Fellow Traveler has a way with the kids in our congregation -- I think because she exudes a combination of respect and toughness, like a good coach, that the younger folks in turn respect. (My observation is that kids don't want adults trying to be their pals; they want, as Gertie's guru Cesar Milan might put it, calm assertive pack leadership.) Anyway, one day one of our high school kids confided to FT that she and her peers were very unhappy with the adult leader of their rather moribund youth group; that this individual never organizes activities, at least any that the kids want to participate in, and instead spends most of the time burdening them with her own personal adult issues, and then scolding them for not being more interested.
"I wish you'd take over," the teen murmured wistfully. You and LutheranChik are fun."
When I heard this, and wondered aloud what sort of youth group these teens envisioned, FT looked at me with horror.
"Don't even," she warned. "No."
And truth be told, we have enough church responsibilities on our respective plates without taking on a handful of hormonal adolescents.
But I do think these poor kids need a voice -- someone to advocate for them. Because they're the church too.
In the church where I grew up, our high school teacher was a 70-year-old church lady, and our youth group leader was Pastor. Our group activities consisted of stuffing Wheat Ridge stamp envelopes, once, and a trip to Higgins Lake for a picnic where we got yelled at by El Padre for playing Anarchist Volleyball. ("You have to have a score! You can't just bounce the ball back and forth! Ordnung muss sein!") Our supposed status, conferred via confirmation, as members in good standing of our congregation was a joke; the expectation was that we be seen and not heard until we were ready to "match" and "hatch." So my own experience of youth ministry was pretty dismal until I left home and got hooked up with Lutheran campus ministry, which was truly a valuable part of my religious formation.
How might I take some of the positive experiences I had as a young adult, translate that into the milieu of our church, its surrounding community and a slightly younger demographic, listen to the kids and find out what they want in a youth group (quelle concept) and then make informed suggestions to the people who can make them happen?
Or should I just mind my own beeswax?