Last night I had seriously one of the best small group interactions with a group of teenage guys that I've ever had. We've take a spin on the MANCARD idea and created one for our community. Every guy has a card they carry each week with an objective to complete. Each week at small group we look at a person in the Scriptures, study them, learn from them & then we set our next challenge for the week. If you skip or bail on the objective there are consequences which the group has predetermined what sort of humiliation you'll go through on a social networking site.
The group interaction had been going well & the first few challenges were met with 100% participation. But the same could not be said for the time we took to look at the Scriptures. So I made a change. We blazed through 2 chapters of the OT by reading 10-15 verses, repeating what we just read in our own words, sharing quickly some of our thoughts/observations & then moved on.
The dudes loved it & they were engaged from start to finish. I asked them if they felt this model could be something they can do on their own and several of them said, "Absolutely! I'll try it again this week."
I walked away last night with 2 key thoughts;
Simplifying the process allowed the students to engage with the Content.
I've used this model with students before but last night there was a "click" moment for the guys. They realized that this practice a repeatable process and they could do this on their own!
Healthy Youth ministry makes changes that are practical for students without sacrificing the experience of being stretched. I've always wanted to lead ministry in a way that the experience for students is worth it. The experience may not always be easy, comfortable or "dumb down" but it'll be worth it for them as a faith stretcher.
I love introducing something new to students lives. I enjoy hearing how teenagers process what they see, hear & read. I value the "click" moments where God's Spirit continues to Transform lives.
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