Over the past two weeks (while on vacation) I have received numerous emails from angry, confused, happy, tired parents and leaders. The majority of there emails have revolved around programming and events. Not all of the emails were of the negative nature…they ranged from;
- We need more events (not sure why exactly?)
- We need a greater mission/purpose behind them (okay)
- We need more…but they shouldn’t cost money and all we need to do is open up the church every Friday night. (This is what I call…free babysitting for mom and dad – let’s not forget I have my own family…wife and kids and I’d love to hang out with my own boys and wife on a Friday night)
- 1 event a month is great…keep it up! (I love it)
In many ways the church has created this monster…we have sabotaged the parents responsibility to raise up there children and now parents are waving the flags of surrender…crying out. “WE DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO…SO YOU THE YOUTH MINISTRY…YOU RAISE OUR KIDS…AND IF THEY SCREW UP…IT’S YOUR FAULT!
So how does having an event every Friday night …keep our children from making bad choices? They don’t…kids are getting themselves into trouble Monday thru Friday from the hours of 3pm – 6pm… as they patiently wait for their parents to arrive home from work.
I’ve written a list of how I am feeling about the sacred cow youth events (after 20 years of youth miniistry)
- I am tired of the same handful of students showing up to every event. If I said “come watch the paint dry!”….there is a core of students that would show up.
- You never sign up one student at a time for an event anymore…you sign up a cluster of students. Forget pre-registration
- Is the lack of participation in things like service projects, camps, fill-in-the-blanks due to poor publicity, poor events, or a combination of the two?
- In my quest to avoid pointless “youth group-y” events, I may have moved to an opposite extreme.
- I tend to think that our “involved” students are the ones who show up for everything when in reality our students who are actually growing the most may not show up for much of what we do.
- In our quest to “do less” are we doing the right things?
Tim Schmoyer (youth pastor from Minnesota) recently posted a conversation regarding whether youth events are still working – definitely worth listening to!
I’d love to hear your feedback….what’s your experience? what’s working for you? what’s not?