Every Wednesday at 4 PM, a small-but-slowly-growing group of youth meet for Support Group. After lessons on such topics as personal power, responsibility, and sense of purpose, they have an opportunity to talk about their week and how they felt about it. Teens learn to support each other and help each other through difficult struggles with adult guidance and supervision. Support Group does not have an explicit religious component, which allows us to partner with secular and government organizations.
Then at 5 PM, teens typically stay and are joined by many more for Youth Group. Over the summer, we’d eat at 5:00 and have a Biblical discussion based on the same themes as Support Group, then play a game or other activity together until 7:00. That schedule will change somewhat with Confirmation classes starting, but the core principles will remain.
Since we merged the two groups, Support Group has grown from 1-3 teens to as many as 7, and Youth Group has averaged one new teen every week as those attending invite their friends, lately averaging about a dozen attending per week. They’re a close-knit group, and new attendees find themselves welcomed and accepted almost immediately.
As the group continues to grow, we’re thankful for the generous support that the congregation gives to make this work possible, and we offer the opportunity for more adults involved. Some teens need rides, and we’re over capacity for available seats, sometimes requiring dropping off teens at church to get the rest. We’ve even had weeks when some simply couldn’t come because of not enough drivers, so a couple extra drivers will allow us to continue to grow. We also need more adults to attend and spend time with us. The teens are quick to welcome new adults, because when you give your time to them, they feel valuable. We’d love to train more adults to work with them one-on-one, too, which many of them want and need. We need adults to serve on the Youth Committee to handle logistics and help with planning and preparation. And we need your prayers. Pray that the Gospel would break through anything that’s preventing them from trusting that God loves them without strings. Pray that God would bring them back again and again to assure them that they are lovable, capable, and worthwhile. Pray that they would have confidence that they are never alone. And pray that God would send many adults to show them that love, listening for the possibility that He may call you to participate in some way.