On Sunday, we launched yOUTH with a lower case y.
30 youth showed up. If you're one who measures Jesus' impact in numbers, Sunday was a success.
If you base it on other factors, keep reading.
The youth came in a little timid. They were a little nervous. We won't lie, we were, too. We welcomed youth and their parents, a few at a time, learning their names and making them sign in so we felt official.
By 12:33, the entry door was jammed and we could no longer welcome them one at a time. We were outnumbered. We grabbed more chairs from the closets and they crammed in, making space for the stream of new arrivals. It was eerily quiet.
The silence came to a screaming halt when we moved everybody outside. We had them stand in a large circle and put one volunteer in the middle with a purple pool noodle. The game was to call out a name before the person in the middle tagged you with the noodle. The youth were quick to catch on and learn each other's names. Pastors were a little slower to learn names and to move.
Next, we played a game called identity crisis. We divided into two teams. Siblings had to be on the same team since they have secret insider information on each other. We called out a category, like "best halloween costume" and each youth wrote down their response on an index card. They folded it and gave it to me. I called out all of the responses and the teams took turns guessing who wrote each halloween costume. The goal was to get everyone on the same team.
We went inside to get inside the Bible.
Middle schoolers went with Dawn and high schoolers with Amos. We read Mark 1:16-20.
Sound bites from our discussion:
Have you been fishing? What was the hardest part? What was most fun? "Yes." (Well done parents, teaching your kids solid biblical skills). "The hardest part was being patient." "The fun part was catching and reeling in a fish."
How could they hear Jesus on the loud water? "He came near to them." "Jesus voice doesn't need to be loud to be heard." (This could really be a sermon)
Why would Jesus want fishermen to follow him? "They've got skills. They're good at catching things." "They're willing to follow."
What does it mean to fish for people? "To get them to follow Jesus."
How do we do it? "Through our words, gifts, or acts of service."
What do you notice about Jesus? "He's an influencer. Strangers are willing to leaver their families and their work to follow him."
We ended our time sharing "sweets" and "sours" of our week. Here are ways you can pray with and for our youth:
- Exams, "benchmarks"
- Bullies and those they bully
- Youth when their friends ignore them during a time of need
- Spring breaks and rest from school
- Sports, specifically March Madness, and our own baseball games