Youth Ministry

DNow or Never

Last weekend was our youth DiscipleNow weekend.  It is one of our big events of the year and one of the reasons I haven’t blogged recently.  It has been pretty busy leading up to the weekend as we get all the details and assignments worked out.  At DNow, youth stay in homes of church members for the weekend and have small group Bible studies along with larger group worship, service projects and fun activities.  We had 58 youth participate and it was a great weekend.  We had our awesome DNOW band back with us – No Longer Quiet and some great small group leaders. Our theme was "Becoming" and is published by Student Life. It was a really great study and the student books were great!  We volunteered on Saturday at the Samaritan Center – our local food pantry.  It was the Boy Scouts Annual Food Drive and helped to sort the food and box it up.  It is a great service project and we love helping the Samaritan Center.  Starting 8 years ago, we always do a "Mission JC" piece to our DNow weekend as we commit to helping out others while we have fun.  On Saturday, we did the game "Amazing Race" based on the tv show and it was a definite hit!   The end was very exciting as two of my groups were neck and neck throughout the entire race and finished withing seconds of one another.  One of my junior girls group beat out the senior boys by just a few seconds!  CRAZY!  It was a great spiritual weekend for us.  The youth really received a much-needed challenge on Saturday night about whether they were truly taking their faith seriously or not.  It was a very honest, in-your-face talk and several of the youth were convicted.  I was a little uncomfortable with it at times.  Partly because that is not my approach and I’ve seen that type of talk do more damage than good.  The last thing I want is to create a legalistic youth group – youth who are more concerned with right and wrong than about a loving relationship that transforms their life.  But there were some things they really needed to hear and the person who said it did a great job of communicating love in the midst of the challenge. 

The challenge is living that out in the real world – the world away from a weekend like DNow.  My struggle is helping the youth to do that. To give them the one-on-one time, the resources, the encouragement as soon as possible while they are motivated to start a new habit of relationship building with Christ.  After 8 years, I’ve seen these "windows" come and go. It is the frustrating part of ministry – ministry to any age group.

Tonight at the C-Group at my house, all the kids that were present were also present at DNow.  So we spent the evening talking about their spiritual experience at DNow.  It was interesting to hear the different reactions to the talk on Saturday.  Some felt it was needed and it really nailed it on the head.  A couple of others were angry and turned-off by it.  Both reactions were honest and telling. But either way – there was a reaction which led to a great discussion.  As one youth said, "It was so much easier when you were a kid." 🙂

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