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In the USA (Long Island, New York) our young people live in a multi-functional teenage society. Schools educate and provide many social opportunities but prohibit activities that allow any religious expressions of faith except under the most restrictive settings (after school Bible clubs as long as recruitment for the clubs does not occur during the official school day).
Our young people are provided many other opportunities to socialize by the school and by the at-large community. There are robotics and ambassador clubs sponsored by the schools as well as drama opportunities, cheerleading and a multitude of sports. Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts bring young people together as well as the community based sports clubs. More than once I have heard of a soccer coach who could not understand why a youth on his team did not like the idea of playing on a Sunday morning due to having to miss worship services. The teenager came under pressure to skip church (“it’s only a worship service”) or face being relegated to the bench for future games. Our society seems to value just about any teenage event, scheduled for a Sunday morning, as more important than worship.
Due to the fact that so many of our youth are involved in these type activities, I, as a youth leader, feel the burden to be the primary provider of inspirational and instructional guidance for our young people. Our meetings every Sunday evening at least get the youth to meet in the house of God (even though it is the basement) on a regular basis. In the midst of social events we work in time for Bible study, mission projects and prayer. Please read of a highly successful event we recently held entitled “Trust and Prayer” which is described on the activities page of this website.
I am interested if any other youth groups face challenges like we are facing. How are you coping? Or do you face other challenges – apathy amongst your youth, uninvolved parents, drugs, alcohol or gangs? Please write by entering a forum response or e-mailing me at Mountgote@AOL.com. I am looking forward to hearing from many of you.
I am an alumus of the coffeehouse group of some 30 years back . I am not given to profound writing , but on this subject , I will say it is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness . 73 de Jim Penna
Jim - I misplaced your e-mail address so I hope I can reach you in this manner. Thank you for sharing on this webpage and thank you for setting up the interview with Larry Whittler. It went very well. It is now obtainable on I-Tunes!!! I hope to eventually put it on this website. I also have the good fortune of having a book review coming out in the late summer in "The Presbyterian Outlook". All else is going well in Deer Park and our youth group is active as usual. Trust all is well with you. Thanks again. Tim