Bible Study or the Arcade?
Let's play a game of true or false. True or false: reading and studying the Word of God is more important and valuable than hanging out with friends at an arcade. The answer is obvious: it's true! The Word of God is vital to the health of an individual Christian and a local church's youth ministry. Meanwhile, the arcade is just a place to play games. So why in the world do Pinecrest Students have their fun outings on Sunday and Wednesday nights? Isn't that time they could be praying and reading the Scriptures? While it is true that our fun outings could be spent studying the Bible, I want to briefly explain why we typically do our fun outings on Sunday and Wednesday nights.
Saturdays Become "Family Day" You may be tired of hearing me say it, but I will repeat it: parents are the primary disciplers of their children. There is nothing more influential in the life of children than seeing their parents live godly lives. When events are constantly held on Saturdays, the teenager is away from their family not only on that day but also the next day when they go to their age-specific Sunday school class and youth group. That means they barely see their family over the entire weekend. Having events on Sundays and Wednesdays allows parents to make Saturday their "family day." Parents, I challenge you to plan family outings on Saturdays consistently. I want to free up your Saturdays so they can be the day when you intentionally hang out with your child/teenager and have spiritual conversations with them. Make Saturdays the day when you go fishing, hunting, and shopping. It could be a day you catch a ball game or a movie. Whatever it is, spend time with your child and talk to them about life and their faith! Ask them questions and be willing to discuss challenging topics like faith, repentance, dating, and college. Remember that starting in February, we will give out monthly Parent Partner packets to equip you to have these conversations.
Leaders are Taken Care Of "Don't touch that!" "Get back over here!" "What did you just say?" These are all things you will hear on any youth trip. They come from the lips of our outstanding student ministry leaders as they are surrounded by loud music and loud teenagers. These youth group leaders often have full-time jobs and personal/family responsibilities. They have bills to pay, groceries to buy, chores to do, and the list goes on and on. Saturdays are typically when these responsibilities are taken care of and handled. However, frequent events on Saturdays mean our leaders must drop all the different things they are trying to juggle to serve all day. After a few months or years, they will get burned out, serving will no longer be a joy, and they may even step away altogether. Having our outings and events on Sundays/Wednesdays means our leaders do not have to take extra time out of their already busy weeks to serve. Instead, it gives them a day (Saturday) to do whatever needs to be done around the house and, if they are lucky, finally get some rest! Events on Sunday and Wednesday mean our leaders are serving on the day they are already consistently serving.
The Sunday Morning Gathering is Given Priority. I understand that when our events are on Sundays, the time when our students gather to study the Bible is taken away. However, Sundays, when this happens, are a great time to remind our students of the beauty of the corporate gathering of the local church body. It is a time to remind them that if they are members, they are not just called to be engaged in the life of the student ministry. Instead, they are called to invest in and care for the lives of their fellow members of all ages. Your students are not commanded to come to youth group every Sunday. Having a student ministry is not one required by Scripture. What is commanded, however, is that students who follow Christ would gather regularly with a local church. That doesn't mean we should do away with student ministry and fire the youth pastor. What it does mean is that it might be good to remind students that being a church member is more than just going to a youth group. It is a commitment to loving and serving our brothers and sisters in Christ of all ages and all demographics. It is committing to learn the Word of God not just with people your age but with people of all ages.
Communication is Clearer Church calendars can fill up very quickly. Some weeks, it feels like something is going on every night of the week. It can take much work to keep up with what is going on. Having events on Sundays and Wednesdays enables our parents to avoid having to guesstimate when the event is. They don't have to try to remember what the youth are doing on a Wednesday, then what's happening on Saturday, and then turn around to figure out what is going on Sunday night. Sunday and Wednesday events clear up the calendar, so it can be easier to know when each thing is happening. Clear calendars can also help guests of students better know our schedule. If they come to an event on a Saturday, it may get confusing when we tell them all the regular, weekly events we do, which happen on a different night of the week. It's much easier for them to remember when our Bible studies are if they have to remember they are on the same nights as the events: Wednesdays and Sundays.
Conclusion In conclusion, we believe that Wednesday and Sunday events encourage the family unit God has ordained, prevent our leaders from getting burned out, encourage the Sunday morning gathering, and make communication clearer. If you want to discuss this more, please don't hesitate to contact me!
(Photo by Thomas Despeyroux on Unsplash)