July 14, 2008


how on earth do I get through to my youth group kids?

this thursday was supposed to be our big summer start-up. Typically, if school is not in session, youth group doesn't meet, but so many of them asked if we could continue through the summer that I said yes... for part of it at least. There were so many other things jam-packed into June that it just wasn't going to work out very well. So we agreed July 3 would be the big day.

In the meantime, we were also planning a mission trip - a very short term one, because I have had no time to plan it. All the forms were sent out, reservations made, fundraisers put into motion, etc. etc. etc.

The first fundraisers we had... no kids showed up. So we went along and raised some money anyways. The next fundraiser we did... no kids showed up. But we made some money and put it in the account. The deadline came and went for forms to be filled out... and I have one form and one deposit in. That's it. I extended the deadline... nothing. So the trip is now cancelled, or at the very least postponed until later this fall.

And then, the time to start back up with youth group - after I've talked with a few parents and seen a few kids... and I'm sitting there with my new devotions and a cool new game where we measure things around town in bananas... and I sit there. and sit there. and no one shows up.

I think that there are a few things to think about in this situation... 1) I have got to find a better way to communicate with my kids. Some have cell phones, and I tried text messaging everyone as a reminder before, which worked - okay. But not everyone has a cell. Not everyone gets messages if they are left at home. Almost everyone is busy working. 2) they and their families pretty much never show up on Sunday mornings... which also makes the chain of communication difficult. I have yet to meet most of their parents. 3) I'm a HUGE introvert when it comes to meeting new people and I really need to step it up and go visit these kids... except, I don't always know where they will be. Whose parent's house they will be at, if their parents/ guardians will be home, etc. But I really do need to step it up and just do it. Make the first step. Get it over with.

It's not that I don't want to meet their families. I suppose an extrovert wouldn't understand, but it's like this deep inner fear of saying the wrong thing or making the wrong impression. I just want to let them know I'm hear and I care about their kids and I would love to get to know them better. That doesn't sound so bad at all! So why am I so terrified of it?!


  1. I think some youth are self motivated to show up to youth events. I think many show up because their parents have made it a priority. And somehow, summer is ridiculously busy! You may concentrate on parental communication (of course that success will depend on the parent being a parent!)

  2. I've never been a youth minister - so this advice is coming from my work with teenagers through being a high school teacher. You hit it on the head about texting them - that is definitly the way to reach them. There are sites out there where you can mass text groups - I don't know any off the top of my head. Also - facebook and myspace are two wonderful ways to reach teens. (You'll have to find out what most of the students have)

    You could set up an page just for the youth group and/or a pages site on facebook. This is the way librarians are starting to reach their patrons and it may work for you. You just have to figure out how they communicate with each other and their friends and jump right in!

  3. As a teen (sophomore in college), I think one problem, especially in the summer, is probably that if many of the youth are friends, if one doesn't/can't go, then the others will be less motivated to go.Kind of a "if Susie doesn't go, I'm not going to go" type of thing.