Youth Group - Outreach or Discipleship

Discussion in 'Youth Forum' started by MRCoon, May 1, 2006.

  1. MRCoon

    MRCoon
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    This sort of came up in another thread in another forum. Plus as a Youth Director for my Church I'm curious what y'alls opinions/ideas are on the subject.

    I don't strive to do any outreach for my youth group. I'm the Director and have two Assistants (1 for Sr High & 1 for Jr High). We have monthly activities (Friday or Saturday) and once a quarter one of these activities is an actual work day at the Church. We have bi-monthly Teen only Bible Study (Fridays) and have AWANAs for both Sr. High & Jr. High groups. (For the Record I'm taking more and more issue with AWANAs at least for Teens...too much compromising...that was extra just for y'all ;) )

    I don't focus on bringing in outside groups, other churches or even visitors. Now I encourage my young people to bring visitors if they want and have invited young people to our activities. We train them in soulwinning and have Bible memorization contests to help with boldness and testimony. But I have no desire to have a large youth group at least not one bigger than my Sunday School classes.

    Should we have a focus on youth outreach to bring in visitors and as such focus our activities/meetings on what will draw these visitors in? Or should we focus on just providing clean controlled activities for our Church/Saved young people to disciple them more and to keep them from outside influences? So what is your opinion on this.
     
  2. rbell

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    Wow...lots of questions.

    MRC, would you turn away large numbers if they come? Every week, I see about 150 students. Many of them are unsaved. What should I do? What I do...is tell them what God says. I spend as much time crafting a sermon as our pastor does (15 hours or so per week). I make no apologies for the Word...yet I don't tell them to leave.

    I read the other thread...and some of the junk that one person mentioned...that was because someone in leadership seriously dropped the ball. I have a security team (3 men, 2 women) that make sure folks are where they should be, when they should be. We don't let that junk get started.

    However, I am EXTREMELY intentional in my process. Our goal is to see kids turn to Christ, and mature into passionate followers of God. We have people all over the map in that process. There's a girl who came a couple of weeks ago who is gay. She's welcome here. Now...she's not going to be a member, she's not going to be leading...but she's coming, coming back, and she's hearing the gospel. God's gonna reach her. I know it.

    I have "front door events" such as Wednesday night Live for us, in which we know large numbers of unsaved kids will come. We also have "kitchen table" events for our core students (such as indepth, tough-hitting Bible study and inner-city ministry) and "living room" events (such as student choir, drama teams, our powerpoint team, etc) that allows the new Christian and immature believer to grow in his or her walk.

    I welcome anyone to our church. I don't care what they did Friday night, insofar as their being welcome to hear what God has to say.

    But, when it comes to leading (and we push our kids to become involved in a MINISTRY here), they're gonna have to take certain steps, and Salvation, of course, is the primary one.
     
  3. tinytim

    tinytim
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    If we disciple them, they will win others to Christ.. it is a natural, (no supernatural) progression.

    Teach them to reach others.. and then be there for support. Also teach by example... show them how to witness.
     
  4. Joseph_Botwinick

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    Tim,

    I agree.

    Mr. Coon,

    If we are to be obedient to the Word of God, then we will spend some time preaching the Word of God to the lost and going into the world and making disciples of all men. On the other hand, no we should not be consulting the world as to how to do that. We consult God and his Word.

    One question: What do you find to be compromising about AWANA?

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  5. gb93433

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    People who are strong leaders were led by strong leaders. So are you making strong leaders or strong followers? Strong followrs are dependent. Strong leaders lead the way. Strong leaders learn to be dependent on Christ and not others.
     
  6. MRCoon

    MRCoon
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    Uh...AWANAs? Who brought up AWANAs? Oh I did and to keep from hijacking my own thread I'll start another thread just for AWANA. Fair Enough?! ;)

    GB...not sure what you're refering to????

    I'm just talking about exposing or allowing bad influences into our youth group under the guise of 'outreach to the unsaved'. I personally have always practiced a discipleship or protectionist attitude for my youth group...I want them to have an opportunity to be discipled in a protected environment without fear of being wrongly influenced. I know that 'Christian kids' can wrongly influence each other as much or more than just the act of bringing in unsaved but I always go back to the purposeful exposure to evil. I try to keep my children from being exposed to evil and would not purposfully allow things or people into my home that could expose them to the wiles of the devil...so I feel the same way about my rsponsibility as a Youth Director. I don't think it has much to do with leadership or followship as much as exposure. How do you separate or draw that fine line between outreach and protecting your young people from worldly influences as much as possible?

    PS. Before I get accused of calling the Youth Group 'mine' (as I did) I know they belong to Christ and their parents and as a Youth Director I'm to help facilitate and train them and don't mean to imply any selfishness or pridefulness in my use of the term 'my youth group' or similiar phraseology. ;)
     
  7. bapmom

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    MRCoon,

    one thing Ive seen is that the teen's reactions to worldly influences are different when they are exposed to them in an outreach setting. What I mean is, when the teens are involved in ministering to the lost they see the worldly influences in a different light. What I think you are objecting to is just bringing in unsaved kids and letting them have free rein together. This is very different than what rbell talks about, which is a core group of active teens going out and ministering to other lost teenagers.

    My one other example of a youth group I was involved in was the exact opposite of the one I mentioned in the other thread. We were not allowed to have any contact with unsaved kids because the parents were afraid of the influences. The youth group there was a clique, hardly anyone else could get "in". I don't think this is what you are like, MRCoon, Im just thinking a happy medium is the best.
     
  8. MRCoon

    MRCoon
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    Yes, we do outreach (church and teen specific times) and do have visitors come in quite often...usually brought by another teen and I see it as fruitfulness of our witnessing training rather than the intentional drawing of unsaved kids to a youth activity or service. I was in a youth group that wanted numbers and this brought in influences that while I didn't neccessarily do anything about it as a teen once I joined the military I sort of had this mental list of things I saw/heard those teens talk about. And now I see it was an enticement to me and a stumblingblock...would I have still sinned or rebelled...maybe were my thoughts in that youth group God honoring...no most times not...it was a place to hang out not a place to be discipled and alot of that was do to the leaderships focus and the influences that came in. We had more unchurched kids at most of our Fri or Sat activities and less than half of the group showed up for Sunday School or Bible Study. My youth group here is a strange mixture..some homeschoolers, some Christian School (Church has an academy) and some public school...but influence-wise we seem to have less worldly influences, oh we have some just not as much and we strive to keep out as much as possible.
     
  9. ScottEmerson

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    I'm the youth minister at our church. Here's what we do: Our focus this year has been on discipleship. We're training our students to become like Christ. A strange thing has happened, though. We've had more people come to know Christ than ever before. In this school year, we're up to about 20, I believe. How has this happened? Our students have been inviting people and sharing their faith with others. Do I give evangelistic messages? Of course. But our focus is on making disciples. We've seen some cool things happen - we've lost some people who would rather be places where there were more games and less discipleship, but we've gained twice what we've lost, both in new converts and other students.

    And I don't like AWANA's for middle school or high schoolers. Yuck.
     
  10. MRCoon

    MRCoon
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    Scott, thanks this is exactly what I'm talking about. We have seen a loss in some of our original youth due to "us not being entertaining enough" BUT we have seen more new youth come in and replace the lost numbers and we definitely have more depth in our youth group. My personal belief is it is because our 'program' is quality based not quantity based and we offer something different than what the world offers.

    **Regarding AWANA's see my other thread ;)
     
  11. AServant4Him

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    We have small groups on sunday evenings. We have a wednesday evening youth service w/ games, praise & worship time, and a sermon. We have about 300 people that come. I'd say about 20% of the people dont go to any church on a typical sunday. Its good that they come because they keep coming back and eventually start getting involved in other church activities. Our numbers keep growing.
     

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