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!
©️ 2022, Pastor Bill Bernau.