Sunday, August 14, 2011

Change in Youth Ministry

Starting in September we move from a youth group gathering for all students in middle and high school to two different nights, one for middle and one for high school.

The whole basis for this change is to better accomplish our purpose of reaching students to discover life in Christ. We want to see students come to know Christ and stay engaged and connected in the youth ministry all the way till they graduate their senior year. We want to teach students at their level and stage in life. We want to maximize the space in our youth room.

There is a huge maturity difference in an 11 year old 6th grader and a 17 year old senior, I see the differences every Sunday night.

I first met with individual team members and shot the idea to them about switching up and making the change. I then gave them a few weeks to consider and think about the change. We then gathered and together and listed the pros and the cons. The pros far outweighed the cons. The whole team was on board with making the change. The elders agreed with our decision.

Will there be some hitches during the change? Possibly. Will some parents and students not fully grasp the reason as to why we are changing? More than likely. Will the change fit everyone's schedule? Probably not. There is no perfect night where everyone can be at youth group. Will some have to make decisions about their schedules and activities? Yes. Ultimately we have to keep our purpose in mind as well as the big picture.

Discipleship is a process. Over the past ten years we have seen many students come to know Christ. Over the years we have seen many juniors and seniors do the "fizzle" and fade away.
We want them to stay engaged because those last couple of years before heading off to college are very important in nailing down their faith and what they believe.

Often we can't go deep on topics and have to stay on the surface because of the wide age range. Now we can give the older students a little more "meat" to chew on. Middle School students will be able to bring friends without any intimidation of being around much older students.
High School students will have their youth ministry that they can be excited about bringing friends to share a cup of coffee or mocha and discuss the lesson of the evening together. Middle School students are always good about bringing friends and we will use that strength in the discipleship process.

This great new beginning allows for and provides:

>Age appropriate and specific teaching and study

>Less intimidation for younger kids

>No “little kids” to discourage HS students from inviting their friends

>Focus on the strengths of the two individual groups

>For MS students the HSM will be something to look forward to. (example – kidmo kids look forward to youth group)

>Older youth with leadership potential will have opportunity to serve and minister to the younger youth on Thursday evening.

This is an excellent time to change:

>New youth room in a couple months so two groups allows us to fill the room twice with students

>New school year

>Great group of middle school kids

>Big crop of high school freshmen to build on

Excellent opportunity for the Parent Pod to birth a new small group! There are plenty of parents here on the OBX who need to be connected first of all to God through Christ but also connected with other parents of youth.

At our Discovering Nags Head Church we are told that if we don't like change than we will have a hard time at NHC because we change.

I'm excited to see how God is going to use this new adventure in our youth ministry!

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