Wednesday, February 29, 2012
no more "youth sections" at church
When I was growing up and when I did youth ministry in my 20's every church had a youth section. Most of you leading in churches have the same thing. It's that section of the church where all the teens sit during the Sunday morning services. Youth sections exist because teens are looking for something to connect with at church that makes sense. In most churches the only thing that keeps them there and makes sense are other friendships. That is why the huddle and seem to disconnect from the rest of the church. One of my friends on twitter mentioned that he has began to sit in the teen section just to engage those teens and build relationships. That idea got me thinking. Our church at Grace Community doesn't have a youth section. It's the first place I have ever served where teens sit with small group leaders, their parents, or serve as a volunteer all over the church. When I process why this is our reality I think it comes from the fact that we have given the church to them. It's their church as much as it's their parents church. We program with them in mind. We ask them to be a part of the church. We empower them to make a difference right now by serving and giving them real responsibility. Maybe we could end "youth sections" at church if we just gave the church away to them now. They are not the future of the church, they are the church. If you want them to stay connected to your church and other churches for years to come give them the keys to the castle right now. Engage them, empower them, believe in them, and live life with them. The churches that will be around in 20 years are the ones who are giving the church away to teens right now. Don't give them a section give them the entire sanctuary.