Last Sunday night, we made our Lenten pretzels. After some discussion, we moved into a time of worship. The idea was to have relaxing music play in the background, prayer stations set up around the room, and time for silence and meditation. With the younger kids (in grades 6th-7th) everything worked great. I was so impressed. With the older kids (in grades 8th-12th) I quickly became full of frustration. I had a hard time getting the older youth to quit talking and being so loud. Experiences such as these are the joys and challenges of youth ministry.
After thinking about it, I came up with three conclusions: 1) my younger kids are getting pretty good at silence and contemplation—I wished I had started this style of worship years ago; 2) my older kids were pretty wild, but I still believe the spirit of God was present and speaking to them; and 3) I’m looking forward to seeing how the older youth respond after several more years of intentional time set aside for prayer and meditation.
All of this is to say that on the drive home, if you’ve had a frustrating evening at youth group, take the time to discern what went on and not discredit the entire evening. In past experiences, I’ve had youth tell me how one particular event really changed their life—an event that I often thought wasn’t a success at all.