“CHICKEN!” There is a mix of screams and laughter as a swarm of teenagers scramble around the sanctuary of Faith Pentecostal Church to find their partner, jump on their back and squawk like a chicken. That’s not something you see in Church everyday! However, this foolish fun is the norm at Connect Student Ministries, Faith Pentecostal’s Friday night youth group. As fun as it is, unfortunately I think youth is a very underrated activity. There are a lot of teens who don’t know about it and those who do won’t go because they think they’re too cool for church or that it will be boring. All I am saying is give youth a chance! I’ve been going for several years and I love it. It’s the highlight of my week! You get fed, have fun and most importantly learn about God!
Before youth I was just dipping my toes into the proverbial pool of Christianity. It was a blue moon night each time I’d read the bible or pray. Since I started going to youth I do both a lot more now. I’m slowly descending the ladder into the pool. I’ve learned a lot more about God and have grown stronger in my faith. It’s so inspiring to hear his word every week. Worship time is my favorite time of the night at youth.
Ever tried unraveling a roll of toilet paper without your hands, rapping bible verses or racing against your friend attempting to get more sharpie signatures on your feet? Those are just a few of the totally random and super fun games that the leaders created. During game time the sanctuary always fills up with laughter. There’s never a dull moment at youth! Not only do we play games, we also have parties for every occasion, campfires on Topsail beach and all nighters! Sometimes we even get together at Elim Pentecostal Tabernacle with other youth groups. Those nights are always a blast. There’s candy, sumo wrestling and board games. I can’t think of a more fun way to spend a Friday night!
FREE FOOD! Have I caught your attention now? I thought so. We never go hungry at youth. We end off pretty much every night by pigging out on chips, soda pop and every now and then, pizza. Sometimes we base our whole night around food! We’ve had Italian nights, Mexican nights, ice cream socials and even a bacon party! My mouth always waters when the leaders post on Facebook that we’re having a food night.
There are a lot of teens whom as I said at the beginning think that church is boring so they won’t come to youth. Our worship time isn’t boring at all! Sara, the leader who does the sermon every week tells really cool stories that have a biblical tie in, uses videos (sometimes funny ones like Skit Guys, Blimey Cow or Tim Hawkins) and once when Pastor Jeff did the sermon he made it interactive. He got volunteers to come up and act out the story of the Good Samaritan as he read it. I was the beaten and robbed person.
The songs we sing during our worship time are different than what’s normally sung in Church on Sunday’s. We sing contemporary Christian songs by artists like Chris Tomlin and Hillsong. We do sing some of the classics too. I love it when Pastor Jeff dims the lights, everyone takes out their cellphones and we sing “This Little Light Of Mine”.
It’s a well known fact that teens are a lazy species. Because their parents want them to be active many won’t send them to youth because they are under the assumption that all we do is sit on our butts all night and eat junk. That’s not true. Sometimes we stand up and eat junk (there’s a minimal amount of chairs in the multi-purpose room)! Also we balance out the sitting and junk food eating with plenty of physical activity. We start every night with an optional ball hockey game, we play lots of physical games like molecules and horse, chicken, conqueror that get us up and running around and sometimes we go on field trips to places like the bowling alley, pool or Axtion (an activity center in St. John’s that has inflatable slides, bumper cars and lots of other cool stuff!)
It doesn’t matter your Christian denomination. If your church hasn’t got a youth group and/or the church closest to you isn’t your denomination come anyway! We are all original masterpieces created by God. Everyone is accepted. If your church hasn’t got one talk with your pator about starting one. It’s a lot of fun, will keep teens off the streets and out of the house on Friday nights and will teach them about God and all the amazing things he has done.
I guarantee that if you come to youth you will leave full. Full from all the junk you’ve consumed, full of fun, laughter and memories and most importantly your heart will be full of joy from the good news that had been preached to you that night. Hope to see you next week!