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  • Writer's picturePastor Bill

High School Youth Groups

During my 20 years of ministry, I have heard a lot of complaining about High School Youth Groups. The complaints usually include…

  • Why aren’t there more kids in the youth group?

  • Why are so many events cancelled?

  • When I was a kid, the High School Youth group was great!

  • Does this reflect on the youth director or the pastor’s effectiveness?

  • Etc., Etc., Etc.

I want us to think about how hard Youth Groups are to build and maintain.

So consider the following:

  • High School Youth Groups have a very limited population to draw from. At Saint James at any given time that is about 25 youth.

  • Every year 25% of a high school youth group drops out of the group by graduating. The group experiences 100% turnover every 4 years. (By comparison, an Adult Bible Study group might lose 5-10% per year.)

  • High School youth are incredibly busy with constantly changing schedules: school, activities, work and family. (The members of an Adult Bible Study by contrast have relatively stable schedules.)

  • High School youth are about as faithful to youth groups as their parents are to worship. That means on average they attend about 50% of the time, or less.

  • Meanwhile, youth directors tend to have shorter tenures than other types of leaders (e.g. less than 3 years), with each new youth director in some sense, starting over to build relationships and community.

A friend of mine had a “thriving” HS Youth Group of 25 youth in grades 9-12.

  • When I asked how many youth were eligible for the group, he said 200.

  • That is 12.5%.

At Saint James 12.5% of 25 eligible youth would be 3.

  • If those three attended 50% of the time, attendance would be 1.5.

  • We do better than this… by the way.

High School Youth Groups are a difficult ministry.

They always have been.

And… the difficulty is worth the effort, because…

Youth Groups (like any good small group ministry)

sometimes have a significant and life-long impact on someone’s life.

So here’s the thing…

  • Youth Groups are a difficult and challenging ministry.

  • Instead of complaining about them, we should ask how we can help with them.

  • Our kids are worth it; and our help might make all the difference!


Pastor Bill

©️ 2022, Pastor Bill Bernau.

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