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Jonathan's Answers to Tough Questions

QUESTION:

Jonathan,

HELP!!! I am the Youth Director at our church and we just had our first youth meeting for the year! We had a great turnout in terms of numbers! We had about 30 kids. Our church is small and we did not know how many young people to expect. Here's the problem/opportunity:
    9 youth from church
    21 youth from the community
We are planning to have two separate youth nights... Friday's are our Outreach and Tuesday's are for a small group model youth group. We have youth from the community who are coming to both for the fun/games/food, but are very disruptive during Bible Study. This makes the church youth uncomfortable. Even when we explain that this is a Bible Study, the community youth don't care... not exactly sure what the dynamics are at home, but some kids were saying they hadn't had breakfast or lunch...

Do you have any suggestions? We know that God is calling us to do Outreach, but also provide teaching for those who have made a commitment to Christ (We do not have Sunday School...FYI).

I had such mixed feelings last night...wow! so many kids...Oh! NO! we are going to lose our church kids!

If you have any suggestions, I would really appreciate it!

Kim

ANSWER:

Kim,

Thanks for the email.

First... let me say that you guys are doing an awesome job... it's great to bring that many people out from the community.

Second... you are also awesome in that you know the difference between "outreach" and "spiritual growth." I love that you have a night dedicated to each.

Yes, it's common to have the outreach kids spill over to the spiritual growth night. And that's okay. I always let kids know exactly what our purpose is that night, and I make it in a language that new Christians or outreach kids understand, WITHOUT watering down the message in any way. For example: I'll say, "Tonight we're here to learn more about the Bible and how it actually applies to our lives. We've been studying Galatians... so if you have your Bibles, turn to the book of Galatians. If you don't have a Bible, we have some up here that you can have. Galatians is on page 767 in this Bible...."

But the problem you seem to be having is discipline.

I've written several articles about that... the bottom line is, you need to PUT THE SMACK DOWN! That's hard, because you don't want to scare anyone off, but at the same time you need to hold your ground.

Funny, I've visited some inner city programs that brought out some very tough kids. And some of those programs were the STRICTIST most regimented programs I've seen. Kids didn't dare step out of line because they knew they'd get busted. But the kids really respected the authority there because they knew they were loved. We need to have fun, but also make them understand respect.

The other thought is having your staff/volunteers really understand the importance of mingling with these kids and interacting with them. Because the more your volunteers are in there interacting with kids, the more they'll respond to the call for respect.

Here are some more free resources for you to read. Jump on my web page and click on the left hand side bar where its says ASK THE SOURCE. Once on that page, scroll down through all the Q & A's looking for several questions that might help you with your situation. Look for these titles:

  • Help me not kill this kid!

  • Tough kids are destroying my games

  • Kids Want To Snuggle During Worship

  • Do I let kids smoke at my program?

  • Kids Won't Shut Their Big Yappers!

Then click on the left hand side bar of my website and click on the I NEED TO KNOW HOW TO... page. On that page check out the following articles.

They don't specifically talk about your program... but they might touch on the area of your staff getting one on one with kids, some programming skills, and the importance of providing hang out time. Check out these articles:

  • QUESTION: HOW DO I REALLY IMPACT KIDS? ANSWER: ONE KID AT A TIME!

  • HOW DO I PROGRAM "HANG OUT" TIME?

  • HOW DO I PROGRAM A BASIC 20 MINUTE PROGRAM?

  • HOW DO I UNDERSTAND AND REACH THE UNCHURCHED TEEN?

Also... check out the FEATURED ARTICLE on my front page right now. This talks about the 5 best things our volunteers can be doing with kids in our ministry. Good stuff.

I hope that helps just a little bit.

Side note: If you don't already get our free email resource magazine - the EZINE - then pop on our web page and sign up in the right hand corner. This is where you will keep updated with articles like the ones I've told you about. It also keeps you up-to-date with any new additions, game ideas, event ideas, discussion starters, etc.

Thanks again and God Bless,

Jonathan
THE SOURCE FOR YOUTH MINISTRY
www.TheSource4YM.com













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