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What do teens want?

A few weeks ago, I sat down with 25 middle school students and asked them what they would want youth stuff to look like if they could design it. Their answers were not much different than what I heard from several other groups of students (ranging from middle school students to graduated seniors) over the past few years. They can basically be boiled down to these 5 statements.

  • We want smaller groups to build authentic relationships and which create the environment that allows everyone to participate.
  • We want to be a people who listen passionately.
  • We want to love each other unselfishly. We demand equality, strive for openness that allows for sharing of struggles, hurts and successes.
  • We want to deepen our faith with other Christ-followers and honor Christ in all we do.
  • We will strive to develop a Christ-like attitude, love each other, a focus on prayer, service and sharing our faith.

To get to this point, we used the sticky note technique, which I’ll write about tomorrow, and asked three questions.

  1. If you could create the ideal setting for you to grow in your faith, what would it be? Don’t say youth group or small groups. What are specific characteristics that help you grow?
  2. What excites you about faith?
  3. What things get in the way of your faith that we, as a church, currently do?

As I said, the five statements above were created from the lists each group came up with. There were 15 things that were listed and each group I met with had at least 13 of the 15. How would your group benefit from working within the framework of those five statements?

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