Last night in D-Groups we spent some time hanging out, praying with and for one another, and then I gave your students the option between continuing our conversation from Can I Ask That, or spending some time defining ourselves as a group - what we value, who we want to be, and how we want to operate. They chose the latter, so we spent almost 40 minutes talking and writing down all the things that we want to embody as a high school youth group.
One of my biggest hopes and dreams for our youth (and specifically our high school youth) is that they begin to embody a Christ-centered community here. Especially given our current post-COVID, ultra-divided reality, it feels like many students are craving a place to belong without expectations. If our youth group can be a place that they feel they belong, as well as a place that they are developing spiritually, all the better! Luckily, they value that as well!
Here's a picture of what we eventually came up with at the end of the night. Apologies in advance for the miserable handwriting :)
There are a few things that need additional context there, so I'll try to break them down quickly here!
We value becoming a welcoming, authentic, trustworthy, and faith-based community of people.
We love the 20 minutes of "chill" downtime at the beginning of programs designed to foster the development of the community we long for. We feel like there is a solid core of students who enjoy laughing together and diving deeper - especially in small group formats.
We don't love that there is still a hesitancy to share in discussion, that Noah uses big words (mostly theological terms), and we want to stay away from lecture-based teaching because it reminds us of school. We would prefer to have flexibility in how long we discuss as a large group, some weeks we might have excellent conversation for 40 minutes, others it might only be 15. We would prefer a bit of an on-ramp to some of the more difficult topics we want to cover, instead of getting a "spiritual 2x4 to the face."
We feel like some things are missing....like really good food and pop. Also, for some of us it might be nice to have a bit of a break in the middle of teaching to give some time to process.
Annnnd the entire confused section is made up of inside jokes about the apparently high cost of moving horses from place to place! last week I was talking with a group of students and overheard the phrase "it's cheaper if you sedate them," and the rest is history!
Moving forward I want to keep giving as much agency as possible to our students where appropriate, and have them speak into things like the topics we cover, the trips we take, and the activities we plan outside of programming. I have so much hope for where we are headed, and I would love your prayers as we head there!
Next week we will be talking about taming the tongue, and the importance of blessing one another!
Thanks for stopping by to check in, have a wonderful week!