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My Youth Group is Crumbling, Part Two


My youth group is falling apart. We used to be close and have some great student leaders. But most of them graduated this past year, and now the group is a mess.I graduate this coming spring, and Iím afraid nothing will be around for the younger kids when they hit the youth group. What can I do to help right now?

Steve Answers:

Last week I began answering this question. I said that when a group faces a crisis like this, it causes some people to get discouraged. But it causes others to get motivated to make things happen! And this is often the time you see God’s miracles, because you really need them.

I pointed out that there are two dynamics that might be happening with your youth group. You’ll probably want to keep these in mind.

1. Youth groups go through cycles. Last week we talked about how youth groups usually change at the beginning and end of each school year. That’s because the older members graduate and leave, and new members join. So expect change.

2. Let go of "the good ol’ days." We humans tend to remember in glowing terms what things used to be like. For instance, when you were younger you probably looked up to the youth who were a few years older than you and who provided lots of leadership.

Guess what? They probably looked up to other youth leaders who were gone by the time you joined the group. And don’t be surprised if the younger youth look to you as a leader and have no recollection of those great leaders from past years.

This happened in Old Testament times. Some of the older people who came back from captivity saw the Temple being built. According to Ezra 3:12, "many of the older priests and Levites and family heads, who had seen the former temple, wept aloud when they saw the foundation of this temple being laid, while many others shouted for joy."

The younger people rejoiced to have a temple. The older people lamented that it wasn’t like the one they remembered from years ago. So my message to you is: "Let it go!"

Now, how do you cope? First, thank God for what you experienced in the past. Then be sure to place the present and the future in His hands. That means you’ll need to trust Him to take care of your group.

How can you help? Share your concerns with other current youth leaders, and invite them to pray with you. Then watch for indications of what God wants to do with and through your youth group.

Look for younger leaders who can start functioning in leadership roles. After all, you’ll soon be gone too. And remember, God is the consistent presence in ministering through all kinds of young people as they pass through the youth group.

One other thing. If you never grow out of youth group ministry, you could become a youth pastor! 

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