I know it’s been way too long since I’ve posted here. I just haven’t felt like I’ve had much to say that I don’t put on Facebook these days. However, now that Jeff and I are now the youth leaders at our church I feel like getting back to blogging….at least tonight, anyway. LOL.
Let me give you a little background or update if you will, on how it came about that we are now the youth leaders for our church.
In December 2012, we finally got into our new church home. For the prior 2 1/2 years, we were meeting for church at the Eagle’s Hall. The family that hosted our youth group in their home moved out of state so we stopped holding youth group services because we didn’t have an appropriate place to meet. When we got into our new building, parents of teens as well as our Pastors and board members, were anxious to get youth group going again. Being that Jeff and I had the most experience in youth ministry, we were the most obvious choice. However, I was hesitant to dive right in. Not because I didn’t want to work with the youth again, but because I don’t feel qualified. I’ve never really been the leader of a ministry before and am concerned I might say or do the wrong thing that might be detrimental to their spiritual walk or make them leave the church. Of course God had other things in mind for Jeff and me.
Being obedient, we answered the call and had our first youth group service on December 18, 2012. We had about 21 kids I believe, most of them who regularly attend the church on Sunday mornings. We played some games like dodge ball and hide and seek. (Our new building is GREAT for hide and seek and flash light tag!) We have an overflow room which is mostly open so the kids have a great place to play dodge ball and other games. Then we gathered in the “Living Room” which is an area with a couple of couches and ottomans and a TV screen where we can watch videos and such. Jeff’s message was on The Advent Conspiracy and he spoke about how Christmas isn’t celebrated the way it was originally meant to be with all the focus now on gift giving and commercialism. We didn’t do any praise and worship because we are working on organizing a youth band.
Since then, we’ve now grown to about 25 to 30 kids each service, with a total of 40 coming through our doors. We hold our services in the main sanctuary now, and have started conducting Praise & Worship with computerized music. We have one of our youth workers working with some of the students organizing a worship band and some are learning the sound board and media. So, we are growing and our services are becoming more and more organized.
Some Thursday evenings Jeff has to work, so we have to have one of the other youth leaders give the message and we’ve been encouraging the students to give their testimony. Tonight was one of the nights that Jeff had to work, so a couple who help out with the youth every week had a message for the kids. It was great. Even though they aren’t experienced at speaking either, they did great and their message really touched the hearts of many of the students.
Since our youth ministry is quite young, we don’t have a lot of volunteers to do things like run sound and media, so it can be quite
awkward interesting logistically. The weeks Jeff is there, I usually give the announcements and open the service with prayer. Since Jeff runs sound, he has to turn the sound down after praise and worship, then run downstairs to give his message. The weeks Jeff isn’t there, like tonight, it’s even more interesting. Actually, tonight went pretty well, logistically anyway. I typed up an order of service ahead of time which helped a lot…helped me a lot, I should say. I’m the type of person that likes/needs to be super prepared otherwise I worry and think about everything until it happens. So the order of service helped to keep things on track…for the most part. I think I will continue to do an order of service each week, including the announcements and song selection. I think in the future I need to give it to all of the leaders so they know when it’s time to round the kids into the sanctuary, etc. LOL.
I said all that to say, tonight was the first night that I actually felt like a youth minister, even though I didn’t actually do any ministering, other than talk with a few of the kids before and after service because I was running the media during service. I think the reason I’m starting to actually feel like a youth minister is because I finally realized that I am called to youth ministry. Yes, I’ve been helping with the youth ever since I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior in 1997, but I never imagined I was being groomed to be in charge of a youth ministry. I am really enjoying it and am looking forward to seeing more and more students growing in their relationship with Christ and leading their generation to the Lord.
Youth pastors and leaders, please feel free to share your experiences when you first started out and give any advice you may have.