I Want to Go Deeper Than My Youth Group
Q. I am attending a youth group that, more and more, just frustrates me. It used to really help me learn about God, but now it doesn't go deep enough. What do I do?
A. As we grow in our relationships with God, we often discover those things that once helped us grow are no longer meeting our spiritual needs. Maybe that's happened to you. This doesn't necessarily mean there's anything wrong with your youth group. It simply might mean the youth group has prepared you to move on to the next step in your Christian growth and maturity.
When I was a youth pastor, a very motivated and faithful student came to me concerned that our Wednesday night program was too light. He wasn't growing from it. I immediately knew why. My lessons and activities were really focused on the needs of non-Christians or new Christians. Because of that, it made sense that he, a strong Christian, wasn't growing. He needed something else.
What did he do? He found he could develop his faith more effectively in a small group Bible study of deeply committed guys. He also took on a leadership role in our Wednesday youth group meeting.
Follow this guy's lead. Talk to your youth director about how you feel. Look for new opportunities. Attend the adult service and take notes. Let your sermon notes guide your devotional studies. Also, push your own devotional times to the next level. Ask your youth pastor to recommend a challenging devotional. Here are three to consider: My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers (updated edition in today's English from Discovery House); The Seeking Heart by Fenelon (Seedsowers), A Year with C.S. Lewis: Daily Readings from His Classic Works (Harper San Francisco).
The goal of all this should be to love God and love people (Matthew 22:37-40). Knowledge and "deeper study" is only good if it draws us closer to Christ and makes us more compassionate and caring people. That's really what spiritual growth is all about.
Jim is an author, longtime youth worker and founder of HomeWord, a group seeking to honor God through strong families.