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


  1. PS- I just want to correct any misunderstanding before it potentially happens. I didn't (and still don't) go to those Bible studies and youth group because I wanted to get into heaven. That's not how it works. Going to church or studying the Bible or singing 'Jesus songs' is not what gets anyone into heaven. The only way into heaven is through Jesus, and through the grace that is offered to us because of His birth, life, death, and resurrection. Yay God!
    If you want a more full description of this, perhaps read "What's so Amazing About Grace" by Philip Yancey or the book of Galatians, written by Paul.

  2. Since small groups, in your experience, improve a person's relationship with God, would you recommend small group for everyone?

    Additionally, do you find that large church services are beneficial to your relationship with God? How?

    If you had to choose between going to church for a year or going to small group for a year, which would you choose?

    Also, were you trying to make a point by signing as Anonymous on the last post? I suppose at the very least I could pick some alias to sign with. How about I sign as a large flightless bird called the Kakapo that lives in New Zealand?

  3. On a completely unrelated note, I just read an article on what one man learned when he was married. Here's one thing he said:

    "NEVER BLAME your wife If YOU get frustrated or angry at her, it is only because it is triggering something inside of YOU. They are YOUR emotions, and your responsibility. When you feel those feelings take time to get present and to look within and understand what it is inside of YOU that is asking to be healed. You were attracted to this woman because she was the person best suited to trigger all of your childhood wounds in the most painful way so that you could heal them… when you heal yourself, you will no longer be triggered by her, and you will wonder why you ever were."

    Do you think what he says is true about a wife triggering childhood wounds?

  4. Personally, I would recommend small groups for everyone. I know that not everyone will prefer/enjoy small groups, however. I don't expect that there is one thing that everyone would say they like (except perhaps things like air, water, food, etc.) or enjoy or works best for them. Small groups have been helpful to me, but ultimately I think it is the relationships formed from the small groups that end up being most beneficial/worthwhile.

    For me, large church services (which I am understanding to be the 'Sunday Morning Service' but correct me if I'm wrong) aren't as helpful for my relationship with God. I think the reason for this is that I don't feel like I'm spending the time purposefully with God (such as when I pray) but rather am spending it with other Christians. In the case of many large church services, usually praise/worship is the primary focus. So to me, those services are more focused on worshiping God and (for me) reminding us of how great God is.

    Well what do you mean by going to church? If you mean it in the sense of 'Sunday Morning Service' I would choose small groups for sure. It has been a while since I have been consistent in a large church service, but I miss having a small group Bible study much more than I miss consistently going to a large church service.

    And I may have been :P I was also feeling lazy and not wanting to sign in before I commented. And you can do whatever you want, but your actions always have consequences. If you are not willing to trust me I am going to find it more difficult to trust you by answering personal questions. I don't mean to be rude by saying that, but I feel like it is quite likely to happen.

    In response to the quote...I don't agree with the part that says "You were attracted to this woman because she was the person best suited to trigger all of your childhood wounds in the most painful way so that you could heal them..." I don't feel like that is why I am attracted to my wife, and I don't think that is why God brought us together. The first part makes sense though. I am the only one in charge of my actions; I can't blame her for when I get upset at her.

    What do you think about the quote? And would you mind answering the questions from your previous post as well?

  5. "Sunday Morning Service" was intended to be large church service. And going to church referred to going to Sunday morning service.

    I would definitely recommend that everyone try a bible study at least once. I've gone to a couple of them now, and I want to find a new bible study to go to. It's nice to get different viewpoints on the bible and be able to discuss them--it helps keep my mind engaged and I’m more likely to stay focused. In church services, I usually find myself distracted to the point that I don't get anything out of the sermons. And many times, I don't even truly worship because I'm so distracted by all the other people worshiping around me (I notice whether they're raising one arm, both arms, etc. I wonder what they're feeling, why other people aren’t worshiping, etc. and I think about whether or not other people are watching me, and I why I am not worshiping).

    At this point, large church services are minimally helpful in my relationship with God because I'm simply not focused on Him. I would definitely choose to go to small group for a year over going to a large church service, because I have a better chance of really maintaining my relationship with God.

    And I don’t think I can answer my own question on the quote—I’m not married. I can kinda see how childhood wounds could be brought up by a spouse, but I agree that childhood wounds are probably not ultimately the cause of attraction between two people. I'm sure it’s much more complicated than that..

    Last but not least, I understand what you are saying about trust. I’m fairly certain a lack of trust will lead to nowhere good and that it would be best to build off a foundation of trust rather than “maybe-but-not-really” trust.
    So..I’ll tell you my name, but I want you to answer this question:
    Are you okay with me reading and responding to your blogs?
    p.s. Please, please don’t tell me that it is my choice to read or not read your blog. I know that is a choice I get to make, but I think you also have a choice to make on who reads and comments on your blog.

    1. Yeah, I think that makes sense. It is always nice to hear the perspectives of others, and see what they think about things. I can understand that about worship services too, I feel like I tend to focus more on the music itself, either on the words or the notes and whether or not I am matching them. It can definitely feel like a comparison game, which is true of many things we do in groups, and I don't like that tendency about humans.. Ho hum.

      That makes sense..and it may even be that a person doesn't fully see that a spouse brings up childhood wounds until after they have been married for a while.

      Thanks for being understanding! I am ok with you reading and responding to my blogs..and I'm guessing that you wanted me to give an 'actual answer' rather than say that you can do what you want because you wanted to hear my real thoughts on it? I want to allow the option for people to comment anonymously, because I understand why it is nice to go under anonymity sometimes. But when it comes to an actual conversation, I think it is better for each person to know who they are talking to. Thanks for asking for my opinion though!

    2. that's not really what I meant..
      I was thinking that I may have overstayed my welcome in your life--I wasn't sure if me pushing you away meant that you would do the same and that you would not want me having contact with you.
      Ya know?

      I guess the more direct and blatant version of the question I originally asked is: Are you okay with me being a small part of your life by responding on your blog?

      So now that I came up with a direct and blatant version of my question, will you please answer it again? (A simple reaffirmation that you are okay with me reading and responding to your blogs will suffice..I just want to make sure I'm not intruding on your life in some way)

  6. Oh ok, yeah that makes sense.

    I'm fine with you reading and commenting on my blogs, so feel free to continue to do so!

    (This is also the second version of this comment, for some reason it didn't save the first one :/ )