The tale of two youth groups
Traveling around the country we get to see a lot of differences in churches, we see what some churches do differently than others and we get to see the similarities. A common denominator between youth groups everywhere is depression. As heart breaking as that is, it is also the reality of America. We have become enraptured in self hate. Every youth lock in, youth group or special youth event is filled with teens struggling not just with insecurities or depression but with the actual thought of suicide. What can we do to change the internal struggles within our next generation? To help those with so much pain inside that they act out and often cause harm not just to themselves but to others.
A special youth service.
February, 2nd, 2018.
It’s no wonder that the third service of the week resulted in so many lives being raised up. Circumstances often mirror the past and how great is it to be reminded that on the third day Christ rose again. It probably sounds cheesy to say something like that, but isn’t that the goal of our lives to mirror Christ Himself?
Preparation for the service was done. Skit list was set. Prayer was taken seriously. Sermons were written out and ready to go. Then teens started to trickle in. I could tell you about the vacant stares but to be frank, we all know. We all know how teens act and it is so easy to blame them for their attitude. What was different about this youth group? Nothing in the beginning, it was how they responded. At the end of service there wasn’t screams of joy, there wasn’t an eruption of clapping or hollering. There was a reverence. A new found appreciation of God. The stares were now filled with tears and hearts were broken toward their Savior. Altar call was filled with these young people pouring out their hearts not to just us but to the Lord. It was moment of vulnerability between them and the Father who loved them. For once they didn’t see themselves as mistreated, depressed, insecure kids, they saw themselves as people: As sinners that needed saved and for once without someone telling them who they were they got to hear their heavenly Father speak into their lives through his word. The ministry done that day will be remembered because it wasn’t a group of young adults speaking to teenagers, it was God using young adults to speak into his children’s lives. Altar call was filled with young people pouring out their hearts, becoming open and honest. They allowed their pain and hurting to be heard and gave it up to God.
2 Corinthians 5:17
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”
A quiet youth service.
February, 14th, 2018.
The church was a quiet one with very little response to skits. We hung out with some youth before the actual service; they were reserved but very much so finding themselves in life. We began service and were greeted with no smiles, no singing, no clapping and very little laughter. Now those things do not make a good service but those things help us judge the room to see if their is actual enjoyment in our audience. But none the less there was no response besides a chuckle here and there.
The last skit, talked about surrendering all we had to God because of the love we have for him. It had some people accept the requests from God and some turned away from him.
The youth watched.
With it being Valentine's day our speaker talked about love using the 1 Corinthians 13 example of love.
The youth listened.
Service was done, the speaker asked if everyone enjoyed themselves and to our complete surprise we were met with one of the biggest applauses we have ever received. They had changed so much within just 30 minutes of seeing God’s word portrayed right in front of them. They were singing during altar call, smiling, crying and rejoicing in their own ways. There was a change in each individual that was nothing more or less of God. Their hearts were turned to their Father. They surrendered their hopelessness.
“Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.”
Both youth groups were different. Both had different responses, different biblical views, different games, worships songs and all around the youth groups were nothing like each other, the only thing they had in common was God. God’s word and power is for all. It doesn’t matter the congregation, the teens or their circumstances; Christ is their lord and God is their father. If you ask a team of young adults who travel around the country what is so different about these youth groups than others we would honestly say, nothing. They themselves weren’t different. They just got the opportunity to hear what God called them. They got to hear their Father tell them how loved they are. They experienced someone intentionally chasing after them and that is the charge we leave you with today. The next generation is full of depression, insecurities and pain. We as their leaders and parents need to help the next generation by teaching them who they are in Christ. Once we know where we stand and who we are in our Heavenly Father not even the strongest attacks from foes will stop us.
“I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his masters business. Instead I have called you friends..”