Christian TweenagersClubs. Recent statistic inform us that 39% of English churches have no children or young people – that’s a huge percentage! 49% have no 11-14’s 59% have no 15-19’s That’s scary! Wake up oh sleeper!. Good Programmes for 9-14’s are essential!. Holiday Clubs.
39% of English churches have no children or young people – that’s a huge percentage!
49% have no 11-14’s
59% have no 15-19’s
Wake up oh sleeper!
Café Style Clubs
School lunchtime CU’s
I have researched the 11year olds I am in contact with. I have a group around now after school so I have asked them what they think.
Their responses are:
We like being together, the activities don't need to be all ‘singing and dancing’, its the opportunity to be together and chill in a cool venue. Venue that are cool to invite friends too, with cool Christian music and bands to inform them that Christianity is not dull hymn singing but much more!!
The most important thing is that we feel we belong to something and have somewhere to go where we are not judged, but supported and have fun.
It is embarrassing when older leaders try to be 11, dressing younger and using cool words and pretending to know the latest music etc. We would rather they be themselves and we could learn from them, and respect them for who they are!
I asked different youth and children’s workers around the county about the clubs and activities that they run for ‘Tweenagers’
Leslie Hardwick writes
Is based on a rougher estate;
We have no younger age limit or any older age limit– as older brother and sisters sometimes have to bring younger ones along. Ages range from young children to 16 year old teenagers.
The structure and routine has only changed a little in decadesyet still seems to work well. The children bring themselves along week after week.
No frills or fancy gimmicks to the programme;children arrive and sit on chairs chatting to each other until we make a start; then we have a 45 minutes Christian slot of children’s songs, followed by a quiz based on the bible story from the week before, then we tell this weeks Bible Story – then we all have a big game like dodge ball or traffic lights etc.
Some people hearing about Thursday Special club may consider it old fashioned,a simple weekly routine but over the Christmas holidays, a mother phoned me to see when Thursday Special was starting as again as her 11 year old daughter loved the club so much!
The children remember the Bible Stories and songs very well. Many of the older ones also come along to the young peoples groups that meet in peoples homes..
One of our lads who first came as a young child from a none church family currently with Youth for Christ.
check out www.upperroom.co.nr
We felt that it was important to give the young people a place they could call their own within church.
Our mission statement is
to “provide a safe place to come along and chill out with your friends, have a laugh, while finding the answers to the questions that really matter in life.”
Wednesday night from 7.30pm-9.30pm for 12-15’s
and Thursday night from 7pm-9pm for 11-12’s.
We offer lots of activities, including games, sports, film nights, quiz nights and general chill out nights.
We have an alcohol-free bar (which makes them feel grown up!) where they can buy drinks and snacks.
We also do crazy things like plan sleepovers for 35+ kids.
It’s all good fun!
When we started about
90% of the young people were non-churched kids
10% were churched.
More and more of the youngsters have started coming to church
Now, we have around thirty-five young people attending.
Thursday nights:7pm-9pm for 11-12’s
Both evenings have grown in numbers partly due to my contact with Scripture Union CU groups in schools because, from that, youngsters bring their friends along.
The place is very modern, trendy and cool which helps attract young people.
We have a ‘God slot’ every week where we look at topics from the bible and how relevant they are to our lives today.
I try to make these slots interactive and always work and connect on their level – there’s no point in ‘preaching’ to them.
I’ll often use film clips, or use games to illustrate points, or encourage them to act the bible story out! (I’ve got a few born actors!)
I attempt to gain their respect by encouraging them and letting them have their say.
Recently we have had quite a few new kids with BIG questions so we generally end up going way off topic and answering their questions.
What has been amazing to see, and so natural, is when these kids ask questions like ‘How do you know God is real?’ and when you see the young people progress from knowing very little about God to having now made a commitment and answering questions from their peers before the leaders can get a word in!
A group of young people asked if we could meet to do more bible study – we now meet every Friday after school to study and pray together. They are hungry to learn more from God’s word and it’s exciting.
Future plans for the upper room include a youth alpha group for those young people who want to find out more about the Christian faith.
Wednesday and Thursday Evenings Structure
First 30 minutes chilling out and chatting.
Next 40 - 50 minutes are spent playing sports in main hall, wii games and chilling with friends. Sometimes, we play games if the young people want to.
Next 30-40 minute ‘God slot.’
The amount of time spent on the ‘God slot’ varies depending on what we are looking at/ if we are splitting into groups. Or if the young people ask some interesting questions that lead onto a longer discussion.
The young people know that there is a time for mucking about and having a laugh but there’s also a time to look at the Bible.
They generally cope well, and they have clear boundaries.
This is very important so they know what is acceptable and what is not.
I have no problem in asking a young person to wait outside the room is they are ‘playing up’
Generally give them one warning and then they are asked to wait outside. But, to be honest, most of the time they are fine.
One thing that helps is to have a good team of leaders that can work together. I’m very fortunate to have a team that are good at diffusing situations and working together.
What is special about this age group/ what changes are they going through?
Big change in their lives:
From primary to secondary (oldest to youngest)
Growing up into teenagers - hormones kick in and they realise the opposite sex can be attractive.
They start asking BIG questions about life and about faith! So it is an opportunity not to be missed!!!!
What can we learn from them and what can they offer the church?
Some become Christians and start coming along to church. Their passion for God and their childlike faith is something we can all learn from.
The church should be a family with young and old alike worshiping together. Sure, young people may worship in a different way (it may be too loud or just too different for older people) but when we see the heart of the young worshiper and the abandonment to Gods purposes and His love then I believe we can learn a lot.
I see youngsters from crazy backgrounds – some I couldn’t comprehend - just clinging onto God, moving forward in love and faith and serving others around them, even though they are suffering. For me that’s what it’s all about.
I asked Gavin, of Romsey Mill, Cambridge, What is the Romsey Mill all about and what is the difference between Christian youth work and open youth work run by a Christian organisation?
Romsey Mill is a Cambridge charity working with marginalised young people and families, set up by local churches in 1980, but now receiving Council funding.
We meet around 2200 young people and families each year, creating with them opportunities for personal, social and spiritual development.
Our aim: to draw these young people and families into the wider community by reducing isolation, increasing self-esteem and confidence and developing skills. Check out http://www.romseymill.org/ for more details.
Individual children are referred to us by schools. One things we do is run afterschool clubs working with these individuals . We get to know their interests and build the groups up doing these things (arts and craft, sport, music).
Here a distinction needs to be made between Christian youth work and open youth work run by a Christian organisation.
Plenty of preparation
Plenty of Prayer and prayer support
Genuine love, a caring place to be!
Partnership with the church (regularly meeting with church leadership – this could be their future!
Loads of fun and laughs!
Good Team workis essential for good children’s work – lots roles, different skills and responsibilities.
A great opportunity for all-ages to work together!
Team Leader: lead a group of children
Presenter / up-front people
All working together with same expectations:
Guide lines for leaders:
Do’s and don’ts
An enjoyable time or a riot?
Sheep need a shepherd to lead them.
A Time for Everything
Stick to a routine! – make the Christian Message central.
Right through our lives we have incentives to help us achieve the best we can and keep enthusiasm!
Personal achievement cards/scoring charts/tokens Work well at weekly clubs
They earn points for;
Quoting a Bible verse
Answering a question in the quiz
Coolest behaved girl and boy.
Outstanding at joining in activities
Bringing along a friend
Try and keep away from the ‘tuck shop’ idea.
Working With 11-14's: Pretty Much EverythingPretty Much Everything You Need to Know About....
by Tricia Williams;John Stephenson
Alpha Youth Manual 11-14 years Magazine
Ready-to-Go Youth Group Activities
Effective Ministry To Tweenagers PB
by HASSALL & MACDONALD
Reaching and Keeping
by Peter Brierley
John’s holiday club themes/books