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Your Youth Group.


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I was the head of the "social action" committee and also the only person in the group with organization skills. Consequently, most of our activities involved charity drives at church...

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My family never stayed at one church for too long. Most of the groups were rather small, and a couple of them performed activities. I was introverted so I never partook in those activities.

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TBH, I have nothing but good memories about youth group and consider it to have been an overall positive experience in my past. The youth pastor and his wife were really great people and we had a lot of fun. It's part of my experience and don't have any regrets for having gone through it. Though it's been more than 20 years since I was a member, I still have friends from it and am still in touch.

 

Now singles group at a different church after graduation. That's another story. The leader was an ass. Church leadership made us feel less than equal and a bit rebellious and certainly immature just because were weren't married. Many of the members were obnoxious zealots. And in the end I have no regrets about that either as it was the hard push I needed to get me questioning my belief system.

 

The difference between the two churches:

 

The church I grew up in was just a hometown church with regular people living regular lives. They weren't zealots, they just attended church as it was part of the culture of the town I grew up in. The second church was hell fire, bible thumping and cult like.

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We didn't have a youth group at my church. I went to one a few times with a friend at her church, which wasn't really fun at all because I didn't know anybody and I didn't go often enough to get to know anybody.

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we had a tiny youth group at both the last churches I was at...because the last one was a non-denom fragment from a smaller baptist church. the youth group was really small, but I was by far the one who took my beliefs the most seriously, i led the group often. I also went in between the youth and the adult classes...our youth group studies were incredibly shallow

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Medium/Top Elite/Youth Pastor's Right Hand

 

Yup. That was me. Felt so special all the fucking time. Youth group was almost the only time I wasn't depressed. Occasionally I had bad nights there too though.

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My youth group was pretty average sized. I never really fit in with my youth group. They always acted like I was weird because I liked geeky things like sci-fi and fantasy and anime. Some people would complain about cliques in the youth group but nobody would ever do anything about it. Whenever I went to youth groups, I was always left by myself and I never had any real friends. I had only one friend in the youth group and they later on didn't want to have anything to do with me because apparently I was "annoying" them. Good riddance to bad rubbish, I say. The people at the youth group would be nice enough to your face the three times a week you were at church, but they didn't ever have anything to do with you the rest of the week unless you were part of the "cool" crowd. But now that I recognize the charade for what it is, I wouldn't want to be friends with those bigots anyway.

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I was part of two youth groups and they were some of the worst parts of my life (huh, it seems like there's been a lot of "worst parts of my life" and they all have to do at least indirectly with Christianity!) In the end I didn't have to rebel because in both cases, my parents recognized that harmful things were going on and allowed me to leave.

 

In the first group, which was small, the youth pastor's daughter became the "princess" of the weak girls and most of the guys whom she led in tormenting the unpopular kids. (I'm pretty sure the guys followed her because she was sleeping with some of them and promising to with others). I was neither weak nor unpopular, and she hated me, but I wasn't about to be some kind of champion of the unpopular kids- they were the biggest Bible thumpers and I didn't like them either. Still, I didn't think anyone deserved the kind of crap they were going through, and I had no intention of remaining part of any of it, so I told my parents about the whole situation and that I wasn't going back. They quickly saw that I was telling the truth, told me that I could pick another youth group (but not going wasn't an option), and started an investigation that ended with the youth pastor being fired.

 

Then I went to the youth group connected to my Christian school. A lot of my friends went there, but I ended up befriending some classmates and other members who I'd never been close to before. They were the "inner circle" of the youth group, but I never got as involved as they did. I went on mission trips and home visitation and did most youth group events for about a year and a half, but for me it was always about the social aspect instead of about a real belief in god. For these kids, it was a mixture. They thought they were on fire for god, but they had also always been semi-unpopular kids and the youth pastor had gathered them into his inner circle and promised them authority over the youth group if they would follow him. They were completely devoted to every word he said, and they were the ones who ended up deconverting, but not without a lot of bitterness. During the time I was there the youth pastor became more and more extreme, building up his own system of rules and rewards, and after he told me that I needed to quit my sports team to spend more time with god, I quit the youth group. I was 16, and by that time, my parents were in agreement that maybe going to another youth group wasn't the best thing for me. I joined an adult ESL teaching program- although it was through the church, it didn't have a direct religious focus. About a year later, the youth pastor was fired by the church with a good deal of drama, and went on to pastor the church that L4A left.

 

So the short story is, send me to your youth group and your youth pastor will get fired.

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My youth group was fairly small but all the kids were from the same 4 prominent families in church, all their kids went to school together and their families often got together outside of church and if you weren't a member of those families or a cousin or something you weren't in the loop. Sure, they pretended to be nice enough to outsiders, but I was always excluded and a wallflower. The adults in charge though were nice and befriended me and got me involved in activities and planning, but it wasn't the same as having a peer group. I stopped going after awhile and when my mom in church one day was bothering me about not going I blew up at her and told her that all the kids were clique-y jerks and jackasses, and she never brought it up again.

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Like Vigile, my youth group experience was generally positive. We spent more time playing games and eating and such than anything religious. The young adults group, however, was all bible study and prayer. Pretty dull, luckily by the time I got there I was on my way to deconversion. There weren't really any cliques in either group. Well, there weren't any exclusive cliques, everyone got along reasonably well.

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I got to feel all special and popular as I was selected to play bass for the youth group, but I suspected that most of them disliked me, and it was made obvious once my deconversion became known and I was kicked off the youth band.

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My group was usually Tiny,

 

I was definitely an Outcast, though there were some people I liked, and a few liked me privately...but not openly as to not rock the clique-boat. And there was at least one guy who liked me against his own will, that was odd to watch.

 

My best friend an I put cat's bones in chocolate cake for the April Fools celebration one year....so um....yeah...we were MOTHERFUCKIN REBELS (don't get squemish, the bones were sterilized...and a couple guys had the ballz to join us in eating cake and sucking frosting off the bones).

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I just remembered that I learned to play poker at youth group. :HaHa: For some reason, this strikes me as extremely amusing.

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I loved the youth groups I went to. I left my parents church in about 5th grade and went to my best friend's church, and also went to another church in 8th grade. I started doing youth group in Junior High or so and had fun. The religious stuff I just shrugged off pretty much and just had fun doing the different activities. The girls seemed to dig me, so that was definitely a plus. I'd love doing road trips to the city. It was a 3 hour drive one way, so it was a real road trip. We'd stay up in the city (Anchorage) a few nights, hit the malls, do some religious stuff, just hang out, and head back. I was always with some of my friends from school, so that was cool. It was pretty much always the girls who took the religious stuff seriously. I mean, I was a Christian and believed, but hell, I was a teenage boy and I just didn't really give a shit about studying the Bible or talking about how we should be sorry for being teenagers. I never got into drugs, but I loved to break shit on occasion, watch R movies with nudity, listen to gangsta rap/hard rock, and swear like a sailor. I'd always see the girls getting all serious during those times where they'd call people down to the front of the stage if they wanted to "redevote" their life to god or whatever. I never did that; I was just like, "whatever, let's get this shit done with so we can go do something fun."

 

I actually miss youth groups in a way.

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