Yesterday I touched on how one of my hopes and goals is creating an atmosphere in the youth room that makes kids feel at home. Really, I think this is achieved by several things, and some aspects of a youth room will make kids feel at home no matter where they are from, but others may work in one place and not another.
I have seen Youth Rooms full of couches in a big arch, just rows and rows of different couches facing the stage, and it felt like home. There was no room for games, but they didn’t need the room.
I have seen other Youth Rooms with sweet rolling stadium seating type things that could be pushed back to give room for games or brought in real close to the stage and make it a real intimate meeting, and it felt like home for the kids.
I’ve seen Youth rooms painted like coffee shops and youth rooms painted like Diners. Youth Rooms with crazy colors and signs and Youth Rooms with just beige on the walls because it wasn’t their youth room.
All of these seemed to make the kids feel at home.
Now I know that the first answer is “Well, Duh, its the Youth Pastors, Leaders, etc. that make the kids feel at home.”
I would have to say that that is, honestly, the truth. A Youth Pastor does tend to create the atmosphere of a Youth Room with the attitude and personality that they exude. I think some Youth Pastors are so eccentric that you could put them in a youth room with Beige walls and a circle of folding chairs, and the kids think it was the greatest thing ever. I also think there are some youth pastors who could be given a Youth Building like the Refinery at Saddleback and the kids will feel out of place.
So, even though we have been in a bit of a remodel phase, and it still is continuing, I think ultimately I must remember that it’s not the size of the Youth Room or the budget we spend on pimping it out that makes the atmosphere. Ultimately, I set the tone.
Please, don’t hear me saying that wrong. I don’t mean it in an authoritarian type way, I SET THE TONE.
But I mean that if the atmosphere isn’t welcoming, making the kids feel at home, on and on and on, that it’s not because the ceiling tiles have stains on them, its because I am not ensuring visitors feel welcomed and regulars feel appreciated.