For years, our church has done 3-4 youth Sunday’s a year. The 6th, 7th, 8th graders, and sometimes the HS students work to plan and run parts of the service. For years, we have debated about how to do this better, make it more meaningful, how to make it into something of quality.
Our most recent Youth Sunday was at the beginning of March, and I am proud to say it was one of our best. Instead of simply going through the same motions as the adults do when they run it, the youth creatively worked at making it their own. Our 7th graders put together a presentation about why we are all prodigal children. They pointed out that we all turn away and come back over and over again. The 6th graders stuck clothes pins on everyone as they were returning from communion that reminded them they are prodigals. The 8th graders took on leadership roles as readers, communion assistants, ushers, greeters and such. The group that was ushering was assisted by an adult who usually does not interact with our youth. They all had a blast working together. The adult found out that the kids are not all bad. The kids found out that not all adults act “stuffy and creepy”. Their words, not mine. The congregation loved the creative reflections and appreciated everything that the youth did to make their worship experience wonderful.
In reality, I would love to have our 6th, 7th and 8th graders in worship every week and fully participating in Leadership roles every week. But that is just not how we currently operate. It’s a goal for the future. In the mean time, Youth Sunday’s are what we can do.