Friday, September 12, 2008

Teen Perspectives

Today I’ll be interviewing

Natali Nieto

She’s 18 and likes playing guitar, spending time with
the Lord while exploring nature, and having a good laugh with

Let’s see what she has to say:

“I never really was involved with youth group, but I can tell you this…”

At 15 my family picked up its roots and moved from California to Arizona. I had
been involved with a youth group in Cali, but in Arizona, my church experience
wasn’t that great. The first and only youth group I tried was anything but
effective and meaningful. To me it felt superficial. Those same teens I saw
worshipping and praying were also sleeping around, partying, and experimenting
with different illegal substances. I was never welcomed. The YP never wanted to
listen or help me personally.

What did he do that made you feel this way?

I never felt welcomed because he never gave me the time of day. He had his
favorites and if you weren’t one of them, you were invisible to him. I was the
invisible one.

What are some things that YP’s can do to show their sincerity to youth?

I think it’s hard to engage with each and every student in a big youth group,
but they should at least try to make an effort to meet and greet each new person
so they can feel welcome and not alienated.

Not alienated? So, you’re saying it’s very important for youth to feel connected to the group, right? How could a YP make that happen?

Yes. I know that not every YP has the time to have the most intimate
conversations with every single person that walks through the youth room doors.
But someone needs to have these interactions with each individual…someone like a
small group leader. It’s crucial for young men and women to have Godly mentors
in their lives. I remember having someone like this when I was younger and it
made all the difference.

In a small group setting, youth are given more
opportunities to grow. Outside of this they can just go under the radar and not
be noticed. But the thing about small groups is that your leader is there to
notice what’s going on in your life. Youth are challenged to not live a double
life. The accountability offered in small groups would have deterred many of the
teens from my old youth group away from their two-faced life.

Do you have any other thoughts?

I believe genuine youth groups exist. I didn’t experience one and I never want
any other teen to have that same experience. YP’s, take note and be authentic
and sincere with your youth.

1 comment:

supern8 said...

Good interview! This generation wants/needs honesty and a real experience of encountering God...I recommend a 21-day media fast to start. Clear the air and get the oil of intimacy with Christ!