Youth group gets a bad rep, but it wasn’t all that bad. It’s been over ten years now and I only got to experience it for a couple years, but some things I miss:
1) Insane up-all-night lock-ins and waiting for other people to sleep, so we could toothpaste their eyebrows.
2) When you and the last guy standing at the lock-in have the deep crazy existential talk about life until the sun comes up.
3) Random laser tag, Chuck E Cheese, rock-climbing, canoe day, and water balloon fights at the park. I don’t see why adults stop doing these things.
4) The tight-knit bond you develop with your praise team, musically and spiritually. And when the drummer and praise leader can share a glance during a song and read each other’s minds.
5) Crazy sermon illustrations. One time my youth pastor preached on the Parable of the Wedding Banquet, and to play a beggar, he had tore up his dress shirt and slacks and rubbed his body in dirt. No one ever forgot that sermon and we even remembered the point. I also brought a few friends that day and they came back.
6) The excitement of meeting new people who love Jesus.
7) Friday night service, jumping up and down to praise songs and totally not caring.
8) Summertime, all day everyday at church getting them spiritual growths.
9) Watching the really quiet nerdy introverted kid grow into a confident, mature, consistent, solid believer.
10) Laughing at hilarious Powerpoint typos. “We will worship the ham of gory.”
11) Christmas time at church is Super-Ridiculous-Awesome. Thousands of lights, corny reenactments of the Nativity, Secret Santa gift exchange (a girl always got a toy truck or Transformer), dressing your winter best for Sundays, hot chocolate at church, fervent prayer time during New Year’s.
12) When the youth pastor bought snacks on Sunday afternoons and brought a deck of cards or a board game.
13) Feeling like you finally belong somewhere, especially when your family and school is so upside-down.
14) Actually just being friends with the opposite sex.
15) The first time the Gospel hits you right between the eyes, through your heart, out your soul.
16) Those Sundays of healing. Youth crying together, growing together.
17) Senior year, when you finally step it up as a leader, and realizing you’re going to miss everybody: even the crazy ones.