Good morning friends!
Last night our high schoolers ate pizza, made new friends, and talked about our hopes for the coming year!
We had our usual 15 minutes of hangout and eating time before migrating into the garage room to do some introductions! I was so encouraged by the number of new and returning students! We took some time to share our names and our most irrational fear in three words or less (I said giant toilet snakes, but some students were very vulnerable and shared things like “suddenly being alone.”)
After that we jumped into our usual practice of sharing prayer requests and praises. I really value corporate prayer, so our students “claimed” the praises and requests and we took time to pray for one another.
After that, I shared a little about my hopes for the year and my heart for the students. We are going to be diving into some deep questions this year, and I wanted to set the tone a bit. My goal as a youth pastor is not to create a bunch of “theological copies” of myself. Rather, I hope that through the kinds of conversations we are going to have in the coming weeks, students will learn to think critically and successfully articulate what scripture has to say about some of the most pressing questions they face. It is far more valuable to have a student who can biblically defend why they believe what they believe than a student who just believes whatever comes out of my mouth.
I confessed to them that one of the greatest challenges I face in leading high school youth ministry is selecting curriculum. The vast majority of the students that come to youth group have some sort of faith background (Christian homes, Christian schools, etc.), and I am blessed to have that foundation to build on. However, it would feel arrogant for me to assume that I know what these students need or want to learn when I genuinely have no idea what it is like to be a teenager trying to put Christ first in 2023.
There were some good responses to the question “what do you want or need to learn about,” but even if there aren’t immediate answers I hope that the students feel the need to take their faith into their own hands. We talked briefly about the Leviathan in the OT, considered what questions in our Can I Ask That material were most interesting, and I prepped them to come back with ideas next week for our question box 🙂
Regardless, next week we are going to dive headfirst into the question “Does the Bible contradict itself” and it should make for some very interesting conversation!
Thanks for stopping by!