Do you remember Brenda? She’s the girl who goes to two (or more) youth groups. This is not an issue to her, nor is it an issue most other people. Except, of course, yours truly and a few others (and hopefully those of you whom I’ve convinced through these postings).
Let’s start to wind up this road we’ve been on.
My final thoughts rest with the issue of ‘blessing’. I want to ask “Is attending two youth groups the best way to bless everyone involved?” Let’s agree on some things we agree on: we are to love God, and love our neighbor. We should also live in a way that is a light and a blessing to others. My guess is all of us agree on that.
Now, to Brenda…
Is moving around to multiple youth groups to be seen as a blessing. Or, to put it another way, is it the best thing possible for the greatest number of people? Does it help, and further Brenda’s walk with God? Is it a help to her home church (if she has one—sometimes this gets lost in the shuffle)? Is it a help to her ‘other groups’? Is it a help to the lost who may come to one of the groups she visits to check things out?
My answer is a resounding ‘No’ to all the above questions. I’d better explain…
Think for a moment about the ‘regulars’ who attend Brenda’ home church? If they, like Brenda, attend multiple youth groups then there really aren’t any regulars. Most groups do have a number of youth who are committed to their own group. These regulars suffer when Brenda isn’t there. Most youth really want to see people come each week—they love it when those who are supposed to come, come. In fact, many of us have heard those dreadful words, “There is usually more people than this here.” When Brenda doesn’t show up, especially because she is somewhere else, they suffer.
If youth groups are to have any semblance of community, they need some semblance of commitment. If commitment is lacking, so is community. These two ideas are very, very tightly bound together. If Brenda establishes a pattern of “going to one group here, another there” depending on her schedule and the programs on offer, others will suffer because who knows when or where she’ll show up. While Brenda may be having a good time, the rest suffer
Brenda may be blessed, her home group isn’t.
What about those who are new to the group or new to the Christian faith? Most, if not all, youth groups have a deep desire to attract the lost. If this is you, you really can’t support Brenda going to two groups. Think about it this way; when someone takes a risk and invites a friend, they usually do so because they want this friend to come and meet their youth group friends. The say something like, “you gotta meet my youth group friends and experience what we do together”. If a newcomer comes and the regulars don’t, it is a disaster, a complete disaster. The newcomer goes away thinking, “If the regulars don’t even show up why should I?”
Brenda may be blessed, her home group isn’t, nor are newcomers
Finally, what about Brenda—is our acceptance of her going to multiple youth groups a blessing to her? If Brenda becomes established in a pattern of “Brenda goes where Brenda wants” this will be a hard habit for her to break. In my experience, this pattern is a little plant that soon grows to produce very large, unhelpful fruit. Rarely do those like Brenda become committed youth leaders. Rarely, if ever do they have a self-sacrificial heart that strives to bless other people. Why would they, we have said it is okay for her to put her own needs/wants first.
In the end, we must strive to incorporate Hebrews 10:25 in our hearts and minds. We must also seek to build it into our programs and our expectations. When we do this, everyone is blessed.
Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:24