Friday, August 23, 2013

Youth group, small groups, and fulfillment

Hey, it has been a while since I've written anything on here..for those of you who care to read it, sorry about that! But I think I may start blogging more (again)..we shall see, but anyway.

The youth group my wife works for is changing the way they are doing things this fall (for the high school ministry). They are having more of an emphasis on small groups, and more specifically, small group Bible studies. They want to focus more on developing the students' faith, which is pretty cool in my opinion. However, some of the students don't like this idea. From what I have heard of the conversations, the main reason is that they want to see "everyone" more often than twice a month. (The current plan is small groups every other week, and then big group the opposite weeks.) They say that they will miss seeing each other every week because they don't get to see each other at school because they tend to hang out with different people at school.

I can understand some of that. Wanting to see your friends is a good thing. However, it seems like these students aren't fully understanding that by doing small group Bible studies, they can get something that is better than just seeing "everybody" every week. When I was in high school I didn't go to any Bible studies until the end of my Junior year. My senior year, I regularly went to 2 Bible studies a week, plus a youth group. Now, please understand that this is not a Holier-Than-Thou type of statement. I wanted to be at each of those, and I felt like I was developing deeper relationships with the other students at those Bible studies, the adult leaders of those Bible studies, and most importantly, God.

Going to weekly Bible studies helped me stay constantly in God's Word and in prayer. It was encouraging to me to see other students that also wanted to grow in their faith and know God more. It was more fulfilling to me than anything else I had been involved in before that. And it wasn't because I saw the same people every week. I got to experience a closeness with God that I had not felt before, and it was great! I know it doesn't make sense to many people that God is personal, and that having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ is something that happens to those who want to know Him.

I have no intention to bash on the students at the youth group. I enjoy helping out with the youth group and I am really looking forward to this year. But I think some of them may be trying to find fulfillment in something that won't stick. They are trying to be fulfilled by seeing their youth group friends every week...but those relationships are not going to be as fulfilling as a relationship with God. I hope/pray that they will find a deeper fulfillment in developing their relationship with God through the small group Bible studies, and that they will get to know their small groups more as well. I know it certainly helped me a lot, and I am confident that I am not the only one.

Since we will be studying the book of Acts, here are some verses that I like:
Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. -Acts 2:46-47