Tuesday, April 21, 2009

How Often Do You Meet?

As a youth worker, I've always felt the struggle between the actual amount of time I get to spend teaching and working with youth and the amounts of time they spend doing other things that are required of their time such as school, school sports, choir, band, drill team, cheerleading, one act play, UIL events, Academic Decathlon, sleeping, chores, hanging out with friends, going to the movies, etc., etc. Naturally, I've always thought that an easy way to combat this was to give students more opportunities to meet for Bible study throughout the week and through more events and activities on weekends. Many churches meet only once a week, but I've always tried to meet on Sunday and Wednesday nights--Sundays for small groups and Wednesday for a combined group meeting. At each meeting we have about 30 minutes of hang-out time (refreshments, video games, table games, Christian music videos playing on the TVs), then about 15-20 minutes of worship, then we have Bible study (everyone together or split into small groups). After Bible study is over, we have about 30 minutes more of hang-out time. We also have Sunday School, however, that has never been an outreach-oriented time. That is mainly attended by the kids whose parents are members of the church and are attending a class of their own and our church services.
Today, though, I was emailing back and forth with one of our youth workers discussing some of the issues in our youth program. Although he was very supportive of our twice-a-week meetings, he seemed open to the possibility that having more than one meeting a week (besides Sunday School) may actually be a deterrent for some kids who feel like if they can't make all of them, then why should they come to any of them? I've always thought if they couldn't make one, they could always make the other, so in my mind, more meetings was a good concept. However, the more I think about it, I think he may be on to something.
So, I'm posing this question to you, my peers in youth ministry. How often does your group meet? What format(s) are those meetings. Do you have any outdoor recreation? Give me your thoughts on how your group responds to your scheduled meetings and leave them in the form of a comment to this blog. Your input is valued and appreciated.


Anonymous said...

I think this is a great question and I think there are good arguments on both sides. We meet when our entire church meets for our most-indepth Bible Study on Sunday mornings (Sunday School), Sunday nights (which I loosely schedule (as in it changes a bit) as more of a "lab" or practical application surrounding the issues we talked about in Bible Study or we continue on with the morning's lesson) and Wednesday nights our group worship time with music, games, and more of a "preaching" session of bible teaching (less questions, interaction, etc.).

I've heard many talk recently about moving student ministry toward helping and challenging parents to be the primary teachers and working toward a family ministry model. This rings true for me and would make the best impact. We're thinking and praying currently about how to best implement such a practice.

Jason Huffman said...

Ragamuffin: thanks for your thoughts and insights. I have a colleague here in town whose church is shifting to a family ministry model. He says it's great for the kids whose parents are active members of the church but alienates the ones who are on the outside or whose parents could care less. As I have about half members kids and half fringe kids, this model wouldn't work well for me at this point, although, I believe biblically the family home should be the core teaching institution, not the church. I can get you my friend's contact info if you want. Thanks again for your comment.