Two Cents Tuesday: Ministry in Traditional Church

"Two Cents Tuesdays" is a blog series where you get to help other church leaders who are struggling where they are. I take one question (one scenario) each week from my mail bag (...er email inbox) and share it with you (protecting the innocent of course by keeping it anonymous). I want your TWO CENTS.

Our church is very traditional and our students seem to love our programming in the youth ministry but have zero interest in attending any of our main worship services. Our volunteer staff has tried to encourage them to attend the services but they won't do it because they find it boring. I can definitely understand why they feel this way, but I just wonder if there is something we can do to help matters. Can you offer suggestions?

Have any advice for this youth worker? What "two cents" would you offer?

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6 Responses to “Two Cents Tuesday: Ministry in Traditional Church”

  1. # Anonymous @matreames

    2 pieces of advice.

    1. Get your Pastor & Leaders involved in the discussion with the youth. If the pastor sees the youth falling away it might encourage him to work with them to keep them.

    2. Change the focus of the ministry. Train the youth to experience God in ways different from their norm. If you can get them to interact with God outside their 'norms' it might help them connect with the main services.

    My friend, this is a tight situation, but be strong and pray. Ask God to give you a creative solution that benefits everyone involved.  

  2. # Blogger Tony

    We started a Jr/Sr class. Everyone meets in the adult service for worship, as the offering is being taken all the teens that want to go to their own class. This solved a few problems for us and works great.
    1) it took away the teens excuses that Sundays were boring.
    2) when we have new families come visit they love that we have something for thier kids as well as thier teens. That also helps us to meet new teens and to invite them to our youth service.
    3) it gave some adults the opportunity to teach and get to know the teens.
    If you would like to have more info please email me mercer1@att.net  

  3. # Anonymous RJ Grunewald

    I think it's a great opportunity to teach about what it means to be the Church. Church is more than styles; use it as an opportunity to discuss what makes it a great church - the people, the theology.

    And then from a leadership end...keep trying to make sure the church keeps in mind the youth in the congregation.  

  4. # Anonymous @mattmurphymswym

    I think its a both and... y ou need to teach on the theology of what makes a good church service, yet also see if the pastor is willing to talk with some youth about their impressions of the service. While the church isn't in the entertainment business, it needs to find a way to reach out to different generation. If all else fails help them plant in a good church when they graduate HS.  

  5. # Anonymous Nate Hogan

    Fundamentally, you may have to ask yourself a hard question, is your church set up to segregate students because they are students? That is, does the programming of your church, as well as the overall culture, clearly communicate to the whole congregation that students are supposed to be separated? Challenge your own assumptions and look for key clues in words everyone uses like, "big church," and "old people." Adults in your congregation may use other code words that communicate a separation as well - old cliche's like "herding cats," a "pack of wild animals" and other terms create disconnect.
    There's a good book on Kindle called The Orphaned Generation that directly addresses mental modes in churches where such separations exist. You may want to check it out.  

  6. # Blogger JAK

    I have this same issue at times too. Here are some suggestions. All Christians need to be reminded that attending church is not truly about/for them, it's about/for God. This is our way of showing God our love and our praise of him. Therefore help teens to have an opportunity to NOT focus on their wants but focus on loving and serving God. And as far as youth leaving the service remind them it's one body. I've even said that Christ dying on the cross certainly wasn't his idea of fun, but he did it because he loves his Father in heaven and was willing to make the sacrifice.

    Now to my other point- church shouldn't be a mini crucifixion every Sunday either. Have the youth and young adults write down what their worship would be- without constraints. Have them pair up and design the "ideal" worship from their standpoint. How long? What music - if any? Exciting? Calming? Routine and structured? Different and flexible? Gather the responses and share with the pastor AND the worship team. See if there are ideas they might implement - maybe not every Sunday but twice a month? once a month? Once a season? Also consider at least an annual youth Sunday where they design AND run the worship, from bulletin covers, to music selection and presentation. Finally encourage church leadership to use youth in the service- ushers, communion asst. readers, sound/video, etc. These are some methods I've been using in my ministry. Good luck and God bless.  

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