The Uncommon Experience
“This is really awkward.”
I whispered that to an upperclass high school guy beside me during a youth service not too long ago. He seemed shocked that I recognized the tension in the room. Yet it’s hard to ignore a room full of silent teenagers.
There’s a reason that teens seemingly refuse to sing in worship, laugh, engage, or sometimes breathe during a Sunday program. How often did you call up a friend and ask, “Wanna come over and sing some radio hits with me in the basement?” Did you ever go over to someones house and start playing “blob tag” with two people? And does anyone willingly show up for Saturday school? These moments are rare, if existent.
For worship, teaching, and fellowship, there is no better place for it than the church. Teens are in the right place, but sometimes we give them cause for acting like the living dead.
The service elements present in typical youth services are uncommon experiences for teens. 2-3 times a month at church for the average-to-above average teen in youth group is not enough to make any activity the norm. It makes for a room full of confusion and… awkward.
So without ending up at the other extreme, what can we do to help our ministries resonate with who teenagers really are?
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