Our youth group has a problem of consistency, but thats not what good problem to have. However, as a result of that, we scaled back our wednesday night Sr. High night from trying to put on a full service, never knowing who’d be there, to just a small group that met at my house.
When we started it, one of the things I told the kids was “Don’t invite anyone.” Which at first, seems like an odd request. I know they were a little taken a back for a bit. But my purpose was so that we could really make it a small group, and so we could just grow this core group of students to be the leadership team when the Sr. High Ministry grew.
Now we have added to the group since that first night, but we usually wait until a new study starts and we know the person is committed and has a relationship with the rest of the group, that way the chemistry isn’t thrown off.
But last night, due to a miscommunication with myself and one of our volunteers, we had 3 extra kids show up that no one knew. Great, I loved having them there, I really did. But at the same time, there was a look on the faces of all my group of “this isn’t ok.” It was rather conflicting for me to see the group growing, but also to see these kids so out of place with the newcomers.
One good thing is that as I talked with the kids after all the other adults and visitors had left, they really understood why I had at first told them “Don’t invite anyone” and thats a positive because I hope to use them to talk a little bit about the importance of Core groups (our Life groups, if you will) this sunday as we do a big push for sign ups for the rest of the year (why in the middle of the year? More on that later.)
But it also made me aware of a problem, one that could be a good one or could not be a good one, it all depends on how the kids are going to handle it.
The problem is, in essence, the age old problem of cliques. On the one hand, I want the kids to have ownership of their group and to feel a sense of belonging and community, which I know they do. But I also had to take a step back last night and assess “Are these kids not welcoming in the newcomers?”
But I know that to not be the case. All last night during the actual study time, I was kind of worried that our group was being cliquish. But talking to them after word really showed me the maturity of some of these kids. They were thrilled to see new faces, but they got it, they said exactly what I said at the beginning of launching this group, that they want to know the kids on Sunday Nights before they know them on Wednesday Nights.
I could go on and on about how mature my group showed themselves to be after our study time, and it really showed me that last night was a great “problem” to have. It gave our kids more ownership of the Wednesday Night, showed them the difference between a small group and big group service, and I think they did a great job of getting out of their comfort zone and being welcoming to the new kids.