This article is reprinted with the written permission of the author, Mr. Randy Raus, President of LifeTeen. You can find the original on his blog: http://www.catholicyouthministry.com/why-i-just-stopped-coming-to-your-youth-group/ :
I’m an average teen. I am in 11th grade and I work a part time job at a local grocery store. I am Catholic and was confirmed last spring. I don’t come from a messed up family, just a family that is spun in many different directions each day.I have a few close friends who I have been friends with since I was in elementary school. Most of my other friends are people I know from the internet and are part of on online gaming group I hang out with online after school. I am a loyal person and once I become your friend, I am always your friend. I just stopped coming to your youth group.
The decision wasn’t easy. I have been coming to youth group the past two and a half years. But I finally decided I wasn’t going to keep coming anymore. I basically have had enough.
Here are 4 likely reasons why?
1. You are too predictable. Look I live in a fast paced, image driven world and it is painful to come to the Church and see the same drab youth room, the identical set up for Life Nights and basically hear the same talks each week. It still looks and feels like it did when my older brother came there 10 years ago. You need to spend as much time on setting up surprise amazing environments, preparing inspiring talks and setting up inviting gathering spaces as you do meeting as a core team to keep me interested.
2. You don’t make me feel like I belong there. Let’s face it, I probably won’t even be missed. Only a few of the core team know my name and the rest of them call me names like “dude or guy”. Someone can come to youth group and never have a conversation with you week after week. You should spend more time talking to teens and helping them feel part of things rather than just talking at us at announcement time.
3. You never challenge me anymore. In an effort to get as many people there especially underclassmen, you don’t challenge the teens like me who are already there in their faith. I can’t remember the last time I left youth group thinking I learned something or was challenged to go do something. You should make sure there are times when you ask older teens to help lead things and to meet as a group separately to have more depth conversations and teachings.
4. You don’t look like you are excited about your faith. I thought that this was a community and not one person takes on the world group. You always look so burdened that I was afraid to add to your burden. You need to smile more and bring the fun back into youth group rather than walking around like you have the weight of the world on your shoulders.
Have you had teens drop out from your group lately? What are the reasons that these teens are not coming? It matters!
Randy Raus is the President of Life Teen and a 22 year veteran of youth ministry. He spent twelve years leading a parish youth group, and has worked with youth leaders around the globe. Randy majored in Business / General Management at the University of Alabama. He enjoys tinkering with old cars, listening to music, and hanging out with his wife and eight children.
“I converted to Catholicism in 1983 and feel called to give back. The first ministry I looked at was teens and it has been a calling ever since.”
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