What is the purpose of youth group?

A youth group, or youth ministry, is an age-specific religious group. Its goal is to engage young people, usually 12 to 18 years old, in activities based on faith and spiritual awakening. A “good” youth group is a safe and accessible place for young people who choose to meet and socialize in an informal setting. Opportunities to build skills and confidence are embedded in the program.

The youth group will be supported by adults, but it will be a place where young people design their own program and activities while developing a sense of community and participation. The installation must be clean, stimulating, comfortable and easy to access. As members of their communities, young people have the same right of access to community facilities. So, with all the crazy hustle and bustle of raising a teenager, it's easy to let youth group attendance go off the grid.

It's tempting to think, “My son is too busy to spend a night with other teenagers, play silly games, and listen to another Bible lesson. But why is the youth group important to the faith of their children? While most congregational youth ministries are led by volunteer lay leaders and parents, many are also guided by pastors, directors of Christian education, deaconesses, directors of family life ministry and other professional church workers. At a time when terms related to “church growth” have praiseworthy status in ministerial leadership circles, the result may be low-quality youth ministry. Ultimately, helping young people grow spiritually in their formative years will equip them to have an impact on Christ both now and in their future.

Although not all LCMS churches can be large enough for a formal youth group, all churches can seize the opportunity to support families and young people through mentoring, encouragement and education. You don't have to think about the purpose of youth ministry before you start connecting teens to things like temptation, bullying, and the negative aspects of technology and popular culture. I recently had the opportunity to attend the National Youth Workers Convention, where Director of Youth Specialties Mark Matlock identified five things he believes Youth Ministry is doing for the Church today. She has been volunteering and paid for parish youth ministries and diocesan youth ministries for eight years.

Available resources, youth personalities, and community culture influence what is offered through each church's youth group. Some people think youth groups should “keep children off the street” where they can play pool and just “hang out”. A good youth worker is someone who can let go of their judgments, prejudices and can use interpersonal skills to inform and encourage young people to become aware of their rights, their voice and their responsibilities to the wider community. Congregations do better when they partner with parents and grandparents to care for church youth, even when it doesn't look like a typical “youth group”.

When parents and students think about committing to youth ministry, there may be good intentions that go out the window when busy schedules clash with church activities. Others see youth groups as having an educational or developmental purpose; they allow young people to reunite with their peers; they socialize and become part of the community in which they live; they allow young people to move from adolescence to adulthood; they care about encouraging personal growth and offering activities. that challenge and stimulate young people. .