The Shallow End of the Pool

Every week students walk in our doors at youth group for tons of different reasons. In order to help break any tension our goals often revolve around breaking down walls by going out of the way to make church as memorable as possible. First impressions last.

That is why we play games. That is why we do things that interact. That is why we try to have awesome music playing…
…However, these things alone will drown kids.

Students want authenticity. If they show up at your church they know where they are. We can agree they’re not idiots. They fact they are standing in your youth room at a church means there is an expectation. They are looking for air. Here are three quick reasonable, dare say, necessary expectations we need to meet when we gather together with students during our weekly programming. If our programs lack air then it makes sense when students quit coming. They are drowning in the shallow end.

1. There is a reasonable expectation for relationships.

We are created to be relational beings. God, as Trinity, exists in relationship with Himself! Jesus didn’t just hold a class on Wednesdays for his disciples to attend. No, He did life with them. He nurtured honest relationships. Jesus created atmospheres where they could be honest about their struggles. He even shared His frustrations with them. What do you do to create environments where students feel free to be themselves?

2. There is a reasonable expectation to make a memory.

Jesus knew the importance of making memories. That is why His teachings were just as much about what they were doing as what He was saying. “Fishing, I’ll make you fishers of men. Mustard seed, this is like your faith. Take this cup and bread in remembrance of me.” You get it. If I’m honest my students probably remember standing around holding glow-sticks last week thinking about what it mean’s to follow the light of Christ more than they actually remember my sermon. What are you doing to create memories that last longer than the night? What memories are you intentionally creating they will talk about with their friends in the coming week?

3. There is an expectation to see the power of the Gospel.

I hear youth workers get so caught up in “is there a such thing as a seeker?” Honestly, it doesn’t matter when it comes to our youth programming. We have the light of Christ and should always put it on display. (Matthew 5:14-15) From my experience new students who come seeking honest answers FAR OUTWEIGH the ones seeking superficial laughs and a quick motivational talk. Reveal the tension of the root of life’s problems. Sin. Reveal the resolution. Christ. Reveal to them, in raw honesty, what it means to follow Christ. Show them how their deepest problem is resolved at the foot of the cross. That, my friends is the breath of life. That is the air they need.

What are you doing to make sure you are being clear about the only true air that can sustain life?

Do not be ashamed of the gospel. . .

. . .because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. (Romans 1:16)

Header image provided through Creative Commons by Mark DeVries.

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