One boy with no shirt completely changed our Youth Group............
It was a typical Wednesday evening, about 15 teens (both Jr and Sr high). We were having our "fun" time......at the beginning of each youth group, we eat together, talk a little, play a few games before the lesson starts. I was watching some teens play basketball when one of the small group leaders came up to me and said, "There's a boy outside that really wants to come in. But he doesn't have a shirt. Can he come in?"
I thought about it for a minute, thought about the impact that he may have on the kids already there (which at the time, were pretty much all "churched" kids), thought about what it could mean if I let someone not wear a shirt (something you certainly have to think about when Jr high boys are around :), then I thought about our Youth Leader covenant. One of the points on that covenant says, "I will never turn away a teen that needs what this youth group offers".
So I said, "Sure, tell him to come in". It changed everything....
All the outreach that we had tried up to that point to reach kids in the community had failed. But a split second decision to let a neighborhood kid come in with no shirt on turned our group upside down. After that night, we have had 40+ teens join our group.....most of them "unchurched" neighborhood kids. We grew so large that the Jr and Sr High formed 2 groups, instead of just 1.
We continue to see a fairly large number of new kids every week. No shirt boy still attends youth group (side note - he wears a shirt now), over a year later. And has brought many many friends in with him.
I am still amazed that one little decision had such an impact....I wonder what would have happend if I had said "No, he can't come in". Would we still be where we were?
It has been a difficult adjustment for everyone involved, the leaders, the teens that already attended and the new teens who are learning about a whole new way of life..............but I wouldn't change it for anything in this world :)
We have ALL (leaders and teens) learned a lot about patience, love and sacrifice. I was forced to look at the way we were doing things and admit that they weren't really working AND be brave enough to change the things that needed changing........we are still changing things and will continue to do so.
We currently have 12 small group leaders!!! And are always looking for more as we continue to grow. We are maxed out in small groups, we see new faces every week, we are touching lives for Jesus, we are seeing kids accept Christ and get baptized...........
Because of one boy with no shirt :)