What is a Youth Group? An Expert's Guide

Youth Group is an Australian rock band based in Newtown, New South Wales, whose sound is reminiscent of independent rock artists such as Teenage Fanclub, Pavement and Death Cab for Cutie. But there is another type of youth group that has nothing to do with music. A youth group, or youth ministry, is an age-specific religious group that seeks to engage young people, usually between the ages of 12 and 18, in activities based on faith and spiritual awakening. Youth church groups may also include people up to 30 years of age who serve as group leaders and interact with participants.

The goal of these groups is to teach young people what it means to be a believer in Christ and to instill the importance of justice. Field activities range from small groups attached to Catholic parishes or schools, to large international meetings such as World Youth Day. Youth ministries can also be student-led, where students take responsibility for planning services. So what do you do in a youth group? How often do you meet and what do you discuss? These are all legitimate questions for anyone thinking of starting or joining a church youth group.

Church youth groups bridge the gap between younger and older generations by passing the torch, so to speak. They encourage participation in both church and community as ambassadors for Christ as they grow and gain more experience. For those organizing the ministry, it's important to make sure that young people are in the spotlight and that their opinion is taken into account. Unlike some Protestant churches, a youth minister of the Roman Catholic Church is not a member of the clergy.

There are organizations within the Unitarian Universalist Association (the main organization of universalist unitary congregations in the United States), as well as within the Canadian Unitary Council (the national body for universalist unitary congregations in Canada), which minister to and with young people, of which Young Unitarian Religious Universalists (YRUU) are the greatest and most obvious. Each youth ministry is structured differently and culture will vary between youth ministries depending on how the ministry cultivates culture. In order for the body of Christ to grow, it is necessary to begin with the future of the church: young people. Jaiden Stipp was watching a Star Wars movie in his afternoon youth group in Tacoma, Washington, last March when offers started rolling in.Youth Group Names is a free resource that helps you find the next name for your youth group, camp or retreat. For everyone's benefit, feel free to add new youth group names using the form at the bottom of the list.