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.
3 days ago