Articles rebelize_youth_group

Published on September 10th, 2005 | by Alex and Brett Harris

“Rebelize” Your Youth Group

This is part 5 of 8 in the series The Myth of Adolescence

I would like to focus, in this post, on the need for a specific type of reformation. The big focus of A Shining Salty City On Stand was the necessity of both individuals and community. While I did not directly mention this in that post, what we were talking about was a perfect description of the Body of Christ, the Church. A body has many different parts, all of which have different strengths and weakness, different functions and responsibilities, but who work together to accomplish the purpose of the Head, Jesus Christ. This is also true of a rebelution, which is why our first step must be to awaken the church.

It’s flattering when the world admires your maturity and vision. It’s incredibly gratifying when people jokingly say, “Wow! Whoever is taking the Democratic presidential nomination in 2040, watch out!” The problem with this is that it places you into the category of a “statistical anomaly.” We must not be satisfied with simply being better than the average teenager. Such a classification reinforces, rather than combats, the myth of adolescence. As the old saying goes, “The exception only proves the rule.”

When we’re an individual exception, we stand out as an individual. The tendency is to get comfortable with being “one-of-a-kind.” We then fail to encourage others to reach their full potential, because we don’t want them to steal our limelight. Such an attitude goes directly against the heart of a rebelution and is detrimental to its cause.

We cannot be elitist. We must fight for humility. Even while we decry the state of our fellow youth, we must not condemn or separate ourselves from them. The heart of a rebelution is the truth that all young people have the ability to accomplish much greater things than our culture would have them to think. Because of that, we must be constant encouragers. As Jesus said, “Let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves.”

To be a rebelutionary, we must constantly strive to reduce the focus on ourselves as individuals, and to place the focus on the community of the Church. The only way to truly combat cultural expectations is to create a culture that results in an entire community of mature and responsible young people. To effect widespread change, we must produce such a communities in churches across the nation. Sadly, the average youth group in the U.S. today is falling incredibly short of this calling.

I challenge each of you to become a reformer among your church’s youth. Change the cultural expectations of young people in your local church. Create a local community that defies our culture’s expectations. The homeschool movement started with a vision to change the culture by reforming the home. The next step is to reform the church.

I want the comment section to be brainstorm central. Start by thinking about, and then pooling your answers, to the following preliminary questions:

1.) What is the current state of the youth culture in your church? Does it embrace or resist our society’s expectations?

2.) Who do you need collaborate with within your church in order to bring about change?

Please do not limit yourself to the above questions. Further questions and thoughts on the posts are encouraged. Soli Deo Gloria!



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About the Author

are the co-founders of TheRebelution.com and co-authors of Do Hard Things and Start Here. They have a passion for God and for their generation. Their personal interests include politics, filmmaking, music, and basketball. They are both graduates of Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Virginia.



  • http://vivianpadillachapman.com Vivian Padilla-Chapman

    I agree that many adults have a difficult time seeing that teens can be “more than mere annoyances.” I see the battle on two fronts: teens need to be challenged and adults need to have their minds changed.
    My husband and I are doing all we can to cast a different vision to parents of what their children can be with their help and the help of the church. I just stumbled onto your blog from your brother’s blog and immediately sent the link to our youth pastor.

  • anonymous

    What advice would you have for college students? How can someone who now looks back on High School affect that group?

  • Anton

    Thanks guys, after reading your posts I always leave feeling inspired to go out into the world and be a true Rebelutionary to the Glory of God. I realised after reading this post that we are to be like a city on a hill so that people see the difference in us, only to discover that it is not we ourselves who have produce this difference but that we are mere reflections of the perfect man -namely Jesus, thereby bringing more glory to the name of God!

  • James S.

    Hey guys,

    I have enjoyed reading your blog. I think you are on the right track. I have some advice for you and your zeal. Go to http://WWW.livingwaters.com and listen the the Hells best kept secret audio. I think it may give you guys some direction that you may need.

    Your Brother in Christ,

    James S.

  • http://www.xanga.com/secdef SecDef

    Well, as one who homechurches (and believes it to be the best model), I would say that homechurches really don’t have the same problems that regular churches have with their youth groups, since, by nature, everyone is together in a homechurch (at least in most of them). “Those who walk with wise men will grow wise…” I have immensely enjoyed fellowshipping with my ‘elders’ as well as with my fellow youth; I would not trade that for a youth-only environment. :)

    So….that’s my thought on this issue. :)

  • http://www.rebelution.blogspot.com Alex Jordan Harris

    I wholeheartedly agree… My family started a church in our home back in 1998, and I cannot overstate the benefits it has had on my life. The problem, however, is if we allow ourselves to be isolated in our little home churches, and fail to reproduce and reform the Church as a whole. I know there are several others who read this blog who attend similar churches… Your thoughts?

  • http://www.xanga.com/secdef SecDef

    Let me clarify…I am not talking about “family worship,” but a group of believers who meet in a house. Hebrews tells us to not give up meeting with other believers. I just think that the house model is best. :) It is also better for evangelism, as most people would feel more comfortable coming over for a meal than ‘going to church.’

  • Karen K

    I am member of a home fellowship as well. We’ve been growing at an incredible rate lately, and it’s forcing us to define our vision and goals more clearly than ever. For years, God brought other homeschooling families to our church, and all the members were incredibly like-minded. Now, however, many of the people interested in our fellowship are believers who do not homeschool or who do not have school-aged children. This growth is exciting, but it raises new questions about unity and diversity. We definitely don’t have it figured out yet.

    It’s fascinating that the discussion about what it means to be a rebelutionary is beginning to focus on the philosophical issue of the one and the many. I didn’t realize how far-reaching that philosophical dilemma was. I recently read the following quote in Fit Bodies, Fat Minds , by Os Guiness. It fits well with this discussion.

    “The loneliness of the solitary genius was one of the false fruits of nineteenth century romanticism…Thinking Christianly, however, is different. It is inescapably individual, as all discipleship is. But it is also inescapably collective. For all discipleship is communal because every disciple is part of the body of Christ.”

  • Karen K

    Addendum – that was a beautiful post, and so very relevant. I’m really thinking about what the youth in my church could do as a group to participate in the rebelution.

    An idea other readers could consider – my cottage school (one day/week tutorial school cornerstone-cottage-school.com) started a student service club for its teens this year. We are meeting once a month, going through a leadership course by Jeff Myers, and participating in various service projects. The club is run entirely by teens and the goal is to combat apathy by inspiring servant-leadership.

  • http://www.TheAccount.blogspot.com David Ketter

    1.) What is the current state of the youth culture in your church? Does it embrace or resist our societys expectations?

    First of all, I’ve been very lucky in this regard. There was wordliness in “The House” (my youth group) but it was not NEARLY as bad as it is in others. In general, youth (and their leadership) embrace the culture, are in fellowship with it, and encourage it.

    2.) Who do you need collaborate with within your church in order to bring about change?

    Well, at the moment, we are looking for a new church (odd, the youth pastor – the reason for the near-lack of “culture” in our group – was moving out as well), so I can’t speak for myself. However, if it’s a standard church model, I would say try to start with the youth themselves. It’s a radical idea, I know, but perhaps it will work. If not, go to the youth leadership and other adults in the congregation. If all else fails, go to the elders/pastors and give it into their hands. All the while, never stop working for it among the youth. Persistence is the key.

  • http://www.advancinghiskingdom.blogspot.com Marshall

    1.) What is the current state of the youth culture in your church? Does it embrace or resist our societys expectations?

    Well…my church doesn’t do the youth group thing. I go to Heritage Family Church. They believe that it’s not the pastor’s job to teach the children about Jesus. That’s the parent’s job. The pastor is to reinforce that. So thankfully I can answer it resists society’s expectations. However, I have been in churches that have youth groups, and that get pretty worldly. Yes, they have a dress code, yes they have rules…but you have to be careful. In your “Why Women Are Exposing Themselves” series, the statement was made, “What you attract them with, you attract them to.” I believe that not only applies to that, but to this issue as well. If we are attracting the youth of the city, or country with the type of music they listen to, with pool tables, and video games, then that’s what they’ll come for. Now, I’m not saying that it’s wrong to have a youth group, (although I don’t believe in them) I don’t see anything in the Bible against it. And I’m not saying it’s wrong to have a pool table in your youth group…but you have to be so careful, and it’s a really thin line…

    Marshall

  • http://www.rebelution.blogspot.com Brett Harris

    Excellent point, Marshall. I like the way you applied the “what you draw them with you draw them to” statement to youth groups. I think it was an accurate cross-application.

    As a clarification, if we haven’t mentioned this already, our doesn’t have a youth group either.

  • http://www.jamiekiley.com J

    Wow. That post was awesome. The concept of focusing on collective excellence as opposed to individual “statistical anomalies” was something I had totally missed. I think I’ve had way too much of a separatist and elitist attitude, and your comments were a bucket of cold water in my face. (I mean that positively, of course!)

    My church is very similar to a home church, except that we meet in a hospital cafeteria, not a house. We don’t have a typical youth group, but we do have a separate study group for kids 6-12. We felt this was the best temporary solution in light of the fact that the families in our church are woefully unprepared right now to implement a completely integrated model.

    Among the problems we face is that there is only a single whole family unit in the whole church (my family). The rest of the members are either single or have extremely splintered families. Fathers are in short supply. Additionally, there are significant discipline problems, and a problem with lack of education. All this makes it very hard to try to keep everyone together in a family-centered model.

    However, like I said, our youth group is treated as a temporary solution, and the idea is to get kids out of the group as soon as possible (some have already “graduated”).

    Also, we look for ways to bring the kids and the adults together. For example, everyone stays together during lunch, and during praise and testimony time, and we only split up for the Bible study segment. Also, we try to encourage the kids to help with preparation and cleanup, etc. So far, I think this approach has helped solve some immediate problems, but without creating any real sense of an isolated “youth culture.”

  • Elizabeth

    1.) What is the current state of the youth culture in your church? Does it embrace or resist our societys expectations?

    I think if they are not in love with Christ then they slip into the snare of society’s expectations. After all, it is the love of Christ that constrains and prompts us to obey His commands. Honestly, I think the root problem in our generation is we simply don’t know the Lord or His Word.

    Consequently, I’ve been talking to my friends at church and school about the Lord, and it’s amazed me how they’ve responded! I initially thought they wouldn’t be interested in talking about Him, but they are! Lives are actually being changed and people are growing in their Christian walks. Can you tell I’m excited? =)

  • http://www.chezjoel.com Joel

    We must not be satisfied with simply being better than the average teenager. Such a classification reinforces, rather than combats, the myth of adolescence. As the old saying goes, “The exception only proves the rule.”

    Jordan, you have really hit the nail on the head. When I was a youth a great deal was often made about how well behaved I was, and how I never rebelled against my parents. It always disturbed me. One of the reasons for this is just what you’ve pointed out: by lifting me up as exceptional, the grown-ups were giving implicit acknowledgement of the “rule” my exception supposedly proved. The truth is that the question “will you or will you not rebel against your parents” is a remedial question to begin with. If you decide “I won’t get my eyebrows pierced and sell crack,” you’re then left with a bigger and better question: “what will you do then?”

    The real danger for youths intent on rebelution is that these smarter-than-the-average-bear kudos can become the new (and easy) standard. Unfortunately we often get praise for things which weren’t particularly difficult to achieve. If we focus on the props and encouragement of those who have low expectations for us, we become mediocre.

    It can be challenging to set our sights on excellence, particularly when we’re hearing that we’re already there. One of life’s greatest lessons, which we all must learn could be expressed in the phrase, “That was nothing. Watch this.”

    Now on to the application: I think it is appropriate for excellence-focused rebelutionists to call their youth leaders, pastors, teachers and parents on their faint praise for standing out. Challenge yourselves and others to call the normal things “normal”, and save that word “excellence” for things which really are.

  • http://www.hofcc.org Gregg Harris (AKA Dad)

    As I follow this discussion, I thought I might jump in and comment on the issue of how an individual can \”rebelutionize\” his or her youth group, church or any other social context. This question goes to the heart of why the Apostles went about preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and not merely the Gospel of individual salvation.

    The Gospel of God\’s grace purchased for us by Christ on the cross brings regeneration or new birth to each individual who believes in his or her heart that Jesus is Lord (i.e. Sovereign over all that is) and that God the Father raised this Jesus from the dead. This believing sets off a chain reaction in one\’s soul that literally recreates and reorganizes all of reality. It is more than a paradigm shift, but it does include a new way of looking at everything.

    If Jesus is Lord then nobody else is Lord. Not your self, not your parents, not your spouse, not your boss, not your pastor, not the government, not money, not sex, nothing. Jesus is Lord. His will is now more than your law, it is your delight. Doing His will is the only sane thing to do in light of who He is and what He has accomplished. Anything else would be crazy.

    Now just because Jesus is Lord, and all of these other people and things are no longer Lord, does not mean that they have no more place in your life. They are all very important in their proper places because they comprise the context in which you are to walk in the obedience of your faith in Christ. This is where the Gospel of the Kingdom comes into play. God\’s kingdom comes where God\’s will is done on earth. That is what we pray in the Lord\’s prayer and it is happening now as born again people trust Jesus enough to actually obey Him in a situation.

    As Paul wrote in Ephesians, having been saved by faith alone without works, \”You are now Christ\’s workmanship, prepared for good works that you should walk in them.\” God has prepared you for the good works and He has prepared the good works for you.

    (cont\’d next comment)

  • http://www.hofcc.org Gregg Harris (AKA Dad)

    The good works God has prepared for you to do are all in the contexts of relationships you have with others in your family, your church and your community. You are a rebelutionary. You have been transferred out of the kingdom of darkness and into the kingdom of God’s dear Son. Now, Jesus commands you, through Paul, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” So, as a Christian young adult, you are to honor and obey your parents for the Lord. Even if they are not Christians, or if they are not yet mature Christians, God wants you to “obey” them in ways they may not even have thought of yet. Be an example of a believer. A believer in what? A believer in the person, Jesus Christ, who is Lord. and a believer in the objective historical fact that God raised Jesus from the dead and so will raise you from the dead too. As one free from the fear of death and the fear of lack, go love others from a pure heart, fervently. In the Old Testament circumcision was the sign of the covenant, but in the New Testament “neither circumcision nor uncircumcision are anything, but faith working though love” is now everything! By this love all will know that you are Christ’s students, because you love one another. By this you yourself can know that you have passed out of death and into life, because you love your brothers and sisters in Christ. Love is now the sign of the covenant. Love is the keeping of the entire law of God. We are to build one another up in love. We are to spur one another on to love and good deeds. God’s kingdom on earth comes in power whenever and wherever redeemed human beings trust God enough to actually obey Him by loving one another in practical ways. In fact, God asks us to show our love for Him by the way we love one another.

    So how do you “rebel against the darkness and the lies of this world.” Seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness in relation to that kingdom. Get into relationships of love and respect and watch what your King can do with a little leaven hidden in three measures of flour. It will ultimately permeate all things as God reconciles all things in heaven and on earth to Himself through His Son, Jesus Christ. That, my young friends is “rebelutionary.”

  • Susanna

    My youth group is going through serious changes right now. My church flooded from Katrina so our church has been meeting somewhere else. Alot of people are in different states still, but the great thing about it all is that God is doing so much.

  • Anonymous

    What is the current state of the youth culture in my church?

  • Anonymous

    Woops, I posted that one before I finished. My church is very conservative, and we do not have a youth group. We do, however have an option of family sunday school or graded sunday schools. Are you saying that this is evil?

  • http://www.rebelution.blogspot.com Brett Harris

    Anonymous: Of course not! Not at all. Our church doesn’t have those things, and we think it bears better fruit, but it isn’t a matter of good and evil practice. If your approach is bearing good fruit for the Kingdom of God, then keep going!

  • http://www.xanga.com/AsciiChris Elijah

    Wow. I just read this whole series for the first time, and it was very good, and got me thinking, a lot.

    The biggest thing I have a hard time with is that adults, knowingly or not, have an extremely hard time thinking of the teenagers that culture has created as anything more than mere annoyances that they have to wait for them to grow up.

    1.) What is the current state of the youth culture in your church? Does it embrace or resist our societys expectations? It is not as bad as some places where friends have gone, but the majority of the youth in our church certainly embrace culture,

    And that really spurns a question, and that is, what is a way to gain support from adults in the process of becoming more than just a teenager?

    2.) Who do you need collaborate with within your church in order to bring about change? The biggest difficulty, is that the majority of the youth in our church, are average teenagers, who don’t want to work for anything more. And so I believe it might be very hard to get people willing to collaborate. Although, I think that the biggest help would be the parents of the youth. Because if they can’t get encouragement from their own parents, then who else are they going to feel that they can turn to?

  • Liz

    1.) What is the current state of the youth culture in your church? Does it embrace or resist our society’s expectations?
    Youth? In our church? hahahahahahaha!
    Seriously, I think we’re in a bad way. There is a separate Sunday school for kids aged around 5-12 during Sunday worship which is okay – they learn about God, Jesus, the Bible etc. This means they are hardly ever in church with the rest of us; the regular congregation only includes about five people in their 20s (including myself and my husband). There are two mid-week groups for youth but both are social, despite claiming to be the ‘church groups for young people’. As such, they offer no form of discipleship for the young people – the attitude seems to be that anyone under 20 is far too young to be thinking about such serious things. The only attempts to resist society’s expectations is that the leaders should be ‘nice’, and then the kids will magically develop relationships with Jesus.

    2.) Who do you need collaborate with within your church in order to bring about change?
    I really don’t know on this one. The vicar (pastor – we’re in England by the way) would welcome ideas but doesn’t have time to do anything himself, and seems unwilling to confront the leadership fo the groups (which is entirely inappropriate in the case of the older teenagers’ group). There are a few people who might want to get involved but they are already involved in a lot of other minstry areas and again, may not have time. Some parents are already involved; the others are no Christians themselves, or seem unconcerned with their children’s spiritual growth – again the attitude that 12, 13, even 16 or 17 is really too young to be worrying about these ‘deep’ matters.
    We really need a fresh outpouring of God’s spirit on the kids, for them to desire Jesus and want to grown in truth and love, and on the adults, to want to disciple the kids (and be discipled themselves in preparation for this task). And on me, because I truly have no idea what to do next.

  • Dr Liz

    This is perhaps more in response to the comments than the original post. I wanted to provide another perspective to the “no youth group is best” feel expressed here. My family did not attend church (even on Easter Sunday!). However, in junior high my sister and I began attending church. I confess that the primary reason my older sister was able to convince me to try church was that I knew a bunch of the junior high kids from school. This church had a good size youth group that was quite active.

    While I appreciate the idea of fully integrating youth into the church, and not separating them from the larger church, I know that I probably would have resisted going to church without the youth group. Mostly, I would have felt very awkward and out of place because my parents did not go to that or any other church. While a youth group can be overly entrenched in the world’s culture, it does not have to be. A church can also be overly entrenched in the world’s culture also, with or without a youth group. A good youth group can be transformative and evangelistic, bringing in youth from non-church backgrounds and giving them a solid grounding in the Word (the kind they don’t get at home because the parents don’t have that to give).

    Just another perspective (admittedly, I haven’t been a youth in about 20 years).

  • Elizabeth M

    Well, I think that sometimes it can be very healthy and affective to have a youthgroup – it just depends on the vision and leadership and focus. The church I attend does have a youth group in which the junior high and highschool meet together and then join the adults in the church service afterwards. Many of these kids are being raised by separated parents, grandparents, or a family in which only one parent is a believer. Without a youth group I don’t think that many of them would have ever come. Going to church can be intimidating when one has not grown up as a Christian and I think it’s much more inviting to join a group of friends in a more casual setting (but again – the focus must be on God and the purpose he has for the group).

  • http://www.tolkienite.piczo.com Kyleigh

    What is the current state of the youth culture in your church? Does it embrace or resist our society’s expectations?
    ~One thing that seems to happen with my youth group (that I do not like) is that the youth group becomes peoples’ “family”. My dad warns my sister and I about this and tells us that if the youth group beomes like that for us then we won’t be able to go. Because during the week, aside from youth group, there is Well Group (Bible study) and service team.
    In the youth group itself, however… I think that it resists most of today’s society’s expectations. I haven’t really had much of a chance to observe what happens, though, as we have just recently joined this youth group.

  • Charlene

    Kyleigh: What did you mean by “peoples’ “family”"?

  • http://www.youngchristiansofstandard.org Andrew

    The youth ministry that I am in is not like your ordinary youth ministry. Our youth minister is a former Army ranger. The slogan for our youth ministry is “Outfitting Students for Life”, kind of an outdoor theme, goes along with our building called “The Shack”.

    Our youth ministry does not do a whole lot of big events. We do Summer camp, sometimes winter camp, and a disciple now usually. We rely on small groups. We believe in life change through small groups. It is different then what we used to be a long time ago, but its cool.

    We have a bunch of skaters in our youth ministry and I think that is good because we need to reach out to them. Our services on wednesday nights and sunday mornings is very biblical-oriented. We have an awesome worship time and an awesome time to grow in the Word.

  • Laura

    I don’t know if I have any autority in this matter, seeing as I have been to only one youth group meeting several years ago. However, the condition of that particular group is shown by their eagermess to put me in “office” because I was the only one of my grade who actually knew my Bible! Since that time when I kept turning down nominatons I have come to firmly believe in the evils of the youth group. In what would have been mly youth group they may have had a five or ten minute lesson; the rest of their time was spent in the game room. This church did not have any home-schooling families in it aside from our own, which may have been a reason I went to that first meeting. I wanted to “fit in.” Okay, so it was a bad reason in the first place, but when I saw what was going on in that room it convinced me never to go again. I saw twelve to seventeen-year-olds kids acting like four-year-olds! Sure there were times when I was tempted to go back, especially when my peers asked me to go. They used the wrong arguements on me though; things like puppet shows and big screen tvs were mentioned. At that time I was still attending my Sunday school class, and the change I saw in my friends when they reached middle school was severe! By the end of seventh grade Sunday school was torture; after the first few weeks of eighth grade I stopped going, with my parents full agreement.

    My family is now going to a family-integrated church. The youth there are mature and can interact with adults better than my old friends could with each other! In order to reform the church does it not mean raising up Godly young men to be leaders of their future families, church, and government; and Godly young women who will gladly submit to their fathers and later to their husbands? Reforming the family is definitely the first step of reforming the church, but how will boys learn to be men when they’re cooped up in Sunday school with their own grade? The same goes for girls, except it might perhaps be worse! The women today are manish! How will our girls learn to be Godly young women who submit when there are not too many women who do that now!?? Oh well, my thoughts are getting jumbled now.

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  • Ben

    I’ve had a great time in my youth group…we have about 40 people every sunday night from grades 6-12. The great thing about it is that the leaders treat us like adults…not like little kids who are still learning basic doctrinal stuff. Our teaching is expository and in depth, but it focuses on application to our lives, which is really neat.

    Sure we play games and go crazy and have fun times with each other, and that stuff is important, but the greatest thing that I have gotten out of it is the fellowship. Meeting other Christian teens going through the same stuff you are is really encouraging. I was able to start a small group bible study with people from yg and i have seen how God has used that to form a prayer network where we all care and pray earnestly for one another.
    So just as an encouragement: there are good youth groups out there and youth groups ARE good, as long as they are focused on the right things!

  • Nathaniel W.

    I think I am way late with this comment, but I will add my two cents anyway. What Marshall said awhile ago about drawing kids in with their music, video games, and culture is really the key problem in the church youth group today. I have attended a couple of different youth groups and both times I have left because of the problem of appealing to kids outside of church throuh their culture and trying to make the groups “fun,” while not really focusing on spiritual growth. We should try to draw kids in. But let’s due it by making the bible exciting not by appealing to kids through culture. If we can start doing this it would help out the state of youth groups alot.

  • Radha D.

    I have recently been feeling called to revolutionize my youth group. One of the biggest problems I see is that many don’t have God as the first priorty. They will come to youth group or do other “churchy” things as long as it doesn’t interfere with school, their social life or anything else. I want to see that changed, and so does my youth pastor. But what can I do? I know I need to and I want to, I just don’t know how. Do you have any advice or suggestions?

  • Claire

    As a highschooler who has voluntarily pulled out of my church’s youth group, I definitely agree with what Nathaniel said above about drawing kids into a youth group through what our culture deems “cool”. By using music, games, and other “fun” activities to draw kids in, what are the youth leaders doing? Entertaining the teens? Mind you, I’m not saying that games and other fun activities are bad. However, there is a time for that, and a time to focus on our walk with Christ. In a youth group, the focus should be on God, not on hanging out with friends or having fun. Fun isn’t bad to have in a youth group either – it just shouldn’t be the focus. How many kids come because of just the fun activities? Is that what a youth group should be about? Does the Bible become only something on the side instead of the focus?

    Hebrews says that the Word of God is “living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword…” (4:12) We do not need to try to stifle the truth by making it look attractive to the world. Let the Word of God speak for itself and work through the hearts of everyone who hears it.

  • Alexandra

    My youth group, to put it bluntly, is terrible. All we do is hang out and play games. No worship, except on 5th Sundays. The jr. high & sr. high are kept totally separate. Our new youth pastor wanted to change this. We came up with some great ideas: small groups, worship, and a family youth dinner. However, when we presented this, we were met with much opposition from the sr. high girls who were worried about us taking away their “fun time”. “I’ve already worshipped on Sunday morning. I come back to church at night to blow off steam.” Now our youth pastor is leaving, and if our new one doesn’t make some changes, I must say, I probably won’t be going to youth group. However, I am severely disappointed, as I love going and I feel like the only one with a dysfunctional group.

  • Jacob

    At our former church (had to move) we had an excellent youth group. We had detailed studies twice-weekly, which were mainly attended by church youth. There were also specifically planned “fun” events. As well as being fun for the group, they were an opportunity to disciple the non-Christian friends that would come.

    I think that a youth group should decide if they are ministering to the youth of the church, or to youth in general. Trying to combine the two seems to end up with some people being bored during the lesson, and others not being satisfied with the depth of the lesson.

  • Michael

    Hey guys, I just saw an ad for your website in the WORLD magazine, and I must say I am very impressed.

    As a 16-year old, I am involved in youth group. As a Christian, I am involved in our particular youth group. Our youth group (by no means perfect, but better than some) differs from most youth group in several ways. First of all, girls (the reason I wanted to join “A” youth group) and boys are seperated during the study. Great idea, as we guys can actually focus on the creator rather than the creation. It has also made me start coming for the right reasons.

    Secondly, our lesson lasts about three times as long as the music, and our music lasts twice as long as our goof-off time. The fact that we have goof-off time could be a problem, but I’ll get to that. Worship in music is great, but the purpose of youth group is to raise young men and women to praise God always, not just when we’re singing. So we spend the better part of our time learning from the Bible.

    Which brings me to my third point. I haven’t really experienced enough different youth groups to know the accuracy of this statement, but it seems to me that your average youth group spends more time watching devotional movies and learning from Christian publications rather than from the Bible. Granted, these things can be good, but not if they distract us from the source of it all.

    But enough said about how good my youth group is. Like I said, it’s by no means perfect.

    First of all, our youth pastor is barely in his twenties, younger than a few of those who attend. He is also engaged to one of the youth, but that’s a different story. The point is, sometimes he has to teach us things he hasn’t fully learned himself. And we look at him more as a peer than as a leader.

    How do we solve this? Fortunately our youth pastor realizes that he doesn’t have all the answers, so occassionaly he’ll invite one of the churches more mature adults to come give a lesson, or we’ll watch a short movie and discuss it (with our Bibles handy) afterwards.

    Speaking of peers, our youth group suffers from the same thing youth groups all over the world (as well as public schools) suffer from. The kid-to-adult ratio. I’m not necessarily talking about age here. I’m talking about spiritual maturity. Proverbs says that “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” or something along those lines. The only problem is, most of us aren’t iron. We’re still in the “fool” stage, and Proverbs talks a lot more about the influence of fools than iron sharpening iron. So, just like public schools, we have twenty kids against a couple adults. Most of us tend to worry a lot more about what the other kids think than what our youth pastor or God think.

    How do we solve this? The obvious solution would be to get more adults involved. But I don’t believe this is the most effective way. Why? Because we expect adults to be the mature, strong individuals they are, and we don’t think WE have to act like that until we’re older. Like you said, our expectations for ourselves are too low. So I believe the best way to do this is to involve as many strong Christian youth as we can. Sadly, many of these good kids have given up on youth groups, so we need to do something that will bring them back. Like focus the youth group on God, not fun.

    Which brings me to goof-off time. Okay, so this might be alright for an evangelical youth group. Non-Christian kids have no desire to spend two hours reading a book they consistently make fun of. But if there is going to be a goof-off time involved, there should be an evangelical message. Every once in a while our youth group will have a bowling night or something, then the youth pastor will give a fun, evangelical message. But most nights, we should save the goofing off for later, and get to the meat.

    And, for what it’s worth, that’s what I think. Your stuff is really convicting, so keep up the good work!

  • Lisa :)

    I am a youth pastor seeking the Lord to see what HE wants to do in our youth group. We meet 2x a week. Wednesday nights are more discipleship/one on one time in the Word together. And then Sunday nights are the worship and preaching nights. I preach/share with the students what God has laid upon my heart to share. I want to be open to the Holy Spirit’s leading, and also in turn, teach the kids to lean upon God and His Word because it is ALIVE!!! My goal is that when the kids graduate and go on to college and careers, that above the roar of the world, they hear GOD’S voice speaking to them on a daily basis.

    It encourages me to read the previous blogs of kid’s crying out to hear more of the Word. This generation is BRILLIANT and very CREATIVE!!!! Our God is up to something GREAT and it is up to us as leaders to be equipping this generation for what God has in store!

    Our youth group is unique, or so I have been told, because they LOVE to be together! We do stuff together off and on throughout the week, and they LOOK FORWARD to being together and talking and laughing together. They are all friends. God has so blessed us!

    My pastor continually encourages me to keep giving the kids THE WORD OF GOD, and he reminds me that THAT is a successful youth group. My pastor does not base success on numbers, but on what God is doing in the hearts of the YOUTH!!! THAT’S A REBELUTION!!!

    LOVE YOUR WEBSITE!!!! God bless you and keep UP the good WORD!!! :)

  • Elisabeth Gruber

    Alexandra: I am so sorry about your youth group! I’m praying that your fellow peers catch your eagerness to use church time as a time to grow spiritually and worship and praise the Lord!

    Michael: Hey! that’s how i learned about the Rebelution too! :c) (through WORLD magazine) I empathize for your youth group situation… (and i’m also praying for your situation)

  • Sarah Ethier

    1.) What is the current state of the youth culture in your church? Does it embrace or resist our society’s expectations?

    My youth group is curently in a process of finding itself. The youth want to embrace change but our church elders have a big part in trying to help keep us on the right path.

    2.) Who do you need collaborate with within your church in order to bring about change?

    the Elders in the church are the group we collaborate with the most because they do there best to teach us of their mistakes, so that we may improve our community.

  • A Girl Called Reggi D….

    I’ve been involved in a youth group for about a year now and I used to love it. We had an AMAZING AMAZING AMAZING youth pastor and his wife was GREAT too. They were really into God, and they weren’t the type who looked into God at Church, then if you looked at their home family, it was like seeing 2 totally different pictures. Basically, they rocked, and I felt like I, along with many other members of the youth group, really took off in our faith in Christ. In short, it was wonderful. :)

    However, back in April, I got a letter saying that today (april 18, I think) that the youth pastor and his wife were leaving the youth group. Needless to say, I was very upset. And it wasn’t really because they wanted to (they knew at somepoint in the future that they would leave) but becuase our lead pastor told them too. This caused alot of problems with me, like the fact that the wife, and sometimes the youth pastor, had made alot of promises, and becuase they were leaving, these promises couldn’t be kept.

    What I’m getting to is that the lead pastor said he was aking them to leave becuase he felt that’s what was best for the Church and what God was telling him was best. (I don’t remember his exact words.) But since then, the youth group has become pretty, well, lousy. I don’t really see any way this could be what God says is best. Does it even really matter? I’m rather cunfuzzeled as to where I/the youth group should be going now, and am curious if any of y’all have ideas…

  • Casey R.

    This is an awesome article! In my church, I have some click problems and it’s really hard not to get sucked into them. I am homeschooled and most people at my youth group tend to hang out with the people they go to school with (so you can guess that I get left out alot of times). I don’t want to be part of a click and I want to be inclusive to everyone but I’m not sure how to do that sometimes. This article (and blog in general) is very encouraging! It gives me a new way to think and even another way to be different (being homeschooled, a PK and now part of the Rebelution:)). It also gives me a direction to shoot for… not being part of the crowd and trying to be a leader. I mean, who else is going to follow a path if they have no one to lead them? This article has made me realize… I CAN LEAD!!!

  • http://www.theoutliers.blogspot.com Trevor

    Wow. As I keep reading this posts I keep getting more and more of a taste of what the idea of this is. We are not here to say: Hey guess what all you teenagers that aren’t rebelutionaries, we’re going to heaven and you are not. We need to spread the word to other teens, not deny them. We should fair our faith generously. In church today, Pastor Tim was talking about sharing, well sharing to make God more well known. This includes money and faith. My youth group is small and we are all good friends. As far as I know, I’m the only rebelutionary. ( We don’t have meetings in the summer.) I really need to bring this idea up to my Youth Leader.

  • Jordan Y

    I would like to address a few issues I’ve read about so far. Hopefully I’ll keep it short enough to where it’s not boring.

    One:
    I saw someone complaining of how some churches learn more from video, other sources, etc than actually just reading the bible. There is a lot of truth to this, but also some confusion. One of the many many things Paul wrote was “Be all things to all people.” Basically, what this is saying, is that the presentation of your message can change to reach different people, but the message should always come from the bible. This raises an interesting question. Can you “preach” without ever even mentioning scripture? Can you share God’s love without directly referencing scripture and it be perfectly right? I believe the answer is yes. Some people will be reached by certain ways to present the bible that others will not. For instance, how relevant something would be could change dramatically from me, a pk and churchgoer all my life to someone who’s never read a bible before and never really heard of Jesus. It’s the same thing with all the different translations we have today. Some are really modern. Others are not. My personal favorite is NLT, but that’s just me. And I’m sure many others and most others would disagree with me because a different translation helps to reach them personally more than my personal preference. The presentation can change. But the message stays the same.

    Second, I’d like to address the issue where some bloggers mentioned that they had a home church and liked it better than a “isolated” youth group because of the fact that person got to learn from people with more experience than that person had. Diversity in a church is absolutely essential and I’m not really even talking about the color of your skin. Age, backgrounds, newer or older christians, etc. They should all be in today’s churches. Because it does no good to target specefically 20-30 somethings in your church because how are they going to learn from people with just plain more life experience than they have. The bible (and I believe it’s in proverbs, but I could be wrong) instructs the old to teach the young inside the church. If you don’t have both older people and younger people, how can you fulfill that role? Also, if a church is dominantly male or female, I do not believe that’s healthy either. None of this is said by myself to condemn your own churches or anything like that. I’m just repeating what the bible says.

    In my youth group, it is not “isolated”, we actually have adult leaders usually around the age of 35-50 that are there and help out with certain things. Our youth pastor also talks with them regularly. Because as one person mentioned, a younger youth pastor (ours is 21) has simply not lived enough more than you to really know a whole lot more than you do as far as just having more life experience. He’d be the first one to admit it too.

    Anyways, one point I’d like to emphasize as I end this is that a lot of christians argue thinking all issues are black and white. They’re not. Some are obviously, when the bible clearly states that. But when it comes to how you run things and more minor details like that, there’s on set rules you follow. Let’s try to be understanding of each other’s often very different churches and find some middle ground.

  • Catherine

    The problem with “most” youth groups i’ve seen is that they focus on a “safe environment” where “good Christian kids” are allowed to flirt, sometimes swear, say they’re sorry, and dress like a dime-store floosy. I’m getting increasingly tired of youth group being a hang-out with no difference from the rest of the world except for a prayer at the end.
    I completely understand why some churches do not have a youth group, and I whole-heartedly salute them. However, I’ve been raised in a church and i’m not going to abandon it. The problem is getting “Christian kids” to really care about anything Christian. (Along with maybe the youth leaders themselves who are trying to reach the community in a more wordly way.) “My ideas” (really, many of your ideas) are considered too legalistic. They say i am missing out on what it means to be a kid. How do you encourage young people who are so comfortable in their ways to think along the lines portrayed on this site?

    P.S. I’ve tried praying but i also need ideas. Any brilliant minds out there? : )

  • Emmy

    OK, first off this “The Myth of Adolesence” series is awesome! It’s extremely encouraging. I actually heard of this through an adult in our youth group. For people who think a home church with no youth group is “better” I just have one thing to say. It could be better for you, I don’t believe that is a black and white subject.
    The previous church we went to had a “youth group,” but they could have called it the “Come and Flirt” group. It was disgusting. I wasn’t allowed to go.
    But the church I go to now has a wonderful youth group. They’re all strong in the Lord, we have strong adult leaders-and by adults I mean people in the 30-50 age range-our youth group is mostly Christians, but we’re always encouraged to bring friends, especially those who need God or need more God. Also, most events at our church are events for people of all ages, our pastor, church, and youth believe strongly in the blessing of mixing elder and youth. We all (meaning the youth) know that they are wiser than us and we turn to them.
    So I think that, while some youth groups may be worldly get-togethers, some can also be wonderful and edifying teaching.
    Once again, thanks for doing this website and especially this series. It’s really cool!
    God bless you all!
    I’m praying!
    Emmy

  • http://battlegroundbaptistchurch.com herb

    First of all, I pray that God will bless your efforts to call people to a higher standard. It is a big calling and a needed calling.

    your question presupposes that ‘youth’ is a sub-set of the current Church culture. In order to reform the ‘Church’ we have got to rise above the current mode of operation and uncover some fundamental truths. Such as:
    1 – the youth culture in a church reflects the adult culture. to some extent change must come from the top down. If the leaders and adults are selfish, the youth will be selfish. it is also a reflection of what is going on at home. a GREAT youth ministry is only a shadow of good parenting. Youth ministry has never been the answer, yet it is a valuable asset to many parents.
    2- youth ministries are only as good as the youth who attend. Ministry in the suburbs is vastly different than inner-city youth ministry. another piece of the pie is the leader, however, a focus on the Word, service, expositional teaching, and all the rest will sometimes fall on deaf ears… A wise man once said, “the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.” the main thing in church is Christ. We should not focus on the false assumption that we are either ‘embracing or resisting society’, this is a false dychotomy because that assumes that society is always wrong. American culture is, in many ways, synonymous with church culture, and vise-versa. Reformation in the church should come in defining Christ- ‘In culture, Against culture, and Through culture.’

  • Jordan Y

    That was an amazing post. This is such a major issue in the church today. What did Jesus say at the great commission? Go out and make DISCIPLES of all nations. Often, we like to get people saved, and get all hyped up about a conference that’s going on, but all too rarely, do we follow up with new believers, and help them grow, and DISCIPLE them. Yes, they’re saved, but now, let’s teach them to live in victory in Christ so that they not only have hope in eternal life, but that they’re not miserable in everyday life anymore. God has much more than just salvation for us, and please realize I’m not trying to discount how amazingly mind-blowing that salvation is.

  • Brian

    As a pastor of youth & families in a conservative reformed church I find this to be a very intriguing discussion. I have personally wrestled with how to conduct a ministry to students in a way that encourages parents to be the primary spiritual influence on their teens, while also fulfilling the very real responsibility the church has to shepherd and disciple teens in a way that supplements (rather than undermine) the work of the parents.

    One of the realities that I have to deal with is the fact that only a small percentage of parents seem to take this mandate seriously. So by default, the church and youth ministry become the primary sources of spiritual instruction for many Christian teens. My ministry as a pastor includes shepherding parents, encouraging them to get involved in the spiritual growth of their teens, inviting their presence at youth meetings (we have no parent-prohibited meetings or events), providing teaching that is biblical and Christ-centered, and providing opportunities for teens and parents to serve others and “do hard things” together for God’s Kingdom. However, this is only effective to the degree that parents make the commitment to be involved. And when parents choose to not to get involved, my responsibility as a pastor to their son or daughter is not lessened. I still must call the parents to take their mandate seriously, but I also must continue to faithfully teach the teenager who comes to church looking for answers.

    I also want to challenge the notion that all organized youth ministry in the church undermines the role of parents. While it may be generally true, it is not always true. Nor does the abscence of a youth ministry guarantee that parents will automatically begin discipling their kids. I agree that what most of us think of when we think of youth ministry (bells & whistles, over-the-top programs, jokes & cokes) often supports unbiblical cultural assumptions and fails to challenge them. But youth ministry doesn’t have to be that way, nor is it always that way. I would like to hear from other youth pastors who sincerely desire to re-connect teens with their parents. How has this played out in your ministry? What has proven effective?

    Parents have a serious responsibility to train their children. So does the church. These two must always seek to compliment one another.

    PS — Alex & Brett, I’m in the middle of your book and loving it. I will be using this with the teens in our church. Thank you for challenging the lies that cripple so many young people today.

  • Brian

    As a follow-up to my previous post, I’d like to share one idea that we are working toward in our church to help re-connect parents & teens:

    Once a month, to begin with, our Sunday evening service will be geared toward youth & family issues. Teens will sit with their parents at round tables. Some of the youth will be involved in leading various elements of the worship. There will be expository teaching, followed by a time for family discussion, at each table, which is guided by a set of discussion/application questions. This discussion time is for parents and teens to talk openly about the meaning and application of the message in their lives. Other church members who are not parents of teens will be encouraged to participate in this discussion as “spiritual aunts, uncles, grandparents, brother, & sisters” who have valuable insights to share with both parents & teens.

  • Natalie

    Omgosh! I love this whole post and the whole website and everything! Actually a fellow friend and brother in Christ and I have decided to hold our own “rebelution” (not using that term, instead we called it a “Radical Change Group”) before I found this sight and now I am so happy that there are more teens who are radically ready for change! I can’t wait to use some of your ideas and posts in our group! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!

  • Natalie

    Ok, here I am again because after a simple comment I felt like I should tell you guys about my former “youth group.”

  • Natalie

    Hey, sorry I accidently posted that other comment before explaining my youth group. I go to a small get lovely Private Christian School – haha ya right! Ok, so I go to a Christian school – yes – lovely? God-centered? holy? set apart? – for the most part – absolutely NOT! So we don’t really have a youth pastor, but Mr. Rose kinnda leads youth groups that really like NEVER happen – I think we have had TWO maybe this WHOLE ENTIRE SCHOOL YEAR! So ya, my friend Zach and I (and others, but we wanted to step up and lead) are feeling a tug of the Spirit to lead a group for PRAYER asking God to change and transform our lives and school so we can ultimately affect our community and world. So we are gathering the jr./sr. high students of our school and hoping to see those who DARE to come and answer some burning questions, worship God, seek him an PRAY!!! Prayer is our weapon – I think its really important to use it. Zach and I are NO WHERE near perfect, but that is what we are praying for – a transformation of our lives and to become HOLY AND SET APART for CHRIST!!!!!! So please pray for God to come!

  • Kedesh

    I found reading the comments at the end of this post very interesting. My Mum and I are both firm believers in house churches, although I have yet to read some material on it by Larry Krieder (spelling?!). Mum explained to me that his ministry has networks of house churches, so each house church is part of a larger body of Christ.

    I went to your church’s web site recently (Household of Faith Community Church) and was so blessed simply to know that there is a church out there who doesn’t have Sunday school, youth group, etc! I pulled out of my church’s youth group several years ago, as I felt the Lord lead me. This year, I felt convicted to pull out of my position as a Sunday school teacher my reason being that I decided I’d prefer the children to be in church with their families! Apart from my own family, others don’t understand where I’m coming from. It’s not an easy road, but “it is the Lord’s doing and it is marvelous in our eyes”. I am spending the extra time I now have (when I would have been at youth group or preparing Sunday school activities) with my family. God is so good!

    May God bless you richly,
    Kedesh

  • Pati

    I didnt have a chance to read every comment (cause i really should be studying, i have my ACT on saturday, please pray for me.)

    I guess i have a few questions concerning home-churches. My pastor is thinking about leaving our current location to form homechurches across south florida. Its really hard for me to understand why, so i’ve left it in God’s hands. Our goal is to reach more through home churches, thats where it doesnt make sense to me. What do you guys think?

    I believe that God has placed us where we are, and we have the same capability to share the gospel home church or not.

    Im a youth leader at my local church and i would have to say:

    1.) What is the current state of the youth culture in your church? Does it embrace or resist our society’s expectations?

    There are 2 or 3 kids that resist, but over all they embrace our societies expectations.

    2.) Who do you need collaborate with within your church in order to bring about change?

    Yes. and its definately a hard thing to do. ive been praying for a few months now, and God is slowly changing the heart of the youth.

    okay i better get back. i dont even know if this made sense but i hope to hear from you soon.

  • Emily

    This is a very interesting topic! Here is what I think problems in youth groups today are:

    1. The parents aren’t involved enough, if at all. It seems incredibly popular in youth groups today for parents to drop off their teens at youth and a lot of the time, they don’t even know what’s going on.

    2. Youth groups are becoming more and more like an social gathering. Instead of worshiping God and deepening your relationship with him, you are play video games, joking around, hanging out with friends and eating. Their is often a lot of flirting and exclusive groups where others are not welcomed.

    3. Although, you do want to reach out to the unbelievers, you don’t want to compromise your standards in the process. You do not want to become like the world in order to win over non believers. I find that very common in most youth groups.

    I believe in parents going with their teens to youth group, so the pastors can help equip both parents and teens. In my church youth group, it is a given that parents go with their teens to youth, not an option. You don’t see one teen sitting in there who doesn’t have at least one parent with them. I also think that when youth groups meet, it should be a time of teaching, worshiping, growing closer to God, prayer and encouragement. Although it’s not necessarily wrong to play video games, goof around, and so on, I think there are other times set aside for that.

    Now this is not to cut down on other youth groups, because I know every church has it’s flaws(including mine), but I’m just giving my opinion on the matter.

    And to answer these questions:

    1.) What is the current state of the youth culture in your church? Does it embrace or resist our society’s expectations?

    I’m fortunate to have a church that is very like minded. They very strongly support the Rebelution and everything it stands for. So, that said, they resist the society’s expectations.

    2.) Who do you need collaborate with within your church in order to bring about change?

    Once again, I don’t feel that there is a need for change.

  • Jennifer

    I think that the article is great and the idea of a family integrated church is awesome, I believe God’s kingdom would be better served,because families are not discipling their children. We have alot of unchurched (orphan) children in that they do not have fathers or they are in prison and have never been around them, that are coming on their own to church on Wednesday nights, our youth minister only uses the Word to minister to them. So I know that they are coming for God, however there is some resistance in our church to them(sad). My question is how do you get the “Christians” to reach the lost and in a family integrated setting what do you do to help the ones who do not have a family? Thanks

  • Amanda :)

    OH, you will never quite know how those words spoke to my heart. My own youth group seems so dead. Yes, people say that they are Christians, and occasionally show it, but there is no burning passion for Christ in the gang. Is it me, or does it feel like in our Junior High and Senior High years the Gospel is no longer poured into us? I am SO thirsty for the Word of God, and I feel that churches only seek to ‘entertain’ the youth, and spoonfeed their bland version of the Gospel. For goodness sakes, my little brother in 2nd grade is learning more about God than I have in all of my Jr High and Sr. High years put together! The church, the youth in the church, is growing more and more lukewarm in the faith. The desire for God is dying, I feel like. The only hope and assurance I have of others who share the intense love of Christ is by daily reading this blog. Thanks for the comfort guys. So, any help for my situation would be gratefully taken. How should I approach the church leaders and tell them that these Jr and Sr. High years have been nothing but a spiritual wasteland for me? What should I do to help affect change? I am not a leader. I just want the Youth to no longer be lukewarm.

  • Brian Torres

    After reading much of the above posts I feel I have to post a few comments.
    1. I am a youth pastor. I have been in youth ministry for 17 years and KNOW that this is where God has called me to serve. Local Church youth ministry is not an “old” or “out of date” or inneffective concept…when done with a focus on Jesus and nothing else.
    I feel bad for those who feel that their youth ministry was largely ineffective….but this has not been my experiance. God used youth ministry to call me into youth ministry. He has used me in this ministry to effect the lives of many teens and see them become disciples of Christ who devote their lives not to their own accomplishments but to furthering HIS kingdom.
    2. I honestly believe that it is time for Christians of all age brackets to stop complaining about their local communities of faith…To STOP seeking churches that fit what they want…and START realizing that we do not begin a faithwalk with Christ for our sake alone.
    Is your church or youth group not what you want it to be? ….
    First-Examine your wants!!! Are they biblical? Or are they primarily self-focused in nature?
    (be careful to not delude yourself here…sometimes we find biblical justification for what if we are really honest…is just our own opinions and desires)
    -So many church goers become church hoppers because of our culture’s focus on pleasing self. We keep looking for that place that gives us goose bumps every Sunday. We keep searching for a church/Youth group that constantly entertains or motivates or serves or ministers to us.
    Did we ever think…
    “Maybe coming to church is less about what I can get and more about what I can give?”
    or
    “Maybe God is less concerned about what I “feel” and more concerned about what I do.

    Second-Allow God to change your focus!! Are you upset about your church’s or youth group’s lack of Biblcal focus? Legalism? Lukewarmness? ect…ect.
    Allow God to change your focus from “Why cant they be what I want them to be” to…”Lord use me to change THIS church/youth group to what YOU want it to be”
    Allow God to begin this process in you by placing yourself before him as a Living Sacrifce.
    Letting Him mold you to be who he wants you to be RIGHT WHERE YOU ARE!

    In order to do this though you may be asked to lay aside your own wants/visions/dreams/hopes/etc. WHY? because perhaps what he wants of you is far different from what you want of Him and what you want from your local church/community.
    God wants to use you….but on HIS terms.

    From experiance I have seen that there is nothing more damaging than a fired up Christian with a cause they are fervant about….but have never sought God’s direction for.
    On the flip side…there is nothing more powerful that a group of believers who have surrendered themselves to God’s plan for their lives.

    Third: Step out and DO what God has called you to do. Exhibit the fruits of the Spirit as you serve though His power within you. Serve when you dont feel like serving. Love when you dont feel like loving. Speak when HE (not you) leads you to speak. Speak with grace, hope, truth and love….speak HIS words not your own.
    Let Him increase and yourself decrease. Learn to see the people in your faith community as GOD sees them. Learn to offer forgiveness, grace, hope, love to the people around you just as He does.
    -wash the feet of your Judas.

    Fourth: Learn that the Hardest most revolutionary thing you can do with your life, (or rather you can allow GOD to do in your life)….is to be like Christ.

    want a revolutionary concept?

    Litany of Humility

    O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
    From the desire of being esteemed,
    Deliver me, Jesus.
    From the desire of being loved…
    From the desire of being extolled …
    From the desire of being honored …
    From the desire of being praised …
    From the desire of being preferred to others…
    From the desire of being consulted …
    From the desire of being approved …
    From the fear of being humiliated …
    From the fear of being despised…
    From the fear of suffering rebukes …
    From the fear of being calumniated …
    From the fear of being forgotten …
    From the fear of being ridiculed …
    From the fear of being wronged …
    From the fear of being suspected …

    That others may be loved more than I,
    Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

    That others may be esteemed more than I …
    That, in the opinion of the world,
    others may increase and I may decrease …
    That others may be chosen and I set aside …
    That others may be praised and I unnoticed …
    That others may be preferred to me in everything…
    That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should…

    Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val (1865-1930),
    Secretary of State for Pope Saint Pius X

    Philippians 2
    1If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. 3Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
    5Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
    6Who, being in very nature[a] God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
    7but made himself nothing,
    taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
    8And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    and became obedient to death—
    even death on a cross!
    9Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
    and gave him the name that is above every name,
    10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
    11and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father

    Blessings!
    -Brian

  • David J

    One thing that would make this extremely hard in my Youth group is the fact that some of the kids have really bought into the lies that our culture throws at them. The Youth Pastors younger sister is environmentalist to the point of crazy (to me), She believes the lies of global warming as well as (though I’m not 100% sure) evolution…and then we get to the lies that stem from the radical feminist movement. It drives me through the roof sometimes! And although our youth group is probably half Home-schooled, I’m not sure how to get them to see this and to act on it…maybe I’ll get as many as I can to come with me to see you guys when you come to Minneapolis!
    Keep it up and I’ll see you later!
    David

    P.S. Get the forums up soon! I want to get on there!!!

  • Sara

    1.) What is the current state of the youth culture in your church? Does it embrace or resist our society’s expectations?

    I am seventeen years old, and am turning eighteen soon. My church has a very large youth group. I really love it, but to answer the question, I think the majority of them are very worldly. I myself can fall into that category sometimes. It’s easy to do. I just read “Do Hard Things” and was very inspired. I want everyone in my youth group to know about it, so they can be challenged with me. Back to the question, I think the youth themselves tend to embrace society’s expectations more than resist them, but our Youth Pastor is doing a really great job of encouraging them to live passionately for Christ.

    2.) Who do you need collaborate with within your church in order to bring about change?

    I know that I need to collaborate with my Youth Pastor. He would really love “Do Hard Things” and would be a big help in implementing the principles that the book talks about. My parents and brother would also help as well, and my friends would be the next people I should tell. Thanks so much for what you’re doing. I had felt the same way about low expectations for a long time, but only recently recognized it. Keep doing what you’re doing. God will bless you greatly for it. :)

    Sara

  • Bekah

    1.) What is the current state of the youth culture in your church? Does it embrace or resist our society’s expectations?

    My youth group is changing from your typical group of teenagers to a group on fire for God. In the past year we have been shaken because of change in leadership. But this was for our better and now our youth group is growing. But i don’t think we have reached the point where we have realized what we can do. We have had ‘Youth Sundays’ at our church and held events there. But I still don’t think that is really where it is at. At the moment our focus is on our relationships with God. But there is so much more than is possible. I believe we need to realize that we can change our church and help them move in God’s direction and that it is not just for us.
    Recently our church has merged with another and we have a new pastor. He has suspended live worship and moved to cds. Before this happened we had been playing different music and God was really starting to move. You could feel it during the worship service and the worship was getting longer. Now the music is old, and even that is not the problem. But it just goes nowhere and it is so much shorter. And on a recent Friday night our Youth Group had an amazing time. Our leader had just returned from the revival in Florida, the Holy Spirit showed up during worship, and there was amazing prayer and almost everyone had revelations. Things were breaking free. And so our Youth Group was all pumped up and over Saturday many of us were with God and expecting something amazing to happen on Sunday.
    But on Sunday everything fell flat. Despite this the youth began praying for people in the church and then worship ended suddenly.
    After church the youth felt disappointed. We knew something was wrong and that their was this unnatural disconnect between the church and the youth group.
    So I went home and vented to my Mom. She said,”While than why don’t you do something about it?Talk to the pastor. Change it.”
    Well it is easy to say that. But now comes the question of how. Not even that. But getting our Youth Group to understand how.
    To get back to the question, I believe our group has risen against the minimal society expectations. This being the idea that youth are not meant to be in tune with God and are ‘supposed’ to sit in the back of the church. Now this is the extreme and we are most certainly not like this. But we have not yet risen to breaking through to God and leading our church with a pastor’s guidance. And we still do not quite know how to do this, gain the respect of our leadership, and help guide our church to where God is. I also think that there is a signifigant gap between the adults and the youth and we need to figure out how to listen to each other and work together. I believe this is the same for youth in the country.
    Ps. Thanks so much for all your doing. God bless and I’m praying rou you.

  • Kelly

    Thanks for your website, and for this discussion.

    Being a parent connected to hundreds of youth through “pastoring/shepherding” at a girls camp, and connected to quite a few home schooling families through leadership in such a community, I see that the family unit is the biggest influence, the church is a huge influence, and how they interact with the culture and each other is significant. That being said, I have not seen the model of home church or family worship being significantly better than the more traditional model of church (from its contemporary and old fashioned styles and everything in between) in our current culture (nor vice versa). I have seen very sad situations in family worship approaches, where authoritarian abuse is rampant. And I have seen home church families where little spiritual maturity was developed. This is true in the traditional models as well. In every style of church I have also found wonderful Christian young adults and youth. I have seen outstanding disciples of Christ. I think one key in these is the presence of someone who is passionate in their knowledge of Christ. I have seen one individual used by God to make a huge impact. That may or may not be the leader. It may or may not be an adult.

    I think rather that the model dilemma concerning youth group, no youth group, family church, and many other permutations should not be the primary focus to radically change our culture. Our focus should be instead, I believe, calling ourselves and each other to radical pursuit of Christ, knowing Him, and making that relationship our single, driving passion. Everyone needs that message whether we are young or old. I loved the post about knowing God from J.I. Packers’ book.

    I think that being distracted at every age from this goal, knowing Him, making Him known, enjoying Him forever, has been the problem throughout the ages. Whether it is technology, sex, education, music, drugs, environmental issues, the American Dream, war, peace, social climbing, career, the pursuit of knowledge- even theological, we are constantly allured from what is the purpose of our lives, Christ our Lord, the Best, to what may even be considered “good” but not the Best. As Piper says, it is the only soul-satisfying thing, and everything else is an attempt to meet that need and falls far too short.

    Our culture is so toxic that many young people are overwhelmed and sick from its influence. They have yet to drink of the purifying waters of Christ, which can heal them.

    So, while I have so much to learn yet, I believe that we should encourage ourselves, our peers, our youth, our youth leaders, or church leaders to pursue the single passion, which is knowing Christ more, and walking in Him. Pursuing Him is even more important than “making a mark.” However, as we do so, Christ will leave His mark all over and transform us and others through us. His working is supernatural!

    I think it always starts in our own hearts, and prayer. God will lead each one individually. While there might be a good model for developing change, I don’t know that I have the wisdom to suggest it. However, it is always good to be in conversation with the authorities in our lives and discuss our struggles, weaknesses, frustrations, visions. I think encouraging oneself and leadership to be focused on developing disciples, first in each ones personal life, second in the lives around us, is what I desire. Disciples who are humble and honest before the Lord and with each other and who are partnering together to know God is what seems like the biblical focus. We aren’t trying to create another subculture, with a plastic exterior to live up to. We are looking for a reality in our lives of the power and love of Christ. God’s Word is transformative in this process and His communication to us. Being saturated by His Word and abiding in our prayer and thoughts are key. But knowledge is not Knowing, and that is an important distinctive.

    Thank you Alex and Brett for your website and your pursuit of Christ. May He be greatly magnified in and through your lives. May this ministry flow out of your deep draughts of the Living Water, and may it never distract you from drinking deeply yourself of Christ. I pray this for myself as well, concerning my personal walk. You are sticking your heads out in the spiritual battle, and so you are subject to attack. God’s grace be your stay. Abide in Him, and keep your armour fully equipped, brothers.

  • Trish

    The youth group at the church I attend is very complacent. I’ve spent most of my Sunday mornings attending classes with my parents. Lately, we’ve gotten in a youth intern who is really on fire for the Lord. He’s teaching a good class, but so far, I’m the only one who really has done alot of speaking up. Everyone else seems half asleep; I feel like I’m borderline on dominating the class. Does anyone have any advice on how I might encourage my peers to actually get involved in study?

  • Holly Beth

    Right now my youth group is struggling. It is very “groupy” and has been that way for about a year. My youth pastor recognizes this and has called about 5 people, including me, together to try to change it. We arn’t really in the “in” crowd. He sees us as the new leaders of our youth group. “Do Hard Things” has really helped me in this area. Hopefully, God will use us to set teens on fire for Him. Please pray for me.

  • Beccareba

    Hey guys!
    It is absolutely true that we, as “kidults” who have been blessed with the opportunity to hear the truth and share our ideas in various forms and fashions, have a HUGE responsibility to get out there and live out this information. If we don’t we really will be “in-valids”. It’s not that we are somehow “holier” in and of ourselves than others; it’s all God’s immeasureable grace.
    I’ve visited several different youth groups in a couple of different states, and in almost all of them it’s readily apparent that the standards and expectations for these young people are very low. Not really any higher than for those out on the street selling . The last time I visited another youth group, I nearly started crying out of compassion for these young people who seemed to have no idea that there is any other way to live.
    Right now I’m involved with two different youth groups; one (much smaller than the other) has only about eight in semi-regular attendance, but there is great hope. They show an active interest in changing, in becoming more like Christ. This gives me an enormous motivation! If this group of so few can set out to be the change in their area, cannot we all take what God has so graciously and extravagantly given us and begin to be evangelists wherever God has put us?
    The other group I’m involved in consists of a bunch people I’ve grown up with; we’re almost all homeschoolers. It’s wonderful to be a part of a group of social “rebelutionists”, but the striking difference between us and “average” groups of youth is another reminder of our responsibility to go out and be the difference in our world. People need to see that even if irresponsibility and low standards are the average, it’s certainly not normal. Being called ahead of the curb or a budding theologian does little good unless we take what God has given us and use it to His glory and for His purpose. If we don’t, who will?
    “Here am I, Lord, send me!”

    Your sister in Christ,
    Rebecca

  • http://livingwater-christianteen.blogspot.com Kirsten Erin

    1.) What is the current state of the youth culture in your church? Does it embrace or resist our society’s expectations?

    Well, ours is going through some changes right now. In fact, we just had a message last week about how we are not a youth group but a youth ministry and it is our job to take ownership of it. Alot of prophecies have been spoken over our youth ministry (Paradigm) and our Youth Pastor was challenging us to grasp those promises that God has made us and make sure they come to pass now, instead of later. God will come through when we are willing to do His purpose.
    So we are working on it. Almost all the students, including myself, went up when he asked us who is willing to take ownership of this, and I am believing in God to come through. Those of us who are willing to take ownership of this and see those prophesies come to pass won’t relent until they come!

    As for the second question- I think I kinda answered that in my response. :D

  • Beth

    1) Unfortunately I don’t find my youth group to be a very good model. We have been going through several changes that we hope is for the better. We have had 3 youth pastors in 3 1/2 years. The newest youth leader was elected 2 months ago. I feel that the world’s expectations have not only been exepted, but confirmed as “normal”. In the past I have done just what you said, I got comfortable with just being different and not pursuing change. But after reading your blog I have been inspired to make a statement for change.

    2) I think I should bring this up with the new youth pastor and ask him what he plans to do, but I think that doing that will not bring much (if any) change. I think I should try to inspire my fellow youth and convince them that there is a need for change.

    Thank you for yet another inspirering message!

  • Claire M.

    Our family also helped start a home church (except now we’re a downstairs-in-a-hotel church, because we got too big), and one of the big reasons we got out of the last church is because of the youth group. I was only ten when we left, so I wasn’t yet in the youth group. It was a youth group that encouraged dating, and every time we were at church, all the older kids would flock upstairs, like they were too good for everybody downstairs.
    I was recently listening to a Vision Forum tape, How Modern Churches Are Harming Families, a lecture by John Thompson. He said that any youth group of this sort “breeds immaturity,” because the kids are not with adults whom they can learn from. I remember all I wanted in our old church was to be old enough to go upstairs.. Looking back, I definitely see the wisdom of leaving that church, because now youth groups and stuff like that don’t matter to me. That is one reason I think home churches are so great – the kids learn from the adults and interact with them. Our church doesn’t have a youth group. I think that’s a blessing. This obviously didn’t answer those two questions, but these were my thoughts. – Claire

  • PF

    Just a quick question. Is it possible that the disciples were more like a youth group than a “home church” as you have been describing above. They were a fairly homogeneous group, rarely were there children or the elderly present during Jesus’ teaching times with his disciples. I realize that there are certainly cultural issues that come into play, but I think that Jesus’ teaching model can apply very nicely to a youth ministry setting without having a negative effect on the family. Just a thought! :)

  • Fred Flagg

    Hi, Reading this article gives me both hope and encouragement.

    I am working on “rebelutionizing” my church and the youth of my church. (PLEASE PRAY FOR ME) We don’t have a youth group, though the youth do a lot of stuff together. (in fact there is hardly a day go by that we dont see each other) I think that a youth group could be beneficial if the time spent together was focused on Christ, and growing in Him. I have never been to a church with a youth group but from what I hear, most of the groups will start out with God in mined but they Let the (sometimes overwhelming) world culture slip in the back door. I think (correct me if I’m wrong) that in order to change a nation you have to start by changing the young people or the teens of that nation, because “the teens of today are the Leaders for tomarrow”.

    As PF said “Just a thought” :)

    Thanks,
    Fred.

  • Sarah

    I love to see others with my same mind set. i’m not the best christian, but my mom has taught me to always be accountable for my actions. she’s my best friend(frowned upon by public schooled teens)and she has always treated me like an adult by not talking down to me ever since i was born. my dad’s always made me think for myself (sometimes too much) and he made me set my own standards for myself- i’ve now found out that my goals are incredibly high for someone my age, which was shocking. i never thought of myself as being so responcible, or ‘grown-up’. When i entered college, it was easier than homeschool, more homework yes, but easier work at a slower pace… now i wonder how uneducated ALL those children are… it’s scarry, i don’t understand why noone ever told them that intelect was important. it’s even frowned upon- people being called nerds and geeks just because they make A’s. (it’s not that hard to do)

    I realized that i may not be ‘normal’ but looking at the ‘normal’ kids, now i want nothing to do with them. :D it’s a relief, just to say that.

    on the other hand, i have realized that i am ‘one of a kind’ and i was begining to tear apart those who were also special, cuz i thought (in the shadow of my brother) noone could see me. and i thought that if i could be ‘popular’ with my youth group i’d be a better person, or somthing. but i’m not in the shadow, we can all shine together, i might not be the brightest(and i’m certainly not) so i need the other’s to help spread the light.

  • Sarah

    1.) What is the current state of the youth culture in your church? Does it embrace or resist our society’s expectations? I would say the majority of my youth group falls under the category of “I don’t care” “I have looked at the consequences which are terrible and have decided that since I want this thing I will do whatever it takes to get it.” We have many people who act like they are there to worship but when it gets down to it only care about seeing friends and socializing. What advice would you have for some one who has no one else in their youth group who feels the same way? When there are lots of those who say I’m here to learn but really only talk and get others off topic.

    2.) Who do you need collaborate with within your church in order to bring about change? I’m not truly sure anyone can do that but the people involved. When it comes down to it the individual themselves have to decide to break out of the norm and make the change. They are people of great potential who use none of it. No matter how many sermons, devotions, discussions, questions or punishments it seems they are simply not willing to grow up. Until they decide to and they have the capability, they already proved themselves smart enough nothing will change.

  • Sean

    I think I could describe my church youth group as depressed and restless. Let me explain:
    I attend a church that could hold 3-400 people; however, only a steady 40-50 people attend regularly. My church youth group consists of eight, ranging from 13-20. Three of the eight are me, my sister, my brother. Three more of the eight are new Christians and are considered as part of the youth, but they themselves do not consider themselves as part of us yet. As a whole, my youth enjoys ministry, and we look for ways that God can use us. However, the 90% of the church congregation, who are complacent with sitting in pews, do not like change, so they tend to disagree with what we would like to do like increase the worship service, increase missions, and increase community outreach. Hence, a depressed and restless youth. Why can I do, as a rebelutionary, to help my youth and church?

    Who can I collaborate with? There are many possible collaborators; however, they are either complacent or have given up trying for change.

    Help please.

  • Alex

    Our youth group I feel is just not being fed. I want to be able to grow and mature as a Christian but it feels like we are never equipped and trained. We don’t get any real opportunities to serve. We are kept in the youth group learning lessons that don’t have very much meaning and given examples from movies. The things we are learning are dumbed down. I think we should be trained to be mighty men and women of God, but who will train us? The teens there are goofy and immature. The girls are sometimes flirty and sometimes at outings our leaders don’t even look out for the couple touching and flirting! How do I change what I don’t understand by myself? There are some that believe we need a change but how?

  • Hannah

    I think, like Alex and Brett have said, that the youth today are simply immature. I think that if you want your youth group/church/etc. to be “rebelutionized” then the youth should start taking adult responsibilities on thenselves and stop expecting everything to revolve around them. So what do the adults in the church do? In our church, the adults no longer wash dishes after potlucks- that’s the preteen’s job. I would like to see the teens taking over the church cleaning and the older teens getting more involved with ministries. Youth should be, for greater growth and maturity, be ministering to as well as being ministered to.

  • Ariel

    1.) What is the current state of the youth culture in your church? Does it embrace or resist our society’s expectations?
    My youth group is fairly large. Probably close to 200. Most of the kids claim to be Christians but our most of us are stuck in society’s idea of a teenager. Our youth group has sooooo much potential. Every single kid has unique gifts but they can’t be utilized! It is so frustrating watching my peers either fall deeper into the rut they are stuck in or they are stuck in complacency. I feel that we are just scraping the surface of our potential and I hope that this next year will really change our the standard for all the kids coming in to highschool.
    2.) Who do you need collaborate with within your church in order to bring about change?
    After reading “Do Hard Things”, I passed the book on to a man in our church who was on the commitee to pick our new highschool pastor. I was a little discouraged when i found out that the pastor had already been picked before the book was considered for criteria. Later on, I found out that the man picked had actually read the book and had used it in his interview for the job! I was thrilled! I am getting to know the new pastor and his wife and I am really hoping to jump on board with their plans for the highschool group. I know that I need to step out of my comfort zone and really strive to make things happen, even if that makes me unpopular with my peers. I feel that, as a Senior, that I need to stand up and be a Christ like example to my peers, especially the young women in our group. Sometimes it takes just one person to make the first move before others will follow. I think that I need to take a stand and I ask that others out there will pray for me and the other leaders that God has prepared for this next year. Pray that God will teach me alot and that I will stand strong when things get tough. Not just at church, but life in general :) I have learned so much about God’s purpose for my life and so much about what it truly means to be a Christian. Thanks for leading us!

    Your sister in Christ,
    Ariel

  • Siobhan

    I atteand a small church about an hour away from my house. We do not have a “youth group” per se, but we have a jr. high/high school Sunday school class. We meet for three out of the four Sundays of the month. The other Sunday most of the teens stay in for the sermon (sermon and Sunday school take place during the same time at my church), but I teach the k-3 class (I usually have three to four kids – that’s how small the church is). Most of the kids in the teen class know nothing about the Bible or Christianity except my brother and I, and we are looked down on because the other kids think we are “goody-goodies.” The lessons taught are usually ignored, and most of the kids are just in the class because they don’t want to sit through the sermon. I attend because I really want to try to reach those other kids, and I hope I might learn some things. The teen class really needs prayer, and enthusiam for Christ. I truly don’t know if there are any in that class who are true born-again, living-out-their-faith Christians. Because the kids in that class live on ranches and farms (or in the city) and are so spread out, it is virtually impossible to hold midweek Bible studies or small groups, unless somehow God makes it possible, but so far, it hasn’t happened. I’ve been praying about this situation for quite a while, but it’s going to take some hard things to get it moving, and I’m ready!

  • J. Nair

    My church is very small and very divided on the issue of youth. The homeschooling families (that includes me) are generally agains the traditional youth group (no offense to you “youth-groupers”). We are also the ones who resonate with your message though. The others in the church are very much in favour of a traditional youth group, but have little to nil desire for rebelution. They are content to go along with the low expectations of teens and even lower them in some cases. Any suggestions for “rebelutionizing” my church? Thanks a bunch.

    J. Nair

  • Luke Green

    I don’t think there is anything wrong with a youth group. Just because your parents aren’t their and you’re hanging out with some non-christians doesn’t mean that it’s bad to go there. Unless you want to remain sheltered from knowing about sin, youth groups are a great place to go.

  • Kaitlyn Holland

    As a fellow teen I have noticed a lot wrong with our generation. we are afraid to do things for the Glory of God. We tend to fall short of the possibilities we have in life. We never try to show people how much we are worth because of the “corrective critisism”. Its not really corrective critisism. Its just people trying to tell us we need to grow up and that we will never amount to anything. and that is not true. The youth is what is supposed to be changing this world. I know i want to. I used to fall into the low expectations I got from people. Now I’m standing tall and my faith is growing. things do get tough, but I have people to pick me up when I fall. I want to step up, reach out, and shine. and I’m bringing my youth group with me.

  • rachel

    –> first of all; i would like to thank you guys for creating this AMAZiNG website :]
    i read an article about it on igniteyourfaith.com && had to check it out!
    my youth group; the chosen generation; i would have to say is in a lukewarm state
    yes; we have the core group of leaders && chogens who all out desire to follow G0ds will for their lives
    but many of our youth find it hard to pull away from societys expectations;
    they fall into the pattern of showing the world what it wants to see in them;
    and then at church, becoming who they are expected to be.
    and i tell you; its a sad sight to see my generation settle for SO much less
    than what i know G0d has in store for them.
    so many of them will benefit from this website; and i intend to share it with them all.
    thank you so much; G0d bless you; much l0ve;
    –rachel

  • Sarah Pena

    1.) What is the current state of the youth culture in your church? Does it embrace or resist our society’s expectations?

    Sadly, my church’s youth group and kids are a mess. They all look and act just like unbelievers. So yes, they do embrace our society’s low expectations.

    2.) Who do you need to collaborate with within your church in order to bring about change?

    I honestly don’t know who. Not many people in my church have my family’s values.

    At my church I (and my family) are considered “weirdos”. I really want to tell them about the Rebelution and to see their lives changed but I am afraid that if I do it will immediately turn them against it. What should I do? I am open for suggestions.

    God bless!

    Sarah. :)

  • Sarah Pena

    Luke Green,

    You said in your comment last august that, “Just because your parents aren’t there and you’re hanging out with some non-christians doesn’t mean that it’s bad to go there.” It may not be wrong to hang out with unbelievers but do you really think it is wise? The bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 15:33, “Do not be deceived: Evil company corrupts good habits.” By being around non-christians we can gradually lower our values and become influenced by them. The only reason we should ever be with them is to be a witness. But we also must be very careful that we are bringing them up and that they are not pulling us down. Please just think about that.

    Sarah.

  • Jami

    I think we need to remember what a youth group is. Yes, we need to be focused wholly on God, but we cannot forget to be accepting in differences. Paul talks about the danger of getting caught up in different Christians’ personal conviction differences (like how to eat etc.), and that same message applies to us. I spent the five years homeschooling as a child and seven attending public school. My church and friend community shifted when my schooling did. So, I went from being in more conservative, all-Christian company to more liberal company. I have seen the beauty that different points of view have to offer and have spent lots of time in the company of non-Christians. Youth groups can definately be places of mostly play, and little depth but for some, this is the stage they are at. You glean what you can, and rejoice that people are being touched simply by a caring atmosphere that they now associate with Christianity. I have also attended a youth group where we had meaningful discussions, prayer time and there was a huge focus on outreach. They did mission projects internationally and locally and connected weekly to be a support network to each other. Being part of a diverse congregation is vital, but connecting with others in similar walks of life can also be uplifting.

  • GIft of God

    In answer to question 1-
    Most of the people in my youth group are worldly; the girls dress immodestly and the guys never answer any questions the teacher may ask, but there are some people in there(say six out of thirty) that truly seek God and grow in Christ.
    IN answer to question 2-
    In my youth group, the leadership is doing a good job. Mostly the challenge lies with me. Considering the past four Sundays, how many times did I move the conversation to spritual things? i.e. How well do i know how my friends are doing in their relationship with God, and what have i done to encourage them? The best way to do this is to open your heart with others. I can talk to a friend about the problems i am having with my brother, and ask her what she has done to build a strong relationship with her brothers.
    My sister, who is 17 and is the sweetest, strongest christian my age i know, has asked me questions like: How do you keep Sunday holy? What should you do to make brothers and sisters your best friends?

  • leo

    hey, im a youth pastor from Honduras, and i just knew about this web site last week and im really impresed, im 27 years old and its the first time i see someone talking about increase the expectations on the youth, and i truly believe what you post here…we need to be together, we need to be a big bunch of young people acting holy, wise and godly!! When are you guys coming to central america…?? we can do great things here….God bless you!!

  • Kayla DeFrance

    this blog post was a blessing for me because i’ve been thinking about the same things for a long time. and i thank you for the great opportunity to share opinion!

    1.) What is the current state of the youth culture in your church? Does it embrace or resist our society’s expectations?

    I come from a very conservative church, but it seems like most of my youth group doesn’t want to aim for higher expectations. It’s more like they just go through the motions because their parents force them to be there. I have a great passion for this “rebelling against low expections” concept, and i’m trying to get my friends and my entire high school into it with Bible studies. Kids there just don’t seem to want to “grow up.” They cling on to the church and don’t seem to want to move ahead in life. It’s rare to find a youth who wants to make a difference and isn’t afraid to step out of his comfort zone. It seems like most of the teens in my church completely ignore how much potential they have and wait to see if anyone else is willing to stand out.

    2.) Who do you need collaborate with within your church in order to bring about change?

    my youth pastor is always open to new ideas

    But i’m still puzzled about how to get my friends to help me out on this, I know that if I want to get my youth group fired up I can’t do it alone. Whenever I bring it up with my friends, they are all too afraid to support me…your advice would be greatly appreciated!

    In Christ,
    Kayla DeFrance
    Portland, Oregon

  • http://chipmunkd.com Alicia

    Hey my church’s jr. high class just started to read the book doing hard things…I am 14 and am just begining high school….after reading the first few chapters i was convited and made discicions to change right away….I don’t want to make this about me but rather about God my first love and what he has been doing in my life….I have lived in the country of Belize,CA…for well till i was 12 which was about two years ago…i am now in the dessert…lol….I can say that both physically ,mentally, and at times spiritually….not having been raised in the US my life has had a MAJORly different veiw on the way life should be lived…my parents are missionaries and i am adopted….growing up I realized that things have there own pourpose in life and that you have to live life to the fullest.When I read the book or still am reading it i realized how blessed I was.This makes me even try harder to Do HARD THINGS rather than to just let the door of opportunity open in front of me….yet i do nothing about it……….there are so many other things that is on my mind at the moment but i feel i have said enough……being a youth i want to encourage my peers to listen learn and look for more….don’t just talk the talk, but walk it. look at God in all that you do and he will guide your steps….be encouraged…….!

  • Anna

    A couple thoughts.
    1–exciting!
    2–”The tendency is to get comfortable with being “one-of-a-kind.” We then fail to encourage others to reach their full potential, because we don’t want them to steal our limelight…We cannot be elitist. We must fight for humility… Because of that, we must be constant encouragers. As Jesus said, “Let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves.” Amen!!
    3–I have learned in psychology classes that “teenagers” tend toward self-centeredness and a “vain-imagination.” (thinking that other people are talking about you). Not sure whether this is a product of society or has some truth, but either way, the idea of fighting for humanity (b/c they are fellow humans, even if their lives are directly opposed to your ideals) and being constant encouragers/servants is opposite of that and urgently needed.

  • Jade

    I am a Christian girl in the UK and I find your vision and drive to glorify God truly inspirational! Though Christians can be Democrats (or the UK left wing equivalent) too, you know ;) I am lucky that my church has such a strong vision for its youth but we really need to equip young people with the armour of God in these sinful times.

  • Marci

    wow, i think this is one of the most important things i’ve read from you guys. aside from the chapter in “Do Hard Things” that made me feel so guilty about not cleaning my bathroom for 2 months that I got up mid-chapter and cleaned it, lol.

    I’ve always believed that every single person has the potential to accomplish great things with his/her life, but that most people, not just teens, choose not to. Quite cynically, I also assumed that that would never change until I got to Heaven. Thanks for reminding me that exceptional people are not exceptions!

  • Marci

    1.) What is the current state of the youth culture in your church? Does it embrace or resist our society’s expectations?
    My youth group is around 15 ppl, and we’ve known each other our whole lives. some of us are homeschooled, some private schooled, some public schooled. We’ve been encouraging each other and trying to resist society’s expectations for a long time now, but we just started reading “Do Hard Things” this fall. I think it’s helped to keep us from settling for “above average,” rather than “world changing.”

    2.) I have been blessed with an amazing youth group; I guess we already do this, lol

  • Sarah Pena

    Jade,

    I am a very firm Christian conservative in the US. I tried to look up the UK Democratic party (or as you said “the left wing equivalent”)but I couldn’t find the platform. Could you show me where I could read about it? Thanks!

    God bless!

    Sarah. :)

  • Makenzie

    wow you guys have such great thoughts on youth group and I really felt convicted on Marshall’s “what you draw them with, you draw them to.” and all of your youth groups/ not having youth groups sound so perfect. Mine is way different and God is far from the focus. I really don’t connect with our youth leader. My dad is a helper in the youth group and he sees where I am coming from. I have also found an amazing youth group in another town. At that youth group, God is glorified beyond what I thought was posible of a youth group. However, my dad wont let me attend that youth group because he says I can’t leave it if there is something wrong but that I need to change it. And right now this is an ultimate hard thing for me. But I really don’t know where to start and I’m full of doubt that my youth group could ever be worthy to come before God. Can you help me?

  • Emily Sauder

    I am amazed at finding this… I have recently been brainstorming ideas on how to change my youth group.

    And Makenzie… I really truly understand where your coming from.

    I suppose most people would call us good kids in a good youth group with good familys who do good things. But the accepted deadness, the faith without works, of us is really killing me. One major problem is that we’ve all been together for years and “know” eachother but it strikes me that it’s somewhat like wolf packs… there are many different groups that cling together and can really emotionally hurt anyone who steps out of their place or doesn’t belong anywhere to begin with. People leave our youth group because though people may be nice or civil, nobody accepts them in a way that they can be connected to fellow peers.

    Overall our youth group is made up of the christians who really live or try to really live for Christ, and then the ones who believe in God but never pay attention to truth or know what it’s like to die to the world. And sadly the latter are the more popular and therefore the leaders.

    I used to think that it was the leaders’ fault that I wasn’t content with our youth group; this was because some of our leaders set life examples that I don’t think should be followed. However, now more than ever I think it is up to the youth themselves to change that which they do not like.

    Here are the things I was brainstorming:
    1. The middle school leader is a good friend of mine, and though he’s not leading my group (im in 9th grade) he was actually the one who got me started on wanting to change things, so I’m going to talk to him about ideas and see what he thinks are some pitfalls and what would be good or bad to do.
    2. Though I was already on and off doing a prayer group with some friends right before youth group, I want to keep doing that more consistently and more devotedly.
    3. I want to gather a group of friends and make committment to become examples by doing things like helping set up and clean up, volunteering to pray for offering, actually giving money to the offering, together welcoming anyone new who comes, paying attention and taking notes during the sermon, splitting up our own group to accept others, and anything else we can come up with.
    4. I’m not sure if this would be the right thing to do or not, but I’m debating emailing my youth pastor (who is a very strong christian but I think is rather at a loss of how to wake up the youth) and giving him some of my thoughts and possibly suggesting some things that I might think would help like splitting up the guys and the girls during the lesson.

    I hope that you guys can give me some feedback on whether or not these ideas seem like the right and godly approach, and Makenzie maybe that can give you some ideas too… I know exactly what your saying and how hard it is.
    I would truly appreciate any other suggestions, ideas, prayers, or encouragement that anyone can give to help me out!

  • Todd

    Emily & Makenzie. As a youth pastor, I am moved by your desire to rebelutionize your youth groups. I would encourage both of you to talk to your youth pastor with concrete ideas showing them your desire and willingness to help. I confess that I have often overlooked student’s abilities in the rush to get everything done. I would assert that to rebelutionize your youth ministry you must start with yourself and then begin to influence your friends. I would encourage you to read “Purpose Driven Youth Ministry” by Doug Fields and then take points from it with you to speak with your pastor. It is a big book but a good one with a lot of great ideas.

    To answer the blog question:
    1. I see the state of our youth ministry as rising to overcome the low expectations of society. We are preparing to launch a new series called “Rebelution” where we will be challenging the teens to do just what you are asking. One concrete thing we are doing is introducing ministry teams for the students to not only serve in but to head up.
    2. I need to collaborate with the teens to put them more in control.

  • kyle huitt

    Let me start out by saying that it is so nice to see likeminded people.My youth group is definitely an upgrade to my recent church,unfortunately,the focus is in the wrong place.There is definitely a clique and the leaders do not do much about it.We spend almost a quarter of the time playing games as well.And last but not least I get almost no spiritual feeding.Do Hard Things and this blog have really encouraged me.I will definately show Do Hard Things to my youth pastor.

  • Kara

    Good post. I don’t have time today to read all the comments, but I hope to later. This subject is one of great concern to me.

    1. Our youth group is best described as apathetic. None of us are involved in gross sin, but nobody is really on fire for serving God. As the pastor’s daughter and an aspiring rebelutionary, I really am concerned about that. I realize, of course, that there are things in my life that I need to change. Unfortunately, I’m not sure what to do about changing our group. We have a wonderful youth pastor who teaches great lessons designed to draw us close to God. We have a good mix of serious subjects and some channeled fun. However, none of it really seems to be spilling over into our lives. No one seems to want to change that.

    2. I want to talk to our youth pastor and our pastor. I think there are some ways we could get our youth group more involved in ministry. And I want to talk to the other teens. I think there are a few who would join me in this.

    Emily – Your youth group sounds pretty similar to mine, except that our youth pastor goes to unbelievable lengths to teach us the way he should. I think he’s doing a lot of it right.
    My question is: how can you inspire a youth group that has all the tools to do right, but doesn’t want to?
    Obviously, a lot of it has to start with us, but I would like to brainstorm any good ideas you guys might have, or things that work for your group.
    Like I said, I haven’t had time to read all the posts, so some this might redundant. Sorry.

    Thanks to anyone with good suggestions/answers to this.

  • Jarrod Lane

    Thank you for that post. It is very encouraging to me.
    I have been involved in the same youth group now for almost 5 years. A huge part of the reason my family joined that church was because of the youth group. The older kids in the group (I was in the 8th grade) were very strong Christians and good people to look up to. My age group did a poor job of leading when the baton was passed. Because of this the youth group is struggling. what used to be a Christ centered group of young people is now a group of worldly teenagers that talk and live as filthy a life as the kids they go to school with.
    Just recently I read Do Hard Things. It made me realize where I fell short as a leader of the younger guys in the group. It made me realize that I had given into the low expectations of the world.

    All of that to say that I could not have stumbled across this post at a better time. I have spent the last 2 weeks brainstorming ideas for turning my youth group around. I am starting a youth lead study with some of the older guys that we are hoping will pour over into the youth group. I hope to be able to get this into the hands of a couple of the older girls so they can affect the younger girls in the same way that we hope to affect the younger guys.

    Thank you Alex and Brett for all you have done your book has literally changed my outlook on life!

  • Garrett Barnes

    My feeling about a youth ministry are that it can be a very Godly and Christ Honoring thing. We must understand though that a youth ministry can only go so far. As we get into our 20′s we must understand that not all things we did as youth are correct for an adult society. So I think that having a youth ministry in addition to being in an adult service will allow us to grow in immediate circumstances as well as future circumstances. Anyway that’s what I think about the subject.

  • Malachi Nelson

    This article has really excited me to get to my youth group. In fact, it could be part of my Five Step Plan that was introduced in the book Do Hard Things. Like Marshall said, I think that it has been attracting people with the wrong material, in the form of video games, snacks, and things that as young adults are unnecessary for a youth group. Though they aren’t bad, they do send the wrong message to some people in the youth group.

    Because of this, some of the are ‘sick,’ and ‘sleeping,’ as Corinthians puts it. Spiritual apathy fills a lot of the youths’ hearts.

    Part of my five step plan is to get up 30 minutes earlier to read my Bible. This has helped me with my insight on what the Lord wants me to do. He has directed me towards the youth group. I’ve contacted my Youth Leader who also wants something started in the youth group, waiting for her response. I’ve told some of my stronger friends in the Lord about the book Do Hard Things, and I hope they will read it also. I am strong on Character and Competence, but Collaboration is where I need to work. God has sent me two great, strong friends who I hope will support me in my endeavor. My Youth Leader also may be willing.

    Please be praying for the success of my project, and for it to grow into a church-wide project. It only takes one voice to start something, but he’ll be needing some backup…

    Mal

  • Megan A

    Wow! When I read this post, I realized all the things that my youth group could do better. And then, I read most of the comments and realized just how great my youth group is already! It’s by no means perfect, but far better than many that I’ve heard of from the comments..Our youth group is a place to have fun, I’m not afraid to say that. It is a place to meet Christian peers in similar situations as yourself, to gain friends that believe the same things. Is that a bad thing? I think not. :P Not only do we do lots of fellowship, we do lots of faith-based stuff too. We play Sardines, and watch Nooma videos. Go on a ski trip and start a jean drive for a local clothing charity. And initiate The Next Supper program, which hands out bags of non-perishable food to people who walk in off the streets and ask for help. Our basic motto is to, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind/strength.” And we do.

    However, I have sensed a certain apathetic mood. Oddly, unless I take lead with something, the youth pass the buck or just forget about it. And sometimes I do resent that, because it isn’t like I have tons of time open in my life either, or like I don’t have any school to work at either. So basically, the people I could collaborate about taking a less indifferent viewpoint at youth group are, well, the youth. It affects them most, does it not? Any other ideas?

    -Megan

  • Ruth

    I was blessed, as a youth, to be in a youth group that had a seminary student with a family as the youth pastor. Because of his time limitations, he had to rely on us to help plan and execute activities. The youth planned, purchased and prepared the food for each activity. A core group contacted all youth of the church regularly to make sure they knew about the actitivites and Bibles studies. We produced a monthly calendar and were actively involved in planning 2 formal banquets a year. Parents were involved in hosting a weekly Bible study in homes and a monthly fellowship time after the Sunday evening service. My teen-aged daughter was in the youth group in that same church several years ago and I was SHOCKED with the change. The youth do nothing but show up. All activities are centered around fun. Parents are discouraged from getting involved. On one hand, the youth staff complain that they are being asked to take the place of the parents and on the other hand, they shoo the parents away. We now go to a church that has no youth group. Fellowship between the youth is more spontaneous and connected with family activities. It has allowed us to have more control. My biggest frustration with this situation is that it hasn’t necessarily eliminated the peer dependency situation. Many of the youth leave after high school and get involved in churches that have no taboo on worldly music and activities. Many stop going to church at all. I know it breaks the heart of the parents involved. There has to be a balance!

  • http://none Hattie

    Wow this site is AWESOME! I just found it. 1. Yes. Lots of people in my youth group are very worldly. 2. I have no clue how to help revamp it either!I feel like there is nothing there!! We do stuff, but there are sooo many people there that are “Just not interested”(In God)It ruins everything! I’ve been thinking about trying to start a small group that focuses on important things, but I don’t know how. Any Ideas??? P.S. My Church has three pasters, and it is not working out! One of the guys I think should be fired. He was the old youth paster. (The guy hates kids!)He went on a mission trip to Irealand and he was calling it his VACATION! Plus he went a couple of days before everyone else went, and he stayed with the pastor there.(while everybody else had to stay @ a hotel.) We have another pastor who just got hired. (to take the other dudes job.) Then we have our original pastor who is a really nice guy, but will do almost anything to avoid confrontation. (That’s part of the reason that the old youth pastor is still here.) It’s NOT very pretty. What would you do?

  • http://none Dudet

    HI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This site ROCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Becca B.

    At my church, we have a peer ministry program. The religious education classes extend through sophomore year (10th grade) and then stop. But then the teens have the opporutnity to become peer ministers. A peer minister works with one class for two years. They work with either 7-8 grade or 9-10 grade church members. It provides an excellent role model and is a way to make the youth ministry one of service. Also we have a bible study that was started and is run completely by teens. We rotate homes and have an average of 10 people atttending every Saturday. So our church is doing pretty well, I think.

    We could improve by somehow making the curriculum better because the class curriculum relies completely on the teacher and peer minister and if they aren’t good, the class isn’t good.

  • Rebecca

    I have a pretty good youth group, but there’s no leadership in the youth. I’ve talked to my youth pastor about maybe doing some leadership classes with the guys or something, but he feels that would lead to cliques or something, and the Elders aren’t doing a whole lot even though we have an incredible church. They just don’t think it’s important. Anyone have any ideas?

  • Katy B.

    My church has a youth group I guess you could say, but with adults also involved. My dad used to be the “youth pastor” but over time we saw more and more teens leaving after their senior year in high school and not coming back. We kept waiting for some strong solid leaders in the group but none really came. The youth was so dumbed down and the teens were honestly expected to do nothing but go have fun. Don’t get me wrong, fun is good, but they didn’t have to do ANYTHING hard. Eventually this produced a number of “kidults.” That has been changed now and the teens are expected to act like young adults and instead of just hanging out all the time, we are involved. At first a lot af the youth was NOT looking forward to this change in the way we do “youth”, but it is amazing to see how the teens have matured and grown closer to God over the past several months. We now can’t wait to get involved!
    Great post! Thanks guys.

  • Sarah

    Rebecca,
    I reccomend a book, “Help! I’m a Student Leader” by Doug Fields. Breaking up cliques mainly depends on the teens (leaders especially) having humility and a heart for unity.

    I think one important thing we’re forgetting is the power of prayer. If you can get teens to pray together (and it’s best if teen initiated and led), amazing things can happen. In my youth group, three other teens and I started a Bible study for teens, by teens. Looking back, I regret not inviting more kids from our youth group, as I moved away and now wonder who is leading my old youth group. We should have “passed the baton” to the younger students with that study, though I know I did in other areas there.

    But prayer should not underestimated as a tool of powerful change.

  • Derek

    Hey Brett and Alex,

    I recently got your book and started reading it a few days ago. I must say alot of it I can relate to, and, like any other Christian, there’s alot I want to change. All in all, I love it. Keep it up!!!!!

    Anyway, about changing myself, one thing I’m really looking at doing is maybe starting a “teen” group at my church. Ever since I got confirmed 2 years ago, I’ve sadly seen teens come and go (my graduating class was a grand total of two). A year later, all the confirmants (3) got confirmed and totally fell of the Earth. My Pastor knows this and has tried everything he can and nothing has worked (even Sunday School is almost non-existant). I’d like to give him ideas, but I dont have any. Do you guys, or anyone for that matter, have ideas (especially advirtising)? Id like to start a group that does teen things, but I don’t want to leave God out.

    Thanks alot and keep going!!!!!

  • John

    Wow, the youth group that i’m in defines apathy. Don’t get me wrong, i’m so glad that everyone is there and l ove them all, but there is no spark. i’ve heard stories about youth groups that are passionate for God and are doing great things for their community.
    A new wave of leadership is coming through our group right now and it is very exciting. We have now started smaller groups, my group is actually creating evangellical videos with the theme of “On fire for God”. this article about stepping out and rebellutionizing your youth group is inspiring. I pray for my youth pastor that he can find some way to break the plague of apathy. I’m so excited whenever I see the great things that can come out of or youth group.

  • Alli P.

    “We then fail to encourage others to reach their full potential, because we don’t want them to steal our limelight. Such an attitude goes directly against the heart of a rebelution and is detrimental to its cause.”

    SO TRUE!!!!

    Q: “What is the current state of the youth culture in your church? Does it embrace or resist our society’s expectations?”

    A: Sadly, our youth group is split into mainly two groups: the ‘Homeschool” (uncool) Group and the Private School (cool) Group. Everyone has their “assigned” seating, and heaven forbid if you ever talk to someone in the other end of the room.
    One thing my mom has encouraged me to do is just blur the lines between the two. If their were two circles drawn in the sand, I should go back and forth between the two, sitting in different sections and talking with different people, so that you can no longer see the two circles, just one big jumble of equals.

  • sharon good

    My church has a youth group.But we vote in a couple to be youth sponsers for a year. In Sept. we’ll be voting again. But we also have a committee [2 guys 2 girls] of the youth who plan activities with the sponsers. And we do lots of different things. In a couple wks. my youth group is getting together with another youth group on Sat. thru Sun. We aren’t perfect but we strive to do what God wants. And we have some good times. Its also nice having the sponsers there with us. They have good advice and help out and join in with us on v-ball,softball, ping pong or whatever.

  • Julio

    My church youth group in my point of view doesnt seem like they are doing what they should be. The last time I was there I couldnt take it. Long story short is that there were two rooms that seperated the middle school from the high school. One was called the green room since it was right behind the sanctuary, and then there was the youth room strictly for highschool students. The onlny time middleschoolers were able to go into the youth room was when there was a special event like an open mic night. But the new youth pastor changed it a little. And this was right when I got into highschool. At first i enjoyed it but then it just started to get a bit more out of hand. And the one thing that i didnt like was that he had the highschoolers jammed up in a near-by class room while the middleschoolers were comforatbly sitting in the youth room. I am going back to that youth group for a month just to see if its still the same. But I know that alot of people are unsatisfied with the youth group. about 3 familys left due to two things and one of them was because of the youth group. And about 5-10 familys took their children out of the youth group. Also a good friend of mine was just as unsatisfied as me and wouldnt even get in the room. Luckily my parents and his parents are members of a small group. So we spent our sunday school along with 2 other families in that small group INSTEAD of the YOUTHgroup. Please pray for me, my friend, and the families that left. Something isnt right and hopefully I will be able to figure it out soon. I would have written more but it would have been a book. I know it says not to limit but I think I got the main points down. ANything else i said would just be uneeded information.

  • Charlotte P.

    I feel the same way as Julio. I’ve been going to the same church my whole life (16 yrs.) and our youth group is getting smaller and smaller. In fact, so few people have been going lately that our pastor has actually canceled it entirely until there’s more youth that are interested. I feel like I have to take charge in this situation. I’ve been thinking of ways to make it more interesting and more inspirational. But I think I might need a little help. If anybody has ideas or suggestions, I will be very appreciative. :)

  • Hannah Jean Irwin

    1.) What is the current state of the youth culture in your church? Does it embrace or resist our society’s expectations?

    Our church has a very small youth. it’s quite a small church, about thirty members. It’s called Castlederg Baptist Church. I don’t think our baptists here in Northern Ireland are like your Baptist churches though. Not sure how, but yours seem kind of stricter with KJV only and all that. Our church is very relaxed and family-feeling. As i said, our youth is small. There are 5 young people who actually go to church and we were all baptised together in January. There are twoo children aged 8 and 6. The youth are aged 14, 15, 15, 16 and 17. One guy. We have a youth club on friday nights. Mainly non-christian people come to it, our friends. it’s more outreach than actual teaching. it would be ‘worldly’ I suppose. We have a wii and we play football (soccer I suppose yous would say) and sports and all that. It’s relaxed and quite fun. We have a 20-30 minute section at the end of the evening when ther is bible teaching etc.

    As well as the youth club we have a youth fellowship every other Sunday night. There are around 12 people who attend. We do bible study and talk and mess around. It’s led by a woman from our church who is about 30 or so. It’s good, but she can be quite teachery and patronizing sometimes. I don’t think we really embrace society’s expectations, although couple of the girls go out with lots of guys and that’s quite annoying, I might buy all of them copies of I Kissed Dating Goodbye. We’re not extremely going out there and making a differnece though. How ould i bring it up, inspire tham, lend them all the book? I will pray about it.

    We don’t go out drinking or anything though. We go to socials! Socials are cool, don’t think you have them in America though.They’re like partys where you do random wee line dances that everyone knows, and you kind of pic them up if you don’t. We play games like the wheels of troy and it’s a long way to tipperary.

    Ther is quite alot of people being lukewarm christians over here. people who call themselves christians and go to church but do the exact same things as their non-christian friends and don’t let their light shine, don’t really have any visible light. In my year at school there are a lot of people like that, whose parents think they are christians but school friends don’t even know that they are supposed to be. it’s very sad. I think that needs to be addressed, but it’s hard to do so.

    We have a meetin in school every Monday every Lunch time ran by Scripture Union. Christians go and we sometimes have bible study, or we play games or worship God through music. We have a Prayer meeting at tuesday break time too. it’s good, we pray for rvival in our school and for each other. i think we need to start reaching ou into the school comunity though, do more outreach and events for other people to go to. we leave the organising to the teachers mostly, but in the new year we will start taking more responsability. can anyone who is reading this please pray for our school? Even just the once, right now, would be great. My school’s called Omagh Academy btw.

    O sorry this is probably very long, i got a bit carried away. Thank you for anyone who read the whole thing. i don’t know if i really answered the question or not. O well. I think basically teenagers all need to work together to do things that change the world around them, and I am commited to doint that and to helping others want to do that too. School is a good place to start, especially if there a lot of christians.

    Anytway, i’m actually finishing now. Thanks

  • Kelsey Walker

    I’d say in my youth group that we embrace the low expectations of society. Getting us inspired to do more for Christ is easy, but actually getting out there and doing it is different. We admit that we need to do more, but we don’t do anything about it. My church sometimes looks at us as the “teenager” and doesn’t except much from us. And I don’t blame them for treating us that way, we don’t do anything to prove that we are more then the society’s “teenager”.
    As a youth group I wouldn’t say we share anything that were passionate about, and that bothers me. The younger guys are caught up into newest music bands, and they spend a lot of their time talking and debating about. And the younger girls continuously talk about the latest styles, and what guy they like. I’m embaressest that this is the best that we have been doing. We aren’t doing very well of choosing, and being christian kids.
    It bothers me that this is what we talk about all week long, even when we are at church our conversations sometimes Godly, but most of the time are on these topics.
    We may be “better” kids in the way we act and treat one another, but the things that we allow ourselves to think and dwell on worries me. If we can’t talk with our brothers and sister in Christ, about Christ, and the things he has been doing in our lives how will we ever be able to a light to the world?
    At this point we aren’t able to Do hard things, because we don’t have the desire to challenge ourselves.

  • Scott G

    I am a middle school (6th – 8th) youth group leader. I feel we have a good youth group, but I think we can be great or even exceptional. We do a variety of activities, from weekly devotionals, a weekly message, songs with a message (the youth pick out a song that has inspired them and after we listen, they explain why it inspires them), sometimes we play games (Scattegories, Brain Bowl, etc) and finish up with a prayer circle. This seems to work. However, I feel the youth can contribute more. I haven’t had a chance to read all of the posts, but a lot of them. I’ve seen a lot of brainstorming. So, I’ve done my own brainstorming to come up with ideas. I want the youth to participate more in the planning. I want them to discuss topics they want to talk about. I want them to become more involved rather than having us (there are four dads who help teach) do the teaching.

    I’ve read Do Hard Things – twice – and want the youth to read it. At our 8th grade “graduation”, we gave a copy of the book to each of them. Then we had a book signing at the end of the night where everyone signed everyone’s book. Anyway, the book has got me pumped to have these kids be exceptional. I want them to use the gifts God has given them to their fullest potential. I’m motivated to do the same. This is the first post I’ve read and written and look forward to reading more. I also look forward to learning from teens about how to “teach” them. I’m sure I’ll be learning as much from them.

  • Kelsey W.

    Maybe Charlotte you could try to get the youth more interested and involved by having a game night or a get together at some ones house. Spending time with your friends has always helped me. By getting everyone to be in the same place then maybe you could start good conversations and Biblical discussions. Small things like that is what has been helping my youth group stay focused. This may help to get them motivated again!

  • Jamie

    To answer your 2 questions, I will say that the state of my youth group is in shambles, but it always has somone ther attempting to pick up the mess. The only problem is that they try for a little while, get discouraged and give up. I am currently trying to bring awareness to modesty among the girls of our youth group(oh, by the way we have a HUGE youth group). But we need to work on other things as well, I know we need to work on getting people motivated for Christ and to acctually desire to serve Him for the right reasons. Thats one of the main issues with our church, we do so much, and it’s become expected to go(your a heathen otherwise), and the teens go only to make a good impression, earn brownie points, or to hit on the cute guy/girls instead of working to serve others, for the joy of serving others.
    I have a group of my most god-like fiends I’m currently working with so thats working out well, but we are currently focusing on modesty. But I believe God wants us (my friends and I) to speak with the entire youth group, and that’s a lot of people! I’m also not the best public speaker, (I completely forget what I need to say) and my friends say I need to speak for us because I’m the one with the vision, and I’m the only one who has the current train of thought we need. I will be talking to my pastors soon and pray that God will help me find my voice. Thank you guys for encouraging me…again.:)

  • C. End

    I’m a New Englander. For those of you who do not know, New England is not only like a mission field, it IS a mission field. the youth in my Lutheran Church Missori Synod (LCMS) congregation are very clicky, happily my freshman year has ended so maybe they will look me in the eye now! Most of the youth sit around and wait for their parents do stuff for them. The adults there people think i’m in college, it could be because i’m homeschooled but i also believe it is do to the fact that I am active in my church. after I attended a meeting at church about how to become a 21st century congregation, a friend of my mother came up to me and said “you should invite the other youth to come!” this to me, indecates that adult want to hear what we have to say. Something that most youth (including non-Christians) don’t realize this fact.

    The youth in my congregation (if not my Synod) NEED a wake-up call!

    I’m praying over what to do about this but please pray for me too.

  • Erik Van Volkinburg

    I am a youth pastor in Enterprise, Oregon. We live in a rural town. Like, tiny. And the dynamic we have is that a lot of kids come to youth group because they have nothing better to do. But when you challenge them with the truths of scripture, they get mad and think that you are judging them.

    My advice – Don’t waste your time entertaining kids. Even if it means that “numbers are down”. Preach the truth. Use scripture. And don’t shy away from it. You have no power to change lives. God does. Scripture does. So use it. Tell people about Jesus, not about youth group. Getting kids to come to youth group is not the end result. Having them know Jesus is, and if you never tell them about Him, then they will never know Him.

  • Random

    Hey Erik, I was reading in Corinthians chapter 2 and I got to verse 13, It says, “This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in Spiritualy words.” Keep preachin the Bible

  • http://www.christgamers.com Jacob

    I’ve found that my youth group(and some others) seems to have a humor factor. What I mean is that when someone says a profound thing, or almost anything, several kids will make a joke about it, before any serious discussion takes place, if it does happen. It’s like we don’t take anything serious. I believe we’ve got to get more serious(humor can exist, but less of it).

    1.) What is the current state of the youth culture in your church? Does it embrace or resist our society’s expectations?
    I believe it embraces somewhat. Many “teen” jokes are told among most of the church.
    I’m not quite sure about how many if any are against the world’s ideas.

    2.) Who do you need collaborate with within your church in order to bring about change?
    I need to talk to my pastor, and actively work myself, by my conduct with the other youths, and by doing hard things myself, as I encourage them to do hard things.

    I’ve also noticed that just talking about God in conversation at church with other youths is rarely done(as far as I have seen, and experienced(of course, I haven’t been able to get to church since I’ve read “Do Hard Things”, and I’m thinking this is going to be one of my hard things)).

  • Jessica

    My youth group is torn. There are some very strong christians there, but most of them embrace the world in reality. During group, everyone seems so strong, and if you see them in their lives at school and at home, they are weak. They give into temptation. I’ve always been shy about sharing my faith, but i think its a nessesscity in this case. I started to your book Do Hard Things, and I’ve been inspired.

  • Christine

    I’ve gone to my church my entire life and although I love my church and everyone in it, I agree that there are things in my church that could use some work, youth group included. Currently the youth group cooks a youth breakfast once a month for our church and also goes to a youth conference in Florida. But that’s pretty much it. I’d like to see our youth group doing more bible studies and reading Christian books together, including Do Hard Things. I’d also like to see the youth doing more in our community, whether it’s a food drive or raising money for a local cause or even helping the seniors in our community with yard work or things around the house. I plan on contacting our youth group leader to see if he’d be willing to help me implement some of these changes.
    thank you and God Bless

  • Jessica

    I have a question…. is it okay to use your book to do a series at my youth group?? A lot of what my youth group does is a constant out reach to new students (duh) but its hard then for those that have finally made the commitment to Christ to grow in a good way. When we’re set up to reach unbelievers…its like we’re feeding them the milk of the Bible, like you feed a child before they can eat solid food. Then though, the students that make the decision to follow Christ never really get the opportunity to move on to the solid food.
    My youth pastor is leaving to the next place God has called him, and he has made such an impact on our youth group, but he’s leaving us with the challenge to step up and in a way he’s challenging us to do hard things.
    What i would like to know is if i can use the ideas from this book…actually use the book to create a sermon series at my youth group. Have different students who have taken the initiative (sp?) to do hard things stand up and give the sermons in the absense of a youth pastor (with guidance to the sermons).

  • Kara

    The youth go and hear the Word. But they don’t really hear. They go for the hanging part it seems. Their family goes so they must go along as well. They grew up in church so it is like they are immune to it. They look more to the youth group to entertain them than for it to be a place to learn about the Lord and find a way to plug into the church.
    I am now away at college, but maybe through letters to those in charge of the youth sharing things the Lord is showing me and books such as ya’ll’s that I find helpful. And LOTS of prayer.
    May we use stuff from the book to create things for the youth to think upon?

  • Hadassah (age 13)

    My youth pastor made it very clear at the first meeting that parents shouldn’t send their kids to youth group expecting the youth leaders to raise the parent’s kids. He made it clear that that is not the perpous. The perpous of youth group is for kids grade 7-12 to learn about God and meet some kids their own age that love God and His Word. There is the occational kid who just goes for something to do, but I have noticed that 9 out of 10 of them go because they love God. I wish all youth groups could be like mine.

    I told my friend Bethany from youth group about he book Do Hard Things, and she said it sounded cool. I also told my other friend about he website, and her dad said it had some interesting ideas. I am going to take Do Hard Things to my next youth group so my youth pastor to read it.

  • http://livingforGoddaily.blogspot.com Victoria

    To Alex and Brett Harris: Y’all’s post relates so well to the youth group I am attending. The youth group I was involved in before I moved was very strict about certain things and all the teens focused on the Bible and God when we were together. The youth group I’m in now isn’t the same. I feel that most of the teens attending only come because they’re bored and have nothing better to do or just want to hang out with their friends. Hearing my dad talk about your book has inspired me to encourage change in the group.

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  • Bethany

    I really enjoy my youth group. This post was especially encouraging to me because I’m speaking to my youth group about Do Hard Things in a little more than a week. I’m hoping that God will use me not only in speaking to the youth but that I would be able to find other ways to encourage them to defy the culture. I’m extremely grateful that we have a youth group, because we have a lot of kids from our community who might not have heard about God before. I’m going to start talking with my friends and youth pastor about what we can do to change our youth group. Taking personal glory is all to easy for me, so this was helpful to remind me to share with others the things I have learned. Thanks for the post!!

  • Andrew

    Hi,
    I attend a really big highschool youthgroup, like 200 people or so. It’s an okay youthgroup but it could be alot more focused on God and growing in Christ then it is. It seems to me at least that alot of the people who attend only come because they want to socialize. I want that to change but I’m not sure what I can do.

  • Luke I

    My youth group is half of the people embracing the culture and half trying to be separate ( but too separate. ) We are either being too worldly or too out of our world “worshipping our Lord.” My youth leader and I are trying with God’s help to wake our friends from our slumber. We went to a christian concert (with approximately 2,000 people in attendance) and were able to ask some of the concession stand people and an usher if anyone there or anyone else had shared with them how to get to heaven. Only 1 was a Christian; the others had never heard. Once I asked them the question, it wouldn’t
    have been right for me to say ” OK! good luck with that! I am going back in to praise my Savior and LORD!” :) I HAD TO (and got to) share the good news!

    It all starts with delight in the law of the Lord and meditation on it day and night Psalm 1:2 : love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength and love your neighbor as yourself (see Matthew 22.35-40.) Then, out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks! (12: 32-37)
    Until the whole world hears AND SEES it
    lived out,
    Luke I

  • Rose

    We have just started a youth group in our church. It’s a small youth group and a small church, but we are confident that God will bring greater things. I attended a large church of about four-hundred people and although I was too young to be in the youth group I wasn’t too young to notice that the teenagers that gathered at our church every Friday were not serious about seeking God. Our youth leader is very determined not to let that happen to us (as am I.) We have enough youth groups who aren’t doing anything but visiting, we have enough youth leaders that simply don’t care, and we have enough teenagers who are satisfied staying behind the line and not moving to greater things beyond. What we need now is some teenagers who refuse to stay in these mediocre positions, who refuse to be like everbody else, and will do all that it takes for God to shine in the midst of their work! Thank you for having the courage to do what you both are doing. It’s inspiring!

  • Victor Marrero

    Hi, I just became Youth Pastor in a church in houston. I am currently 20 years old and I felt a little out placed because my age and a good amount of my youth are a little older and some younger. My youth group are made out of more of a college and career feeling but our high school and Junior High ages are picking up. I just read your book and it has inspired me to teach and preach to my youth about doing hard things for God. I am sculpting my youth group around your book and I know that it will impact the youth in my church and the youth in my community to not settle for being ordinary. My first youth service starts on April 2nd and the title of my sermon is Becoming Rebelutionized! If you guys have any ideas for my youth group to be rebelutionized just let me know I am all ears. Thanks

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  • Elisa

    I would love to do this but I am the only teenager in my church. :( Do you think that there is a good way to present this to my friends that are not believers? I have tried to get them to come with me to church but so far it hasn’t worked.

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    Quite insightful, and instructive. I really do not generally make remarks, as I’m type of your web site lurker, but I thought it deserved a word or two. Thanks for giving.

  • katelyn

    I thought this was great!
    I just wanted to say that God touched my youth group this winter.
    we were at our anual winter retret at cove vally youth camp, and Ryan Parsons was our speaker. He was talking about being a light on a hill. And I know for me personaly, I’m home schooled, and I feel like I don’t get to influence the world as much as I would like to. He really impacted us to reach the people in our youth group. we have a wide verity of people in our youth group, they come from all back grounds, and they stick to them- selves alot. Well, God really spoke to us about reaching out to them, and so, we were impacted about not shinning our lights, we (I) relized that we didn’t shine our lights, even at hime, and we dicided we would be sold out to the Lord, especialy in the area of reaching people. that wendsday, we had alot of new people, and they honistly were mobed, I think we over did it a little:) some of us were glowsticks as bracelets to remind us to shine even if we have a bad day:)

  • Jazmyn Magee

    1.) What is the current state of the youth culture in your church? Does it embrace or resist our society’s expectations?

    In my church the current state of youth culture is to socialize and come up with some fundraiser to make some quick money. Most of the teens at my youth group show up and are active within it; most know what is right and just (christian values). Maybe it just ‘slips their minds’ but it seems like all the things we learn and proclaim at church we forget about when we are acutally in a position to show it in our day to day living. Honestly and sadly it’s exactly what our society expects to see and it’s very upseting.

    2.) Who do you need collaborate with within your church in order to bring about change?

    I really need to collaborate with the youth pastors, I don’t really know how much that will accomplish since they are having marrige issues. I really see more for the youth within my church and I know God does too. My church is one that needs restoration and not the kind you get from a worship service. I mean heart tearing truth. The sad things is even our church has low expectaions for our youth. Though they say we are the ‘world changing generation’, their actions toward each other say otherwise.

  • MK

    1). What is the current state of the youth culture in your church? Does it embrace or resist our society’s expectations?

    the current state of the youth culture is to be with other youth and hang. i live in a small town and there isnt much to do with friends unless you have them over, so lots of teens just want to hang out with friends. in my youth group, most of the kids embrace society’s expectations. there are a handful of us who dont though. personally, i would like to do more in youth group and i know some of my friends would like that too. we need purpose… the kids need something that will give them something to do. we all need challenges in life, and right now my youth group needs something to collaborate on, something challenging to do. our youth pastors say they want us to “change the world”, but they dont give us any tools to use in order to bring a change. first though, we, the youth, need to change. we need to stop being lazy and start caring about our lives and what a difference we can make. we should think about what we want to do with our lives and work toward that.

    2.) Who do you need to collaborate with within your church in order to bring about a change?

    the youth. the youth need to be the ones who bring about a change. and the pastors. they want to change, but they have set the bar so low no one needs to rise to anything. if the bar was higher, we could Do Hard Things. i’m encouraging the youth and pastors to get on the Rebelution website and read the book (which is amazing). i think that we can change if we try…

    God Bless,
    MK

  • http://N/A BJ

    1.) I would have to say that our youth group USUALLY embraces society’s expectations. Which is basically to just show up at church just to fellowship with other youth. The Youth directors say that we are capable of changing the world. But i think we have to change ourselves before we do just that. We ( AND I ) need to stop worrying about ourselves and start having a good attitude about everything we do. i think if we do that then we are doing Hard Things.We ( me and my friends ) really realized that at D-Now.The speaker was really influential.=)

    God Bless,
    Brienne

  • Katelyn

    this is an awesome post! (wish i found it sooner! ! !)
    in my church we have a youth group! I really like it but it could better. compared to most all the other youth groups I would say were def the most strong in the Lord. normally we meet on wed when the adults pray. but during the summer we meet with the adults and before the sunday night service we meet just the teens. I know alot of our kids come just to youth group and not to reg services. mostly they are kids that go to the local christian school (thus knowing most of the peopls at our church anyway) but don’t have a “home church” or they go to church but their reg church dosn’t have a youth group. I’ll post again later now i have to go (to church WITH adults)

    tt

  • Jonathon

    My youth group pastor is great. The problem I think is that the kids, who for the most part attend Christian schools and are exposed to the Bible daily, but are also deeply entrenched in the world, simply fall into a comfortable and complacent area where the word of God does not prick their hearts. Summer camp always sees revival, but this is usually short lived. I believe if we can get a core group of teens devoted to God, some real servant leaders, we could influence our youth groups for God.

  • http://librado.blogspot.com Nathan Straub

    I just randomly read this post again after several years. I’m not going to your dad’s church anymore, which was a hothouse of youth for a while. Now I’m going to a small church, where I’m not on the in-group, and my focus is up into career rather than down as a leader. Thanks again for the challenge… I do have more I can offer than I have been in the way of encouragement to the youth in my church.

  • Bri

    What do you do if your youth group doesn’t want to “Rebelized”?
    What if they are stuck in a rut and won’t even change enough to accept people in the youth group who are different from them? We only have about twenty kids in our youth group and many of them think they are right and if you don’t share the same oppinion as them, whether it be a higher standard of modesty or different views of the whole dating thing, they won’t truely accept you. I am at a loss to know how to show them we need to be WAY different from the world and not be as close to the world as we can and not be OF the world.

  • Erin

    I’ve just read through all of these posts, and it amazes me how challenged I am reading them. A year ago I was going to a youth group where the majority of the youth group were really on fire to follow God. It was awesome as we had older people and younger people mixing. Everyone joined in (with the exceptions of only a few). Our youth group leader was young and firey and it was wonderful to see the connection he had with all of us. Then some of the older people in the church decided that a new stage needed to be introduced. They called this ‘young adults’. This was okay at first because we only split up to do small group studies. But then they decided that they needed to completely seperate the ‘youth’ from the ‘young adults’. This was really difficult for me as my older brother and sister, and many of my friends were now seperated from me. My point for writing all this is that in our youth group at least, we had the older teens helping and supporting the younger teens. Friendships were made, and having older youth help you along made you want to step up, and throw off the worlds expectations. That is completely over now, with the new youth coming in only knowing the ‘young adults’ who are leaders. I agree that we need youth to be nurtured by wise adults, but I also think that youth is a great way to meet with people around your age who are struggling with the same things and who can be really great friends.

    Just a really long thought on this. I love this blog and want to encourage everyone to stay strong with the Lord, for he knows our struggles and trials, and he wants the best for us AND our youthgroups. :) God bless.

  • Hannah

    I read some of these post but not all of them…sadly i dont have enough time. Recently I have felt God convicting me about complacency in my life as well as in the church and other Christian settings. Someone advised me to read the book “Do hard Things” and even though I havent finished I am already being convicted. I know that personally I am trying to do hard things as much as I can. Its really not very easy to do but I know that God is using it to influence others. I and several other friends have given ourselves a challenge to not be complacent and to change ourselves. We have invited our school biblestudy group to do the same thing. I havent been able to see any results in our larger group yet but I have seen results in my life and a couple of my friends. This is very encouraging to me and it gives me hope that it will spread further. I hope that everyone else is able to reach their youth groups and churches even though it is hard. It is very encouraging to see others who are hearing the same things from God and doing something about it. Thank you for that. :)

  • Ruth

    In my church, people are texting while the pastor was talking, talking, playing their DS’, they used to get up and walk out of the room to get a soda, or they and their bf/ gf will exit the room, and we would find them making out/ kissing. Our church used to be a mess, but now, a new youth pastor has come in and he has set some GREAT guidlines. I am so impressed. Now everything has changed, and nothing is the same! He has totally raised the bar for low expectations. BTW: Nice job on this post, it is really awesome! (correction: ONly God is awesome, so then what would that make this article…. hmmmm… TOTALLY COOL!)

  • Cheyenne G.

    Ruth I totally understand! Kids at my Youthgroup do the same thing and it drives me insane I just want to say, “Hey your parents may not be here right now but think about it this way… You’re in God’s spiritual house. How would you like it if God came back and instead of worshipping in his church he sees you texting and talking to earthly people?”

  • Julia

    My family came to our current church in October, so we’re still pretty new. The adults in the church were all very welcoming (especially my youth pastor) and in the first month we saw like 10 people saved! it’s a great church with great potential. The youth group is generally a good group of kids, most with a genuine interest and love for God, but sometimes when I see them outside of church, their actions say differently. Like sometimes I see people in the youth group at school or at a birthday party and they’re just cussing and carrying on with the rest of the gang. I know they’re just human, but it still discourages me. I want to make an impact on my youth group, but I’m still new. They’re not in the circles I hang out with at school, so they don’t know me and I’m afraid that if I stand up too boldly they’ll get the impression that I think I’m better than them and it’ll have a reverse effect. You guys got any ideas?

  • Tyler

    In January of 2010, i became a christian and it completely changed my life. I had gone to church all my life but i was finally understanding it. My youth group has been labeled as an anomaly ever since we attended Cross Training 2010. We went as one of three youth groups and the leaders noticed something different about ours. When we got home, everyone in the group had truly found a heart for the gospel. Our meetings weren’t all about games and fun, in fact, they were usually void of it, and no one cared, it was about growing as a christian. It was difficult to keep from getting a big head about our unity and that is still a daily struggle. It’s important also that most of us are involved in our own ministries, while helping our peers who struggle with life and identity and God, we also grow closer to Him ourselves. I also am a part of SLAM, which stands for Student Led Action Ministries. This organization was started by two Sophomores from Bryan High School named Dominic Mejia and Alex Staup, who have truly found their holy ambition. SLAM is a Youth run church, with Youth leaders, Youth Musicians, and Youth Speakers, intended for youth to be able to come together, fellowship, and worship God.
    These two were the first people I thought of when I read Do Hard Things

  • Tyler

    Well Julia,
    I know exactly what you mean, I actually took a stand with some in my youth group before and it didn’t turn out well. In scripture it says that as iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another, when we started our Youth Group, we stated that if any of us had a problem with another or saw that the way someone was going might be the wrong way, that the responsibility was on each of us to alert the others. Many times, ignorance is a problem and people don’t see hypocrisy in their lives, or sometimes they’re just scared and don’t see anyone else standing up. In my experience, its best to confront the people alone and make it perfectly clear that you only want to help them, tell them what you see and give them the choice of what they want to do about it. Tell them you’ll be there to help them and make it clear that you aren’t perfect either.

  • Laurel

    I have brought people to church/youth group before that most people judge harshly. They have bad reputations and most people didn’t think about the fact that it was GOOD to see him at church, but “Why would I bring someone like him?” Even the youth leaders had their doubts. I no longer belong to that youth group or any. The whole church fell apart and we are still looking for a good new one. Prayers appreciated.

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  • Shy…

    When I was reading this post, it reminded me of my youth group…. I want to rebelutionize my youth group, but I’m too scared to ask……. my Pastor is very nice and understandable, but i don’t know how I could ask him…

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  • Help

    What your saying fits my youth group perfectly. I want with all my heart to rebelutionise my youth group. That would be a wonderful first step, but I have absolutely no idea how to start. I thought about talking to my youth minister but I don’t know how to start there either. I mean how do you start a conversation about “I think our youth group should be better.” I don’t know what to do. Any ideas how to start?

    • jessiethought

      My youth group is the same. I know the leader really well but I don’t know how to say, “We can do better.”

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  • T.R. Murrell

    As my dad says “You are the temperment of the youth group. If it has problems then its your job to fix it”
    I’ve heard of fantastic youth groups, where they are focused on God and know how to have a blast. Sadly, I have never been apart of them…. until my dad said that.
    I kinda hit myself on the forhead and said ” Oh yeah, duh!”
    One of the things that struck me when we moved was how dry it was. I was absolutly estatic that they had a good strong focus on God. However, it was dry, boring, and unappealing to say the least. Everyone felt stiff and I felt like they were wearing masks to hide themselves. Is this even a common thing? I felt so frustrated and sometimes I still do. The Rebelution really has encouraged me. Thank you so much, you will never know how much this means to me.

  • Kathryn

    Well, I’m not really a big authority on my youth group, but I can tell you a lot about it with the reason I know hardly anything about it. I’m not allowed to go. I’m 13 and instead of going into youth I go with my parents because the youth in my church are interested in nothing more than goofing off. We have a big problem in our church with the girls dressing immodestly, and my family has to sit up front on Sunday because of it. The people who are over the youth group currently are pretty much over it because no one else wanted to be, and even though they are nice people, I’m sorry to say that their daughter is one of the worst when it comes to dressing immodestly. I don’t know if I’m simply not in a position to help the situation or I just tell myself that because I don’t want to. If anyone has any ideas on how I could do anything with this, PLEASE tell me. (also, I don’t really know the people in the youth group)

  • Sierra

    Well Kathryn, I have an idea for you. I’m 13, too, but I’m trying to start a revival of sorts in my youth group. I accually only started going in August 2011 so I didn’t know many people at first. I would suggest to talk to people and be as friendly as possible; that is a good way to get people to get involved in the group. Make sure that you dress modestly and act in a Christ- like way and maybe you will be an inspirtation to them. You could also ask your youth pastors to have a sermon on modesty and what it means to represent Jesus as a christian. You could even put it together yourself if you ask about it. Hope that helped. I will pray for you and your youth grouo.

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  • Kathryn

    Sierra,
    Just wanted to say thanks. I have to admit my heart does somersaults whenever I thing about talking to anyone in it, but I hope I will do what God wants me to.

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  • Alyssa

    Great post! I think this is really relevent to a lot of youth groups. To your first question, sadly I would have to answer that I would have to say it is in between. There are a few kids who come from both sides of the spectrum. The answer to your second question would be I think the people to talk to are the other kids in the group. Together we can make a difference!

  • Zachary Waters

    Well I was wondering if you had any ideas about how I could Rebelutionize my youth group. I’ve already started to prepare posters that will lead them to either your website or to your book, Do Hard Things. What else can I do?

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  • Hannah H.

    My youthgroup is very small. There are about 11 teens in all. About 1/2 are homeschooled (including me). The other 1/2 are public. So we have about an equal amount of “embracers” vs. “resisters”. I sometimes feel very uncomfortable around some of the teens, because of the way they dress, talk, and think.
    HH
    P.S.
    My church was started by a group of broke college students. God has really blessed the ministry and now 23 years later, one of the broke college students is the pastor. God is truly faithful.

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