Tonight is our last Youth Group meeting before kicking off our Summer schedule! Normally the school year seems to fly right on by, but this school year has felt longer than normal. I think this is due to the topics we’ve focused and worked on. We dove deep this school year. I handed out a letter to our youth parents at the beginning of this school year outlining the tough topics we’d be tackling, with multiple scriptures for each topic. The scriptures outlined the stance I would be taking and teaching from. The topics were heavy, but the growth was huge! I’d like to walk you through the journey we traveled.
We kicked off the school year by laying the foundation. God’s Word needs to be the solid ground we stand on. Once we got our footing down we jumped right into the debate of Creation vs. Evolution. I explained that what we believe about the beginning will impact what we believe about the present. We then looked at other religions and beliefs. I wanted our youth to understand the stances others are taking, so they would be equipped to enter into confident conversations on those stances from the lens of our beliefs. We talked about body image and self-worth; how social media and the world try to determine what we think about ourselves, but that God is the true authority on our worth. We are worth so much, that he sent His only son to redeem us through sacrifice.
After we returned from Christmas break, we dove right into several worldly “hot topics”: Sex, Gender Identification, Sexual Orientation, and Marriage. These conversations were hard, but I was so encouraged by our youth. They were open to receiving God’s stance on these topics. They actively engaged in the discussions. They were respectful and loving to those that were maybe hearing God’s stance for the first time. They asked hard questions that allowed us all to better understand. God was present through all of this. We then focused our attention on the topics of Jealousy, Anger, Honor, Trust, Vanity, Spiritual Warfare, and Sharing the Gospel. Several light-hearted Disney movie clips may have been used! Last week we took on the topics of Abortion, Euthanasia, and Suicide. They learned that these topics, while each different, are connected through the call for the sanctity of life.
You may be thinking:
“Shouldn’t youth group be all fun and games?”
“Just let the kids be kids, leave the heavy stuff for the adults!”
“This seems like heavy topics to be dealing with in…YOUTH group.”
The stance I’ve taken in youth group this year has not been widely accepted. It’s been hard. It’s been confronted. It’s been real. If given a do-over, I’d do it all again. After last year and many prayerful reflections, it became evident to me that our youth need to hear the truth regarding each of these subjects. They are neck-deep in some very troubling and difficult situations. They are bombarded from every side with negativity and false truths. They need the loving truth that can only be found in the Bible. They need to understand the stances God calls us to take. They need a safe place to share, discuss, and grow. Our youth now know that youth group is that place.
“How can I help?” The biggest thing our youth need is prayer. Please pray that God will bring Healing, Peace, Love, Truth, and Understanding to our youth. Please also pray that the work we’ve started here, God’s work, continues.