Cliches in Youth Groups

Discussion in 'Youth Forum' started by ResIpsaLoquitur, Apr 12, 2002.

  1. ResIpsaLoquitur

    ResIpsaLoquitur
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    As a youth Sunday School teacher, I have seen some young girls snubbed by the other so-called "popular girls" that attend our church. I have tried talking to the young people that snub the other girls but it is to no avail. Through the years, I have seen some of the "snubbed" girls quit attending Sunday School and church because they weren't accepted by their peers. I have talked with other Sunday School teachers who have related to me that the same thing has occurred in their classes. Any ides about what I can do to try and prevent the snubbed young girls from giving up and dropping out of Sunday School and church? I have had fellowships at my home, gone as a sponsor on youth trips snow skiing etc.However, I still see the same girls excluding certain girls from their activities. I have had several young girls come to me in total anguish and cry about the situation. I went to our former youth director and he told me that there was nothing he could do about the situation. Although, I knew he couldn't make these girls like each other, I felt this issue needed to be addressed in front of the youth group. Do any of you agree with me?
     
  2. Smellin Coffee

    Smellin Coffee
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    Cliques always have been a major problem in youth groups. I have been involved in volunteer youth ministries for almost 14 years, so I have seen my share of kids hurt by others because of exclusion.

    I am assuming that you are making the issue a matter of prayer, so I will not belabor that point.

    One of the biggest mistakes that youth workers make is to make sure everybody is included. When looking at Jesus' ministry, He preached to thousands, had hundreds of disciples, narrowed it down to 12 apostles, had an inner circle of three and had an exclusive love for John. Jesus made a greater influence upon the lives of the three than the hundreds. In paring down His influencial groups, some were excluded. The wise youth worker will look for the ones who are really serious and donate more time to those particular individuals, while not ignoring the others. It seems unfair and unbalanced, but that is how Jesus ran His ministry.

    As far as your particular problem, look into your heart (and the hearts of the other SS teachers). If one is truly serious about dealing with the problems, he/she must realize that it will take time and effort to solve the problem. I would suggest this. Handpick 4 girls (or guys, depending on the case), 2 from the popular and 2 from the non-popular, preferably picked from 4 different cliques. Set up a "secret meeting" without telling them who else is involved (you may want to inform their parents-letting them in on the secret). Set up a meeting place with just the five of you. Then go on a "Knock and Run".

    Knock and Run is where you go to a church member's home and drop of an item of need, knock on their door and run away so as not to get caught. For example, a young couple in the church has just had a baby. The Knock and Run group would purchase a jumbo pack of diapers and wipes, put them in a grocery bag, drop them off at the door of the new parents, knock and run.

    The idea of the Knock and Run group is to do things secretely, not telling others who all is in the group or what deeds they have done. By using this "game", I have seen relationships develop "behind" the cliques. The cliques still exist to some degree, but friendships have been developed outside the clique and those who aren't accepted in cliques have some feeling of acceptance, both by a popular student and an adult (you). It also gives you personal contact with the group.

    Let me add this. The Knock and Run group (or if you have the time, groups) should be kept together for a period of time. For example, gather the 4 kids together and meet once a month for a year. There doesn't necessarily have to be spiritual teaching. By your actions, you are teaching them to look for the needs of those in the church and they are learning how to meet those needs.

    More ideas for the Knock and Run could be to rake the leaves in somebody's yard, mow their lawn while they are on summer vacation, shovel their driveway and walks in the winter (if you live in the Chicago area like me!), sing at a nursing home (obviously the residents will know who you are, just don't tell others in the church), deliver food to the door of a family who could use it, to a family of young children, but 10 items from a dollar store and drop them off, etc. Ask the kids for their ideas, they will eventually come up with some on their own.

    If this is successful, ask other adults to create Knock and Run groups of their own. I think you will be amazed how a kindred spirit can be developed among the kids when their actions reflect those of Christ!

    SC
     
  3. ResIpsaLoquitur

    ResIpsaLoquitur
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    Thanks for the great idea, that sounds like it would be fun for all people that are involved.
     

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