My Teen Hates Our Youth Group
by Rachel Paxton
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A visitor to the Christian-Parent.com web site asks the following
"I have had a pressing problem with making a decison about my
church. I love my church and felt lead to go there but they do
not have a youth group for my kids. My kids 13 AND 15 HATE IT! I
have been forcing them to go! They like Sunday services but THEY
WANT TO go to another church. And I know that they do need other
kids their age to be with and I know teens have it so hard today!
But I truly love my church and know God placed me there! Should I
go find them another church? Or would it be right to let them say
go to another church just for the youth on Wednesday? And not be
a part of the church? I have talked to the pastor and he says
they are praying for a husband and wife team for a heart of teens
to come to our church. But what do I do in the mean time? They
really hate going and they don't feel apart of it."
Families with teens face this same problem every day. What's the
right answer? The truth is, there are many different possible
answers to this tough question.
Some people would tell you to stick it out, if that's where the
Lord has called you to be, but after talking to a number of
parents of teens myself, I have come to a couple of conclusions.
I have a daughter in high school and a step-daughter in middle
school and I also work with our church's high school youth group.
Our church has grown a lot over the last 5 years and there are
now 150+ kids in the high school youth group.
Many of the parents will tell you that they came to our church
just because of the youth group. Their kids are now plugged in
and serving the Lord. They bring their friends, and sometimes
their friends keep coming and maybe even their families.
On the other hand, some families have left our church because for
one reason or another their kids didn't feel part of the large
group and found another youth group somewhere else they got
plugged into. They're also serving the Lord.
Then there's the families that go to one church and let their
teens attend youth group at another church because their teens
feel more comfortable there.
So what's the right answer? The bottom line is your teens need
to be where they feel plugged in and where they are spiritually
growing and can serve the Lord. I don't think people should
change churches/youth groups just because they're "not happy."
But in a case where you don't think the leadership is strong and
there just aren't the other kids to support each other, your kids
are in danger of quitting church completely (even if they wait
until after high school to do it). This happened to me when I
was a teen, and it took me 15 years to come back to church and a
relationship with the Lord. I have seen it happen many times.
Some kids never come back. Don't let yours be one of the
The important thing is not whether or not your kids are going to
your church's youth group (or church services), but whether or
not they are growing spiritually. If you pray about what is the
best choice for them and let them explore some different options
(weekly Bible studies, outreach ministries, etc.), the Lord will
show you where they belong.
I do urge you not to put it off, though. Kids at this age need
the support of mature Christian adults more than ever to get them
through these tough years. Even the "good kids" will have a
tough time and need that support. Working through this will also
be a good lesson for them, teaching them how to make good choices
Copyright 2002. Rachel Paxton is a freelance writer and
Christian wife and mom. For complete resources for the Christian
home, visit her web site at http://www.Christian-Parent.com. To
subscribe to her monthly newsletter send a blank e-mail message
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