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Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Hot chicken on a rotisserie stick

If you're new to these parts, then you will soon learn pretty quickly that my husband and I have a passion for doing ministry and life with teenagers. We love the variety it brings, the joy in seeing a teenager "finally get it", and the dynamics that go into those weird teenagers. They really are a fascinating breed, ha!
 
Unfortunately, a lot of folks don't get that. Especially church folks (now I'm not saying ALL church people don't get it, just a select few... And I speak from experience).
 
Take it from a kid who grew up in church where the youth leaders rotated in and out like a hot chicken on a rotisserie stick - it sucked. Not having the opportunities to really build relationships with our leader, the lack of organization, and the pure frustration in always feeling like you were getting a new "flavor" each week are really some of the main reasons why I stopped going to my youth group. As I got into my later teen years, I was blessed to find a youth group that had the ability to remain constant while preaching the Gospel at the same time.
 
 
As I reflect back on that learning experience, I can so clearly now see the importance of having a youth group that was fully supported by the church family. I'm talking in terms of financial, morally, and biblically. Think about it - kids and teenagers are the future of the church. I know this may come as a shock to the older generations but brace for it: you are going to eventually die. I'll let you catch your breath on that concept real quick...

... Ya good? Okay let's dive into this a bit deeper. So let's be biblically hypothetical here - if I were an older generation (heck, even at my young age now), I would so desperately want to see God's work continue on past my time. I couldn't rest easy if I willingly squandered away my time with worries of trying to do church "my way", or not allowing any young kid in "because they don't fit the mold", or even if I said, "We already do too much for them. What about me and my needs?" I whole-heartedly could not rest easy if I practiced those behaviors just previously mentioned.

Why you ask?

Because it's not biblical. Nor is it morally right. And honestly, it makes you look like a brat.

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
-Proverbs 22:6 (ESV)

If you start at a young age of teaching children how to act, loving them like Jesus would, showing them how to be an effective disciple (hence, make more disciples), can you imagine the world we would live in?? Can you imagine the work that would get done after we are dead and gone??

That, my friends, is why investing in your children and youth programs at church are vital to the church's very core and existence. Without the church family to bring up and raise the next generation to be effective disciples, the world around them will do it for you. And trust me, the results aren't as pretty. Invest in the future, support the youth program, and for the love of God, treat the teenagers with some respect. You'd be amazed at the results.
 

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6 comments:

  1. I totally agree! I LOVE that y'all have hearts for youth. It is such an impressionable time!

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  2. I was really, really shy when I was in middle school. I went to youth group, even though I'd sweat the whole ride there because I always prayed no one would call on me to pray out loud. One Sunday while I was in the youth class at church, one of the occasional leaders - who also knew I was extremely shy and introverted - called on me to pray in front of the entire middle school and high school class. I froze and with tears in my eyes, politely declined... he then spent the next few minutes MAKING FUN OF ME and how I couldn't pray in front of others. A grown man and father to a fellow classmate. Finally, another one of the occasional leaders stepped in and told him to 'move on.' I bawled the entire ride home (my dad "had words" with this guy, I later found out) and my parents told me I never had to go back there again... and I didn't for a long time, until a college gal took me under her wing and truly showed me love and helped me to find the courage again to walk back into that classroom. To this day I still have a hard time praying out loud in front of people - it was seriously a traumatizing experience for me, all because some adult man didn't totally invest himself in us youth, or realize how impressionable and fragile we were at that time. Don't ever stop what you're doing, Kelly. You guys are doing amazing things, just by being there, being patient, and loving those kids!

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    Replies
    1. ugh...this makes me so mad!! And we wonder why people walk away from church and never look back! Christians seriously make the worst Christians!! I mean, not all of them, but seriously.

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  3. True enough! The Jesuits have a saying: "Give me the child when he is seven and I will show you the man". If you can teach children young, what they learn will never leave them (for instance, someone who was educated by nuns or brothers will often start any piece of writing by noting at the head of the page "AMDG" - Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam / To the greater clory of God, because that's what they were taught to do in school). What you're doing with the youth ministry is absolutely great work and a wonderful foundation for their future.

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  4. YES!! Without the engagement and spiritual growth of the younger generations, the church would eventually die out! I feel like the teenage years are this critical bridge - from the period of 'faith like a child' to the choice of remaining with your spiritual walk or taking another path.
    I was incredibly blessed - the youth pastor at the church I grew up in was amazing. He made the Bible and Jesus' life so easy to understand - and he was the pastor for all of the years I was in school, which in hindsight, was very lucky. I can see how changing personnel in a position like that would be so disruptive to the kids.
    What you're working on is fantastic, Kelly - keep doing what you're doing!!!

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  5. I've said it before....I LOVE your heart for youth. What you do is amazing, crazy, hard, frustrating, life giving work. I PRAY my kids get youth leaders like you when they're older. I wish there were more couples like you two who were serving in the church. Your flock is super blessed.

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