If I were a youth worker.....

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by Brian30755, Feb 13, 2007.

  1. Brian30755

    Brian30755
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    While browsing on MySpace (actually, while looking at my son's MySpace site to see who his friends were).....I stumbled upon this statement by a 15 year old girl on her MySpace site:


    "I guess it is different when you are a teenager!!! I am tired of crying my self to sleep at night just because people at church dont like me because I am not rich or pretty or any of that stuff!!! I have been going there for like 8 years and I am still not accepted and I am tired of trying to be accepted!! I am tired of putting on these fake smiles and acting like everything is ok when inside I am screaming for help and crying!! I just dont understand how some churches are!!"


    This broke my heart, because I've seen it so many times in different churches.

    I'm talking about teenagers at church who give the "cold shoulder" to kids who aren't "cool" like they are.

    How many times does a not-so-popular teen find that the teens at church are no different than the ones at school?

    If I were a youth worker, I think I'd spend a LOT of time reminding my youth group that if things are no different at church than they are at school.....that if a teen who is overweight, or who is a little geeky or nerdy, or otherwise "different" can't come to this church and be loved and accepted and be made to feel welcome.....then something is terribly wrong.

    And, sadly, I've seen youth leaders who were just as guilty as the kids. Ignoring the un-popular ones and spending all their time with the popular ones.

    I don't know why this bothers me so much. I guess I just feel sorry for kids who can't even feel loved (or even liked) at church.

    If you are a youth leader or youth worker who doesn't turn a blind eye but actively addresses this problem.....thank you!
     
  2. rbell

    rbell
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    It bothers you because God has given you a heart for the down and out.

    Of course, we are all commanded to take care of the "least." But folks like you help to keep Christ's admonitions to us in the forefront.

    Why do some folks gravitate to the "choice pick" folks? Maybe it's because it seems easier...it looks more glamorous...the lives seem less "messy"...probably other reasons.

    But, in doing that, we miss the point, don't we?

    Christ changed the world with a bunch of broken, weird, ordinary, normal, average men. May we see students as God does.

    I think of 2 Timothy 2 and the types of vessels in a large house. So many of our kids feel like cheap paper plates...they are items to be used and discarded. They are cheap, replaceable, and leave no impact.

    My goal is to convince them that they are God's fine china...priceless, beautiful, and to be used for an amazing task.
     
  3. Salty

    Salty
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    I hope this isnt too far off subject, but many years ago, I coached youth basketball (ages 6-10). There was one game where one little boy kept saying "Now coach, doyou want me in now choach?) Well, I was more interested in wining that game, and this youngster would not help the team win.
    I dont remember if I won that game or not, but I do remember that after that, ever child played in every game. At that age, the "game" is really a learning experience not the ultmiate end.

    Granted in high school, the objective is too win and some kids may not get to play, but that is life. However, for younger kids it is a different story.

    More later
     
  4. tinytim

    tinytim
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    OH, this was one of my pet peaves when I was in youth ministry.
    I looked around, and saw other youth ministers in the area "growing" their youth ministries with the jocks and cheerleaders. I was getting jealous for a while, until God hit me over the head with the proverbial brick!:tonofbricks:

    I started realizing, the popular kids were being welcomed at those churches, and unpopular kids, were being welcomed in our church.


    When we met with other youth leaders to plan county wide events, it seemed these bigger youth groups always wanted to do something sports related... and my youth hated sports...

    They would rather read!
    So I intentionally went after the unpopular kids. It is more work. There are so many problems... and some times you feel like throwing your hands up in the air and quitting... Most of these kids have deep problems.

    But....

    I would rather have 25 unpopular kids than 100 popular ones.

    The majority of the people in the church I pastor now are ones that have a testimony. Ones that were drunk, unpopular, poor, divorced, etc. They don't have the best jobs, and are not Drs, and Lawyers. They are grocery clerks, farmers, fast food workers, manual laborers, sales people, etc. We pray constantly that God will meet our bills. We are a church that truly depends on God. Is there any other way to be Biblical?

    If you want to see God work, work with these type. Their ego doesn't get in the way of God's plans. Just look at the type Christ chose to be his disciples...
     
  5. Joseph M. Smith

    Joseph M. Smith
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    Part of the issue here is not just how their peers treat them or rate their popularity -- it is how we in church leadership lift up and praise the bright ones, the ones who can sing, do drama, win sword drills, and all the rest! We reinforce, I am convinced inadvertently, the value systems of the world.

    As pastors, youth ministers, or whatever we need to keep an eye out for the wallflowers, the underachievers, the bored and listless ... their souls are in jeopardy, and some of them will turn out to be the next Columbine shooter.

    In our area, two young women recently made a suicide pact, and carried it out. One of them was Jewish, the other a Catholic who had just made her first communion and was apparently looking forward to being a lay reader at mass. I wonder who in their religious communities may have missed some cues.
     
  6. mike

    mike
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    My youth group has a wide mix of personality types. We have a few jocks, drill team girls, skateboarders, and even some who are in ag. We have made it a point to emphasize acceptance and love to one another. It doesn't always go smoothly but the kids are doing better and better as it goes. God is definitely working among the kids.

    Before I was called to serve at my church, there wasn't a youth ministry to speak of for several years, and God brought them to us in a variety of different ways. Planning for activities is difficult at times with so many different tastes but God is making it work. Some are considered the "cool" kids at school while some are not. They do pretty well in accepting each other and are even identifying with each other at school.

    We are not the largest or coolest church in the eyes of our community, but God is making things happen. It always hurts to feel left out and unaccepted. I was in that position at church and school when I was young a few times and it is a terrible thing to go through. My dad was a pastor and a few of our moves were very difficult. We need to make sure we are discipling students in the Word. Too often, we mistake activites and fun for youth work in the church and this has led to so many students who are no different than unchurched kids.

    Mike
     
  7. jimc06

    jimc06
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    If I were a youth worker

    I couldn't believe this when I read it. One of our daughters could have written the myspace posting. Didn't, but could have. 8 years and they are still not accepted. Our youth group is the be funny and play sports type mentioned, and we have the love to read and learn girls. It isn't just indifference, it is intentional meanness. It is not just the kids either. The leader refers to them as druggies because they are quiet and polite. Gotta love those deacon/youth leaders!
    Because we are in a smaller town without many other church options, we are kinda stuck. Most of our youth are related to each other, which doesn't help. We have made our concerns known, but have been told if you want to join us, you have to become like us. We have lost more families because of the treatment of their children in the youth department. What we need to stop and realize is these kids have families that have left with them, and many of them are so hurt, they won't even look for another church to attend. They are alone in their hurt and anger.
    When we finally realized how little bible was being taught in Sunday School, we decided to read through the bible as a family, and have weekly discussions. The girls will be gone to college in a few years, and learning to use the bible, and know exacty what's in it,and what isn't, are tools they will use forever.
    We also kept out kids in public school. It is the most scary mission field I could ever imagine. If it is ugly and nasty, it will be active in the high school Our older daughter is now encountering kids twisting scripture(some are quite good, too)and is learning how to listen and counter with the truth.
    We had really hoped our daughters would grow up in a loving church, and in a way they have. The members 70 and over treat the girls as granddaughters. It is good for both sides, but the older one are dying off so fast lately!
    mrsjim
     

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