it is wrong and still claim their christianity, than just living in sin no strings attached. Wouldn't you say it is worse for a pastor be comitting adultry and continue to be a pastor in the church, as opposed to just commiting adultry. These kids aren't believing it is wrong to do what they do and still claim that they are christians. Its wrong because they are claiming they are good christian people, sinning, not getting their sins forgivin for and not even feeling bad about it. I repeat myself but theyclaiming something they aren't and disrespecting what the lord has said. I am having a hard time trying to comunicate this but my dad can talk the length of a sermon. . . Which he did last week.