A Message From a Teen

msg-from-teen-postHi my name is Samantha, I am in the 8th grade and I came to {INSERT YOUR YOUTH GROUP HERE} for the first time last week. While I did enjoy everything at {INSERT YOUR YOUTH GROUP HERE}, I don’t know if I will be coming back. I am writing this letter because I don’t want others to feel the way I felt when I came for the first time.

When my mom dropped me off I got out of the car and didn’t know here I was supposed to go. So I walked to the front doors of your building and no one was there welcome me, there were no signs and I was very lost and confused.

Luckily I saw a few kids around the corner and I made my way over there. Everyone seemed to be having a really good time, so much so that they didn’t have time to help me.

I was nervous and didn’t want to talk to anyone, so I just went back out front and waited until 5:30pm. I thought maybe its because I am early, I’ll walk back in at 5:30 and it will be different.

Around 5:25 I saw more kids walking in, but they were using a different entrance, so I followed them.

This time when I walked in there were even more kids and I was even more overwhelmed. I heard someone telling people to sign in but I just kept walking. A few girls made their way into a hallway and I followed them. I got to the end of the hallway and I just waited.

No one said hi. No one asked me if I needed help. No one knew I was there. I tried to blend in as much as possible because I felt embarrassed and out of place.

A few minutes later all of the kids came down the hallway and stood outside some doors. A minute later the doors were opened and I followed everyone in. I found a seat in the back and everyone else went up front. I wasn’t sure what was going on so I didn’t follow.

Then a band started playing. They were good but I didn’t know the songs and it was hard to follow along.

After that you were on the stage. You introduced your self and welcomed VIPS…. I guess I was supposed to be a VIP but I didn’t feel like one. You talked about a wristband to get free stuff but I didn’t have one. When I heard this I felt a little better and thought, “What’s happening to me doesn’t happen to everyone.”

The message you spoke was good. Some of it I didn’t completely understand but I was thankful for the notes you gave me. I did miss a few of the fill-ins but that’s okay.

After you prayed and the last song played you dismissed everyone and again I just followed the crowd. As soon as I got outside I called my mom to come pick me up because I figured everything was over. Other kids were getting candy and soda and playing games but I just didn’t feel comfortable jumping in and doing what they were doing.

I think my experience would have been much better had someone taken the time to talk to me and tell me about what was going on.

You mentioned something about leaders from the stage but I wasn’t sure who they were. You also talked about teens helping out, and that’s cool that teens do that, but I wasn’t sure who they were either.

I really did enjoy {INSERT YOUR YOUTH GROUP HERE}, that’s what you called it I believe, but I don’t know if I will be back. My mom encouraged me to send this message to you and she says I need to give it another try…. I don’t know maybe I will.

– Samantha.

*This letter was grammatically corrected and name of the student was changed.

Do you think this happens at your youth group? Chances are it does and you may never know. Not every student will write a letter. Not every parent will care enough to send them back to check it out. A students first impression of your youth group, on their first visit, will either be their last impression or will impress them enough to get them to come again. Examine your program, is it welcoming to new students or have you created an atmosphere where new students aren’t recognized, welcomed and introduced to your program, to other students and to your volunteer team?

If you aren’t bringing in new students, are not welcoming to new students when they show up and are only concerned about the “christian’s” you already have, you are failing Christ call in Acts 1:8, “to be His witnesses, telling people about Him everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

“We are to be fishers of men, not keepers of the aquarium.”

There are too many students with no knowledge of Christ, to not be doing everything in our power to be bringing them into His Church. And when they show up, they should see Christ in everything we do.

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