Church #48. When I worked at St John’s Lutheran Church in Lakeville, MN, I had the chance to work with someone who is amazing. Her name is Amanda Boe, and she is Director of Children, Youth, and Family Ministry at St John’s. Luckily, I have known her longer than that. She has 4 kids (including #66 for the Minnesota gophers), one of the best Kid Min people I know, and I learned something from her about youth group that I want to share.
Most churches when I think of youth group meet on Wednesday or Sunday nights as one big group. That’s what we do at Bethlehem! Our Youth Group meets on Wednesday nights and that works great for us, for now. But Amanda did something really cool with her youth group kids. Thanks to the pandemic, Amanda had time to really connect with students one-on-one and learned that one-big-youth-group-fits-all doesn’t really fit all. She learned about their interests, which students liked what, and created she 5 different small groups based on what they wanted to do. If there was a student who wanted to do something different, she could easily say “There’s a group for that!”
Baking and Cooking Group: She has students who like to be in the kitchen. With different cooks, she invited people from the congregation to come in and teach students a variety of things including how to make pickles, lefse, cookies, and other goodies. They also packaged soup mixes as a fundraiser. Of course, sampling is the best!
Book Club kids are into books.
Garden Club: St John’s is blessed with lots of land, and building a garden is a great resource not only for the cooking and baking club but also for the community. The students who tended the garden love to be outside with their hands in the dirt.
Movie Group is always well-attended, right? I mean, who doesn’t love a good story and popcor
Game Night Crew for those kids who love a good game, love to say “Sorry! Gotcha!” and are super fanatics about games, this is their group.
However you choose to meet, meet students and kids where they are. Take the time to find what they are interested in and build off of that. If you want to chat with Amanda, you can find her here. She is a genius CYF director.