Ah yes, the formative teen years. It is a time of our most important growth, and that doesn’t just mean getting taller! Many teenagers begin to explore who they are as an individual. A key part of this exploration is faith. It can be confusing, and for good reason. How can anyone trust in faith? It’s an abstract concept that takes some people a lifetime to embrace. Teens will undoubtedly have questions, and one of the best environments to help keep them on God’s path is in a youth ministry. Here are five reasons that youth groups are the perfect setting for teens to learn and grow in their developmental years!
Structure and Community
Even in the best families, sometimes things get rocky. Work problems, financial issues, illness, and a variety of other factors can create stress in the home. When this tension is present, teens will often search for an outlet. Without an escape, their study and social habits can suffer, leading to other problems, such as a degrade in mental health. The outlet, however, is not always healthy itself. Too many teens find comfort in drugs and alcohol because they believe they’re the only reprieve from stress.
Youth ministries, such as the grade 6-12 ministry at Encounter Church®, can provide that structure that teens need. Youth ministers and fellow members of a teen’s youth group can not only provide friendship, but they can also support teens with advice and comfort in hard times. The guidance in youth ministries helps teens grow into strong, God-loving adults. Then they can turn around and provide that guidance to the next generation of Christian youth.
Let’s face it — teens don’t always find church to be the most exciting affair. Most of us remember our church visits as fairly dull affairs, sitting on wooden pews, listening to a preacher drone on behind an altar. In many cases, teens would rather be hanging out with friends and don’t understand the value of attending service every Sunday. Modern ministries like Encounter Church understand this and aim to make the churchgoing experience more exciting and enjoyable for Christians of all ages.
A youth ministry furthers the enjoyment a teen can get out of going to church. Members of a youth group are generally tight-knit. Teens won’t dread going to church if that’s where their friends are. They begin to look forward to their church experiences because they know they’ll be surrounded by people who care about them and can relate to them. Plus, if those mental blocks about church being boring are removed, teens are more likely to actually pay attention and begin to understand more about God’s grace.
Role Models and Mentors
Teens are constantly surrounded by adult influences. At school, it’s their teachers. At home, their parents. On TV, a wide range of actors, hosts, comedians, and so on will have an impact on a teen’s life view. All of these sources have a direct effect on how a teen learns and grows — how they decide who they will become. It’s crucial that, during this time, they have the presence of Christian role models.
At home, parents often fill this role by teaching their children about Christ and God’s love from an early age. However, at a certain point, taking mom and dad’s word likely won’t cut it. Teens need to hear about Jesus from others. This usually means their church preacher, but a youth minister can have an even greater impact. Youth ministers are often much closer in age to teens and have an easier time relating to them. They provide a mentor resource that teens can utilize whenever they have questions or need advice. That accessibility makes teens understand that the church wants to help them with whatever they may be going through at a given time.
Jesus said, “go and make disciples of all nations.” As Christians, it is our duty to fulfill this Great Commission. This may sound daunting, but it can actually be very fun and fulfilling to spread the word of God. Youth groups in particular often travel to third-world countries to help build communities while spreading Christ’s love. Encounter Church® even has a devoted missionary group that communicates His message to the world.
Traveling the world to build the Kingdom of God is a culturally enriching experience. Most teens don’t get travel opportunities like it. Experiencing different peoples’ ways of life can be humbling and often make teens appreciate the things they have. They can also learn that not everyone has the same view of the world as they do, which can help them be slower to judge or condemn others. Plus, helping out those in need is such a valuable experience for the soul.
A Safe Place
Perhaps the most important thing a youth ministry provides is a safe place when teens need it. Teens are often hesitant to confide in their parents about issues bothering them for fear of them disappointing mom and dad. However, having a trusted group of peers and spiritual mentors gives teens a safe place to discuss their thoughts and concerns. This is an irreplaceable resource for developing teens.
Teens can confide in their youth leaders when they struggle with sin or temptation, or when problems come up at home or school that they’re scared to talk to their parents about. Skilled youth ministers are great at creating honest and open dialogue. They won’t judge teens for what they confess and will only seek to help them. This safe place for growing teenagers can be invaluable. Without it, teens can feel isolated and resort to destructive behavior to try and escape their stressors.
Teen life can be busy and chaotic. It’s filled with the stress of constant changes and the pressure of finding out what they want to be in life. At Encounter Church®, we’re proud of our youth ministries and strive to improve them each and every day. A youth group can provide that safety net that catches them when it all seems too much. Youth ministers can contribute valuable guidance. Youth events can prove to be fulfilling experiences in their young lives. Other members can prove to be lifelong friends and confidants. Along the way, the youth groups can help the world learn the grace and mercy of Christ.
Are you a teen or parent of a teen that wants to get closer to Christ and learn His message? We can help! If you live in the Denver area and want to see the benefits of a youth group, let the youth ministries at Encounter Church® show you just how valuable of an experience it can be!