I really feel for this youth pastor who is struggling with a middle school youth group full of kids who don't seem to be able to focus:
We sat in a circle for a 10 minute discussion about Prayer. 30 minutes later we were finally ready to start praying. 45 minutes after sitting down we finally wrapped up a 10 minute discussion and prayer time. This unfortunately is a typical night in our junior high ministry. I’m at a loss about what to do. I want to make it interactive, but I can’t because the kids don’t focus and wind up running around if not forced to sit in a circle. Even then, it takes forever to get through a very simple lesson on prayer which arouse from my realization that half the kids in attendance don’t even think it necessary to show respect while praying. I am so tired of being the bad guy- I don’t want to keep telling kids over and over again to pay attention. It’s exhausting having to constantly be the “bad guy”.
I imagine many of us have been in this position. I know I have. You spend hours planning a great program just to have the evening end in disaster. Sometimes it's just the chemistry of the group and they provoke each other to mischief. Sometimes it's something we are doing that we aren't aware of until a fellow leader points it out. Sometimes it's due to the activities we design or the flow of the schedule that gets the ball rolling for an evening of chaos. I bet some of you have some suggestions that could be helpful to this fellow youth pastor. Why not go share them here.