Youth Rally – Part 1

I attended a youth rally on Friday and I thought that I would give an insight into what I experienced. So this blog would be in three parts. Beginning with the good parts, then moving to the bad parts and finally I will be giving my recommendations (which might not account to much in any case).

So to begin with the good parts…

I remember my youth days and many of it were filled with youth rallies; back then it was called coffee bars. It was an awesome time for you to meet with friends you have not seen in a long time. It was also a great opportunity to meet new people and by that I mean people of the opposite sex (of which I was a disaster). Youth rallies were also awesome for showcasing the youths talent and of that there were many, from singing to dancing to drama ( I even remember at one time a very shiny body showing off his muscles in a very tiny brief – which I still find disturbing ūüôā ). And obviously every youth rally has to end with a devotion; not a sermon because it was always kept to 10 minutes at a maximum (but more of that to come).

But after a while youth rallies began declining and soon became very ineffective and youth groups stopped attending and supporting such events for reasons at that time not known to me. So when this youth rally was announced, I was dubious to its success based upon the history and trends of youth rallies. I expected a handful of youth groups, with some really bad showcasing of talents and a crowd (the handful) would be unmanageable.

So come Friday and would do I see? The church is packed! I could not believe it! Could youth rallies be experiencing a come back? Have I in my educated “guessing” limited what God could do, yes even with a youth rally? And the crowd was controllable and generally supportive of the program.¬†The showcasing of talents? Lets just say that some of them should not enter SA Has Talent :). But on that in the next blog.

So what is my opinion and lessons learnt on Friday?

  1. There is nothing new under the sun and if we rehash old ideas and present it in new ways it can still be effective. ¬†God is bigger than my opinions and ideas and with him nothing is really impossible. He can even use youth rallies for whatever purpose he wants to achieve. So don’t consider anything as obsolete because we serve a God a who isn’t.
  2. Young people will always support such events because it affords them the opportunity to meet other young people and increase the friendship base (even if it’s just a number on Facebook). Part of what we do as youth workers is to afford young people wholesome friendships which such events could offer (although there were some unsavoury activities – more about that in my next blog) but we should never underestimate the importance of friendships and relationships for young people.
  3. Good marketing will result in good returns. I could see that some effort was put into the event and resulted a good crowd and some participation in the program for the evening. It’s encouraging to know and notice that youth groups are still actively marketing their youth groups and events that they host.

So are youth rallies back? I’m not about to answer that question before publishing the next two blogs…

Premarital Sex

We had a guest lecturer at the Seminary yesterday, Rev Dr Stephen Willis, who wrote his PhD dissertation on the “relationship between premarital sexual activity and marital dissolution” through the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. While his talk had so many great talk points and gems to ponder on and even places of rebuke for us who are raising kids without any thorough thought processes.

But what stood out for me more than the sexual practices activity and unwise decisions made by our adolescents, was the awesome and important role and responsibility that we as youth pastors and adults leader should play in the lives of teenagers in assisting and guiding them to live lives of purity. But what should this guidance look like? How do we go about educating adolescents on this important topic and experience in their lives?

 

 

Dr Willis gave some advice on how to address this important aspect namely:

  1. We have to engage young people before they engage in any sexual practices. The mean age for sexual engagement and experimentation usually is around 15 years old. That means we have to begin engaging with teens by the time they hit the double figures. Yes that’s right, you read correctly. By the time they reach 10 years old, we should have engaged them from a responsible perspective otherwise they will be receiving the information from less reliable sources such as friends, the internet, movies and magazines. And with the steady moral decline out there we sure do not want to take that risk.
  2. We have to educate and empower parents to be able to have this dialogue with their kids. Believe it or not, parents are still the most influential sources and guides in the lives of adolescents. For too long have parents abdicated their roles and responsibility to youth workers, teachers and other people of “influence” to guide and teach on issues of morality in the lives of their youth. It’s no wonder why there is so much rebellion from teens against parents who just let go of their right and privilege to guide and nurture.
  3. We have to encourage younger ages for marriage. I know this might sound¬†weird¬†and against our cultural grain. But here’s the thinking. If adolescents are having sex at an earlier age and marrying at a later stage, then it becomes obvious that the years between will accumulate the amount of sexual partners¬†engaged. Yet at the same time, it would be wise to delay dating to a later age so that there would be less temptations and pressures to engage in sexual¬†activity. This simple, yet I can imagine¬†volatile talk point could save¬†our adolescents from facing and experiencing¬†unnecessary¬†risks of physical, emotional and even spiritual trauma.

So where to from here?

Let’s just get the conversation going! Put your voice in there!