PresbYouth: Old and New

Hey everyone!

How great is it to be back at it? Okay, it might be a little overwhelming and stressful and I'm guessing some of you picked up pencils last week and realized you forgot how writing works for just a minute, but it's all okay because WE HAVE YOUTH GROUP THIS WEEK!

We are going to be discussing all of the changes that are being made to the youth group, like the schedule, the new rooms, the new leaders, etc. And I know for some of you, change isn't something you enjoy. The good news is that change usually is for the best and while we have to move forward, I think it's important to take a breath and a moment to remember what we loved about youth group before the change.

This got me thinking about my youth group. Let me tell you, it looked nothing like this crazy Presbyterian business. There was no "youth room," and instead, we met at the home of  Isaac and Ranelle, a young couple from our Church. We all fit on their couch... it wasn't even a big couch. There were no boys, (probably because they were driving around, or playing basketball, or trying to harm squirrels with their car). We didn't play games, or do energizers, or singing. No Youth Rally, no trips to the corn maze or SkyZone and no lock-ins.

What we did have was conversation. We would spend an hour talking about our week, and our games, and extra-curriculars, and drama, and then the conversation would, somehow, naturally turn to God. We would ask a question we were struggling with and Isaac would take a deep breath, and then magically turn to the exact scripture we needed to hear. We would listen to him read, and then I would repeat back to him in what I like to call normal language, what he had said to see if I understood correctly, and then we would hash it out. Most of the time there was a baby to feed or snuggle and there were always very healthy and delicious homemade treats. Most importantly there was always judgement-free, loving, caring, conversation.

We discussed everything from 'why do people die and where do they go,' to 'why do I keep having immaculate conception dreams,' to 'how long were the 'first days.'' Sometimes we didn't leave until 10:00 at night because we were so caught up in our conversations. We never seemed to run out of them either; silly, serious, or what some might call stupid. I once asked, while I was walking out the door because my mom had called to tell me to come home, "hey, really quick: can you explain the Trinity?" This caused everyone to burst into disbelieving laughter and a sweet, "maybe next time" from Ranelle. I should have been embarrassed, and now, as a youth director and youth ministry major, I do feel a little silly, knowing how incredibly impossible it is to explain the Trinity. But at the time, it's just the way we talked to each other, and I felt comfortable asking about things I didn't understand; not silly for not knowing them already.

I felt more safe on that couch for a few hours on Wednesday nights than I did anywhere else in the world for four years. That's how it should be here, too. We should feel comfortable asking questions and disagreeing and working through tough topics because that's what youth group is for. And that shouldn't change because we moved upstairs and rearranged the schedule.

This week, we are going to take time to talk to one another in our small groups--get to know each other better. And then we are going to take time to remember the reason we show up every (or most, or some) Wednesday night.

I'd love to hear your favorite memory about your youth group experiences! Leave a note about it in the comments below.

See you Wednesday!

Jada

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