When I arrived in Childers, I found myself asked to take on the Youth ministry. Like many small country towns, the fellowship suffered from an ageing congregation and Young Adults moving away to the big cities. The previous youth team had faithfully kept a small group going but were tired. I personally am in my late fifties and have a “patched up” back so I have to be careful. This is what we did.
First I prayed. Then I called a meeting for any interested folk to help with Youth Group. As the time drew near, God placed on my heart a model that was a little different. Some folk offered their place to use, which had a fireplace, a food hut and a large area for night games.
Due to unexpected delays, I found myself on Monday still needing to promote the Youth Group launch on the coming Friday. Again, I took a step of Faith. Picking up my church directory, I typed in every email address I could find, even if the folk were 80 years old! All I added to the actual Youth program was these comments. “Hi everyone, if you know anyone who has High School aged youth, could you please forward this Youth Program to them?”
On the first night, we had about 7 folk interested in helping out…A few more folk have since joined the team. So I was able to get some to run the games at the start, others to provide supper at the end and one wise older man to do campfire stories in the middle.
But the real difference was that we invited the parents to stay as well! (They love the atmosphere and get to listen in on the campfire chats). Some parents came back to pick up their youth at Supper time and we put on coffee for them also, but most STAYED and were keen to meet other folk.
On the first night we had 18 youth, plus leaders and parents. That meant around 30 folk were at our welcome BBQ. When finished at 9:00pm everyone kept talking until 9:30. Since then we have had up to 25 youth and a community of about 40. Some of our other church folk have visited and spent the night chatting to parents as well.
As we finished for Easter Break, we gave Surfer Bibles and a copy of “One solitary life” to all the youth including some folk who had never had a Bible of their own.
It is a relaxed model where everyone carries the load, and I get to chat to parents and teens one on one as the opportunities arise.
I have included our Youth Program, to show you what activities the Youth enjoy, and we run an 8-week program per term.
Hope this encourages you,
Pastor Alan Brown
UPSTREAM YOUTH PROGRAM TERM 1
10/2/17 Sausage Sizzle: Be on time as sausages and drink will be ready at 7:15pm sharp. (Look for the glowing balloons on right at 128 Rainbows rd)
17/2/17 Chappy Shane and his amazing mechanics trailer: A great chance to catch up with Shane and to have him share at the Campfire.
24/2/17 The Big Pancake Challenge: Wow you get prizes for cooking crazy pancakes and then you get to eat them! Life’s good.
03/3/17 The Cryptic Treasure Hunt: Be part of the winning team that can solve the clues first. An exciting adventure awaits.
10/3/17 Campfire Relax: Sometimes we just need to enjoy a bit more down time.
17/3/17 The Green Night: Dress green, green food, even the grass is green!! It will be a St Patricks day of green
24/3/17 Marshmallow burning and other cooking fun: Perhaps you can cook better than Chappy Ralph, but it will be lots of fun either way.
31/3/17 Campfire relax: Just Chillin in Childers!!