Youth Club Training Seminar
Notes of a Seminar given by Greg Hanley. Greg has led led several Youth Clubs over many years with a measure of success.. He believes that every church could have a Youth Club that reaches teens in the community and will bring some to faith.
Everywhere you go you see young people in groups. What are they doing?
Many are just having fun with their friends. They laugh and share their hopes and fears like everyone else. They like to be with their friends. In their late teens they are finding independence and enjoying it!
Some cause trouble, Usually a very small minority.
Others get into crime and become a nuisance in the community.
All are very vulnerable and can become the prey of drug pushers. Most experiment with alcohol and cigarettes.
At what age do these young people start to go out with their friends?
When they start senior school, from 11 onward they are too young to go to pubs and clubs. From 11 – 15 is a crucial time. Once they pass this age they have developed a set pattern; they feel they are growing up. It is very difficult to attract them to church based youth clubs.
Most churches have a Junior Club for up to 11 but very few have something for them to follow. It’s not surprising that this is the age when young people start dropping off attending church.
The church should see these young people as potential for the Gospel, We should feel a burden to befriend them and share the message of God’s love in Christ. We should have a youth club ready to receive them, with a program that recognizes they are growing up.
It is very difficult to bring this age range into a church service, some of us have had the experience of bringing teenagers off the street to the church service only to have the service disrupted and some of our members upset.
We have to find a way of meeting them halfway and this is where the Youth Club can be effective, here we can:-
a Give them somewhere to go.
b Give them something to do.
c Get to know them personally,
d Expose them to Christian friendship
e Share the gospel in a way they can understand,
f Invite them to further Services at church.
The Youth Club can become the most effective outreach to young people in your district; a vital part of the church program. A work that is worthy of our efforts and will be rewarded with the Lord’s blessing.
YOUTH CLUBS THAT ARE NOT WORKING.
For some churches It has turned into weekly struggle. The leaders are running around like policemen. They become angry and frustrated and often give up in despair.
In this seminar we are going to look at the most effective way of using our Youth Club night.
What age group are we aiming at?
For Youth work we need to have Secondary school age in mind. This will be the 11+ age group. It is not a good idea to have junior ages.
Most churches have a junior type club with the problem of what to do with the older ones when they go into High School. The Youth Club needs to cater for these and only these.
11 to 15 will be the main group; older ones can be encouraged to help while still joining in the fun!
It is best for the Club to have a shared leadership with someone who is overall Leader. Each leader will have an area of responsibility on the Club night. It is very helpful if at least one leader can do First Aid. (Always have a First Aid box available at club and an accident book. And be sure to use it when necessary.)
Games planner & referee.
Support for above.
Supervisor for Pool & Table tennis.
Equipment (Bat & balls etc)
Watching the door & cars, (Security)
Leading the “God Slot”
While the club is open every room needs a helper to be with the young people, to watch that there is no abuse of equipment; sort out disputes and generally keep an eye out for problems and of course to join in the fun with them!! Leaders may meet for prayer before club and de-brief at the close.
Young people know that rules are for their own good and help towards their enjoyment. It is important to have the rules on the notice board. They need to be kept to a minimum. It is always best if serious problems are brought to the Club Leader before any ejection takes place. Remember if the young people are not behaving we need channel their energy for bad into something for good. Sometimes the problems are a reflection on they way we led the club.
At all times the leaders must act in a fair-minded manner, especially with team games. There must be no favoritism!
Do we have a Membership?
It is very important to have the names and addresses of all who attend the club each night in case of fire etc. It will help us to get to know the young people and we can keep in touch if they do not attend. Mobile numbers & email addresses are most helpful.
Some clubs use a Passport method with the members. When a young person has attended for three weeks they can be issued with a Passport. (The passport can also have the rules printed) This allows them to enter the club. If they misbehave the Passport can be taken from them. Without the Passport they cannot attend the club. Such a method weans out the troublemakers!
Should we charge subs?
Some do, most don’t! Generally the young people know that the money helps to buy equipment and I have never heard any objections. However I would not make any charges.
It is vital that the leaders have a set program for the Club evening.
7pm Register (A record needs to be kept of those attending, this should be done without any fuss.)
7,15 – 8pm Games in the main hall (Table games or teams)
8 – 8.15pm Tuck shop (You can also have a toast night, cake night ect.
8.30pm God Slot. (This need not be a talk every week but could include a quiz, drama, or Special guest. It is always good to have notices.)
8.45 Last game in hall.
Encourage all to participate in the games. These need to be energy expanding games. Young people have so much energy, in the games times we can channel it for good! Your local Christian Bookshop will have books with games ideas. Scripture Union etc. (See suggested games sheet) It is important to introduce new games, this keeps us from becoming stale!
If you have another hall for snooker & table tennis then organize something during the Main Games for those who don’t want to play.
Give prizes for individual game winners and even teams. It is surprising how hard young people try to win a mars bar!
It is best not to have the tuck-shop open all through the evening. It tends to disrupt the program with some young people disappearing from teams! Open after the main games time. I would make drinks available anytime.
It is not a good idea to have the “Talk” at the end of the night. Some will be tempted to leave after the games! Put it in the middle of the program.
It is important to have a closed door policy, by this I mean that the teens are only allowed in by invitation, or they can bring friends. Do not allow young people to wonder in and out during the evening.