Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The mature Youth of our church

Two weekends ago I dove into language immersion as I attended the annual National Youth Conference for our church. I’ve been to many youth gatherings in the US, so I thought I would know what to expect, especially looking at the program. But of course, many things about the weekend struck me as strange. It must be understood that the great number of people attending were 17-24 years old and either attending with several youth from their church or on their own. I hardly ever saw a group accompanied by their pastor. Many of their pastors were there, but they had other responsibilities, one of which was not babysitting their youth. I met some younger students who were 15 or 16, but they were usually accompanied by older siblings or fellow youth group members who could watch out for them. So this immediately caused some interesting developments. Much of the subject matter seemed very mature. Of the three seminars we attended, two were lectures not unlike a normal upper level 60-90 min college class without too many visual demonstrations or concrete concepts. The third involved us in an art project, which turned out to be an all day event and we came back after each meal to finish the project(seen in the photo-I don't know if you can tell that we're describing the scene where the adulterous woman is brought before Jesus to be stoned and he just draws in the sand), it was very intense I might add. There were many sports activities that you could attend like basketball, football(soccer), and petenque or you could also hang out and play board games in the tea tent(I thought this was the coolest thing ever). Anyway, another thing that was strange was that many of the presenters and musicians were over 50 years old. I love these guys, I know many of them on a personal level. They are phenomenal and legendary in our church. However, they’re not even close to the age of these kids. I think there were two events that I went to that were overwhelmingly received as incredible by the audience. No.1 was a “talk show” provided by some young guys 25-27. This looked familiar. They were funny, in a young but educated way. They used bad language, talked in a kind of flamboyant manor, and above all, just acted plain ridiculously on stage. At the same time they addressed many issues in our church and related to the culture of these youth. The audience loved it. The second was an hour long sermon on Communication using the Gospel of Pooh. No one thought of it as a “kid’s lecture,” in fact it had the opposite reaction joining their childhood memories with their adult faith. I really felt like the whole weekend was more geared toward Young Adults in the way that the youth were treated and the activities were planned. Maybe it's just because many of our youth have a more serious or mature outlook on life. In the end I really enjoyed myself, despite the half mile walks between each event, and I was amazed at how much I understood language wise.

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