Small Church Youth Group


I don’t like to be told I can’t do something, I feel like when I’m told I can’t do something, thats  the one thing I want to do.

Now obviously, I don’t feel this way about everything. If you were to tell me I can’t murder someone, I’m not going to go out and want to murder someone (though sometimes, we feel that way towards the students in our ministry).

But I think it has been shown for this to be true for a majority of people. I mean how many movies are all about someone beating the odds. In Lost we see John Locke in the earlier seasons repeatedly telling people “Don’t tell me what I can and can’t do.” And it brings up all sorts of emotions/encouragement/whatever.

We see it in movies like Miracle, Ray, and even sandlot.

But it seems to me as though Youth Pastors in small towns, no matter how much they feel this way towards most of the things in their life, forget this attitude in ministry.

I’m sitting here in North Carolina at the Transformational Church retreat/conference and am attending the affinity group for Youth Pastors. And I feel like I have over heard a number of them say something along the lines of “We could never do that, were not big enough” or “we could never do that, we don’t have the budget” among other things.

Where’s our sense of beating the odds?

Where’s our sense of trusting God to do the improbable? And yes, maybe I am talking a little bit about things like building a Youth Pastor’s Secret Lair of Awesomeness and youth pastors not thinking they have the budget for those things, or Youth groups not thinking they can do certain things with their group like laser tag trips or missions trips. Those things that aren’t necessarily needed in youth ministry, but things we would love to do if we could.

Like I feel sometimes like some of us Youth Pastors in small youth groups feel we could never have a video ministry. We could never do some of the stuff these other youth groups do.

And part of me wants to say if you only want to do something because you saw another youth group do it, don’t do it. But odds are you wouldn’t be able to anyways, because you don’t have the passion for it.

But if you see something that another youth group has done, and you get its purpose and think “we gotta do that,” don’t let the stigmas of being a “small church youth group” hold you back. Find a way to get it done, because you can. Any youth group can do the things that any other youth group does. And sure, they may not be as good, but we aren’t doing them to try and do them better.

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5 Responses to “Small Church Youth Group”

  1. ben,

    way to have have hope for your context. it is so lame when we try to duplicate what someone else is doing. we are not them, their context is not our context. rather, we are to be hopeful and lean into god’s best for our peeps! keep leaning!

    • Amen Ben! To extend on that thought, God has really been laying on me the last few days to go closer to 100% original curriculum, small groups sermons, everything. Right now we are at about 30% original stuff, I’ve been heavily leaning on Simply Youth Ministry, but this idea of context has really been wrestling in my head with the context of their lessons as well. Can’t wait to meet up at Orange

  2. Lair of Awesomeness! haha!

    I feel you here Ben. So what if I have a core group of 5? We can still do whatever we set our minds to. We can have a mission trip, we can plan a huge lock-in, we can build me a Lair. And we are going to build community in the process that many large groups may not get to experience.

    • shoot i forgot to link back to that post by jon acuff, Ill have to do that now. I love my lair of awesomeness. Mainly the 50 or so nerf guns we have. But I hate that its super easy to break into, because I often go upstairs (where our youth room is) to find a hundred bullets all around the floor and get to waste my time picking them up.

      Anyways, yeah, your ministry is only going to go where you lead it, and its your choice of whether or not your going to lead it to to be a crappy, do nothing, group with a defeated attitude that you can’t accomplish anything, or the inverse of that. But more on that soon…

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