My life and my thoughts - on faith, culture, politics, whatever comes to my mind

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Youth groups in the spotlight – part 2

This is my second post in my series about youth groups, the first one giving my background is here. This post shall deal more with some things I do not like very much about youth groups. But please keep in mind that I’m a volunteer youth worker, so I’m not generally against youth groups. And this post is not about the youth groups at my church! (And I don't have much time, so it won't be a long post. Sorry!)

1. the cosy let’s-have-pizza-and-fun youth group
First, I think it is ok to have fun and pizza at youth group. BUT I don’t think that that should be all we have at a youth group. It is important to have a time where we can build relationships and friendships, gain each other’s trust and just have lots of fun and laughter. But a youth group should be there to strengthen the youths’ walk with Christ or to lead them towards him. If teaching is missing at youth group, there is a vital element missing.

2. the front-style teaching only
So No. 2 is about teaching methods. I often do not appreciate a teaching-from-the-front-only approach. This means that all the youth do is sit there and the youth worker speaks to them from his place. And that’s it. There is hardly any involvement of the youths. No discussion etc. Sometimes this is great. (Like in Bacharrach, Jason!) But I often have the impression that the youth worker’s speech (which he put lots of work into and which is really important) just passes by the youths. Maybe they listen, but it doesn’t get into them.
Maybe I especially dislike it cause I’m used to different methods. So it might just be me. It is important to have teaching, but at least as important that the teaching really reaches the youths. (More about that in my next post.)

3. Mixed groups
Now, what do I mean with that? I don’t really mind a mixed boy/girl group. (But you have to split up for some topics then for real discussion’s sake). But a group where you have youth who are Christians and youth who are not is a difficult thing. It’s difficult to avoid too, though. If you have both those groups, it gets difficult to have teaching that fits both groups, cause their needs are so different. Either group gets in danger of being neglected. (Could maybe be solved by splitting up for teaching)