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Saturday, October 24, 2009

the kids who learn and play together stay together

when i was a teenager, i went to every youth function that there was. my whole social life was within my youth group or other youth groups. i went to camp every summer. i went to youth convention every fall. we usually had at least one retreat getaway a year. six flags was an annual trip. we also went to every Christian concert and youth rally that we found out about. we experienced God together! plus, we had "fun nights," times of hanging out together doing all kinds so different things, skating, miniature golf, bowling, bonfires, etc.  there were so many things going on that i never once thought that i was missing out on anything that the world had to offer. honestly, i did not have time to go out into the world to look for fun or fulfillment.  i was too busy finding it with my youth group friends. i am good friends with many of them still today.

youth groups seem to be different today than when i was young. it seems like youth pastors spend more time tying to have big events with lots of people for evangelistic purposes and very little time providing activities that provide social gatherings for the young people who are already a part of the body of Christ. i do not have a problem at all with evangelistic events. i am all for introducing more people to Jesus! but, i also see a huge missing piece in the lives of many young people because they do not have enough socialization time, centered around God and moral fun, with kids their age. teenagers are social. that is a top priority for them. if they are not given many opportunities to develop that part of their life with other Christians, they will find it in the world.

so, yesterday, we took our kids to a missions youth rally, ourselves. the worship band from our church was doing the worship so we thought that we would go and support them and take our kids so that they could experience worshiping God with a lot of young people who weren't necessarily from their own youth group. it was a wonderful experience. it brought back a lot of old memories for me. the speaker was even one of the same speakers that used to do youth rallies in our area when i was a teenager. his message was on responding to God's call. he had all of the kids come forward after he spoke and offered salvation to all who would accept it through Jesus. then, he encouraged everyone of the kids to listen and respond to the moving of the Spirit of God inside of them. he said there are only two things that you can do when someone calls you, answer it or ignore it. he challenged them to never ignore the calls of God in their lives but to answer them so that they can live and never have regrets, wondering what God might have been trying to get through to them about.  it was a wonderful experience. my kids were ministered to very much.

i think it is time that i lift up our youth group's social calendar to the Lord in prayer. there can never be too many Christ centered social activities for our young people. if we do not provide them enough social opportunities to develop friendships and learn spiritual things together, they will search to fulfill that need in them somewhere else. lasting friendships, centered around having fun, with God in the middle of all that they do is a necessity for our teenagers. the kids who learn and play together stay together.

24 comments:

~*Michelle*~ said...

Thanks for spreading the Word about how important this is.

In this world......something is going to grab the youth.

Let's continue to pray that it's Jesus.

Karen said...

Oh, I wholeheartedly agree with you! I grew up with Christian social activities going on citywide, district-wide, and state-wide...there was always some type of fun and fellowship going on for as long as I remember...when my own kids were teens, we were "stuck" in a church that meant well, but the administration did not see the importance of meeting these needs of the youth...we were finally lead to our present church that feels the burden to reach ALL age groups...and plans accordingly...but I agree with you about this situation being a lot different than it was years ago....

Loren said...

Amen Christy Rose! This is soo true!

Christy said...

So true Christy Rose! I want that for my children as well. Right now they're involved in AWANA and as they get older I want them to continue to be involved in youth group and other Christian group activities.

He & Me + 3 said...

I agree. Our youth need more opportunities to get together with other believers. Times are so tough for them. They need our prayers & our direction. So awesome that you got to go with your kids to the rally. I remember attending youth rallies and leaving so much closer to God.

Adeye said...

I absolutely agree, dear friend.

Oh goodness--my days of having teenagers is right around the corner :) Fun! You'd better believe I'll be reading here for great advice!

Bridget said...

I have such wonderful fond memories of activities with my youth group! Just like you, I am friends with many of them still today. I think it would be great for the youth groups today to have such opportunities!

RCUBEs said...

That's true...If we don't keep these young people busy, they get bored. And that's when the enemy steals their effectiveness for His Kingdom. Great thought sister and may the Lord continue to reveal a lot of great things in your heart...God bless and have a great weekend!

Cheesemakin' Mamma said...

The youth group I went to was so shallow. I think kids today are longing for something deeper. Thank you for bringing attention to this need. So glad your kids were ministered to in a powerful way. That is awesome!

Love and Blessings,
Jackie

Paula said...

Did you go to six flags on those weekends when they had Christian speakers or concerts? I remember enjoying that kind of thing both there and in Branson, MO at Silver Dollar City.

I've been concerned for my boys. We don't have much of anything for them at our church. I think you're right that Christian community is so important. I'm praying about what we should do.

Mich said...

I agree with you... the youth do need more involement at church.

However, as the wife of a student minister who plans and plans... the way of society today is that school and sports are more important than church. Kids do more than they did when we were young outside of church. My hubby has a retreat planned in November for a day when they are "out" of school, yet may have to cancell because kids and parents would rather they do something else. It is a hard call these days...

I am thankful for parents like you who really care about the spiritual growth of your children.

Hope said...

Dear Christy Rose,

I also never had any longing for the world because I had so much socializing within my own family...that is one reason I think large families are great...you always have a friend...there is always something going on.

I agree that when you have fulfillment in Christian friendship, you don't need to look to the world for approval...seeking the ways of the world. The world holds no special appeal.

♥Hope

Sassy Granny ... said...

What a worthy investment! Our children are with us so few years, and to provide them with healthy, godly, youth-oriented fellowship is sure to impact them for life.

Blessings,
Kathleen

KEE said...

CHristy you are one of my pay it forward winners. Please email me your mailing address, you can find my email addy on my profile.
Congratulations.

We are on our way home, another 16 hors to go. Not a very successful trip. I will post about it sheen we get home. Thanks for your prayers.

Faith said...

This was really good to read!
I too grew up in a vibrant youth group although much smaller than what my daughter is growing up in. She has been a part of Life::Redefined (our youth group) since 7th grade when we joined our church. Our former church had virtually nothing for teens....thus we needed to make this move. It has been almost 4 years and we are learning so much about youth ministry. we have a full time youth pastor (we're in a mega church) and have about 120 active teens. They have their large group event with worship, teaching and small groups on Sunday evenings. Saturday nites once a month are social events either off site or at the youth center at the church. High school teens (mine is in high school) have their small group Bible study one evening during the week. The jr high teens have their small group right after the large group event on sundays. Also we go to concerts, etc that come to the area.....it is SOOO important for our teens to hang with their bros and sis's in Christ!!

wife.mom.nurse said...

The days of your youth sounds wonderful.

It makes me feel so thankful that my boy is really becoming engaged with his middle school group!

Kristin said...

I think you're right. Kids of that age are so heavily influenced by who they hang out with. I know when my girls get older, I hope our church will have tons of things for them to be involved in, rather than them ending up at some wild party or doing things with kids they shouldn't be doing.

SusanD said...

You are absolutely right. There are so many pulls on our youth today that providing them with alternative social activities is vital to their growth. Thanks for sharing. Blessings, SusanD

amanda said...

totally agree. praying that your kiddos and mine...and all of the kiddos find jesus to keep in the center of what they do!

Pilar said...

I so much agree with you. I grew up in Spain and he churches here are really small. I was the only teen there for a while and that was hard. It is such a blessing to have other christians to be with... even whe we are olde :)

Alicia, The Snowflake said...

It's so hard these days to be a teen. They definitely need a place where they can interact with other Christian teens. I pray you find that balance for your children.

Take care my friend!
Hope you have a great week!

heidi said...

The church I attend has next to nothing for this age group. The one before this one had nothing, as well, so I started a youth program. I really loved being with those kids. Sure they loved the big, fun stuff but they really dug the times we all just hung out TOGETHER.

Prayers and love to you.

Girl In a Glass House said...

Christy Rose

You and I had the exact same kind of teen experience and I know I missed out on absolutely nothing! And we both share the same concern about teens in church. My own small church hired a youth leader who stated up front that she was not there to specifically do outreach but rather to bring friendship and faith the the youth in our church. I commend her for that and appreciate all the fun (and serious) nights she gives to my sons. Good and timely post!

E @ Scottsville said...

My youth experience sounds just like yours! we stayed busy, had fun, and all of my friends were church friends. That was IT! That was all I had! And yes, I'm still friends with all of them today. Love that!

My youth group (I work with our youth) get together once a month for a fun activity, but we have so few, that it makes it difficult. Larger groups are more fun, and small groups - well, they tend to get bored with each other. We only have FIVE total. *sigh*

Oh what I'd give for MY youth group of today to experience MY youth group from back in my teen years.